Monday, December 31, 2007

I typed up a list of 29 resolutions in January 2007.
I accomplished six. Which I’m quite sure is six more than I would have accomplished without the list.

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

There was a girl at Mass today bound to a wheelchair, trapped in a body that is deformed. She could not adequately communicate, not with words, anyway. But she seemed unable to feel sorry for herself.
And when the Eucharistic minister came to her with Communion, her face beamed with a smile. Her joy was obvious and contagious.

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Here’s a challenge I’m going to give to myself:
See life from the perspective of somebody else.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

“What were your holidays like before you had kids,” I asked my dad during dinner.
“Every day was a holiday. Every day was an X-rated holiday with your mother.”

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

“My love, can I go over this little plan of mine with you for a minute?” I asked my husband.
“Sure. Do I have to pay attention?”

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

On the day after Christmas, my family drew names for one more gift exchange.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

My grandmother to my grandfather:
“Is that gum in your mouth? You need to spit it out or stay awake.”
He refused to do either. So my grandmother, fearful that he’d choke, sat behind him and poked his shoulders every time he dozed off.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

It's the eve of Christ's birth, and I've been battling a bad mood.
There's something innately difficult about the holidays.
Which makes me think of Mary nine months pregnant and how she didn't complain, not even once, as she wandered about Bethlehem.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

I have a remarkable skill for procrastinating and pulling it all together at the last minute. I believe I inherited this trait from my mother, who today was decorating her Christmas tree and who tomorrow will be wrapping up her shopping.

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

There is nothing my husband dislikes more about the holidays than diamond commercials. He’s not a huge fan of jewelry, but his main complaint is the equation: diamonds equal love.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Here is my holistic approach to cold and flu season:
Take DayQuil like it’s a multivitamin.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

It feels like the whole world is waiting for a miracle.
And I think we would get one if we could just be still enough.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I’ve noticed that since leaving journalism I have fallen in love with exclamation points.
This form of punctuation was forbidden in newsprint or at least reserved for, and I quote, “the second coming of Christ.”
Personally, I find the tiny line and dot adorable, and so far, no one has confused my expression of enthusiasm for Armageddon.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What if God’s dreams for us are more than anything we could have ever dreamt for ourselves?

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Monday, December 17, 2007

“Can I turn on the TV?” I asked knowing my husband had a headache.
“If talking is hurting my head so will the TV. It’s the same thing,” he said.
“TV is soothing,” I countered like a true junkie.
“Silence is soothing. I know you don’t believe me, but you should try it.”

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Christmas season is so out of control.
Today on the Food Network’s “Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee,” she suggested using cocktail glasses as Christmas ornaments. And her tree topper was a giant nutcracker holding a frosty, sugar-rimmed martini glass.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

At a party, on a Saturday, six years ago, I met my husband.
It seemed rather unexpected to feel so instantly connected to someone I didn’t know at all. We talked for quite awhile the first night we met, but we didn’t exchange numbers.
And the next night, during a dinner with my family and closest friends, I really wished that he was there with me. I missed him.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

My dad is always talking about how the stuffed animals at his house party while everyone is away.
Today, my mom came home to find eight of them in the middle of a card game on her bed.
The Bunny held four of a kind and was obviously beating the snot out of the Bears.
This was no child’s tea party.
The animals had finished off quite a few miniature bottles of rum, and a cigar was being shared among them.
Most shocking was the drunkenness of Snoopy and his Cabbage Patch Kid girlfriend. The two had kicked back an entire beer and sat dazed against the bed pillows.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

The three-piece tree came wired with lights that no longer work.
While someone else probably could have ignored dead lights on a fake tree, I could not.
So my husband spent four hours clipping them off.
I told him with sincere gratitude, “I really appreciate you doing this because that was really going to bother me.”
And he replied with this simple truth, “If it bothers you, you’ll bother me.”

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I was feeling very on top of things when I pulled out our two boxes of Christmas decorations on December 1.
I set out our advent wreath and nativity scene. I unwrapped ornaments. I had my husband bring in the big box with our fake Christmas tree.
It all seemed very promising.
But for the last 12 days, the ornaments have sat on a chair. The tree, in three pieces, has been on the floor.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

There’s a drawer in my desk where I keep inspiration.
Unfortunately, my supplies are low.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

“Have you been to Costco since they got the new shopping carts?” my husband asked.
“Umm. I think so. Why?” was my reply.
“It’s a whole new experience,” he said not-at-all joking.

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Sunday, December 9, 2007

Single-mindedness.
The word often has a negative connotation. I think of someone out of balance. But it really depends on what the focus is.
What if our minds were fixed solely on God?
That's what I was thinking about while spending the evening with a high school friend who has spent 10 years as a monk and was recently ordained a Catholic priest.
His life is the fruit of single-mindedness.

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Saturday, December 8, 2007

After a visit with my husband’s family, he says to me, in all seriousness, “I come from a long line of social misfits.”

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Friday, December 7, 2007

I really need to know more about how the world works.
For instance, are California Clementines (a.k.a. Cuties) the result of some fancy food scientist’s genetic altering or are they naturally that perfect?
I ate eight of these small, sweet, seedless, “zipper-skinned” wonders today, so I’m quite curious and not at all Vitamin C deficient.

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

“The men’s sauna is like a women’s hair salon,” my brother said. “You wouldn’t believe all the gossip I heard in just 10 minutes. Of course, they’re all naked. It’s disgusting.”
He went on. But I’ll leave it at that, as proof that men’s social rituals are just as strange as women’s.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

For as often as words fly from my mouth like bees with the potential to sting, it was a nice surprise to start a conversation with, “I couldn’t help but overhear …” and for the response to be, “I love your ears.”

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Today is mine and my blog’s half-birthday.
I’m 3 plus 0 plus half. The blog is just half.

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Monday, December 3, 2007

I’ve never understood how “will not” becomes “won’t” when abbreviated.
Every time I write it, it looks wrong to me.

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Sunday, December 2, 2007

My friend Lexey has abandoned email in favor of letters for corresponding with her parents because she says she doesn’t want to be deletable.

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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Cleaning up after my cooking requires steel wool.

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Friday, November 30, 2007

I’ve always hated to ask for what I want. I fear it seems selfish.
But can’t I be grateful for what I have (which I am) and still want more (which I do) without being a greedy brat?

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

I want to be like my best friend’s three-year-old.
She stands in front of the mirror and says, “I’m so pretty.”

