Saturday, February 28, 2009

Fashion Advice

Me: “What do you think of her outfit?”
Him: “I think it is something you should not duplicate.”


Friday, February 27, 2009

Boxed Heart

When you experience a break-up, you really are broken. Pieces of you spill all over the place. Which is why my sweet hygienist told me about her ex-boyfriend while cleaning my teeth.
He called last night, and everything he said was “stale because it was all stuff he should have said four months ago,” she explained.
They dated for 2 1/2 years.
"I've taken your pictures down," she told him. But she told me she couldn't throw them out, at least not yet.
"They're in a box. A nice box, under my bed. ... Maybe that's why I'm not sleeping well."


Thursday, February 26, 2009

A La Shannon

A sentence, OK four, for my collection:
“In a world of disorder and disaster and fraud, sometimes only beauty can be trusted. Only artistic excellence is incorruptible. Pleasure cannot be bargained down. And sometimes the meal is the only currency that is real.”
~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

My eyes have cataracts. Tiny blind spots the optometrist said formed when I was in my mother’s womb. A birthmark of sorts. One that my mind has always been able to ignore.
I was thinking about these blind spots, the ones we don’t even know exist, when I was getting ashes crossed on my forehead.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Last Night

“I heard we’re celebrating a 35th wedding anniversary and a 27th birthday,” the waiter said.
“Yeah, she’s 27,” my brother said pointing to my mother. Without blinking, he wrapped his arm around my sister and said, “Thirty-five years.”


Monday, February 23, 2009


Thirty-five years of marriage and my poor father can’t keep his kids’ names straight. Ask him to write a list, and you’ll get alternative spellings and mixed-up middle names. These are the details meant for my mother.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

John says …

Time flies when you work the weekend.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dad’s Advice

When your to-do list makes you want to scream and you can actually feel stress thickening the air around you, ask yourself:
1. Is it life or death?
2. Do you have the resources to handle it on your own?
3. Do you need a paramedic, firefighter or police officer?


Friday, February 20, 2009

Back to the Future

“You’ll never guess what I saw today,” he said.
“What?” I replied.
“I saw someone using a pay phone. I almost took a picture of the person using the pay phone with my iPhone.”


Thursday, February 19, 2009

La Villa

As my family ate plates of ravioli at 9 o’clock at night, my dad happily stated this is how families eat dinner in Italy every night.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lost & Found

I didn’t recognize the out of area phone number, and when the woman mispronounced my last name, I thought I’d made a mistake in answering. She said she was with AAA, and a man had called to report finding my purse with my towing card inside.
“What kind of scam is this,” I thought to myself as I listened to the lady explain that she did not give the man any of my information, but said she would call me with his.
“A complicated scam,” I concluded.
But as she was talking, I was searching my purse (which I had) for my wallet (which I did not have).
I took the name and the local number. I arranged to meet him at a gas station.
As John drove, I prayed that my good Samaritan named Kevin wasn’t hoping to kill me.
But we could tell right away that Kevin was a nice guy. He just wanted to give me my wallet, and he had gone out of his way to do so. He said he was on his way to a meeting and wasn’t even going to stop at the store, but he felt like he had to.
“As soon as I opened the door of my truck, I saw your wallet on the ground,” he said. “It’s a God thing.”


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Good Meal

Mark 8: 14-21
Now the disciples had forgotten to bring any bread; and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And Jesus cautioned them, saying, "Watch out--beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod." They said to one another, "It is because we have no bread." And becoming aware of it, Jesus said to them, "Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?" They said to him, "Twelve." "And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?" And they said to him, "Seven." Then he said to them, "Do you not yet understand?"

My family is all about food.
Our conversations about any experience start with what we ate.
We spare no detail in describing our meals.
And we all love a good piece of bread.
So I can understand the disciples’ anxiety over a forgotten loaf.
But poor Jesus. He has never let them go hungry, and still they worry. “Do you not yet understand?” he finally asks.
I hear myself respond, “I will always have enough to eat. I will always have enough.”


