Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye, 2008

I cannot fault a year that brings me new friends and closer to old ones. That deepens my love for my husband and humanity.
That reveals to me more of who I am and who I want to be.
Thank you. You were good to me.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Keep In Mind

It’s easier to move forward than backward.
This is important information as we move into the New Year.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Dude, Where's My Coat?

“When all fails, look to the ground. That’s where you last left everything,” my husband tells me.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Oh, What The Neighbors Must Think

I somehow overlooked the metal pumpkin on my porch only to notice it the day after Christmas.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Making Resolutions

I’m optimistic 2009 will be the year I finally figure out our chronic dinner dilemma. As of Christmas day, I own both a crock pot and rice cooker. Your easiest, tastiest recipes are welcomed!

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Silent Night

Words are only good when they express thought.
But my mind is currently empty.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sleepy Time

My mom has a magnet on her refrigerator that says,
“If it wasn’t for stress, I’d have no energy at all.”
This might explain why I’m suddenly exhausted.

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Eve of a Miracle

Do not look at your circumstances as a measure of God’s love for you. If you feel the need to compare your life with someone else’s, think of Mary.
If God has ever favored a human, indeed it was her, full of grace.
And she wound up giving birth alone with St. Joseph in a manger.
I’m pretty sure even 2,000 years ago that wasn’t considered ideal.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Go Ahead, Say It: Merry Christmas

“In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it ‘Christmas’ and went to church; the Jews called it ‘Hanukkah’ and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall!’”
~ Dave Barry, “Christmas Shopping: A Survivor's Guide”

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Monday, December 22, 2008

At The Mall …

Even the mannequins look tired. Poor plastic things.
The stress of last minute shopping seems to cause their limbs to fall off.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Advent

Today I ate the last five pieces of Halloween candy still lingering in our house. It was part of my Christmas preparation.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Nativity

Today I watched new parents tend to their infant son, and I thought about Jesus being born in a manger.
Why would God choose to be a baby, so helpless, if not because he knew in doing so it would make him irresistible to our hearts.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Office Party

Yes, there were only two of us, but it was very festive.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Be Pretty

More and more I see beauty as essential. Not the luxury I once thought it was.
And I’m not talking about what we see in the mirror but what we see in the world.
Or maybe it’s how we act in the world.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More Than Some Adults Know

“If it’s not the truth, it’s a lie,” one of our favorite 3-year-olds declared the other day.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Who's there?

I think God is telling me to keep my house clean.
If it’s not God, it’s the unexpected visitors arriving at my door.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Seven Years Later

This day always reminds me how magical December can be.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

In My Home

Christmas decorating is code for making a monstrous mess.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Question I Hear Every Night

Do you know what you’re going to blog?

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Friday, December 12, 2008

The Irony

I write the opposite of how I talk. Few words versus very many.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Compliments

Ever since reading this, I’ve been wanting to tell people they look like money.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Catholic Humor

She reached out her tiny hand and gently poked the priest.
“You baptized me,” my 5-year-old cousin said.
“I did. Did it take? Did I drive the devil out?”

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Meet Michael

Seeing these photos was the absolute best part of my day.
Congratulations, Trisha and Tony!

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Immaculate Love

“For nothing will be impossible for God.”
~The Angel Gabriel to Mary, Luke 1: 37

Sometimes it’s hard to believe in miracles.
But I don’t think angels lie.

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Holiday Traditions

We’re working on repeating ourselves every year in an effort to create our own family traditions.
So far, we have my husband setting up the Christmas tree and using one strand of lights to cover the whole thing.
Then, after we admire its beauty, he takes down the lights and I spend an hour diligently hanging about five strands.

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Ahead Of My Time

The new handbag I’m eyeing at macys.com has six five-star reviews.
Although I did think it curious that the reviewers kept mentioning how “safe” the handbag, with its crossbody style, made them feel.
Then I realized five of the six women were over 50.

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Achy

Small cold. Big headache.

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Language Is Fun

My niece, who will be turning 16 in a few days, texted me this tonight:
“Omg! I jus found the word ‘thingamajig’ in my spanish-english dictionary!”
Turns out the translation is chisme an coso.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Inside Outside

Last night I dreamt about a home in my parents’ neighborhood.
This house has beautiful landscaping, which I always admire.
In my dream I was invited inside.
Now, in real life I know what the inside of this house looks like, but in my dream it was completely different.
Dark, cramped, strange.
All I kept thinking was how do we keep our insides matching our outsides?

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Worth the Words

“The mystics leave us in no doubt that any real growth in prayer, in communion with God, leads us into the desert, into the place of wild wide wastes, where we can get no bearings. We must come out from behind the security of our homemade identity, our self-appointed responsibilities, into the spaciousness of God’s world, a spaciousness whose dimensions and orientation we shall only gradually learn to recognize as freedom, within which we shall only gradually discover our true responsibilities.”
~ Fr. Simon Tugwell, O.P.

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Monday, December 1, 2008

Tumbling Down


I’m really not a numbers person, but I can’t help marvel at these falling digits. Are gas prices on a fad diet or what?

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Snappy Jingle

We have a new little song in my house.
It goes like this: Carbs, carbs, carbs.
My husband insists it’s not a happy song, more like a battle cry.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Little Sweden

We are like retail sightseers, my family, that is.
Today we took my sister on a field trip to Ikea for no other reason than she hadn’t been and we wanted to show her.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Graffiti Art


Don’t discount bathroom walls as places for finding poetry.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

My Blessings

I don’t know what other families are like. I only know mine.
And for them I am truly thankful.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turkey Trot

I was reminded today that not everyone’s Thanksgiving tradition is to eat. We are a diverse nation.
Some people celebrate with a run.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Unlikely But True

I spent $25 at BevMo and didn’t buy an ounce of alcohol.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Give

“When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”
~ Luke 21: 1-4

I have loved this reading since I was a teenager, and I think the reason is this: No matter how little you have it is of value to Christ. He sees the treasure in you, and he wants you to share it.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thanksgiving Sweet Potatoes

I made my annual how-do-you-make-your-grandmother’s-sweet-potatoes phone call to my dear friend Christina today.
We go over this recipe every year, but because it is so simple, I never bother to write down all the details.
Then a year goes by and I realize I only have cryptic notes.
These potatoes are sweet enough to be a dessert, which makes them the perfect side dish.

Herta’s Sweet Potatoes:
4 sweet potatoes
½ cup butter
¾ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 small can crushed pineapple
1 bag big marshmallows
Boil potatoes until they are fork-tender all the way through, and then remove the skins.
Once skins are removed, mash potatoes and all ingredients together, except for the marshmallows.
Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, then add marshmallows. Continue to bake for a few more minutes until marshmallows brown.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Dilation

What I don’t recommend is having an eye appointment just prior to a business meeting.
I was told the exam would take 30 minutes.
What she forgot to mention was that my pupils would be as big as saucers for the next four to six hours.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

To Jerusalem

Pieces of paper from all over the world find their way to the wall of prayer. Mine traveled with my mother.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Charm of Mary Jane Shoes

He said she looked like a schoolgirl eating her lunch.
She knew he meant that as a compliment.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

And Another Thing About Costco …

There’s a 72 oz bag of chocolate chips in my house.
That’s 4 ½ pounds of semi-sweet morsels.
Let this and the cookie dough serve as a cautionary tale:
Do not grocery shop while hungry.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

This Is Why I Don’t Work At A Bakery

My brother asked the cute girl behind the counter how many sweets she could eat in a day.
“I’ve worked here for a year, and I’ve gained 50 pounds,” she said.
“Fifteen?” said my brother.
“Fifty,” she clarified.
We eyed her from top to bottom with absolute disbelief.
“Nooo,” my brother said.
“You must have been underweight when you started,” I added.
“My last job was at a gym,” she explained.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Costco Conundrum

The danger of warehouse shopping is this:
48 oz tubs of cookie dough for $3.97.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Indian Wedding

The Hindu priest made sure the bride and groom knew the seriousness of what was about to happen.
"Once I tie this knot, I have no mantra to untie it," he said before joining her sari and his shawl.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Not So Sweet

My favorite part of a churro is the cinnamon sugar, but tonight I noticed measurably less of it.
“Everyone is cutting back,” my husband explained.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Who Needs Plans?

“The Holy Spirit, wherever he breaks into our lives, always hinders the plans man makes.”
~ Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, May 1998 (aka Pope Benedict XVI)

When everything seems like an interruption and you feel your life is suddenly, terribly off course, just remember God likes his people flexible. He is shouting, “Go with it.”

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wash Me

How serious must I take those little clothing labels?
When they insist on being hand washed, am I obliged to obey?

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Self-Restraint

The church’s aisles are wide, and I’m often tempted to somersault down them.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dirty Dishes

In the kitchen, my husband examined a scorched pot.
“What stained this?” he asked, as if he’s never seen the aftermath of my cooking.
“Umm, that’s from when I made soup,” I explained.
“You burned soup?”
“I was sautéing something.”

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Monday, November 10, 2008

What happened to Thanksgiving?

I fully anticipated the onslaught of holiday propaganda promoted by the retail industry the day after Halloween.
What I did not expect was to see a house fully decorated with Christmas lights on the 10th of November.

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fill 'er Up


I’m happy to report regular unleaded is selling for $2.33 a gallon at the Shell station on the corner of Almaden Expressway and Blossom Hill Road in San Jose.
I haven’t seen a gas station so busy since the summer of 2003 when, for about a week, the entire Phoenix metropolitan area experienced a massive shortage of gasoline.
Gas stations literally ran dry, and people were paying ridiculous amounts of money to fill up.
If I recall, I paid $2.11 a gallon.