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Yesterday, I told a friend I had a slight case of ennui. Like a worsening cold, today my ennui was fullblown. Instead of a sniffling nose and cough, the symptoms were melancholy and weepiness.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

About a million times a day, I’ll say something, and in response, my husband will say, “Blog it. Let’s go to bed.”
Sometimes, he’ll say something, I’ll laugh, and then he’ll say, “Blog it. Let’s go to bed.”
Yes, we really think we’re that charming. Yes, we know were delusional.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

I’ve gained a new sympathy for the contestants on “The Biggest Loser.”
Tonight, I met with a trainer at the gym. I assumed my free consultation would involve a simple walk through of the equipment.
Not so.
Instead, I was made to do push-ups with a core twist, squats while holding a 32-pound weight, sit-ups while holding a ball above my head, and another exercise that involved stepping onto a large box, raising one knee, doing a bicep curl with 8-pound weights and then pushing the weights above my head before stepping off the box.
The whole experience was deeply humiliating.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sometimes one Thanksgiving isn’t enough. So tonight my family had its second turkey dinner in four days. Insanity? No. Just too many good dishes to fit into one day. And I still haven’t made my favorite candied sweet potatoes.

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I was preparing for friends to come over. On the other side of the country, my best friend was decorating the Christmas tree for her entry hall.
While I wonder when did this happen … all these grown-up happenings, acting adult is starting to feel a lot less like acting.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

I ate stuffing and pie and stuffing and pie as if those were the only two foods in the world.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

And how could I not be grateful when the ones I love, love me in return.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A friend of mine faces the looming task of making Thanksgiving dinner for her relatives. She bought a back-up turkey in case the first bird doesn’t turn out as planned.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I think I’m developing cell phone elbow, which I imagine is similar to tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow. But cell phone elbow requires virtually no physical activity, except for moving one’s jaw.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

A moment from the weekend I forgot to mention:
Imagine me helping pose a bride and her six bridesmaids for a photo outside the very grand and beautiful Legion of Honor in San Francisco.
Imagine me walking backwards away from the shot to make room for my very talented husband, who will shoot said photo.
Then imagine me tripping over a large light protruding from the grass and falling flat on my ass in front of the entire wedding party.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

The priest said the chrism oil would stain her soul.
She would be baptized for eternity.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

I overheard a group of groomsmen discussing the likelihood of Lois Lane being able to carry Superman’s child. They conclude that the Superbaby would be so strong he or she would punch a hole right through Lois Lane’s uterus. The solution, they speculated, would be for Lois Lane to wear a protective layer of Kryptonite until the child was born.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Today, I heard on the radio about a study that found people who describe themselves as honest or moral tend to have difficulty actually living out said virtue.
I felt vindicated by this information.
Every time someone uses the word “integrity” to describe themselves or their business a warning system goes off inside my head, and I question whether they even know what the word means.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

The recipe said, “Add rice and cook, whisking frequently without scraping the bottom of the pan.” This is exactly what I did, right up until my kitchen smelled like burnt popcorn.
Once something is burnt there really is no undoing it. Still, I tried to remedy my soymilk rice pudding with an extra shot of vanilla and a few spoonfuls of sugar.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I love people who share from a place of self-awareness. People so observant they understand their own motives and speak the truth from their particular point of view.
Oh, yes. I know. I do a lot of sharing. But I’m not sure it’s a result of self-awareness so much as I like the noise.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

There’s a chronic illness in my life: Not Enough Hours In The Day.
My best friend, who suffers terribly from the same affliction, referred to our schedules as cluttered.
We think it’s time to clear the knickknacks of our day and make space for something more.
While knickknacks may have a certain charm, a shelf full of them leaves no room for a real piece of art.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

I must have a high threshold for self-humiliation. Tonight I tried Zumba. Think Dance Party USA meets Dirty Dancing meets Flashdance meets the gym.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

My sister is incredibly coordinated with an athletic history that includes being a dancer, professional cheerleader and cheerleading coach.
She likes exercise classes with loud, fast music and challenging footwork.
I like the quiet and non-competitive nature of yoga.
But today I decided to join her for a step class.
I spent a good portion of the 60 minutes marching in place while the very energized women around me hopped, stomped, kicked and twirled themselves to thinner thighs.
I finished the class unscathed only to get a bloody lip when my sister accidentally backed into me, knocking the water bottle that was at my mouth sharply against my teeth.
Coordinated as she is, she is also a super klutz, which is where our family resemblance really shines through.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Newspaper editors know full well that messing with the comics is a surefire way of getting the phone to ring.
But I’m not sure they realize how seriously some of their readers take this issue.
After reading today’s paper, my dad posted the following memo in my parents’ kitchen:

Family Poll:
The San Jose Mercury News is getting rid of Blondie and Opus on Sundays.
Do we want to keep the subscription of the Mercury News OR shall Daddy make a stink and possibly CANCEL the newspaper?
The outcome of the vote will be announced at the next family dinner and the policy implemented as voted on.
All family members get a vote.

The memo requested that family members (even those of us who don’t live at home) indicate our feelings on the matter by signing under one of two columns: Stink or No Stink.

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I can’t think of a clever way to say this. It’s been a very long week. And I am in desperate need of some beauty sleep.

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

I left for work this morning, drove the distance of a football field, came to a stop and then was hit by the woman in front of me, who decided to reverse without using her rearview mirror.
This has happened to me more than once, always because someone has failed to use the rearview mirror. It’s a very important mirror.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I was really nervous today. The kind of nervous brought on when I fear a huge, irreversible screw up is looming like a tropical storm off the coast.
To trick myself into a semi-state of calmness I thought of irreversible screw-ups from my past, mistakes that I made and survived.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A man on the street stopped to compliment my boots.
He said he was from Las Vegas and there people wear shoes like mine all the time.
I smiled but wondered, “Should I be flattered?”

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Monday, November 5, 2007

My best friend will be having surgery.
When I told my father, he warned me there could be complications.
I was immediately concerned and asked him to explain.
“She’ll wake up hungry for a piece of steak,” he said matter-of-factly. “That particular surgery you can no longer be a vegetarian. That’s the most frequent side effect. Look it up online.”

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Sunday, November 4, 2007

As I waited patiently in the resort lobby for a wedding reception to come to an end, a young man working there approached me.
“So your job doesn’t seem as exciting as I thought it would,” he said with a friendly bluntness.
“What do you think my job is?” I countered, curious.
“You’re a photographer,” he declared.
I laughed, as only the worst photographer in the world would sit cameraless for hours while working.
“I’m a photographer’s assistant,” I corrected, which is true. Although in reality, I’m also the photographer’s wife.

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Saturday, November 3, 2007

Should you be in need of a free bottle of water and some kindness, I highly recommend the Chaminade in Santa Cruz, California.

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Friday, November 2, 2007

I’ve been thinking more and more about mulberry trees. Certainly if they could be uprooted and thrown to the sea, mountains of laundry could be cast cleaned and folded to closets and drawers.

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Thursday, November 1, 2007

I watched a recently widowed woman sing a song of joy during the Mass celebrating our beloved dead. Should I forget, I must try to remember this is what the grace of God looks like.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

As I consume tiny boxes of Nerds meant for trick-or-treaters, my husband reminds me that you are what you eat.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I was real hesitant to make a trip to the pumpkin patch. Mostly because the orange squash we bought last year remained on our porch until Cinco de Mayo.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

As we’re getting ready for bed, after turning off NBC’s “Heroes,” my husband says to me, “See I have powers, too. I can brush my teeth hella fast.” Then he demonstrates by frantically moving the toothbrush up and down and side to side.

