Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day 42 (or: Garden Party with The Soprano's)

I have a brand new obsession:  The Soprano's.  I'm currently beginning season 5, and haven't been able to put a finger directly on the appeal of it.  But boy is it appealing.  Goombas...Goomas...Italian food and a whole heck of a lot of moral ambiguity.  Or straight up moral ineptitude.  Take your pick.  Either way, I'm loving it, and am relishing spending the Holy Day immersed in the disgusting under-belly of New Jersey in my own living room, no less.  Heaven.

But the REAL good things that were the bulk of my work today, involved coordining soccer snacks, hot drinks, canopy for a cold game, coach gifts, kid gifts, and working on a gift certificate for my church's annual service auction and dinner.  My "service" being a garden party hosted in the gorgeous garden made possible by said church.  My beautiful yard was made possible by my fellows at church (more than 30 of them) who, 2 1/2 years ago, came to the house with cuttings, clippings, snippings, bulbs, seeds and divisions from their own yards. 

My first spring in this home was a constant surprise, watching things I didn't know were there coming out of the ground, watching cuttings grow by leaps and bounds.  My yard, which is one of my very favorite things in my life, is entirely the result of the love from my church.

Day 42 of One Thousand Days, I made my pledge of $200.00 in service to my fellows.  Lovely fellows.

42 down, 958 to go.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day 41 (or: 'Nough Said)

Last day of 24 weeks of chemotherapy treatment.  Today.  'Nough said.

Day 41 of One Thousand Days:  Yellow roses of joy for you, Mom.

41 down, 959 to go.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day 40 (or: Vitamin D, I need It)

February of 2010 was a very satisfying month in blogging terms.  In One Thousand Days blog terms, at any rate.  Don't believe me?  Take a look back at it and check out what I was up to.

Funny to realize that only 9 months ago I was still trying to recover from the badness of the Bad Relationship.  Happy to report that that's over (thank only took One Thousand Days and nine months, but I finally shrugged him off). 

Today's a new day, as is every day, and what a lovely day it is!  After the Great Monsoon of November 9, 2010 (Garfields and Marmadukes), today is a crisp, sun-shiny, lovely day which more than makes up for yesterday.  Much like these One Thousand Days more than make up for the previous One Thousand Days.

I realize that I haven't checked with Holly about the appropriateness of my "good"-ing in quite some time.  I'm sure that I can fairly well guess that her response to any questions about recent posts would be to say:  "Boring."  She's right.  Or she would be if I actually asked for her opinion.  Especially in comparison to last February.  All I can say in remedy is:  Wait for it...wait for it. 

Now, I should say, that several people have doubted me when I say "wait for it", but that's to their detriment.  I do tend to pull out the stops and make things happen when I actually set my mind to it.  And usually the results are worth waiting for.  Not always.  But usually. 

I must say that I'm appreciating my own mental transitions about this blogging business.  In 9 months (and in only 40 days of the possible 180), I've gone from overzealous dedication, to dismayed detachment, to resentment (yes, I resented this blog for a while), I find it interesting to realize that in reality, every day I DO do something "good" regardless of my willingness or intention, and regardless of whether I blog it or not.  I can only report that this realization is an important one.  Sometimes, just when we feel that there's just no good in our lives, it's nice to truly analyze and be able to say that...yes there is.  Even if it's not grand.  I'm rambling, and Holly wouldn't approve, so I'll just say this: 

Day 40 of One Thousand Days (which should be more in the 180 range) is a sparkly, warmish November day, and if nothing else, the vitamin D production should be up for the day.  Maybe I'll even produce enough of it to last me for a week.  And stave of the inevitable Seasonal Affective Disorder and the accompanying crankiness for a bit longer.

40 down, 960 to go.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day 39 (or: Cats and Dogs)

Oh man, am I a saint, or what?  WHAT?  No.  Really, I'm a saint, and here's why:  I woke up at 7:00 (oh, unholy hour),  cleaned the car, threw the child in the backseat, and headed off for a 2 1/2 hour long ride in the wretched rain (cats and dogs) down the windy and perilous Highway 101 all the way to Tenino. 

You're wondering why?  Alright.  I'll tell you.  The five hours of driving that I did (in total) today, netted me four hours with a favorite sister (okay, maybe all three of them are my favorite sisters) and her family.  Oh how I do love the sisters!