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Punctuality

After three years of marriage, I’ve tricked myself into believing I’m a punctual person.
I am not.
This truth becomes apparent when I have to go somewhere without my husband.
He is a punctual person. If I’m with him, I’m on time.
Without him, I’m generally 30 to 40 minutes late, possibly an hour if I get lost.

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Friday, November 7, 2008

A Chilling Effect

I'm not just an editor;
I'm self-editing,
slicing up my speech until only silence remains.

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Are you lost?

“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.”
~Luke 15: 4-7

Nobody loves you like Jesus does. If you are lost, he will find you.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Be a Sweetie

The bakery I love has a motto: Eat something sweet every day.
I think we should add to that: Say something sweet every day.
Go ahead, try it.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Detachment

Something about the way the clouds looked today made me think gravity might be a figment of our imaginations. I half expected God to shake this giant snow globe we call earth just so he could see us fly.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Good advice

I’ll take words of wisdom wherever I can find them.
Spotted this on the back of a car:
“Wag more. Bark Less.”

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Psalm 23

“The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.”
I’ve heard this psalm many times, but today I heard in my heart an emphasis on the word “want.”
What would it mean to live in a world without want? To be a person content with every circumstance as it unfolds?

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Litany of the Saints

I wait all year for this prayer to be sung at my church.
I wish I could describe its beauty in words.

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat

I always wanted to use a pillow case to collect my loot, but my mother thought that was tacky.
So my three siblings and I would hit the streets every year carrying orange, plastic, pumpkin-shaped containers instead.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Contraband

I’m working on a mini craft project. It involves spray paint.
Buying the spray paint involved finding an authorized Michael’s employee to unlock the caged display.
My paint pick was then whisked to the front counter where I could rejoin it at checkout.
Once at checkout, the checker made sure I was of legal spray-paint buying age.
She did this by looking at me and saying, “You’re over 18.”
“Yup,” I confirmed.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Endless Possibilities

“It’s up to you,” a priest I know was told when trying to decide what to do with his life.
Those words belong to each of us.
"It's up to you."
We don’t have to choose God or love or service or sacrifice, but we can if we want to.
Our life is what we choose it to be.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Secret Lives of Old People

Today at the funeral of my dear friend’s grandmother, I found out the 86-year-old woman I always regarded as frail had been an avid line dancer.
I’m not talking about in her youth. I mean up until very recently.
And her husband, who died a few years back, was the DJ at one of their clubs.
He reportedly had better music than the dance instructor.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Tiny bites

The woman I work with can make a piece of cake last all afternoon.
She nibbles on her coffee-shop treat from the time she returns from lunch until minutes before she leaves for the day.
In my presence, cake doesn’t enjoy such a long life span.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dinner Plans

My dad told me today he would be calling my mom, sister and me each day to find out what we’re making for dinner that night. He plans to eat at whoever’s home has the most appealing menu.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Legacy

If what they say about you is that you were who you were, radically individual and completely authentic.
And that who you were made people laugh more easily.
If people who didn’t know you are inspired by your example of love and want to live better because of you.
That, my friend, is a life well lived.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Lost in Translation

“Do you want to try this bread?” I asked, offering to share.
“No, it has the word 'Bio' in the name.”
His logic caused me pause, so I inspected the sample’s package.
It appears “Bio Sonnemblumen” is just a fancy, foreign way of saying “Organic Sunflower Seed Bread.”

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Give What You Can

Friendship requires, among other things, the occasional use of elbow grease and a knack for cleaning baseboards.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Like A Party, Only Quiet

“You know how we bump into our friends at adoration?” my husband observed. “Do you think that’s what heaven will be like?”
“Yes, but my heaven will have more talking.”

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Charity

“Be a lamp, a lifeboat, or a ladder.” ~ Rumi
I’ve been thinking about this simple sentence and how I aspire to live it in thought, word and deed.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

In Disguise

Imagine God is constantly handing us diamonds, but sometimes his gifts look like rocks. But they are diamonds.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Uninhibited:

The ability to truly dance as if no one is watching.
Best observed in 2 ½ year olds.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Polite Inquiry or Pick Up Line?

“I don’t know if this is rude, but I smelled your perfume when you were over there. What is that you’re wearing?” asked the man I do not know.
“Oh. I don’t wear perfume,” I replied.
“I could have sworn I smelled something,” the man insisted.
“Maybe soap,” I shrugged, smelling my scentless hands as I walked away.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Suffering

Maybe it’s not, as I’ve thought, that we suffer because Christ suffered, because Our Lady suffered.
Maybe I had it mixed up.
Maybe they suffered because we suffer.
Because they knew we would suffer, that there was no avoiding it no matter what, and they wanted to be close to us.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thinking of You

Sometimes your heart breaks for someone, for their sadness.
And all you can do is pray.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Father-Daughter Date

I saw a man in a restaurant with a baby today. No mother in sight.
Just a father and his 10-month-old daughter.
The scene was sweet, but so unusual it startled me.
What is it about our society that makes seeing a dad and his young child alone together so uncommon?

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Clean the Cup

“Oh, you Pharisees! Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil. You fools! Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside? But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you.”
~ Luke 11: 39-41

Give alms. Give to others. Make a gift of yourself.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

At the Mission

A sign outside the Carmel Basilica provides timeless direction:
“Always go forward and never turn back.”
~ Blessed Junipero Serra

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Business + Pleasure


John works. I play.

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Carmel-by-the-Sea

She tells me she tires of the cool ocean breeze.
Are you kidding, I think.
I suppose even paradise has its flaws.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Shelter to None

Twelve Ficus live in the hotel lobby.
Their treetops press against the glass ceiling.
I wonder if they long for birds.

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In Memory

She had a picture of her father in a heart-shaped locket tied to her bouquet.
Her mother walked her down the aisle.

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Note To Self:

It’s so tempting to find a clever quote and call it a blog.
But my goal is not to post. It’s to write.
So the words really should be mine.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ho, Ho, Ho

Is it just me or is everyone crazy busy?
Like it’s December minus the holiday cheer.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Martha, Martha

“Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”
~ Luke 10: 40-42

Did you read what I read?
Mary chose the better part.
It wasn’t given to her. She wasn’t favored. She just made a better choice.
Martha could have made the same choice. There’s enough “better part” to go around.
Sure, maybe no one would have been left to do the serving. But maybe the men would have served themselves.
Maybe all the details Martha fretted over would have worked themselves out if she had chosen, like Mary, to focus on the one thing needed.

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Fore!

I hate to brag, but I spent the day at a golf clinic with LPGA professionals.
I’d never played before, but it didn’t take long for me to understand why people love this sport.
You spend the day outdoors, but unlike hiking or running, you don’t have to breathe too hard and you’re never far from a fully stocked bar.

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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Almost Churchill

The priest told us to be like God, and never, never give up.

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

Technology

Today it was our brand new GPS system that tried my patience.
Two seconds in my hands and the satellites were somehow disabled.
Sometimes I have trouble believing I was actually born and raised in the region known to the rest of the world as Silicon Valley.
By the way, Outlook is still not working.
I’d like to write Gates and Seinfeld, but I am pretty certain my woes are due to human error.

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Friday, October 3, 2008

Blessings

Do you think God needs a reason to kiss you on the forehead?

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

I’m a PC.

Well, I own a PC.
But I don’t speak the language, which is why I spent three hours trying to set up my email in Outlook.
After repeated downloading and accepting of licensing agreements, I still don’t have it right and my computer is very slow.
If you’re going to be a PC, I recommend having your own IT.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

‘I Saw What I Saw’

Sara Groves performed in Redding a few years ago.
I’d never heard her music before then, but I cried through her performance.
I can’t explain it, except to say her songs tell beautiful stories.
This one, not surprisingly, also moves me to tears.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mind Trip

This is the danger of my mind: I can look at someone else’s life and their accomplishments and think there is something wrong with me.
Their happiness can actually feel like an attack on mine.
Obviously, I am lacking or lazy or simply unlucky not to have arrived at the same place of perceived success, my mind tells itself.
At which point, it’s best to tell my mind to shut up. And to remember there are many roads to the same destination.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Candy Crisis

With the Dow down 778 points, you may have missed this very important story: Cadbury chocolate in China is being recalled.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Irreconcilable

It’s an odd conversation to have at a wedding.
The man, old enough to be my father and a complete stranger to me, tells me his wife left him after 20-something years of marriage.
She had a mid-life crisis and ran around with her girlfriends like she was in her 20s again.
We did the therapy and all of that stuff.
It’s always the man’s fault,
he says.
You work too much. But when you own a business and three homes and one in Cabo, you have to work to pay the bills.
Now, none of that matters to me. My son’s taken over the business to avoid another $50,000 in lawyers and I work at the front desk of a golf club.
When they’re done running around, they want to come back home. But I’m over it.

He’s clearly not. And I’m surprised when he tells me about the woman he’s dating.
My heart breaks for the irreconcilable.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sisters

Today, I met two women -- sisters.
They hardly looked related.
One was thin, the other was not. One had long hair, the other did not.
So the one with the short hair and stout frame tells me she is a mathematician. Her sister is a fashion designer.
She says they grew up in the same house, sharing the same room. But they are completely opposite.
The way she buys her sister a gift is by looking at something and thinking, “I don’t think I really like it. She’ll love it.” And it works.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

On Equality

“Every man, whoever he is, whatever he possesses and whatever he is capable of doing, owes all this to God the Creator of the universe. Of himself man is nothing. From this point of view all of us are absolutely equal.”
~ St. Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish priest martyred in Auschwitz

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bad, Bad Battery

I’ve never understood how cars work. I’ve only required four wheels and the ability to move forward, backward and come to a complete stop.
So this is what I learned tonight watching five different roadside assistants peer into the hood of my car over the course of three hours.
If your battery is dead, you’re not going anywhere no matter what the roadside assistant says.
But the battery is not self-energizing. It gets is oomph from the alternator.
In this way, and maybe in this way alone, I think cars are like people.
Our batteries go dead when we try to sustain ourselves.
We need to connect to a more powerful source if we don’t want to run out of juice.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pomegranates

“The man down the street says we can pick as many as we want,” my sister said about the treasured red fruit. “He says he hates them. Isn’t that funny? We grew up thinking we had to steal them.”