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

With her tiny arm outstretched and her finger pointed, the little girl dressed in pink pulled her mother toward the altar, insisting they sit “in front.” I’ve rarely seen a child so eager for Sunday Mass.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

In a room full of alcoholics and addicts, hope was the last thing I expected to find.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

If I didn’t find it so adorable, my husband’s enthusiasm for Costco might worry me.
Today, in the course of his travels, he stopped at the Fremont store.
“It’s amazing. You can gas your car and change your tires. This place puts our Costco to shame,” he reported during a brief telephone call.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Here’s something I can’t figure out: Why do I resist what I want?
Is it fear or laziness, lack of courage or faith that keeps a wall between me and my dreams? Between the life I have and the one I imagine?
Maybe this great barrier can’t be bulldozed but needs to be chipped away continuously with an ice pick.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What if, in the midst of our everyday anxiety, we heard the angels calling, “Help is on the way.”

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The sign on the bank door asks patrons, for reasons of safety and security, to remove Halloween masks before entering.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Let me say something about the yoga I occasionally practice. The proper temperature for the room is 104 degrees. Tonight when I laid down my mat on the carpet, I realized I was standing in a puddle of someone else’s sweat.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

In my attempts to comfort a grieving friend, I have to wonder if my crying doesn’t make things worse.

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He talked about the mystery of marriage, about how you can meet thousands of people you’d never think to marry and then meet one who changes your world. He said it is that one person who creates “wifeness” or “husbandness” in you.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

I’ve been trying for a while now to pull together one simple, cohesive thought.
It feels like trying to knit a scarf, minus the knotting of yarn.
Sadly, but inevitably, it keeps falling apart.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Twelve days after finding my exercise clothes, I actually went to a yoga class.
The familiar face behind the counter was surprised to see me after the six-month lapse in my attendance.
“So, you’ve been busy,” she said making small talk.
“Yes. So busy,” I smiled and nodded, committed to making that my big excuse.
“What have you been up to?”
“Umm … well,” I hesitated to reply.
Yes, there have been weddings and deaths and births and parties and telephone calls with my friends and dinners with my family and time with my husband and church and work and meetings and bills and grocery shopping and filling the tank with gas, and really the list goes on and on.
But when asked what has kept me so busy I simply could not find time to take care of myself, I was speechless.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

She said adjectives are unnecessary, and I tend to agree. But sometimes I forget.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tonight, I time traveled with my family to Christmas 1988.
It’s the only year of which we have recorded documentation although we were completely unaware that such video existed until recently.
My sister unearthed these long lost family artifacts while digging through the dreaded garage.
What I can say about the footage is this: I am an awkward 11-½ year old. My siblings are utterly adorable and amusing. My parents are shockingly young and beautiful.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

There were prayers said in a language I do not speak. A song without words that made me cry. I watched an old friend throw a fistful of dirt on her father’s grave, and the sound of it hitting the casket startled me.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

As I was trying to fall asleep, a storm of self-doubt and hypercritical thoughts rained down on me. To calm myself, I repeated again and again, “Think of Anne Lamott. Think of Anne Lamott. Think of Anne Lamott.” Not because she is a god, but because she is not.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

I’m not sure what came over me.
Tonight, I baked a Sweet Apple Almond Cake.
While it was in the oven, I decided to whip together Sweet Moroccan Jeweled Couscous.
The kitchen is a mess.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

I am one of those drivers who forgets to turn off the windshield wipers when the rain has stopped.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

He did not want to leave. With so many people at his side, he wanted to wait until the party was over.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The moments I find most excruciating are those in which no words, no matter how delicately arranged, can mend.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I have to be one of the most impatient people on earth.
Frustrated with my sore throat, which is now accompanied by a stuffy nose and persistent cough, I asked my husband to look up remedies online.
He offered me this advice, “Drink fluids, like water and broth, and rest.”
To make sure I knew this was a legitimate course of action, he cited the Mayo Clinic as his source.

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Monday, October 8, 2007

Sore throat. Sick day.
Highlight? Oprah.
And celebrity guest Jessica Seinfeld, who hides pureed vegetables in all of her family’s meals. She even does this when making cookies, cakes and brownies. Her book is called, “Deceptively Delicious.”
I so want to try this. Of course, it would require that I cook.

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Sunday, October 7, 2007

Armed with a flashlight, I searched the recesses of my closest for items that have been too long neglected.
Workout clothes. Namely, the ones appropriate for yoga.
The rescue mission was a success, save for my pair of baby blue shorts with white stripes down the side.
I fear they may be lost forever.

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Saturday, October 6, 2007

Tonight as we celebrated the wedding of one of my sister’s dearest childhood friends, my father noticed that my mother had mingled herself to the other side of the room.
“Do you want me to go get her?” I asked my dad.
“No. Leave her. She’s a professional talker. She has to get in so many words a day. Right now, she’s taking it out on those poor people. God bless them.”

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Friday, October 5, 2007

My husband wanted to familiarize himself with all that warehouse shopping has to offer.
So this afternoon he spent some time wandering up and down every aisle of our neighborhood Costco.
He made a mental note of the fire extinguishers and plastic utensils that resemble china. And he ate lots and lots of samples.

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

“I did a very grown-up thing today,” my husband tells me.
“What did you do?” I ask curiously.
“I even could have become a man today,” he continues.
“What did you do,” I repeat anxiously.
“I got a Costco card,” he says proudly.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

What would you ask for if you could have one quality you lack given to you in abundance?
I guess this is the same as asking, “If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?”
Which is a question I have always disliked but, for some reason, now want to ponder.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Oh, Jesus, I have no need for a sea full of uprooted mulberry trees, but please take pity on me and increase my faith anyway.

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Monday, October 1, 2007

“By the way, love, your grandmother wants to have us over for a vegetarian dinner with your choice of chicken or turkey,” my husband tells me tonight.
He tried to remind her of the eating habits I have kept since age 14, but she was not easily convinced.
“That’s why I only answered the phone once today, love, just once.”

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Sunday, September 30, 2007

For the second Sunday in a row, I have seen a person standing on the same busy street corner wearing a mattress.
Yes, I said wearing a mattress — a dirty one, at that.
The mattress appears to have been hollowed, allowing room for the body and head as well as openings for arms and legs.
The person’s face is entirely covered with a mesh screen, which allows him to see but doesn’t allow him to eat or drink while working.
The mattress wearer holds an oversized sign in an attempt to direct traffic to the nearby mattress store.
I have no idea how long this person’s shift lasts, but I’m sure it feels much longer than it is.

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She looked to the stars and asked in a whisper, “What’s going to happen next?”