I have discovered, after careful experimentation, and upon critical examination, that I am bound to be in the car, driving on unkown and dangerous roads when the WORST rain EVER isn't so much falling as it is pelting at the car.  The kind of deluge where you can't see a car-length in front of you.  Where the windshield wipers can't keep up.  Cats and dogs (NOT kittens and puppies, but full grown Garfields and Marmadukes).  It's a gift.

Day 39 of One Thousand Days, I cooly navigated the buckets falling from the heavens and ate a lovely barbeque lunch/dinner with family (and then returned to the car to cooly navigate the swimming pools of water falling from the heavens).  Lovely.

39 down, 961 to go.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Day 38 (Or: NaNoWriMo)

November, sweet November, is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, for the experts in the crowd), and yesterday I actually wrote almost 2,000 words of a novel that is destined to be...well...50,000 words long.  Not a good novel.  Not an interesting novel.  Not even a gramatically correct novel.  Just 50,000 words long.  Or more.

It's off to a great start, and if I actually continue to write 2,000 words a day, I'll probably be able to make 50,000 words by the end of the month.  Interesting?  Meh.  Probably not.  But today, Day 38 of One Thousand Days, I'll write another 2,000 words of the Un-Great Novel.

38 down, 962 to go.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day 37 (or: don’t SHOULD on yourself)

I am, apparently, a fairly funny girl. I am also, apparently, a reasonably talented girl. I am also, lamentably, a funny, talented, overly-busy girl. Or maybe I’m busy in just the right ways (that is what the author of this blog SHOULD say)? Oh, and I’m also blonde, did I mention that? Not that hair-color insinuates anything other than, well, hair color, but I just thought you should know. And if you care to infer from these facts that I’m trying to say that this blog is an important outlet for this overly-busy, blonde girl, but that I’m not overly committed to it (in – I’m sorry – a blonde girl sort of a way), well, you wouldn’t be far from the mark. Obviously. Given the dearth of postings.
I like to think that most things in life are optional, and then, joyfully, those things take on a different meaning than if they’re SHOULDS or HAVE-TO’s. Because really, the only HAVE-TO’s we have as humans are shelter, sustenance, sleep and love. That last one I threw in there, not because I have empirical evidence to support the statement (although I’m SURE there is empirical evidence somewhere), but because love (Love with a capital “L” and love in its small forms as well) makes me giddy, personally, and I imagine that me without giddy would just be cranky and malevolent. And unpleasant. Being un-cranky is, after all, a HAVE-TO.

So what exactly have I been treating as if they’re SHOULDS instead of just options? Here’s a short list (and I do mean short…I could make a career out of this Doing Things business if someone would just pay me):

  • Helping sick mother (really sick)
  • Marrying dear friends (as in – I officiated at the ceremony, NOT to be confused with adopting polygamy as a lifestyle)
  • Planning and carrying on in a reception-y way (I’m a saint, aren’t I?)
  • Packing up and helping Besty move to Brazil
  • Helping ANOTHER Besty move to Olympia.
  • Crying because I lost 2 Besty’s in 2 weeks
  • Volunteering for church
  • Volunteering for Soccer
  • …Yeesh
Options, every single one of them, but NONE of them optional!

Day 37 of One Thousand Days, I acknowledge that maybe the SHOULDS are options, but they’re highly enjoyable, much needed and very rewarding options, and SHOULDN’T be lamented. Except in the losing of the Besties.  That's just aweful - what, oh what, am I going to do?

37 down, 963 to go.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Day 36 (Or: The Baby Died In The Night)

Oh.  Oh oh oh.  My poor aching heart.  I am sitting in what is usually my comfy chair (molded to fit my butt, high embracing arms, a plethora of pleasing pillows), wrapped in what is generally known as the "best blanket in the house" (big, old, fluffy, heavy - the boy and I are frequently found to be wrestling over it), neither of these giving me any comfort, waiting sadly for my son to come home so I can break the news that our little peepish baby birdie adoptee died in the night of unknown and mysterious causes.  Sniffle. 

I find it odd that my journey of One Thousand Days brings me from baby bunny to baby bird.  And that both had to die to get me to write anything.  Odd in a universe nudging sort of a way, as if some heavenly and all knowing entity were saying: "Write, you lunatic, or woe be it to all the baby animals!"  Well, frankly, although I AM posting today, and it HAS been at least three months since I've posted, and it SHOULD be an occasion of moment, it's really just a tear-filled, rainy day in August with the bittersweet hint of Fall and change in the air.