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Without a Map

Just when I’ve gotten all wrapped up in the pretty scenery of my life, panic strikes.
These words calm: “Not all who wander are lost.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Mark Your Calendars

“Here’s something for your parents,” my husband said as he read the church bulletin out loud. “Golden Spirits …”
I burst into laughter without hearing another word.
“Did you read this?” he asked.
“No, but just the fact that it starts out, ‘Golden Spirits.’ ”
(By the way, Mom and Dad, the item of note was for an upcoming wine and cheese social.)

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Owen

Something about the baby seemed special in a way that makes your heart break and dance at the same time.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Love the Ride

Our stomachs were flying to our chests from the repeated dipping of the boardwalk ride.
My husband says to our nieces, “That’s how I felt the day I met Christina.”

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Day Trip

I’ll be spending tomorrow at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
I’m reluctant to admit this, but I’m seriously tempted to wear a fanny pack.
As tragic a fashion statement as it is, could there be any other piece of apparel more practical then the straight-from-the-eighties fanny pack?

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Gray Matters

He: Oh, crap.
She: What?
He: I think I have gray arm hair.
She: I highly doubt it.
He: You think it’s blond?
She: Yes. You don’t even have gray hair. Well, wait. You might have one. Let me look.
He: No, don’t. Really, don’t. I have enough problems.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Handle With Care

No matter how good your intentions, if you ask a woman about her dead son, expect she will cry.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Goal Setting

When something I want to accomplish is not getting accomplished, I tend to think I haven’t made my goal easy enough or fun enough.
Of course, it could also be that I haven’t made myself disciplined enough.
“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Unexpected

The lady with graying hair praying the rosary in the adoration chapel has the most delicate design of flowers tattooed around the top of her right wrist.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Competitive Shopping

“Wow. Do you see that?” my husband said, impressed with the shoppers pushing overflowing grocery carts as they left Costco.
One couple even had two carts.
“I always feel like a part-timer when we come here,” he continued. “We buy like five things.”

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Bong-Bong

My husband was on his way to a wedding when he saw what looked like a drunk sprawled out near a dumpster at the back of a parking lot.
He honked his horn to try to wake the man, who was on his back.
When that didn’t work, he called 911.
He would have waited for deputies, but the last thing he wanted to do was tell the bride her photos would have to wait because he may have found a dead body.
Ironically, he could see the deputy pull into the parking lot from the bride's hotel room.
The deputy drove in and quickly drove out, presumably without finding anything.
"So maybe he got up and walked away," my husband said.
"Or maybe after you left someone dragged his body to a different location," my Nancy Drew mind speculated.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Character Building

A quality I wish I had: The inability to feel intimidated.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering 9/11

My dad sent me this link today.
The site takes a while to load. The slideshow is a bit long. Some of the photos are pixilated.
I find this endearing since it seems to have been made soon after the attacks and out of love for the victims and New York City.
Watching it reminded me of the emotions of that day, the stories of heroism and loss, and the feeling that despite our many differences, when attacked, Americans are one.
I really wish it didn’t take an act of terrorism to bring us together.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Anniversary

My Love, today we are three years old and as tough as a cow’s hide.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

You Have Mail

I used to never send emails.
It was a form of keeping in touch I just couldn’t keep up with.
And by not sending emails, those who knew me did not expect emails from me.
This worked well for many years.
Then, at some point in 2008, I started to respond to the nagging call of responsibility, and I began to reply to my emails.
As a result, I’m beginning to understand why people have a disdain for this type of communication.
It’s like housework.
If you never clean, you don’t notice how dirty your place is.
But once you start scrubbing the floors, you realize your work is never ending.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

My Miseducation

For many years now my father has been convinced his hard-earned dollar was wasted on my education.
I don’t deny I spent a lot of school time daydreaming.
And it didn’t help that it took me until college to figure out the numbers at the pump were in reference to octane and not the gasoline’s vintage.
Tonight, he misheard a question I asked and responded with this:
“Before I overreact, did you just ask your mother if Baja was part of Mexico?”
“No, no, no,” I responded, which may have saved him from a heart attack.

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Something to consider:

“A mind is like a wound. If it’s too open, you get an infection.”
~ The 1997 TV Show “The Practice”

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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Christmas in September

You may recall our Christmas tree came down the day before Easter.
Since then, it’s been sitting in a box in our bathtub.
No, I’m not kidding. And I’m not exaggerating when I say I’m a terrible domestic goddess.
About 8 years ago, my best girlfriend and I were chatting about home décor.
We were 23, and she was married and talking about needing a valance for her living room.
“A balance? What’s a balance?” I asked.
“A valance,” she corrected.
“Oh, God,” she said, looking up as if in prayer. “Please don’t let her marry anyone who cares about that kind of stuff.”
The good Lord made sure I didn’t, but the drawback is neither one of us is naturally neat.
We tend to wait for things to put themselves away.
This rarely works, and usually requires some shouting, cursing and crying on our part in order to inspire motivation.
That’s what happened today, and the Christmas tree finally made its way to the closet.

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Conflicting 'Humors'

“That must be the choleric in me,” I said.
“I don’t know what it is, but I wish it would leave,” he said.

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Catching Fish

“Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.”
~ Luke 5: 5

It can seem like such an extraordinary waste of time -- our efforts, our work, the tedious bit by bit building of our dreams.
None of it bears fruit, or fish, as quickly as I would like.
Sometimes all I catch is frustration.
But what would happen if I persisted beyond my own will?
If I responded to every challenge with the faith and obedience of Simon Peter?

“When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that the boats were in danger of sinking.”
~ Luke 5: 6-7

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Dating Advice from My Husband …

“I need to tell her if she’s interested in any of these guys, she needs to let them know in some kind of traditional fashion,” he said.
“Like how?” I asked.
“Flirting wouldn’t hurt. You know, she got her job by applying for it, showing she was interested in it. Guys, we’re dumb animals. We really need all the help we can get.”

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Inspiration from O Magazine

“I worked with Viktor Frankl, a Nazi prison camp survivor, for many years. His initial response at the hands of his captors was, Why do I have to suffer so? But later he began to change the question to, What is life asking of me? Each time he started to feel himself the victim, he would find someone suffering more and give half his meager rations to the person. His mantra became “He who has a ‘why’ can live with any ‘what’ or live with any ‘how.’ ” ”
~ Stephen Covey

“People talk about the importance of consistency in forming good habits. But lazy people are consistent. So are drug dealers. What I help people with isn’t so much consistency; it’s about changing their patterns.”
~ Cesar Millan

“We should think about the fact that time is a zero-sum game. Things we spend time on inherently take time away from other things. So, constantly ask, Is this the best and highest use of my time?”
~ Randy Pausch, known for “The Last Lecture,” died July 25, 2008

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Monday, September 1, 2008

Lookin’ Good

“Daddy, that color blue looks really good on you,” I said.
“Oh, yeah. Well, everything looks good on me,” he replied.

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Sunday, August 31, 2008

First Sacrament

The priest handed me the baby, head wet with holy water, and my husband and I became compadres.

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cannabis Culture

Every time I visit downtown Santa Cruz, I think I’ve left the country.
The streets smell of marijuana the way Gilroy reeks of garlic.
I swear the town operates under European law.

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Facing Fear Teeth On

Today, I went to the dentist alone.
The last time I did this I was living a state away from my family and needed my wisdom teeth pulled.
The dentist was a lovely woman, and I burst into tears as soon as she spoke to me.
She prescribed low-dose Valium for future appointments and suggested someone drive me.
That’s how irrational my fear is.
The words “root canal” have caused me panic for as long as I remember.
In fact, one of my earliest memories is being asked to stand next to my father’s cousin -- the dentist -- in a family photo.
It was Thanksgiving, I was about 5 years old, and I started to cry.
I’m sure to the adults in the crowd, including my parents, I appeared to be a tired child.
The truth is I was afraid my cousin would look into my mouth and declare all my teeth were about to fall out and drastic, painful measures would need to be taken immediately.
That fear has never completely left me.
But today I pretended to be a sane 31-year-old, and I drove myself to my cousin’s office, where three of his sons have joined his practice. They really are the best in the business.
My bravery was rewarded with a brand-new pink toothbrush and a report of no cavities.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Class In Session

I said my sister had one crier and three non-English speakers in her class.
Make that five screamers and nine English learners, meaning they speak a different language at home.
Oh, and one of the screamers is a flight risk.
He keeps his backpack on and looks for opportunities to leave school grounds.
Nicole will deliver reports of a first-year teacher from the trenches of a kindergarten classroom on her new blog.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

R-E-S-P-E-C-T (or lack thereof)

“There was good news for working women. The Census Bureau said that women who work full time now earn 78 percent of the paychecks of men who work fulltime, a significant gap but the smallest annual disparity ever recorded by the Census Bureau.
In California, the gender earnings gap was even smaller, with women earning about 84 percent what men do. California women who work fulltime rank sixth in annual earnings among the 50 states, while California men rank 16th.”
~ San Jose Mercury News article, August 26, 2008

I’m not going to pretend the underpayment of women is the worst injustice in the world, but in no universe should it be considered “good news.”
Really, does a woman make 78 cents for every $1 a man earns for no other reason than she has a vagina?
I would like to think the income gap is a result of women temporarily leaving the workforce to raise children. But I have trouble believing that’s it.
Somebody, please, enlighten me.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I'm too holy for my habit?