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Friday, September 28, 2007

I stumbled upon Diane Sawyer’s “20/20” interview of Jenna Bush and found myself surprisingly impressed by the 25-year-old daughter of our nation’s president.
I’m not sure what I had expected, but she struck me as intelligent, well spoken and genuine.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

I followed the musing madwoman’s lead and took the Book Quiz.
The result was startling.
In college, I wrote a column bearing the same name as the book below, minus the 's' on the end. And, Saint Augustine and I share the same religion.
But any similarities worth gasping over ended there.
Then my husband took the quiz.
The first book (I wish I would have noted the title) was so wrong for him that he took the quiz again, only to be told that he is “Anne of Green Gables.”
“Bright, chipper, vivid, but with the emotional fortitude of cottage cheese.”
This kind of technical error is exactly why people should be wary of finding their soul mate after completing an online questionnaire.




You're Confessions!

by St. Augustine

You're a sinner, you're a saint, you do not feel ashamed. Well, you
might feel a little ashamed of your past, but it did such a good job of teaching you
what not to do. Now you've become a devout Christian and have spent more time
ruminating on the world to come rather than worldly pleasures. Your realizations and
ability to change will bring reverence upon you despite your hedonistic transgressions.
Florida will honor you most in the end.



Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.






You're Anne of Green Gables!

by L.M. Montgomery

Bright, chipper, vivid, but with the emotional fortitude of cottage
cheese, you make quite an impression on everyone you meet. You're impulsive, rash,
honest, and probably don't have a great relationship with your parents. People hurt
your feelings constantly, but your brazen honestly doesn't exactly treat others with
kid gloves. Ultimately, though, you win the hearts and minds of everyone that matters.
You spell your name with an E and you want everyone to know about it.



Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I woke up before 5 a.m. while my alarm clock was still sleeping. Call it predawn insomnia. The quickest way to have a longer day is to start earlier.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I have been called selfish more than once and by more than one person.
It is one of my least favorite words.
And while no one called me selfish today, I have been contemplating the subtle differences between selfish and self-preserving.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

A politician in Germany wants to make marriage a seven-year commitment with the option to renew.
Of course, not everyone agrees with her.
While this topic was being discussed on the radio today, a man called in to say that, in his opinion, marriage is so harmful it should be illegal.
I know many marriages fail. But it seems absurd to try to change the fundamental meaning of the word: forever.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

If you happen to spend your afternoons standing in front of grocery stores inviting the common citizen to take a more active role in the democratic process by signing a petition, beware.
While many pass you by, my father won’t.
He will stop, read the information on your clipboard, and then spend 20 minutes kindly explaining why he disagrees with you and your point of view.
His argument will most likely be one you’ve never heard before, as he is both intelligent and off the wall, two qualities I find endlessly fascinating.
But you, dear clipboard holder, will lament the fact he has prevented you, during the course of your conversation, from inviting 10 other common citizens to take part in grassroots government.
In that way alone, my father will have won a small victory for his point of view.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

My husband has a burning desire to know if musical artists write songs with the specific goal of having them played at weddings.
He wonders about this almost every time a love song plays.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

The Universe sent me a note today. This is what it said:

“If you just look at all that already exists in your life, all that you already have: unlimited air to breathe, ample lighting to see, music to hear, books to read, stars to dream by, trees to gaze at, floors to dance on, friends to cavort with, enemies to befriend, strangers to meet, woods to walk through, beaches to comb, rocks to scale, rains to cleanse you, rivers to float you, animals to comfort you, you do have to admit, there’s more of it than you could ever, ever, ever spend.

But try anyway.

Big shot,
The Universe

No, I’m quite sure I didn’t say ‘enemies to scale.’ ”

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Bumper sticker of the day:
“Where are we going, and why am I in this handbasket?”

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The priest said, “God blesses our intentions more than our actual work.”
For a second, I feel like I’ve been handed a homework pass.
Then I feel like the course work just got harder.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Blah. Blah. Blah. Words. Blah. Blah. Blah. Words.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

“Must you continue to be your own cross? No matter which way God leads you, you change everything into bitterness by constantly brooding over everything. For the love of God, replace all this self-scrutiny with a pure and simple glance at God’s goodness,” said St. Jeanne de Chantel.

Self-scrutiny … for me, self doubt. And bitterness.
Bitterness is not beautiful. Yet, at times, I am so attracted to it.
It is a tendency I am trying to outgrow.

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

My husband found me watching MSNBC’s “9/11: As It Happened.”
“Why are you watching this? How incredibly sad.”
“I know,” I replied. But I didn’t want to change the channel.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Two weeks ago, I completed the first three steps of FlyLady’s 12-step process to properly clean a kitchen sink.
I emptied the dishes from the sink.
I filled one side of the sink with extremely hot water and a cup of bleach and I set a timer for one hour. When the hour was up, I carefully drained the water and then repeated the process on the other side.
I rinsed the sink thoroughly as to avoid inadvertently poisoning my husband or myself with bleach residue.
Of course, that was two weeks ago, and I have not gotten back to steps four through 12, but you better believe they involve a knife, a toothbrush and two more types of cleaner.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Things you may expect to find at a church festival: Front row pews for Christmas and Easter being auctioned for a minimum bid of $100.
Things you may not expect to find at a church festival: A copy of Candace Bushnell’s “Sex and the City” being sold for $1.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

I desperately want to run myself ragged. I just can’t seem to find the time.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My grandmother has taken to bribing the saints.
Tonight, she couldn’t find an earring, so she promised St. Anthony she would send money to a soup kitchen bearing his name if it turned up.
She’s mailing a check for $15 tomorrow.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I am the only person I know who gets lost while on her way to a place she has been a number of times before. Tonight I was 20 minutes delayed to a meeting with a consecrated woman (think nun).
My first impression to this holy woman of God was one of tardiness.
Lucky for me, such souls have a high regard for patience.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

When we were one, we were as fragile as paper.
Now we are two and we are as durable as cotton.

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Sunday, September 9, 2007

Let me state these facts and allow you to draw your own conclusion:
1. My “address book” is a drawer in my desk filled with phone lists from various jobs and organizations, business cards and envelopes with hand-written return addresses courtesy the sender.
2. My “filing system” consists of a cardboard box, a plastic crate and a tote bag that are stacked on top of each other in my bedroom closet. All contain papers, many loose but some in manila folders.

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Saturday, September 8, 2007

I keep walking into other people’s fairytales. But I’m looking for a story of my own.

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Friday, September 7, 2007

Shoe shopping made me keenly aware that my feet are not the same size as each other. I do not believe I am alone. And I think shoes should be sold accordingly, like bikini separates.

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Thursday, September 6, 2007

On the list of things I don’t understand are half-servings. For example: canned, bottled, boxed, bagged or jarred food that contains 2.5 servings.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Here is a passage from a book I’ve never read on why we need our imaginations:

"Imagination does not breed insanity. Exactly what does breed insanity is reason. Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom. I am not … in any sense attacking logic: I only say that this danger does lie in logic, not in imagination. … To accept everything is an exercise, to understand everything is a strain. The poet only desires exaltation and expansion, a world to stretch himself in. The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits."