Day 36 of One Thousand Days I will bury the baby bird, find the strength to comfort the baby boy, vacuum my bedroom and eat copious amounts of chocolate.  R.I.P Filbert Leckenby.  Poo on day 36.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Day 35 (or: Fuzzy Kitty Slippers)

Sick in bed again. How’s one supposed to do good when one is in jammies and has been for 3 days? I think this calls for taking the “good” where it comes. For one thing, I can’t speak. So there’s no yelling going on. And that’s good. And I haven’t started the car in three days, so that’s good. Not polluting. And then there’s the little matter of no laundry and no dishes. Saving water (never mind that I haven’t showered since Wednesday)!

But really, I think the best thing today, Day 35 of One Thousand Days, is that I’m generously providing a nice warm cat-nap location. What’s better than a bed with a body in it for fuzzy kitty napping? Ok. It’s a bit selfish – I get to benefit from the little warm bodies as well, and what’s better than a bed full of two fuzzy napping kitties? Sliding cold toes under a fur body? Heaven. If I could utter noises other than raspy grunts, I might even sing the Hallelujah Chorus.

Day 35 down, 965 to go.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 34 (or: Meh, I’m a slug)

So, dear friend “K” says that I owe no explanations for an absence that defies explanation. She says the fact that the Darling Boy lived through the last several weeks is “good” enough. This is indeed the truth, as he was found one fine afternoon to be removing fingernail polish with bleach, and almost burned the house down. Twice.

But I say you all deserve at least a bit of a something for your steadfast nagging (you know who you are!). So here’s a list of some of the things I “did” in my absence:

  • Raised $425.00 for the Northwest Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • Walked to raise awareness for MS
  • Held several “Soup for You(p)’s” (yes, I know, this one’s just me partying with my pals, but STILL!)
  • Picked up garbage (okay, it was garbage that the neighborhood dogs had dug out of my own cans, but STILL!)
  • Planted more trees in the “open space” (alright, the trees might have died before I planted them, due to neglect, but STILL!)
  • Didn’t kill my child (not necessarily something I "did", but STILL!)
  • Watched 25 hours of Twin Peaks (I just threw this in to see if you were paying attention).
As for today? Day 34 of One Thousand Days?  Well, that's obvious, isn't it?  I wrote an entry! Pretty good, eh? Maybe one of the best things I’ve done so far? Okay. I can see by the look in your eyes and the raspberry you’re blowing at me that you’re not buying it. But really I had to just get back on the horse, so there it is. Me. Slug. Day 34 is an acknowledgement of all things slimy and slinking and slurping and slug-like. Which is to say, that it’s an apology to all 23 of my stalwart companions on this journey of One Thousand Days. You people make my day (whether it's One of One Thousand or any of the other nameless days), and it’s short shrift indeed that I’ve been so flaky.

34 down, 966 to go.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day 33 (or: Foisting Cookies)

It’s Freaky Sunday! Today Annie Parker, of The Sunday Hiker, is being Cara, and is guest-blogging on DAY 33 of One Thousand Days, while Cara is posting on Annie's blog The Sunday Hiker. We’ll have hiky goodness all around!

“I’d love to guest-blog, brilliant, fun, easy!” I said.

My guest-blogging relieves Cara of doing good for one day. Hey, that sounds like a good deed. Guess I’m done.

I know, that would be cheating, on to plan B. Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I’ve made an homage is to Day 14.  No, I didn’t smooch Bad Relationship, plan a lobotomy or bury myself in chocolate and brie... I baked cookies for the fire department!

When I was eleven, I stepped on a needle. It went clean through my foot. It’s always disconcerting to see a foreign object protruding from one’s body but especially so when home alone. One quick call to 911 and a fireman whisked me away. But there is more than romance to admire in fireman. Public servants in general are worthy of appreciation but unlike firemen most gain some power in their position. The cop, the auditor, building inspector, they can all make your life hell if they want to. But firemen are just there when you need them.

Baking cookies sounded like a good idea, until I committed to it. Then clouds of doubt rolled in. “Is foisting cookies on the fire department my definition of a good deed? In this day of overabundant caloric intakes lurking everywhere, are cookies a blessing or a curse?” If I were resident blogger for One Thousand Days, inevitably we’d get bogged down arguing the moral value of cookies regularly.

Defining “good” sounds simple but has been plaguing philosophers forever (or at least since the Hellenistic period). In these situations sometimes, it’s helpful to ask, “What would Epicurus do?” Epicurus was the “pleasure is good, pain is bad” guru of the Greek’s golden age. Unfortunately, he had one qualification on pleasure. It has to be a lasting – drunkenness and debauchery were out. But what about cookies?