I hate to disagree with a priest, but I'm not sure our world needs
another beauty pageant even if the contestants are nuns.
On the other hand, our current role models -- the ones plastered on tabloid covers for forgetting to wear panties in public -- seem to lack a certain degree of common sense that a good nun could bring to the forefront.
In an Associated Press story (thank you Erin for the link), Fr. Antonio Rungi talks about the “Miss Sister 2008” competition he has organized to begin in September on his blog.
"We are not going to parade nuns in bathing suits,” Rungi said. “But being ugly is not a requirement for becoming a nun. External beauty is gift from God, and we mustn't hide it."

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Singles, Beware

“That guy wasn’t wearing a ring,” my husband said to me as we left the adoration chapel tonight.
“Oh, Love. I have you checking out men now, don’t I?” I replied.
Then I quickly made a list of our female friends who might be a good match for the mysterious churchgoing guy.

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Summer’s Over

Tomorrow is my sister’s first official day as a teacher.
She met most of her students Friday and already knows she has at least one crier, one child who is prone to “accidents,” one set of twins, and three who don’t speak English.
And that’s not even half of the class.
She is teaching a special kindergarten program for younger students all under the age of 5.
One thing I’ve learned from her is everything in elementary school depends on having the proper procedure.
Tonight, she wrote up class instructions for going to the bathroom.
It involves step-by-step directions, including an important reminder to pull up, zip up and snap your pants.
This might seem obvious, but apparently last year kids were waddling out from the stalls and back into the classroom with their undies down around their ankles.

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

‘Henry Poole is Here’

I hate writing reviews. Always have.
So, I’m going to avoid writing a review right now by giving a recommendation instead:
If you are going to the movies, see “Henry Poole is Here.”
I hadn’t even heard of this film, which stars Luke Wilson, but I was so pleasantly surprised by it.
I’d love for you to see it, and tell me what you thought.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Question

Where does prejudice grow if not in the circles of like-minded people?

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ooh La La ...

The lingerie store’s welcome mat says, “Nice Underwear.”
“Thanks for noticing,” her panties reply.
Okay, the second part only happens in my imagination, but the first part is true.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

iPhone Mania Strikes Octogenarian

I’ve been anxious to show my grandfather my iPhone.
He’s 89 and likes to keep up on technology.
He owns a laptop and enjoys wandering the aisles at Fry’s Electronics to see what’s new.
Yesterday I finally had the chance to show him the phone, but his initial reaction seemed understated.
He didn’t express the astonishment I accepted.
I think it needed to sink in.
Tonight the first thing he said to me was, “I can’t get over the iPhone. I think about it a lot.”
He’s actually considering buying one.
I gently tried to talk him out of it, but he said, “A person’s never too old to entertain himself with this. Sometimes we watch the game shows on TV -- a waste of time. This is educational.”
He is especially keen on the news applications.
As we were waiting for the screen to refresh, I commented that it was taking a long time for the page to load.
“Well, it’s far away -- (it’s coming from the) New York Times,” he said patiently.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Waste Not, Want Not

One peak into my grandparents’ freezer is an eye-opening experience in frugality.
The shelves are packed with plastic bags of frozen bread and containers of frozen stock.
“When grandpa boils broccoli, he saves the water,” my brother explains. “It’s vegetable broth. He’s ingenious.”
And don’t think he wasted any money on fancy Tupperware.
The plastic containers are recycled tapioca pudding and peanut butter jars.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Identity crisis

Our guest room likes to masquerade as a storage locker.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

This week’s to-do list:

“Do all the good you can.
By all the means you can.
In all the ways you can.
At all the times you can.
To all the people you can.
As long as ever you can.”
~ John Wesley

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Inspiration by Land and by Sea

Four years ago, Romanian runner Constantina Tomescu-Dita finished 20th in the women’s marathon at the Athens Games.
She suffered heat exhaustion and had to walk a mile before completing the race.
In Beijing, the 38-year-old mother became the oldest woman marathoner to win the gold, crossing the finish line in 2 hours 26 minutes 44 seconds.
Then there’s Dara Torres.
The 41-year-old American swimmer won back-to-back silver medals in the 50m swim and 4x100m medley relay.
She lost gold in the 50m race by a mere .01 of a second to 24-year-old Britta Steffan of Germany.
When an NBC reporter asked what she would tell her 2-year-old daughter about her 2008 Olympic wins, she said, “I guess I’ll tell her don’t put an age limit on your dreams.”

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Three posts that made me happy today:
1. Far Sighted’s delightful multi-media photo essay,
"Jesus would be, like, thrilled."
2. Queen Bee’s borrowed wisdom from St. Francis of Assisi.
3. Pink Hollyhock’s mom's advice on how to deal with the devil.

Happy Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary!

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Don’t be fooled by the sweetness of a child.
If a 10-month-old bites you, you’ll see the teeth marks for hours.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Children’s physicians on one side.
Ethicists from Georgetown and Boston universities on the other.
In the middle?
A controversial procedure for the transplant of newborns’ hearts.
The Washington Post’s front page article raises questions about life and death worth considering.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I made a rare visit to the Good Ol’ Boys Club.
Or at least it felt that way.
These men weren't old, but some of their attitudes seemed ancient.
After a few minutes, I was looking for the exit.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

“What did you say the other day about eating brownies while watching the Olympics?” I asked.
“That it shouldn’t be done,” my husband replied.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

“It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
~ Matthew 14: 26-27

The disciples saw Christ -- the Messiah they had been waiting for -- walk on water.
Instead of excitement and joy, their reaction was fear and hesitation.
They thought they were seeing a ghost.
Sometimes I think I’m seeing ghosts, usually in the form of my ambitions and dreams.
What my heart desires can seem impossible, and when what I want begins to take shape, I can mistake it for an illusion.
But what if these figments of my imagination are really Christ walking toward me?
I know exactly what he would say, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Latest family memo posted on the kitchen wall at my parents’ house:

August 4, 2008

NEW HOUSEHOLD RULES

Found this online, a suggestion for better housekeeping,

I have noticed, lately, sloppy bed making throughout the households controlled by our family.

This will be the new bed making procedure henceforth.

Any questions, ask your mother.

Dad

Handy Hints #1

Make your beds look neater by simply putting a thread in the center top of your sheets, blankets, and bedspreads. When you make the bed, line up the stitches with the center of the headboard. You will get perfect results every time.

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Friday, August 8, 2008

I’m on deadline.
This is evident by the fact that my house is suddenly cleaner than usual.
As soon as I have a looming, monster task to complete, my first thought is, I can’t concentrate when everything is such a disorganized mess.
I have no trouble concentrating the rest of the time.
I have no trouble letting housework dangle at the bottom of my to-do list the rest of the time.
But give me something pressing and time sensitive, and I’ll start scrubbing down countertops and putting away laundry.

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Gluten free. Wheat free. Soy free.
Lactose free. Sulfite free. Trans fat free.
Oh, my sweet Jennies Macaroon,
how I wish you were calorie free, 310 per cookie.
That’s okay. I’ll eat you anyway.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I was nostalgic today for the stress ball I had in college.
I got it for free at a campus health fair.
I think the nursing students made it.
Double-lined purple latex balloons filled with flour.
I know it was flour because I squeezed that poor little stress ball to death.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I can’t help it. When I hear the sound of pen to paper, I want to know what’s being written.

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Monday, August 4, 2008

“Kidneys?” I asked, confused by the license plate, “KYNDNES.”
“Kindness,” my husband corrected.

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Three moments made possible by the iPhone:
I watched my husband and my dad duel with their iPhone light sabers.
“This is a very dorky moment,” my sister declared.

My dad proudly showed my brother one of the many useless sound effects on his iPhone.
“What’s it for?” my brother asked.
“To irritate your mother,” my dad replied.

In the car, my dad put to use an iPhone application that works as a speedometer.
He then shouted out the miles per hour as my brother drove.
“Forty-two. Forty-one. Forty-two. Forty. Forty-one.”
Just when my sister pointed out how annoying this was, my dad exclaimed, “This is the best money I’ve spent in 10 years!”

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Saturday, August 2, 2008

“Who are they?” my sister inquired of the older men dressed in tuxedos and wearing capes, chapeaux with ostrich feathers, white gloves and ceremonial swords.
“Those are the Knights of Columbus,” my brother answered. “They’re a secret society.”
“They’re not so secret,” my sister replied. “I see them.”

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Friday, August 1, 2008

Something fabulous has happened, and watching it unfold has been awe inspiring.
Two of my favorite women, the kind of women who make “smart” a sexy adjective, have created a news café featuring independent journalism in the North State.
You don’t have to live in Redding to enjoy Food for Thought.
Food, music, recreation … artists of every kind.
See for yourself.
You’ll even find book reviews from our dear Ms. Calder!
What more could you ask for?

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dinner conversation:
“I’ve always wanted to go to a bathroom with attendants,” my brother said.
“There are lots of bathroom attendants in New York,” my mother began to share.
“Mom, those were bums and they were doing meth in the corner. Just because they threw you a towel doesn’t mean they worked there,” my brother interrupted.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

After a brief conversation with her mother, whom I hardly know, I gave my two cents to the unsuspecting Chico State student.
If you insist on majoring in journalism, get a second degree in business, I suggested.
This is solid counsel for anyone who’d like to earn more than $12 an hour as a degreed professional.
Of all the career advice my father gave me, which I in turn ignored, taking one lousy business class wouldn’t have killed me. And if I was in charge of a journalism department, I’d make it a requirement.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

“That’s a bad idea,” my husband said as he read possible blog entries over my shoulder.
“I know. But, babe, here’s what you do. You just write until you write something good.”