~ Page 89 of George Weigel’s, “Letters to a Young Catholic,” quoting GK Chesterton’s, “Orthodoxy.” Chesterton died in 1936. He was a journalist and novelist.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Wash your face. It kills boredom.
At least that’s what the newest Neutrogena commercial, featuring “Heroes” actress Hayden Panettiere, proclaims.
I appreciate the soap manufacturer’s effort to promote proper hygiene, but haven’t these people heard of MySpace?
Teens don’t need to wash their face for a good time. They have about 200,137,389 friends in their network.
And that’s a low estimate.

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Monday, September 3, 2007

In celebration of Labor Day, I worked hard catching up on neglected chores and appreciated the three-day weekend and the fact that my to-do list was of my own accord.
Unlike the restaurant workers, retail associates and grocery store clerks, who despite the holiday in honor of them, worked anyway.

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Sunday, September 2, 2007

Today, my mom and my dad and my sister and my husband and I piled into my parent’s Lincoln and drove 20 minutes just so we could admire the brand-new, 68,000-square-foot Whole Foods that opened up 12 days ago three towns away.

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Every day I find new ways to torture my husband.
This morning, I put on blue jeans and a black top and asked him how I looked.
“That’s good. Wear that.”
“You don’t think the white top would be cuter?”
Not believing his answer, I put on the white top and asked him again which would be better.
“Wear the white top,” he said this time.
“You think it looks better? You think it’s cuter?” I asked, just to clarify.
“Yeah.”
“Why didn’t you tell me that a minute ago?”
My rhetorical question was the end of the torment session.
But my husband knows how to torture me back.
“Because I don’t like you at all,” he said, in his signature deadpan style. “Isn’t the evidence overwhelming?”

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Friday, August 31, 2007

It must have been my lucky day.
First, I stepped in pink bubble gum carelessly discarded on the sidewalk.
Then, a bird shat on me.
Now, really, what are the odds of those two things happening within two hours of each other?
I should have found myself a poker game.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

The word was in my mind all day, and then a dear friend wrote about it. Mediocrity.
Like taunting from playground bullies, it’s an insult that sticks.
The poisoned thought echoes in my head, “I am so mediocre.”

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I work in an office with very well maintained air conditioning.
In fact, despite the 100-degree weather, I brought a sweater to work today and wore it.
My husband is not so lucky. He works from home sans A/C.
Hence, this note in my inbox with the subject line HOT:
“My sweat is drying faster than it is produced. My saliva dries before I can lick a juice pop. I look like I am laughing. I’m actually crying, but my tears are drying on the vine.”

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

There is a shortage of spoons in my house. Or so I thought.
Actually, the problem is not with supply but demand.
For the 17 dirty spoons currently in my kitchen, there is one used fork.
Why? Because forks are only needed for eating real, good-for-you meals, and my husband and I get by on an incredible amount of finger food.
Spoons, on the other hand, are essential for eating almost anything fun.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Just call me your colonoscopy go-to girl.
I am ready to answer questions about everyone’s favorite (yet taboo) medical procedure.
From the 64 ounces of MoviPrep to the very intimate photo shoot to the recovery in the music room, as clear as my sedated mind can remember it, I know it all.
Although, I do feel this information is best shared on a need-to-know basis over private, one-on-one telephone conversations.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

I spent the day at home, watching a combination of brainless TV and news reports.
Sometimes the two were one in the same. Sometimes they were not.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

I don’t blame men for not understanding women.
For crying out loud, if you get us alone together with a bride-to-be, we dress each other up in wedding gowns made of toilet paper.
Then, when one of our friends is anticipating childbirth, we spend the afternoon playing, “Guess what’s in the diaper.”

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Friday, August 24, 2007

I got all excited about being caffeine-free for a whole eight days that I became quite certain the symptoms of withdrawal were three days behind me.
Right after I declared this, I felt the pressure of my head closing in on itself and sleepiness so strong I wanted to fall into a coma.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

The concept is so simple and yet so brilliant.
Don’t park your car. Instead, feed the meter, and transform the parking space into an actual park (at least for a few hours).
I read about PARK(ing) Day in 2005 and was instantly wowed by it.
What can I say, it’s the sort of grassroots effort that makes me happy.
And it’s coming to a city near you September 21.
Want to know more?
Watch this video: http://www.rebargroup.org/projects/parkingday/trailer/
Read this blog: http://www.superherodesigns.com/journal/archives/001124.html
Visit this site: http://www.parkingday.org/

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The grocery store clerk was obviously under the legal drinking age, so I wasn’t surprised when his coworkers teased him about having to go back to school soon.
“Don’t remind me,” he said smiling.
“So, where do you go to school,” I asked, as he rang up my bottled water and candy.
“West Valley.”
“That’s cool,” I said.
“What about you?”
Startled by the question, I briefly forgot how to speak.
“I’m done with school.”
“Oh. That must feel good.”
Yes. Almost as good as being mistaken for a college student.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I drove by some teenage boys on my way home from work. They were hanging out on the sidewalk not far from where I live.
Blue jeans, messy hair, skateboard. Not a threat. Not an annoyance. Just kids.
Then I saw the cardboard sign, and my heart sank.
“They can’t possibly be homeless,” I thought, wondering which humanitarian organization I might contact on their behalf.
Then I got close enough to read the sign: “Will work for weed.”

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Monday, August 20, 2007

It’s been a few days, and the wrinkles are less noticeable.
Not because they are gone, but because this powerful serum has created a distraction, drawing onlookers’ attention away from the crows and to the patches of redness under my eyes.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

My husband has an alter ego.
It appears at the grocery store whenever some 80’s tune plays through the sound system.
His quiet guy persona disappears, the lip-synching begins and, before you know it, Supermarket Superstar has taken over.
I swoon every time.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

I’ve been harboring bad feelings for months about a woman I hardly know and never see.
Still, from my limited contact, I believed her to be awful.
Tonight, I found out I was wrong.
She’ll never know my original impression or that I changed my mind.
But I’m reminded that even more often than saying something about someone I shouldn’t, I think it.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

I’ve never understood the standing-in-front-of-everyone-naked nightmare often referenced in movies and sitcoms.
When I was a kid, I thought I wasn’t old enough to get the joke. But I’ve never caught on.
One of my most anxiety-producing dreams (one never mentioned in movies or sitcoms) involves my teeth falling out.
For a long time, I assumed the vision was either a premonition or post-traumatic stress from spending five of my teenage years in braces.
Then a woman I worked with in Arizona told me the dream meant I had said something about someone I probably shouldn’t have.
That explained a lot.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

I spent $22.72 tonight for deep wrinkle serum that promises visibly reduced crow’s feet in eight weeks.
I’m really not one for beauty regimens, but I washed my face and applied the lotion as soon as I got home from the store.
The impact was not immediate. Or as my husband would say, the crows are still roosting.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

There was talk about the serpent and the woman and her baby.
But as we celebrated one miracle, while asking for many more, what I heard was this:
“To say that it is bad is to tell the truth. To say that it is hopeless is to lose sight of Mary.”

