Friday, January 23, 2015

What Would You Do...

So, suppose you were out for your morning jog/stroll/bike—whatever you do.

It’s about seven o’clock on a Sunday morning. You’ve just passed the gates to a (gated) community of really nice houses and you’re currently running past a parking lot for a car wash and a Steak N Shake. Then you see it.

On the sidewalk in front of you lies a hundred-dollar bill.

You think, “Cool! Is it real?” It appears to be, blue stripe and all. It’s wet from the sprinklers that ran last night.

You look back at the neighborhood gate, maybe fifteen yards back. If this bill flew out of a resident’s pocket last night as they punched in the code, this morning they’ll probably say something like, “Didn’t I have another hundred in here?”

You look at the car wash and the restaurant. If an employee of one of those places cashed their paycheck for the week and dropped the bill, they’ll probably be out here before long, frantically looking for it.

All this is speculation, of course. You have no way of knowing how the bill got there or what might happen to it.

What do you do?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Not Before Coffee

Given that I’m often sleep-deprived and stressed out, plus I do a monster marathon of chores from 6:00-7:30 in the morning, I’m a pretty easy target for kiddie brain-stoppers. You know, like gob stoppers for your thought process. They nearly killed me the other morning!

Little A kicked it off….

“Mommy, what’s a doofus?” Pause. “Is it like a midnight snack?”

So, after, I got my mind rebooted—definitely Ctrl+Alt+Esc on that one!—we figured out that he had it confused with a term his sister and cousin coined, which would be “dinfest.” Dinfest is a combo of dinner and breakfast, eaten in the middle of the night.

Oh. Don’t I feel silly.

Actually, no, I’m just lucky to still be thinking at all. He ran off to spend ten minutes finding his socks. Then S. started the dreaded guessing game.

“Mom, guess what we’re doing in PE today?”

“I don’t know, sweetie. Why don’t you tell me?”

“Can you please guess?”


“No!” (As in, duh, mom.)

“I’d like to hear. Just tell me.”

“Okay, we’re doing fitness testing.” She sounds excited.

“That’s great, sweetie.”

“Guess what I hope we’re doing today?”

She must have seen it—and I mean the “I have had IT!” look—on my face, because she moved on.

“I hope we get to do pull-ups today!”

And a little voice in my mind chirped, “Said no one, ever!” And it rim-shotted. I swear. [For the record, she went on to do the most pull-ups of anyone in her class—seven.]

Then they collaborated.

S. started again, “Guess what?”

I glared sizzling holes into her brain. She kept going, “The new Minecraft update lets you spawn baby animals in water and they won’t sink!”

I’m lost. They nearly always lose me on Minecraft. “There are animals in the sink?”

Little A. runs in and looks in the sink, “What animals?”

S. rolls her eyes and huffs, “I told Mommy that the new Minecraft update lets you spawn baby animals in water and they won’t sink.”

Little A. says, “Awesome!”

Big A. said, “C’mon, Little A., time for school!”

I said, “Awesome!”

Lingering Bias

I've heard it said that prejudging people by their weight constitutes the "last socially acceptable prejudice."* I think that might be overstating the case just a bit.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m basically privileged to move through life without an obvious calls to ignorant pre-judgment—because that’s what prejudice is, judging in advance of knowing.

Except that I’m short, blonde, female, quiet, and tidy.

None of that in any way prevents me from being strong as heck, smarter than the average bear, tough as nails, a fantastic leader, and a lot of fun.

But people think it does. Big A. recently said to me that he wouldn’t have really believed that women face a bias in today’s world if he hadn’t seen the way I’m treated when it comes to home repairs and cars, for example. (For the record, he feels that way because it wouldn’t occur to him judge women’s aptitudes as categorically different.) And, as he said, “You usually know more about cars than I do!”

That’s because I was blessed to know a mechanic who didn’t see a “girl” but someone who was fascinated by how all this stuff worked. He took the time to teach me what did what in my car and why it broke and how to fix it.

Our bodies are just vessels for our spirits.

Ah, yes, but what about our demeanor? Our actions? How we choose to present ourselves? Surely it’s okay to judge people—a little bit—on that?