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Monday, July 28, 2008

About 30 minutes after a 10-minute conversation with two strangers I realized I had a piece of lettuce in my teeth.
I’d blame it on Monday, but that sort of thing happens to me any day of the week.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Starting your own business is not for the faint of heart.
Either is marriage. Or bungee jumping.
But look how much fun people have bungee jumping.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

I'm getting asked the same question a lot lately.
This is my answer:
"We see it on the horizon, but we're not there yet."

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Friday, July 25, 2008

I’ve never read “Walden” or any book by Henry David Thoreau.
But some of his sentences I’ve wrapped my mind in again and again, as if his words were a blanket:
“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; there is where they should be. Now put foundations under them.”

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

I find it exceedingly odd that Circus Vargas popped up its big tent in the parking lot of Oakridge Mall, even more odd than the carnival that mysteriously comes and goes from the same location.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Thirty-five years ago today, on July 23, 1973, my parents met on a blind date.
It was my mom’s 29th birthday.
My dad showed up with a gift --- a candle in a leather holder that hangs from the ceiling.
“It was the ’70s,” my mom says. “I don’t think we ever lit it, so we have it some place.”
My mom kept him waiting for half an hour in her parents’ living room while she was out with her girlfriends, celebrating her birthday.
When she got home, my grandmother told her, “fix your hair and he’s really cute.”
Six weeks later he proposed. Exactly 7 months later they married.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I was hoping for the prayer card with the pretty picture of Mary.
Instead I was handed one with an image of Jesus in agony in the garden. “By death we possess Christ,” it said.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

My darling friend is afraid of success.
She thinks it might be a lot of work.
I can relate.
But what if failure is just as hard only a whole lot less rewarding.

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

“I wish Apple would have designed this,” my husband said as he read the instructions for the power sprayer needed for a painting project.
The truth is we really are not do-it-yourselfers unless what needs to be done is writing or photography.
And I’m okay with that.

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

This morning I wrote a list of things that scare me,
and the whole day seemed less frightful.
Almost like putting it on paper cleared up some mental space.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

She put in my palm the six tiniest purple flowers I’ve ever seen.
Each one barely bigger than a ¼ inch.
Maybe that’s why Jesus asks us to be childlike.
They notice the smallest presence of beauty.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

I never run out of things to be anxious about.
And today there’s something new.
Our 15 ½-year-old twin nieces are now on MySpace.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Apple Store is my new home.
Since the iPhone went on sale Friday, I have visited this Mecca of all things cool seven times.
I bought my phone on the second visit but keep returning in search of the perfect accessories.
Yesterday, the Los Gatos store manager actually remembered me from the day before as the one wearing the pink shirt.
Those who know me know how rare it is for me to be caught up in the frenzy of a technology trend.
I am not what you call an early adopter.
That said, I kind of feel like a junky.
My new habit has me explaining to the Apple geniuses that I work just down the street for fear they will otherwise suspect me as a serial shoplifter.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

For the few people who may read this blog, but not Faith’s or Trisha’s, I will repeat this simple request:
Please pray for Monica Rodriguez and ask for a miracle.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

“Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
~ Matthew 13:9

That’s what I heard at Mass yesterday.
I think it might be Jesus’ version of “no excuses.”
I imagine him thinking, “I’ve told you everything you need to know.”
And what is it we need to know?
What is it our ears ought to have heard?
Is it too simple to say love God and love others as God loves you?
Simple, but not always easy.

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

I should never rely on my memory when I’m trying to construct poetry.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

A conversation between my husband and our 4 ½-year-old bilingual friend:
Him: “Excelente! Michelle, how is my Spanish?”
Her: “Umm. I think you need a little practice.”

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Friday, July 11, 2008

I’m not sure if you noticed, but the world is more beautiful today.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

“Are you done?” our 2 ½-year-old dinner companion politely asked.
“Yes,” I replied, showing her my empty bowl.
“Are you done?” she then questioned my husband.
I tilted his bowl toward her so she could examine it for herself.
Satisfied the guests were finished, she moved on to her parents.
“Mommy, are you done?” she asked while peering into her mother’s dish.
“Daddy, are you done?” she inquired.
“She knows the rules,” her mom explained. “She has to wait until everyone is finished before she can get down or have dessert.”
Sure enough, as soon as her investigation was complete, she made a sweet request for ice cream.
“Don’t you want to wait a minute?” I asked.
“Noooo,” she replied with a huge laugh as if I just said the most ridiculous thing in the world. “I already did that.”

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Stolen from Faith because of its beauty:
“In the end when all is revealed, it is only the lack of trust that you will regret.”

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My husband asked if I wanted to spend the night at his office.
“No. Why would I want to sleep here?” I said, indignant.
“Because it has A/C,” he kindly replied.

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Monday, July 7, 2008

“While Jesus was speaking, an official came forward, knelt down before him, and said, ‘My daughter has just died. But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live.’ Jesus rose and followed him, and so did his disciples. … When Jesus arrived at the official’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd who were making a commotion, he said, ‘Go away! The girl is not dead but sleeping.’ And they ridiculed him. When the crowd was put out, he came and took her by the hand, and the little girl arose.”
~ Matthew 9:18-19, 23-25

Do I trust God or not?
The man’s daughter was dead, and yet he knew Christ would heal her. I, on the other hand, often declare things impossible before even giving God a chance.
I call it being realistic, a fine perspective to have but certainly not one that ever helped raise a child from the dead.
Which makes me think, what in my life looks dead but, with Christ’s hand, might only be asleep?

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Sunday, July 6, 2008

I found this prayer in the back of a church the first weekend I lived in a new city, the first time I lived away from home. It reminds me I’m never really lost, even though I often feel I am.

“My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”

~ Thomas Merton, “Thoughts in Solitude”

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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Side-view mirrors are poorly designed.
They’re just asking to be snapped off like a stray twig, which is why I didn’t blame the carport when it careened into our Buick today.

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Friday, July 4, 2008

The freedom I’m grateful for wasn’t won on Independence Day, but it does makes me want to say, God bless America.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Some things are better left unsaid.
I wish those things came with a warning label.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I’m in the process of trying to make some life changes, namely waking up at 6 a.m. instead of 7 a.m.
I’m notoriously bad at depriving my body of any of its basic needs, so this effort might not last more than another day.
The lack of sleep from the last three days has left me headachy, hungry and cranky. So when I stumbled across the quote, “The obstacle is the path,” it left me irritated.
Usually, I strive to find all sorts of beauty and wisdom in such a sentence, but not today.
I looked it up to see who I could blame for this insightfulness.
It’s a Zen saying.
I think the Christian version is, “Embrace your cross.” My best friend likes to say, “What you resist, persists.”
For anyone else attempting some half-year changes, I did find these words of encouragement from Henry Ford:
“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”
Eyes on the prize, people. Eyes on the prize.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The superhero power I wish for: No need for sleep.

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Monday, June 30, 2008

I have a little July 1st tradition I like to call Happy Half New Year.
Unlike it’s fancy-pants sister, New Year’s Day, Happy Half New Year is very practical.
She doesn’t need elaborate late-night parties in Times Square to have a good time.
In fact, to celebrate, she insists on spending a few moments by herself.
She digs out that long-forgotten resolution list from January and, after careful consideration, she chooses the best, most creative, fun and fulfilling way to spend the next six months.
Any ambition not meeting her high standards she disregards.

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

My mom called as soon as she got home from Mass this morning.
“The Pope dedicated this year to St. Paul,” she said. “And your father is in his glory.”
As a child, the only thing I knew about St. Paul was that he said, “Wives, be subordinate to your husbands.”
It’s my dad’s favorite part of the whole Bible.
He likes to recite the verse to my mom, which really bugs her.
I tell my dad if he’s going to go around quoting scripture, he should really keep it in context.

“Wives, be subordinate to your husbands, as is proper in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and avoid any bitterness toward them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, so they may not become discouraged.”
~ Colossians 3:18-21

“Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.
‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’
This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church. In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.”
~ Ephesians 5:21-33

The year-long dedication to St. Paul began Saturday and will end June 29, 2009.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

The day before my birthday I told my mom, “If you’re thinking of sending me flowers, I would rather you send me Koleti.”
Koleti is the miracle worker who has cleaned my parents’ home for 13 years.
She came to my house today and vacuumed, dusted and scrubbed --- all the things I should do on a regular basis but don’t.
What a luxury!
Cleanliness really is next to godliness, which is probably why I so rarely get a glimpse of it.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

I got an email yesterday with the subject line, “We’ve missed you.” It was from my gym.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

My mom called crying. A coyote killed our cat.
She was the last of her litter and the most beautiful.
The only calico.
My sister named her Oscar 13 years ago.
My dad thought that was cute, a girl with a boy’s name.
My mom called her baby cat and said she was the queen of her kingdom.
She had the most peculiar meow. My husband described it as a speech impediment, but I say she just wasn’t altogether pleased about being touched.
She didn’t need anyone’s approval or affection to be happy.
I admired that about her.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Spots of toothpaste and spaghetti sauce decorate every shirt I’ve worn this week.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My husband had a bad day. A really bad day.
He found out from a high school classmate via Facebook that his 20-year reunion is next summer.
I wasn’t there, but I’m pretty sure a few f-bombs were dropped.
The news came as an unpleasant reality check, about as welcomed as a sock to the stomach.
It’s not that he doesn’t know how old he is. He just didn’t realize 19 years had passed since he was a high school senior.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

I think I’m rather clever because I’ve figured out how to clean my blender with minimal fuss.
Kind of a lame thing to rejoice about, but I really hate struggling with those stubborn berry seeds trapped under the blade.
So now when I’m done with my smoothie, I fill the pitcher with water, add a drop of dish soap and turn the blender on.
It whips itself clean. I just need a similar method for the rest of my house.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Minding one’s own business is so overrated.
Which is why I told the youth leader at a nearby church that my husband and I spotted a teenage boy and girl hiding behind a building during the youth Mass.
I’m pretty sure the sound of our car put an end to their make out session.
I know. I know. I’m such a tattletale.
It’s not that I don’t trust teenagers. It’s that I’ve read the research and I know their brains are not fully developed.
I also know their parents didn’t bring them to Mass so they could suck face behind a bush.
I did, however, refrain from speaking directly to the young couple, mostly because I didn’t want to be the reason they never returned to church again.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

A four-year-old flower girl dressed in a cloud of white tulle adamantly proclaimed, “No more play for me,” as she waived her arms no to the tiny ring bearer. “I’m already tired.”
“You know why?” she said to me. “I drank wine.”
“You drank wine?” I questioned, surprised by the unprovoked confession.
“Yeah. I thought it was water but it was wine.”
“How did it taste?” I asked.
“First it tasted like Sprite then it tasted yucky.”