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

In case you were expecting something deeper, with more meaning or wisdom, let me explain.
Some people write because they have something to say.
Not me.
I write in preparation for the day when I have something to say.
That way, when the time comes, I’ll be ready to say it.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Like every college paper I ever wrote, I’m asking for an extension on the one titled, “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.”
In the meantime, let me tell you about my culinary adventure into the world of green smoothies.
These drinkable concoctions are 60 to 80 percent fruit, 20 to 40 percent green leafy vegetable, such as spinach or kale.
Start with a cup of cold water. Bananas and sweet apples are good for the base.
Then add any crazy combination of fruit and vegetable you can imagine.
A blender is required, which, lucky for me, is the one piece of kitchen machinery I feel confident using thanks to a short stint working at a juice bar a million years ago.
Best Friend With Four Kids read about green smoothies in a book and started making them for her family.
She was so beside herself by today’s blend she wrote me a quick email:
“The smoothie I just made ... let me just say that if people have found it difficult to drink a green smoothie, I think the one I just made would scare them to the hills — it's BROWN. And I mean, BROWN. Honestly, and for lack of a better description, it looks like I'm drinking a mug of diarrhea. It looks NASTY. However, it is quite delicious tasting though even I was somewhat apprehensive. I wish I had a picture. Your dad would DIE.”
OK. Maybe not the best advertisement, but they really are good.

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Friday, August 3, 2007

To my five faithful readers:
I’m crossing county and state lines for a family vacation that will include a 13-hour drive one way, my parents, my two brothers, my sister, one aunt, one uncle and two cousins in addition to my husband and me.
Expect me back in 10 days.
Cheers!

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Thursday, August 2, 2007

“Your grandma called today,” my husband said.
“What did she want?”
“She wanted me to tell you that West Nile has been detected in Los Gatos and to be wary of mosquitoes. She also wanted me to tell you that even though West Nile has not be detected in her area yet, she trapped a mosquito and kept it from coming into her house.”
This is the kind of speedy-quick news delivery system I grew up with.
My compulsion to relay information is, quite possibly, genetic. And occasionally, it’s actually useful.
During the national spinach scare last summer, I single-handedly warned several friends and two of my siblings of the pending danger.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

“Can you believe we waited so long to do this?” she said, giddy about our new treasure. “We could have had our own secret society years ago.”

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The first fruit of discipline is exhaustion. Which is why I always seem so well rested.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

When my friends are brave, it makes me want to be brave, too.
Good thing nobody is jumping off a bridge.
The latest act of courage to inspire me: http://postcardscalder.blogspot.com/

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Here’s a clue someone knows how to party: A bottle opener tied to the cooler.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

I’ve decided to spare you the details of my day, which included learning first hand about the nauseating effects of green tea.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Twice this week I heard a radio talk show host say, “It’s immoral.”
It struck me as odd because I didn’t know what he meant.
I couldn’t figure out if he was trying to stress a point or if he was truly expressing his opinion.
One time he was talking about the money people spend on their pets and the other time it was about a proposed hike of the cigarette tax.
It got me thinking about relativism.
Individually, we govern our lives by what we think is right or wrong. But as a society, what common moral ground do we share?

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

In another episode of juvenile delinquency, today I witnessed a girl lie to her father.
She couldn’t have been older than 12.
She and six of her friends were in the park when I heard her speaking loudly into her cell phone.
“No. Dad. We’re at the movies. You looked up the time? No. Dad. It’s wrong. The movie starts at 2:30 not 3:30. Do you want to talk to the man who works here?”
She put the phone to her chest, took a few steps, and then in a deeper voice said, “Hello. Umm. Did you want to know what time the movie starts?”
After a few seconds, one of her friends pretended to be her and asked for the phone back.
I was tempted to swipe the phone from her hand and blurt the truth into the receiver or in a voice loud enough for him to hear me, say, “Young lady, are you lying to your father?”
But I bit my tongue and walked away figuring if he bought her male impersonation, she had earned her two hours of freedom.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

One side of a cell phone conversation overheard tonight at a Los Gatos bookstore.
“That’s why I tell you trust no one. They can extract all your energy and just take advantage of you.”
“Well, I knew this would happen.”
The middle-aged woman speaking began muttering something about life insurance policies, irrevocable beneficiaries and estate executives.
“Just be careful. Protect yourself. Don’t be a slave to him. Remember what happened to Amy.”
And just when I thought the conversation was dying down.
“Well if you get a snip of her hair you should have it analyzed to make sure it isn’t foul play.”

As if that wasn’t ridiculous enough.
I went to the store’s restroom only to discover two teenage girls sharing the handicap stall.
The door was closed, but I could see they were both standing near the baby change table.
One at a time they would bend down and I could hear what sounded like deep breathing through the nose.
I left and looked around the store for an authority figure who might be interested in my observations.
I found none and realized I would have to take matters into my own hands.
I spotted the girls leaving the bathroom, noses red and sniffling. I followed them to the café and then out the store, to the parking lot.
Not knowing the proper protocol for confronting suspected teenage druggees, I very politely said this:
“Girls. Hi. Sorry to bother you. I was just in the bathroom, and I really hope and pray I’m wrong, but it looked like you were doing drugs.”
Both shook their heads emphatically and said no. One said she just got out of rehab and was clean.
“Good. That’s good. It’s just that you both are so young and beautiful. It would be a terrible waste, and I’m sure your parents would be very disappointed.”
And then I let them continue on their way, probably both high as kites.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

“So what do you think of Lindsay Loman?” my mom asked.
“You mean Lindsay Lohan,” I said, surprised by the question.
“Huh?”
“Her name is Lindsay Lohan.”
“What is it?”

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Three things:

1. My 7-year-old goddaughter bestowed me with the grand and rare honor of naming her new stuffed cat after me. I might as well have won an Oscar. And I can’t wait to find out what sort of bad behavior my namesake also adopts.
2. This article blames blogs for an increase in narcissism, but I think it’s the other way around. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19837002/wid/11915773?GT1=10212
3. Regarding struggle, my dear friend says, “Try. Try. But also let go.”