I'm currently--and very slowly, out of respect for my blood pressure--reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. As I told a friend, parts of it make me want to "rise up and politely ask my close friends to consider acting on behalf of introverts, if the spirit moves them to do so."

The Introvert Revolution, available in armchairs near you.

But seriously, why do people constantly assume, for example, that I lack authority? I assure you, my children will testify otherwise. I am not loud. I only speak when I have something to say. But if I go to the mat for something, I am all in. My word is solid. Not to mention that I understand and deliberately use all kinds of mad leadership skills in many situations. So why do people see me as a pushover?

Here’s another one that just baffles me. I had a friend decline an invitation to my house because she couldn’t bring her kids over—it’s too neat. But I invited her, so…you would think that I’d thought it through and decided I’d enjoy the company in my house. Did I somehow lack credibility?

Besides, can you imagine saying to someone, “I can’t bring my kids to your house. It’s too messy”? They’d post that comment on the internet, there would be trolls, Today Moms would do a fluffy article on it…. Total madness.

But I’m not just talking about me here. At least, I’m only talking about me to get to the big point. So this is not a pity party or a call to action. Well, not really. Or maybe it is a call to action. Yes, it is.

With my deeply hidden authority, I ask you to make a mess of your neatly labeled lives. Forget what you see, ignore these vessels we travel through life in. Speak truth in love and act as if others do the same. Be Quakers, for crying out loud.

Speak truth in love and listen, one spirit to another, in all the beautiful and endless possibilities those spirits hold.

That’s all, folks. Do that and we’ve just saved the world.

Speak truth in love and listen.

*For the record, in case the whole post doesn’t make this clear, I find no such biases acceptable.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Attention, Please

I'd like to increase my readership this year. I love you all, but I want more, More, MORE! <Laughs maniacally>

I'm mostly kidding. But this is supposed to work.

I no I'm an editor, but I would of probably started writing as a career, if I cold find a way to make money at it. Is their any money in writing in the 2010's?

Let me suscribe a seen for you.

Its winter, women hurry by in fir coats. Reefs hang on doors, ready for the holidays. A gentle snow continues on falling. People, rushing bye with presence.

Oh, my word. I cannot do this one second longer. Holy wow, that was hard!

Did it work?

Many thanks to my friend Samantha for posting this where I could find it!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Happy New Year

As I'm making room in my life for more writing this year and--hold me accountable, Dear Readers--hoping to vlog a spoken word poem before the year's end, I decided to begin the year with a few writerly fireworks: sparkly, fun, and ephemeral. Yay!

So, I began 2015 by feeling very, very old. Harry Potter has become a household topic of conversation as Little A. and his dad finish up the first book. And the other day, S. referred to Harry himself as "born in the late 1900s."

I opened my mouth to correct her, then stopped, jaw swinging open a bit--as tends to happen with us ancient fossils from the last century. Harry Potter was, in fact, born in the late 1900s.

Luckily, I have hope for the future. It's strawberry season here in sunny Florida. We had strawberries for dessert the other night and happened to have a huge can of whipped cream, so we went crazy. I mean, with fruit for dessert, a little processed dairy is fine, right?

So Little A. got the can out of the fridge, but Big A. snagged it first. He said, grinning, "Pretend I'm Uncle Sam. I'm taking a whipped cream tax before you get some on your fruit." Little A. played along, but--once HIS portion of whipped cream was securely in his bowl--said, "Who's Uncle Scam?"

All in all, we spent a quiet holiday season, enjoying family time and a respite from the beautiful business of our lives. I counted my blessings again and again, especially the two biggest blessings, the amazing souls who joined our family on this wild journey.

Thanks to them, I have a bigger heart and a much quicker brain. Thanks to them, my husband and I have grown closer than we imagined possible. Thanks to them, I have deeper fears and higher hopes. Thanks to them, I think before I speak--at least, far, far more often than I used to. Thanks to them, I do those things that I always wanted to try. Thanks to them, I laugh so much.

Thanks to them, I look at everything differently.

Even apples.

Apple Fort by Little A.

Apple Fish by S.