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Does anyone speak FeedBurner? I need a translator.
I’ve been blogging for a year completely oblivious to the whole FeedBurner craze and how as a blogger you really can’t live without it.
I don’t know what “it” is but I’d love to find out.
I signed up for an account this week.
I added the RSS feed link you see to the left.
I’ve checked my account daily, which, from what I gather, is telling me I have no visitors, no subscribers and no reach.
Liar, I say, because my best friend is very faithful and my mother even started reading.
Anyway, if you know anything about FeedBurner at all and you think you could bring that information down to a sixth-grade reading level, I would really appreciate it.
Thanks!
PS: I could also use a plain-English explanation of Widgets.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

My youngest brother, Joseph, has been visiting from Florida this week.
We have lived on different sides of the country for at least five years now, maybe six.
Sometimes I don’t even realize how much I miss him until I see him. And then I get so sad because I don’t want the visit to end.
I cry before his trip is officially over, which is what I started doing tonight.
My dad always says heaven is having all his kids together.
At its best, I think that’s what family is for, to give us a taste of heaven.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I spoke to a woman yesterday who told me that a few months ago she noticed her choices had little to do with what was best for her.
She blamed advertisers. She felt she made many decisions based on someone else’s idea to make themselves rich.
Which made me think: Did someone sell me my life?

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I was wandering through Powell’s Sweet Shoppe as I killed the last minutes of my lunch hour today.
“What’s larvae?” I heard a little girl ask. Her eyes were fixed on a box labeled Larvets.
“Bug’s babies,” her older brother answered.
“Are they real worms?” she questioned.
“Yep,” he said, nonchalantly.
Brothers can be so cruel, I thought.
As the children moved down the aisle, I picked up a box, expecting to read sugar as the main ingredient.
But the older brother was right.
The candy is made from mealworms. It comes in barbecue, cheddar and Mexican spice.
Displayed next to it were boxes of crickets.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

I didn’t know what to expect today, so of course, I over packed.
I brought three books, three magazines, my journal, bottled water, energy bars and strawberries.
But when you’re spending time with a friend, all you really need is good conversation.
This holds true even if your friend is hooked up to an IV for four hours during chemotherapy and you, your husband and her sister are sitting with her in a room barely big enough for the four of you and the nurse.
It was easy to forget what was actually happening until two nurses came in to verify Faith’s information before starting the Taxol.
Faith was groggy, but she rattled off her name, date of birth and medical number.
“What is she at Guantanamo?” my husband joked.
“That’s what kills the cancer?” I asked.
Yes, the nurses confirmed.
Then they left and our conversation continued as though we were sitting around a kitchen table.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

“You just said something is not your fault?” my dad asked my husband after overhearing a conversation between he and me. “You haven’t been married long enough to know the fallacy of that statement. It’s always your fault. You’ll learn.”
My husband tried to explain how he is hoping to win every argument by deflecting fault to me. “I’d appreciate your help with this,” he said to my dad, proposing they become allies.
“I have my own problems. I’m not about to get involved in yours,” my dad replied.

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

The pause between bingo games lasted too long, so some of the players, including my grandmother, began banging their daubers on the table.
“What’s going on?” my mom asked, confused by the commotion.
“They are natives and they are getting restless,” I whispered to her from across the table.
“This is why I don’t like coming. It gets too intense,” my mom said.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

I spoke to the old man today.
His name is Rollin.
He was on his way to have lunch at the California Café.
I’m not sure if he eats there every day, but he gave the impression of being a regular.
I kept my inquiry brief, as my questions seemed to startle him, and I don’t want him to be afraid to say hello to me the next time I see him on the sidewalk.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

I am so completely jealous of the swarms of young people I see with apparently nothing to do.
Even though I’ve been out of school for quite awhile, I’ve never gotten used to the idea of life without an annual three-month hiatus.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

“We don’t accept tips,” the girl at the counter told the woman as she handed back several dollar bills.
“You don’t? But you do such a good job,” the customer replied.
“We should do that without expecting anything,” the counter girl offered.
~ Conversation overheard at Icing on the Cake, where the art of customer service has not died.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I see the same old man in downtown Los Gatos almost every day.
I’m terribly curious about him, and I’m sure I’ll eventually give in to my temptation and ask him what brings him to town.
But this is what I know so far:
He drives himself to town.
He always wears a hat, which reminds me of my grandfather.
He is always alone.
He wears a wedding band.
And he walks with a cane. Walking might be overstating it.
He moves painstakingly slow, barely gaining six inches with every step.
Ironically, I’ve seen him leave a shoe store called the "Runner’s Factory” on more than one occasion.
What I admire about him is that as slow as he moves, he keeps on moving.
I can be so easily discouraged by lack of progress that I forget inching toward my destination will still get me to my destination.
Then I see this old man. He walks all over town, one snail step at a time.

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Monday, June 9, 2008

I am the opposite of a tech geek.
I don’t own an iPod. I’ve never downloaded a song or uploaded a photo. (The picture on this page is here thanks to my husband.)
But I do love cell phones, and I’m giddy over today’s announcement that next month Apple will sell its latest and greatest edition of the iPhone for $200.
Looks like I’ll be celebrating Christmas in July.

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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Is there a way to have what I want now? Right now.
Before I win the lottery, quit my job, start a company.
Before I’m famous or published.
Before I’m a mother or married for 50 years.
Now. Among the circumstances of my life as it currently exists.

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Saturday, June 7, 2008

Saturdays slip through my fingers.
I’m always sad to see them go.

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Friday, June 6, 2008

So I’m reading a book about marriage, and the author summarized some helpful questions to consider. I liked them so much, I thought I would share.

1. What does God want from my life?
2. What does God want from my mate’s life?
3. What must we do to help each other come closer to fulfilling this mission every day?

~ Questions courtesy Gregory K. Popcak’s book, “For Better … Forever!”

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

The economy is shaky.
We’re hearing we should cut back on frivolous expenses.
Yet I’m putting wrinkle cream on the top of my shopping list.
I bought some last year soon after turning 30.
Despite the serum’s initial reaction of making the skin around my eyes red, I used the whole damn bottle.
But that bottle’s been empty for months, and my precious skin has had to fight its own battles against fine lines and wrinkles.
I don’t want to panic, but it’s time to call in reinforcements.
I am hereby asking for recommendations.
If you have a beauty secret, for crying out loud, share it with me.
There’s no reason my face needs to look as depressed as the economy.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

“Is it your birthday today?” I asked the young girl wearing a tiara.
“Yes,” she replied with enthusiasm.
“Today is my birthday, too,” I confessed.
We couldn’t believe the coincidence.
My young friend, Emma, was turning 12.
She was born the year of the rat, is about to finish the sixth grade, and had her very long hair cut to her shoulders earlier today.
I had to think for a moment before I could recall that I was born the year of the snake. I told her I was 31 and took the day off work, which she could do for her birthday when she’s older, too.
It was a great little chat she and I had at the restaurant where both her family and my husband had taken us to celebrate.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I’ve never liked the phrase, “No good deed goes unpunished.”
It’s so pessimistic and I’m not.
But those were the words I exclaimed to my parents when I opened a letter sent to me at their address.
Apparently, the 1992 Saturn I donated to a local Redding charity before moving back to the Bay Area two years ago has been sitting in a towing yard since May 10.
I recall filling out paperwork regarding the donation and transfer of ownership. I even received a receipt for tax purposes when the charity later sold the vehicle.
But the DMV seems to have been left out of the loop.
So the towing yard kindly wrote to tell me that I owe them more than $700 and my debt continues to rise at a rate of $43 a day pending the lien sale of the vehicle for which I am still the registered owner.
This isn’t the first car I gave away, which seriously makes me wonder if there isn’t a very beat up ‘84 Mercedes somewhere in Arizona with my name on it.

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Monday, June 2, 2008

I have to go to bed now. I woke up too early this morning, so all my thoughts have already gone to sleep, except for the really boring ones that simply list off the tasks on my to do list.
And really, you have your own list of to dos and don’t need mine.

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

A boy who looked about 12 nearly collided head-on with our stopped car as he skated around a corner this afternoon.
Cell phone in hand, thumb on the keypad, eyes on the display.
He didn’t realize he was feet from crashing into our windshield until my husband honked the horn.
So add this to the list of warnings for your kids:
Skateboarding and text-messaging do not mix.