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Dinner is the dreaded meal at my house.
It requires a combination of organization and creativity that eludes me.
Don’t get me wrong. I like food. I even like the Food Network, but when it comes to putting an actual meal on the table there are just too many steps involved.
Meal planning, grocery shopping, food prepping. It all seems far too time consuming. Unlike my sister, who loves to spend a full day in the kitchen, I just don’t see it being all that fun.
My lackluster attitude toward dinner has made me the recipient of many, many cookbooks, and I’m currently in possession of a gift certificate to one of those new meal assembly bars where you can prepare 12 dinners in two hours.
But since I have yet to go, the question of “What’s for dinner?” was still on the table tonight.
My husband suggested we close our eyes, tilt back our heads, open our mouths and hope God would feed us from heaven the way birds feed their young.
We ended up having quesadillas instead.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Maybe it’s karma for dising the word artist, but I’m having a terrible time thinking of pretty things to say. And yesterday, I found a spider in my hair.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

The girl I work with told me something amazing this week.
She said when the cast of a movie is beginning to show fatigue, the director often calls a nurse to the set to administer B-12 shots.
She said the vitamin is like pure energy.
Of course, while it is generally viewed as harmless, one website I found warned too much could cause nausea, tingling in the right arm, panic attacks, heart palpitations and cancer cell division.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

My husband misplaced his cell phone tonight. So he used mine to call himself and heard his ringing from his pocket.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tonight, my husband and I watched an investigative piece on odd-shaped buildings.
The special aired on PBS and was at least 10 years old, maybe 20.
It examined, in detail, people’s attraction to unusual architecture.
Featured destinations included the Wigwam Motel, where rooms resemble tepees; a restaurant called The Clam Box, whose building looks like a clam box; and a house shaped like a shoe, where honeymooners could stay for free.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Here’s a word that kind of bothers me: Artist.
Actually, the word itself is somewhat pretty. It’s the way people use it to assign importance that makes me want to wash their mouths out with soap.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

In another round of “Who’s the Least Domestic Woman in the World,” today I learned the drawer below the oven is not just for keeping spare pans but also for the art of cooking referred to as “broiling.”
I was entirely unaware my oven knew that trick, so I held my breath as my husband slid a piece of fish into the drawer. And I was amazed when a few minutes later our dinner was neither raw nor on fire but instead properly cooked.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

I have unintentionally managed to harass the good people of San Jose’s 911-dispatch center three times in less than four days.
First, on Thursday night, my husband and I spied a suspicious vehicle in my parents’ neighborhood.
It was the second time we spotted this particular car and both times the driver — a skinny, white, teenage-looking boy — appeared to be getting high. Thursday, he had three friends in the car with him.
Regarding this kid, calling 911 was definitely my second choice, as I would have much preferred calling his parents directly. That option was unavailable to me, so I reported him to the police instead.
I was quickly transferred to 311, the non-emergency line, and I gave my complaint to the female dispatcher.
“What makes you think they are getting high?” she questioned.
“Well, the driver has his head down, bent over something and the rest of the guys look zoned out,” I replied.
I gave my name and number and called it a night.
The next day, I had no intention of calling 911 but accidentally did while trying to call my mom.
This may seem impossible but isn’t because I have the local 911 number programmed into my cell phone as to avoid being routed through the CHP dispatch center in Vallejo.
I don’t want to waste time with having my call transferred should I ever face a real emergency.
As soon as I realized my phone was dialing 911, I hung up only to receive a return call a second later.
“This is 911. We just received a hang up call. What’s going on?”
“I’m so sorry. I just misdialed. I have your number programmed in my phone.”
She understood, and I hung up the phone relieved and hoping not to call 911 for quite some time.
But then, at about 4:40 a.m. today, my husband and I were startled awake by what sounded like violent banging on our back door.
I jumped to my feet, but my husband pulled me back to the bed. He got up and bravely headed toward the kitchen to investigate.
Knowing for sure that someone was trying to break in and not wanting to waste time or further endanger our lives, I called 911 and began giving the dispatcher our address.
Just as she confirmed the information, my husband returned from the kitchen and reported his findings.
“What?” I asked him in a whisper. “I’m so sorry,” I said to the dispatcher. “My husband is telling me that no one is here, and that the noise we heard was just a picture falling from the wall in another room. I am so sorry to have bothered you. No. We don’t need the police.”
Later today, as I stared at the blank wall where the large, framed print used to hang, I marveled at the fact that it woke both of us up.
“Isn’t that funny?” my husband said. “What a piece of crap nail.”

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

As soon as we got into the car, my husband pulled a handful of mini Lindt chocolates from his pocket and asked if I’d like one.
“You stole chocolates from my parents’ house?” I asked.
“I didn’t steal. It’s not stealing if they have us over for dinner,” he explained as he dug around for more.
“Oh. Well, yes, I would like one.”
And, in fact, I ate two.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

My husband’s new favorite word is emoticon. Maybe I’m the only one, but I honestly hadn’t realized there was a name for the kooky way we express emotion through keyboard characters.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sixty-five years ago, her brother named her after a nursery rhyme. At her funeral, he promised to take her secrets to his grave.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

In less than 2 months, three of my family’s friends have died. It makes me sad and scared because life is short, short, short, and I always procrastinate on of the important stuff.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A 3 ½ -year-old boy walked up to me and then kicked me in the shin today.
As punishment, his mother made him stand in a corner and stare at the wall until he was ready to apologize.
It didn’t take long for him to change his mind about the whole thing.
At which point, he gave me a hug, and I gave him forgiveness (but I really wasn’t mad to begin with).

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Monday, July 9, 2007

Before today, I thought it was a case of Terrible Disorganization. But, no, something far more sinister is at work in our local bookstores.
With no hope of locating Haven Kimmel’s memoir, “She Got Up Off the Couch,” I asked a young sales associate for assistance.
She directed me to the fiction section, so I politely repeated, “It’s a memoir.”
But she held her ground, and I sighed on the inside, saddened that the youth of America — even the ones working at bookstores — do not know the difference between made-up stories and truth telling.
Sadder still, the book was exactly where she said it would be.
As she rang me up, she gently explained most of the memoirs are now kept with the fiction on account of the Oprah fiasco involving James Frey, author of “A Million Little Pieces.”

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Sunday, July 8, 2007

“You Are Pretty,” the 4-year-old girl declared to her 5-year-old sister.

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I find it ironic that the allure of 7-7-07 as an anniversary date compelled a record number of brides and grooms to tie the knot Saturday. As a result, wedding couples spent their day running into each other at all the best churches, hotels and scenic spots for photos. Really, how lucky is that?

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Friday, July 6, 2007

I spent my mid-week holiday sipping adult beverages at a pool party where incredibly svelte bodies belonging to both men and women surrounded me.
I wish I had some high-ranking government nutritionist with me, because these beautiful people were all the evidence any expert would need to debunk those nasty rumors about America’s obesity problem.
Which is why, as I contemplated their gorgeousness, it became painfully obvious I have forgotten to workout for the last nine years.

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Thursday, July 5, 2007

After describing a deranged series of dreams, which last night included:
1. The wedding announcement of a high school friend I have not spoken to in more than a year.
2. My daring escape from a shootout while protecting another friend, who really is in a vulnerable place right now.
3. The sinking of a tiny boat that I traveled in alone.
My brother’s friend asked, “Do you have a lot on your mind?”
“Probably, but I try not to think about it,” I replied.

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Wednesday, July 4, 2007

I’m an American, and I’ve never lived anywhere else. Yet sometimes I feel like an outsider observing odd cultural rituals that make absolutely no sense to me.
Today, in celebration of our Great Independence, a 23-year-old man named Joey Chestnut became the World’s Fastest Eater.
He did this by consuming 66 hot dogs with buns in 12 minutes – one every 10.9 seconds – at the annual Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island.
Since Chestnut hails from my hometown and even attends my alma mater, I would like to say I feel proud. But really, my sentiment is one of bewildered astonishment.
To further my deep confusion, this is what Wayne Norbitz, the president and COO of Nathan’s Famous, had to say about the contest, according to the company’s website: “(It) has become a highlight of America’s greatest patriotic holiday. It epitomizes the spirit associated with summer each year.”