Monday, February 16, 2009

Sit, Boo Boo, Sit

If in the damp, dark, cold of night, a stranger’s dog charges you, the best you can hope for is a golden retriever named Kelly. Even then you might notice your hands clenched defensively in front of your face and your elbows locked tight against your chest.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Speedy Quick

“If you ever walk with your mother, don’t get distracted or she’ll be 50 yards ahead of you before you notice,” my dad tells me. “She walks as fast or faster than she talks and with as much stamina. That’s impressive.”


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Love like an Onion

The first valentine gift I gave John was a book of poems containing a poem a day.
Carol Ann Duffy’s “Valentine” marks February 14.
The reference to a wedding ring and the fact we’d only known each other for two months almost stopped me from buying the book.


Not a red rose or a satin heart.

I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light
like the careful undressing of love.

It will blind you with tears
like a lover.
It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief.

I am trying to be truthful.

Not a cute card or a kissogram.

I give you an onion.
Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
possessive and faithful
as we are,
for as long as we are.

Take it.
Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring,
if you like.

Its scent will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife.

~ Carol Ann Duffy


Friday, February 13, 2009

Oh, How Romantic

The 20-something-year-old at the counter told me she was happy to have tomorrow afternoon off work so she could celebrate Valentine’s Day.
“Oh, do you have a boyfriend?” I asked, playing into her excitement.
“Well, I’m dating this guy,” she said, kind of shy about it.
“How long have you been dating?” I asked, obviously this must be a new romance.
“About a year.”
Regrettably, I did not offer this poor girl my advice. I smiled and left without her having to hear an earful from the old, married, and, might I mention, happy likes of me.
As a matter of clearing my conscience, let me say if you cannot call a man your boyfriend after dating for a year, it is without a doubt time to move on.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Vantage Point

Imagine God’s perspective.
He sees the whole picture and every problem is small.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009


One sentence shouldn’t be hard. But sometimes it’s a lot of work.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

For a Friend …

Sometimes we can’t give each other what we need.
This is always somewhat of a tragic revelation, even if the instance is isolated and temporary.
An inability to soothe the wound of a loved one is, to me, one of the most dreadful human experiences.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Winter Night

It’s not the moon I see, but the sun.
Not the sky. The deep blue sea.
Clouds, no! Those are waves crashing on a celestial shore.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

In College …

At a taqueria promising burritos the size of your head, I picked up a postcard that said: Skepticism is a virtue.
Turns out that postcard was right.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Mix ‘n’ Match

My mom wants you to have a happy holiday.
You can pick which holiday.
She currently has a Valentine’s Day flag hanging outside her house, a Christmas wreath on her front door and a pumpkin and scarecrow on the porch.


Friday, February 6, 2009

Big Red

“You look pretty,” my husband said, flattering me during our weekly Friday lunch date.
“Thank you because tomorrow my face is going to be discolored by this zit,” I said, pointing to my chin.
“Oh my gosh. That thing is huge. It looks like you were bit by a bird.”
He really hadn’t noticed until I pointed it out -- proof that love is blind.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

It’s Already Broken

In a book called, “When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair,” is a chapter titled, “Remind Yourself That It’s Already Broken.”
In this chapter are these two sentences:
“The nature of things is that if they don’t get lost, they get stolen, and if they don’t get stolen, they get broken, and if they don’t get broken, they fade or fall apart. This law applies to teacups, cars, people, sweaters, pets, computers, earrings and just about everything you can touch or buy or have.”
I read these sentences years ago, but they came back to my mind today. Isn’t Geneen Roth wise?


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

For the Record

I find no danger in questions. Ask as many as you can think of.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sirach 2:1-2

“My child, if you aspire to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for an ordeal. Be sincere of heart, be steadfast, and do not be alarmed if disaster comes.”


Monday, February 2, 2009

An Italian Girl’s Wish

I want people to come to my house hungry knowing they will be fed. This is a lofty wish for a girl who doesn’t really cook.
But wishes are meant to be big.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Dream Big

I don’t know what year it was, but my grandpa told me that when his wages were $30 a week, his boss and manager called him into the boss’ office.
My grandpa worked in the produce department of a grocery store.
“They asked me, ‘How much would you like your wages to be,’ ” my grandpa recalls. “I don’t know what made me say it. I must have been crazy, but I told them, ‘$75.’ More than double what I was making.”
“Did they give you the raise?” I asked, practically on the edge of my seat.
“Oh, yes. Right there on the spot. They made me a manager.”


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