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Saturday, May 31, 2008

My husband came home, scrunched up his nose and made a face.
“It smells kind of weird, huh?” I said.
“What happened?” he asked, unable to place the scent.
“Well, I was throwing out that mouthwash we’ve had for a long time, so I poured it down the kitchen sink,” I explained.
My husband nodded.
“It smelled really strong, so I decided to try to cancel it out with vinegar,” I continued.
My husband nodded again.
“Oh, and I also made hard-boiled eggs for dinner.”
“Well,” he said.
“Maybe I should light a candle,” I offered.
My husband didn’t say anything. Instead he opened the kitchen window, set up a huge fan over the sink and went outside to pick three lemons from our tree.
“It smells horrid in here,” he finally declared as he squeezed the lemon juice down the drain.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

I’ve been struggling. Certain things feel more difficult than they should.
Frustration fights to eclipse joy.
And then a thought occurs to me: What I lack is maturity.
I’m sure it’s not the only thing I lack.
But the revelation is consoling.
I can still grow up to be who I want to be.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Every month we receive a copy of Costco Connection, “a lifestyle magazine for Costco members.”
I pay little attention to this periodical, but my husband reads it.
We joke that someday he will be on the cover.
Tonight he stumbled on a brief story outlining the four things all successful people do.
According to Brian Tracy, chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, successful people set clear goals; take risks beyond their comfort zones; accept feedback and self correct; and never give up.
After reading that my husband concluded: “God is talking to me through Costco.”

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My husband observed, through the rearview mirror, a couple in the car behind him not speaking to each other.
He couldn’t tell if they were mad or indifferent or if they had fallen out of love.
He simply noticed that neither one was talking.
“We do that,” I said as he described the couple to me.
“We do?”
“Sure. You usually think something is wrong with me.”
“I don’t know,” my husband said. “I can’t imagine silence for more than two stoplights.”

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Show me your flaws.
I lack all patience when faced with perfection.
Not that we all shouldn’t try to be good, even great, in our own ways.
It’s just that I need to know someone is as broken as me or was broken and is now healed before I really, truly let her into my heart.
Childish and selfish, I know.
But it helps envy from getting the better part of me.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day weekend is an anniversary for us.
Two years ago, we traded our life as journalists to be the captains of our own ship.
The sailing has not always been smooth.
We’ve been caught in storms and thrown about by waves.
More than once, water has filled our tiny boat and sinking seemed inevitable.
But somehow, miraculously, we have stayed afloat.
We’ve learned to navigate. We’ve learned to expect the storm and the clear skies that follow.
Mostly we’ve learned that things go best when we cling to each other and have faith that God is with us.

“He got into a boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep. They came and woke him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We are perishing!’ He said to them, ‘Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?’ Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm. The men were amazed and said, ‘What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey.’ ”

~ Matthew 8:23-27

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday is so much happier when Monday takes the day off.

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

My musical debut was a disaster.
The crowd called my performance unconscious.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

It's late. We're at our friends' house. We are about to play Rock Band.
I'm being beckoned because I'm needed on stage ASAP.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

I stayed up really late last night trying to accomplish all of my undone chores.
The only thing I achieved was exhausting myself.
At 5 a.m., a sing-song of birds chirping disrupted my all too brief sleep.
Their cheerfulness about the morning is so obnoxious.
I kept thinking, “Birds, I know Shannon loves you but you are really annoying me right now. Please be quiet.”
During my lunch, I resorted to taking a nap on the floor of my husband’s office so I could make it through the day.
I had to return to work with pillow-crease across the left side of my face.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I need to go back to kindergarten or whichever grade it was in which I should have learned how to finish one project before starting another.
Piles of receipts surround me thanks to my January resolution to Quicken our personal and business finances.
The couch is covered with clothes due to my closet cleaning from three Sundays ago.
And a mix of toiletries currently resides underneath the coffee table as a result of a reorganization project I took up Saturday.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I heard Yael Naim’s hit song on the radio tonight, and I couldn’t help but think, what if we are all new souls?
Even at almost 31. Even when we are 91.
In contrast with eternity, even 120 would seem quite young and new.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

My husband likes to say less is more.
I like to say more is more.
He says that’s only true if I’m talking about chocolate or money.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Eye rolling. Such an important skill in adolescence.
I took it so seriously I practiced to make sure it was good and dramatic.
As a teenager, I tried very hard to look like Winona Ryder when I rolled my eyes, but I can’t remember if it was her character in “Beetle Juice” or “Reality Bites” that I mirrored.
Today I saw a 14-year-old boy roll his eyes three times in less than a minute.
It appeared to be an automatic reaction to the mere mention of his mother, who I happen to know is a lovely lady.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

My sister teaches a kindergarten-first grade combo class.
As a writing assignment, she asked her first graders to complete the following well-known idioms.
She gave them the first half of the sentence, they filled in the rest.
“Two’s company, three’s work.”
“Never bite the hand that tastes yucky.”
“A penny saved is one cent.”
“You can lead a horse to water but don’t let it in the house.”
“Strike while the other team isn’t looking.”
“The grass is always greener than brown.”
“Happy is the bride who got married.”
“Never underestimate the power of a seed.”

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Friday, May 16, 2008

A wine-themed wedding.
Tables named after vineyards.
Small bottles as favors.
A honeymoon of tasting planned in Vancouver.
Intentional details all of them except the glass of red down the bride’s white dress.
Not a tear did she shed. Not a mad moment expressed.
Instead a thank you to the clumsy guest for giving her an excuse out of her too-tight dress.
I say fill a glass and raise it high. Cheers to a truly happy bride!

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

The internet is down (or was when I wrote this). Our cable is out. And if we had a home phone, that would be dead, too.
I realize these are luxuries, but if you live in Silicon Valley, high-speed internet seems as basic as running water.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I’ve never really had an opinion regarding aliens or life on other planets.
Life on earth gives me plenty to ponder.
But, theoretically speaking, if I were God and I had some free time on my hands, why not create life in other galaxies?
The Vatican’s chief astronomer said this week that the possibility cannot be ruled out.
And I agree. Who am I to limit what God can do?
What really makes my imagination spin is Father José Gabriel Funes’ speculation life on other planets could be free of original sin.
“They might have remained in full friendship with the Creator,” he was quoted as saying during an interview with L’Osservatore Romano.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Please meet my friend Minal.
She’s brilliant and beautiful and clever with words.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

I’ve said this before, but I really believe it. When we doubt ourselves, it is the devil’s voice we hear.
I became certain of this a year or two ago as I was getting ready for Sunday Mass.
I looked in the mirror and heard the voice inside my head, my voice, adamantly proclaim, “You’re so ugly!”
That thought not only filled me with doubt. It filled me with shame.
And I knew that was not the voice of God.
Today’s scripture reminded me of that experience and the importance of being confident in the Lord:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it. But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, since he is a man of two minds, unstable in all his ways.”
~James 1:5-8

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

I know I have a gift for pointing out the obvious, but it occurred to me today that nobody comes into this world without a mom.
How important mothers must be to God if he made it mandatory for everyone to have one.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

The bride, a new mom, gave a speech about how the last year or so of her life “has all been unplanned and perfect.”
Unplanned and perfect?
I don’t usually put those words together.
I like to have a plan, and I feel far from perfect without one.
But this bride, with her sweet toast to her guests and groom, made me question the illusion of control I have on my life.
She made me think of all the great things that can happen even if we don’t plan for them.

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Friday, May 9, 2008

Earlier this week, I got a voicemail from my mom. She had read bits of my blog that day and didn’t know what to make of it.
“So should I take it as a compliment sometimes the things you say about me … or should I just be careful with what I say now because it will end up on a blog someplace?”
In my defense, the fact that my parents are hilarious shouldn’t be held against me, I told my mom when I called her back.
And yes, it’s a compliment. It means I thought you were funny.
And no, don’t be careful. My writing would suffer.

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Thursday, May 8, 2008

“For whatever exists and is not God, has received its being from him by creation, receives it indeed at each instant by conservation (which is an incessantly renewed creation) …”
~ Father Jean-Pierre de Caussade, S.J., 1751

I like the idea of being an incessantly renewed creation. I’d especially like to be recreated into a highly organized person who enjoys housework and exercise and bursts out of bed at 6 a.m. with an unnatural amount of energy.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

“Make a 1 inch slit in overwrap.”
How did frozen food manufacturers come up with the 1 inch portion of this direction? I’m sure the ventilation is important, but I know from years of experience it doesn’t matter if the slit is one inch or eight.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Him: “I think I got your sigh.”
Me (known for dramatically deep sighs since my teenage years): “Do you think it means you’re stressed?”
Him: “No. I think it means I spend too much time with you.”

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Monday, May 5, 2008

Sometimes when I don’t know what to blog about my husband offers suggestions.
Tonight he said, “maybe you could write about the roses and how pretty they are.”
Oh, but really I can’t. Not like that. Not without any inspiration behind it.
I’ve been admiring the roses in bloom for more than a week now, but their beauty seems so unhinged from every other thought I’ve had.
When I look at them in all their splendor, I don’t think about anything else.

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

“The Karate Kid” and the “The Karate Kid II” were on TV today.
While my husband made fun of the acting, I was struck by the Christian undertones, which I completely missed as a child.
If I were taking a film class or a theology class, I could write a paper on Mr. Miyagi as God the Father.
But since I’m thankfully not in school, I’ll just post the abridged version of my thoughts here.
1. It all starts with Mr. Miyagi’s seemingly obscure tasks for Daniel: wax on, wax off; sand the floor; paint the fence.
What in the world is Daniel doing all this work for, the poor boy just wants to learn some karate. It’s the same for us.
Not that we all want to be black belts, but sometimes the circumstances of our lives seem rather abstract and detached from any real meaning.
At least that’s true for me.
I often don’t realize I’m in the middle of learning something really important until the lesson is done. And then I’m as surprised as Daniel was when he realized all those endless chores were the foundation of exactly what he wanted and needed to learn.
2. Mr. Miyagi is exceedingly generous toward Daniel.
He teaches Daniel karate, gives him a car, saves him from spending a summer in Fresno by letting him travel to Okinawa with him.
Most significantly, he gives Daniel a karate uniform with his family emblem on it, and he treats Daniel as though he were his son.
This is God the Father -- generous, loving, attuned with the needs of his children.
3. Finally, my favorite similarity between God and Mr. Miyagi is mercy.
Mr. Miyagi is merciful and he teaches Daniel to be merciful, to give others more than they deserve.
At the beginning of the sequel, Mr. Miyagi has the opportunity to kill John Kreese, the sensei from the competing dojo, a man who believes in no mercy.
Mr. Miyagi repeats what he has heard Kreese teach his students, “Mercy is for the weak … when man confronts you, he is the enemy, enemy deserve no mercy.”
But instead of killing him, he honks his nose and lets him go.
God’s mercy is in loving us and forgiving us even when we don’t deserve it. And really, who among us could call themselves worthy of God’s love.
Scripturally, we see this in the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the prodigal son.