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Longs Drug Store that I happened to be walking through this evening is featuring a standalone display of Jelly Belly jellybeans on its “feminine needs” aisle. It struck me as strange. If they are going to advertise candy there, it really should be chocolate.

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Monday, July 2, 2007

I once had an editor who, while quoting some great, unnamed mind, said, “Writing is easy. Thinking is hard.” And in six tiny words, I felt truth had been spoken.

Of course, this was the same man who told me, “Human beings are a plague.” A point of view I’m not quite ready to adopt as my own.

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Sunday, July 1, 2007

The 20-something cashier at Trader Joe’s carded me for a five-buck bottle of wine tonight. Being that I’ve only been carded a handful of times in the last nine years, I had to wonder if it was my youthful appearance or my price range that made her ask for my ID.

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Saturday, June 30, 2007

I don’t think my family’s dinner conversations are altogether typical. Tonight my parents recounted the circumstances of their children’s conceptions.
While the details of mine and my brother’s weren’t crystal clear, the lives of the two wildest children definitely commenced on nights of celebration.
My sister was the result of a very good 31st birthday for my dad. And my youngest brother was the happy consequence of their 10th anniversary. My mom said my aunt threw them a surprise party that day and “plied them with champagne.”

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Friday, June 29, 2007

“I’m not photogenic,” my sister lamented.
“It’s important to know one’s own limitations,” my father offered as consolation.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tonight, I sat in a store and read a little book called “I Like You.” It made me cry. So I had to pretend I was interested in learning about the flea markets of Italy until my eyes dried.

Before that, I was in a fancy paper store where I almost asked a man what he was buying because I was so intrigued by the two tiny cards he held in his hand. I bit my tongue, then followed him around. One came with a red envelope. Based on the store’s selection, it was either a get well card promoting the prompt disposal of dirty tissues or one that, in red lettering, said, “I love you.”

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My husband told me that when the astronauts were last in space they called my parents and asked them to turn down their TV.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

“Eternity. Eternity. Eternity.” She said more, but that’s all I can remember.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

“Long time, no see,” my mom said as I walked through the door. I scoffed and later realized it had been a whole eight days.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

The sand, the surf, the thinly veiled excuse for exhibitionism and me, like a trespasser at a nudist colony, clad in blue jeans and a long-sleeved shirt.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Is it possible to bring a bad mood to the beach?
Yes! It travels perfectly packed alongside pasta salad and grapes.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Global warming ain’t got nothing on whiskey making.
Jack Daniel’s Distillery is dismissing reports that the Tennessee drought could hamper production.
“We have been making Jack Daniel's with water from this cave spring for more than 140 years and have never had a water shortage,” the distillery assures its loyal clientele in a lengthy email sent Thursday.
“Our warehouses are filled with barrels upon barrels of Jack Daniel's … In other words, your favorite retailers and bars will continue to have plenty of our Tennessee Whiskey on hand.”

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

My husband is really good in the kitchen, unless you ask him to slice a loaf of bread lengthwise. In which case, he will dissect the specimen at its spine creating two symmetrical halves instead of separating the top from the bottom.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I pulled a book from the bookcase and the large framed print resting on top of the shelves came crashing down along with four tiny Italian glass yogurt containers I use as flower vases.
My husband ran from one side of our home to the other to see if I was OK.
He seemed surprised to find me standing.
Later, I asked him what he thought had happened when he heard all that noise and me screaming.
“I thought you fell,” he said without hesitation.
And there it is, the fact that my challenge with gravity is the most likely cause of commotion within our home.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

My new doctor has been practicing medicine for so long that my great-grandmother was actually a patient of his. According to my grandma, he added 30 years to her mother’s life.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Even the noble dictionary can’t escape the scope of marketing. The back of my reference version boasts a quote from The New York Times Book Review, proclaiming that it is “more suited to our national character than any other previous dictionary.”

I’d like to meet the person who was assigned the dubious task of reviewing words paired with definitions and find out just how he or she came to this conclusion.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

In the immortal words of my father: “If you need help, panic.”

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

My husband points out the old man sitting alone at a large booth on the other side of the restaurant. He has no newspaper, no cell phone, no company. The man, who appears in his 70s, takes off his glasses and rubs his eyes. The gesture moves me to tears, and I secretly hope that his wife is in the bathroom. But no one ever joins him at the table. He drinks an ice tea, eats a steak dinner and then orders pie for dessert.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Sobering news from Lynchburg, Tenn.: Jack Daniel’s may need to halt production of its whiskey due to a lack of creek water from a special, practically iron-free spring. I broke the news to my father. Like a camel, he’s storing reserves to weather the drought.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

“Do you think all the saints in heaven get along?” I asked.
“Of course. Otherwise they probably wouldn’t be there. They would probably be somewhere else,” my husband replied.
He has a very good point, which isn’t such great news for me.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I try to be nice and good. I just don’t like some of the people I feel I should.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

My new doctor gives out prayer cards along with pill prescriptions.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

The 12-year-old at the grocery store had brown hair and blue eyes. I told her they were beautiful and asked her if people tell her that a lot. She said they do. She was with her dad, buying groceries that included two cartons of ice cream.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

“It goes without saying, but don’t even think about using those dishtowels without washing them first. I bought them at Costco and you can’t imagine how many people have touched them with their dirty hands.”
Germs are my grandmother’s Great Enemy.
“Oh, and children, they …” Bringing her hand to her face, the 81-year-old woman sticks out her tongue and gestures the unspeakable act of licking ones fingers.

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Saturday, June 9, 2007

I carry a purse the size of a suitcase, and today I couldn’t find a single pen. It made me think of how useless stuff is if it isn’t exactly what we need.

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Friday, June 8, 2007

I like writing. It’s the stringing of words into sentences that bothers me.

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Thursday, June 7, 2007

The idea is one sentence a day, people. So technically, I’m done.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

My parents came over for dinner for the first time in the year that I have lived 2.2 miles from them. My husband did most of the cooking. My mom brought the bread, wine, Jack Daniel’s and ice. Still, it felt like a step toward the place where grown-ups live.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Best Friend With Four Kids: What are the chances of you having a girl?
No Children Not Pregnant: Umm, I would say 50/50.
Best Friend With Four Kids: I have this really beautiful Pottery Barn crib set for a girl and all my friends are having boys.
No Children Not Pregnant: The problem is shipping it (from Maryland to California) will cost a fortune.
Best Friend With Four Kids: Maybe I’ll just hold on to it for now. Do you think you’d find out ahead of time what you’re having?

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Monday, June 4, 2007

Fabulous news for a birthday girl: According to the bathroom wall at Seabright Brewery Pub & Restaurant in Santa Cruz, a woman reaches maximum beauty at age 30.9 years.
My husband wants to know what happens then. I say wait nine months and we’ll find out.

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