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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Smart and pretty.
Two words that should always go together because intelligence is beautiful.

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Friday, May 2, 2008

A victim of overuse, my slim, sexy pink Razor is coming apart at the hinges.
It’s been talked to near-death, and I have the records to prove it.
Last month, I spent 1,968 minutes on the phone.
That’s 32.8 hours, which seems rather moderate compared to the 42 hours I spent spreading holiday cheer in December.
Miraculously, I’m never over my minutes. I just wish I could dedicate myself to exercise with the same fervor I have for talking.

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

I listened tonight to a priest talk about the vocation of marriage.
He referred to the delicacy of love.
I liked the phrase because I thought it was pretty. But the more I pondered it, the more I understood what he was trying to convey.
Love is fragile. It requires gentleness.

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A sign I’m related to my mother:
Tonight, while watching TV, I said, “This is about to get Jerry Seinfeld.”
My husband said, “Don’t you mean Jerry Springer.”

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Have I mentioned my husband is an extremely talented photographer? It’s true.
Have I told you I never let him take my picture?
Well, I let him, but I complain about it.
This is because he likes to take my picture when I feel and look my absolute worst.
My hair is bad. My complexion is bad. My mood is bad. I’m not wearing any make-up or I don’t like the clothes I’m in. I would like to prepare myself for the camera. Couldn’t we schedule this?
But he doesn’t work that way. He likes to be spontaneous. He sees pretty light and wants me to stand in it. It really makes no difference to him whether I’ve showered.
The thing is I also complain that he doesn’t take my picture enough and why is it I married a photographer and have no decent photographs of myself.
Poor guy. Life is so unfair to artists.

By the way, if you are not on our mailing list and would like to be, please send your email address to john@johnstubler.com. You will receive a photo in your inbox every Wednesday.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Me: “Is it funny?”
Him: “Do they all have to be funny? Is that your goal?”
Me: “No. But if it’s not funny then it should be deep. Funny or deep. What else is there? Although some would argue that I’m never really deep.”
Him: “Or funny.”

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Two years ago I noticed an unflattering trend in clothing:
A-line blouses long enough to be baby-doll dresses.
I don’t know anything about fashion, but I call this style maternity.
If you’re pregnant, it’s a great look.
If you’re thin as a rail, it’s young and flirty.
If you’re neither (that would be me), it’s confusing.
But the trend is so pervasive, I have not been able to avoid it.
I currently own one dress and three tops that would easily keep people guessing. I feel like I’m setting myself up to have a stranger ask when the baby is due.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

I learned something about myself today. I can not tell a joke.
I can tell a story, but a joke requires a punch line.
Of course I learned this while telling my friend and her parents a joke.
Poor dears.
The only one laughing was my husband.
He knew the joke and knew how miserably I fouled it up.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Yesterday I learned we’re always within 8 feet of a spider.
I could have gone my whole life without that information.
It caused nightmares of the little beasts running toward me as I tried to sweep them away.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

I’m hoping none of us will need this information anytime soon.
But Costco sells caskets online.
The warehouse store’s website has an entire funeral section.
Not what leaps to mind when I think of buying in bulk.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

At the risk of sounding at though we live in utter filth, I woke up this morning with another bug on my neck.
Actually, I had been awake for awhile and was in the middle of deep thoughts about rewriting sentences when I saw in the mirror a bug crawl out from under my shirt and up my neck.
Oh, the horror!
I’d like to know how I lived 30 years without this ever happening and now it’s happened twice in less than two months.
I’d also like to know how my husband sleeping beside me has avoided being attacked.
Is it the scent of my hairspray?
In defense of my housekeeping, which I admit is poor, the sheets are washed once a week and Terminix sprays outside every few months.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Vegetarianism might be both healthy and holy.
In a brief description of Saint Theodore of Sykeon, it says: “He embarked upon a life of severe penance, subsisting on a meager vegetable diet.”

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Monday, April 21, 2008

For the person who has everything, the Dollar Tree now offers gift cards available in any amount starting at $5.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

I obviously don’t have an unbiased point of view when it comes to the Pope. But what moved me today about the news coverage regarding his Mass at Yankee Stadium was how every reporter on every station (I flipped through just to make sure) seemed won over by his joy and sincerity.

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

There was an article on MSN today about “The Panic Years,” referring specifically to the time when one is single and all of her friends are married.
Personally, I think any stage of life could be defined by panic if we let it.
Which made me think of this alternative: Don’t panic. Ever.
While my emotional mind can’t imagine a world without the adrenaline rush provided by self-induced stress, the tiny bits of logic that live in my brain prefer this scripture:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one moment to his span of life? … But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.” ~Matthew 6:25-27, 33

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Friday, April 18, 2008

People who don’t cook probably shouldn’t volunteer to cater breakfast for 15 women on retreat.
The good news is it’s a silent retreat.
If the strata is a flop, nobody can complain about it.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Pope is in America, and my mom’s review is this:
“He speaks beautiful English.”

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I love the natural pharmacy as much as my husband loves Costco.
Maybe more.
It even has free samples although they’re usually vitamins.
But yesterday the sample tray was sporting individually wrapped “on-the-go wipettes.”
I immediately grabbed two: Basil Grapefruit scented and Citrus Galbanum made with essential oils.
I imagined saving the day with my handy, pocket-sized wipes.
The next time a child’s face or fingers needed to be cleaned in a pinch, I would be ready.
My preparedness would make me a hero.
The wipes were in my bag today when I noticed the brand name “SweetSpot” and the outline of a woman’s figure on the packaging, a tiny triangle indicating her most private part.
“What are these?” I thought as I began to blush.
I quickly scanned the small print for more information.
“A luxury wipette to keep your sweet spot set.”
“For purse, boudoir, and powder room. Instant girlification whenever you need it.”
“Keep out of reach of children.”
Oh my gosh! I picked up free samples of “intimate grooming” wipes.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Excuse my bathroom humor. But the words “American Standard” engraved on toilet handles strikes me as funny.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

If you don’t have to show your ID to the pharmacist, you are wasting your money.
A week of DayQuil, NyQuil, Yin Chiao, Kombucha and Claritin did nothing but batter my liver.
One tiny, genuine 12-hour Sudafed kept me congestion-free all day.
There’s a reason the government requires a driver’s license and signature for this stuff.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Late Saturday, I made an emergency call to my brother.
My husband and I were locked inside a church and needed him to come get us out.
How did this happen? Oh, I wish I had an easy explanation.
Let me just say we’ve been going to this particular church nearly every day since Ash Wednesday and never once during that time have we come even remotely close to getting locked inside.
And really, what is family for if not to answer your midnight call and retrieve you from whatever cell you might find yourself trapped.
Just don’t expect them to be altogether happy about it.
“Normal people stay home and have sex on a Saturday night. Why couldn’t you have done that,” my brother chastised when he and my dad arrived to our rescue about a quarter to 1 a.m.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

My dear Queen Bee, otherwise known as Best Friend With Four Kids, started a blog today. Understandably, she does not have time to write.
But my hope is if we show up to read, she will continue to share her borrowed wisdom with us.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

“Six-months ago, I told your mother I wasn’t going to do it. Don’t even ask me,” my dad said, explaining his case against the dreaded high school career day.
“I put my foot down,” he continued. “The night before I was telling her no. The next day I was there promptly at 8:30 a.m.”
My brother says my dad always gets the last word. It’s “yes, dear.”

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

This is a conversation I could not have without lying:
He said: “You’re not dieting, are you?”
She said: “Never in my life.”

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Here is a word that is not really a word and the use of it drives one of my dear friends crazy: Irregardless.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Here is a question I hope you will answer: Where do you get your news?
Since leaving my job as a newspaper reporter almost two years ago, I find I keep myself mostly uninformed. Or informed through osmosis via my husband.

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Monday, April 7, 2008

Today, I popped into the natural pharmacy and picked up Yin Chiao, a Chinese herbal supplement meant to put the Kung Fu on any cold or flu.

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

I feel like every conversation I had this week was about water.
Namely, what’s in it.
According to news reports, the tap is more than a source of refreshing hydration. It’s spiked with a whole range of pharmaceuticals, including estrogen, mood-stabilizers and antibiotics.

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Saturday, April 5, 2008

When left to my own devices, my blog gets written very late.
That’s because hardly anything interesting happens when I spend the day on my own. Deep down, I’m quite boring.

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Friday, April 4, 2008

Tonight my husband and I met the newest member of our dear friends’ family. Andrew. Eight pounds four ounces of perfection.
Coincidently, today’s gospel spoke of the disciple by the same name in the telling of the loaves and the fishes.
I couldn’t help but think Love multiplies everything and makes us expand into more than we were.

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

I don’t read horoscopes, but fortune cookies have been really working for me lately.
The other day I ate two cookies and this is what they said:
“You will have a chance soon to make a profitable transaction.”
“The project you have in mind will soon gain momentum.”
Let me tell you, that’s great news!
Of course, there was the one I got on Easter, which seemed about 3 years late and only half true: “You are domestically inclined and will be happily married.”

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