It’s tempting to fall into a philosophical abyss, pontificating on Epicurean ideas mutating through the philosophical lineage landing in our own age with Utilitarians, Economists and the slogan “maximize utility” (utility being a sterile word for pleasure). But I won’t.

Good deed or not, I delivered the bedeviled cookies.

“Did we do something for you?” the fireman asked.
“Um, no,” I said, “and I hope you never have to.”
He smiled and nodded. “Thanks,” he said looking a little puzzled and a lot bit happy.

Photo credits:
Fire Truck
Epicurious Free Clip
Cookies Annie Parker

and Cara says: 33 down, 967 to go.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Day 32 (or: Here’s to all things Quirky!)

One of the many wonderful things about living in a quirky, artsy, rustic, raw and wild little seaport town is that quirky things occur without any sort of prompting or contrivance.

Things like Kinetic Sculpture races (for the Grand scale) or seagull art (on a minor scale) or the local greasy spoon standing in as a lending library.

Yes. Sea J’s Café (using the word café very loosely) is a fixture in Port Townsend. A greasy, tiny, bawdy, fixture of true local significance and culture (not to be easily usurped by the new urban yuppies and health food junkies). One room, about 15x15, with a kitchen as large, both splattered from floor to ceiling in coffee and grease and off-color jokes, pictures and bumper stickers, all presided over by the sweetest rough around the edges staff you could ever find.

If you imagine something out of a movie scene, where local fisherman dine cheaply on boxed Danish and self serve mud which stands in for coffee, you’d be just a hair shy, because not only does Sea J’s make the meanest mushroom burger, onion rings and coffee milkshake, but it also hosts an informal book exchange (color me pleasantly shocked!). Today, as I was waiting patiently (read: slobbering slightly and slamming my spork on the table in anticipation) for my grease fix (more about my lapse of no meat-cheese-and sugar-ness in some other post), I took a minute to look around (actually, you could probably take several days to look around and still not see everything) and discovered the most phenomenal book about mothering lingering amidst a stack of paperback romance novels and historical murder mysteries. When I asked about the book, the staff gave a flick of a hand and said: “oh, people just bring ‘em in when they’re done with ‘em and take ‘em when they want ‘em!”

I walked away, hands heavy with a heart-attack-in-a-bag and my new book, imagining a world where we all took our read-through books to the local diner, ate our sustaining slice of pie and left with a different book in hand. What a lovely world that would be. I then imagined sharing my lending library find, only to cause a cascading over-abundance of books being donated to Sea J’s. Where would they put them all? You’d run out of room awfully quick in a 15x15 room.

Ah well, imaginings aside, Quirky, Offbeat Day 32 of One Thousand Days I picked out some choice and not so choice books from my bookshelf and took them down to Sea J’s to replenish the stock I took and to add to this very charming little library.

32 down, 968 to go.

Sea J's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 31 (or: This is Going to Require Copious Amounts of Grease and Alcohol)

Baby bunnies? That’s nothing compared to today’s Thing. The girlie conversation started at 10:30 a.m., and the Besty didn’t leave until 7:30 at night. That’s right, one mushroom burger, a grilled cheese sandwich, one plate of greasy onion rings, one plate of crinkle fries, one shared milkshake, 2 bottles of champagne and 1 bottle of wine later, I managed to talk the Besty out of the trees and back into her 7 year committed relationship (granted, she’s a smart-as-a-whip Besty, and would have figured things out without me, I’m sure). Whew! It’s all in a days work.

And let me tell you what: Day 31 of One Thousand Days, I realize that in the face of my dear friend's 7 years of commitment and constant work on a relationship, my previous paltry and murky One Thousand Days, and future glorious 969 days is nothing but an annoying little unimportant gnat. Buzz, buzz (Somewhere, Holly once again says:  "Duh!")

31 down, 969 to go.

Day 30 (or: Brush Your Teeth…it’s important)

What a delightful day! Yes, you read that right, your eyes deceive you not, there’s no catch here whatsoever, and I’ve just experienced a lovely, delightful, engaging, fulfilling day. Me. The queen of grump. Good day. Will the miracles never cease?

I did the most quietly remarkable things for day 30, and must say that quiet is a nice way to carry on when everything seems to be so loud. Loud cats (MRAWR!) loud kids (RAWR!) loud life (GRRRRRRrrrrr!)…quiet woods!

Day 30 of One Thousand Days, the darling child and I took a lovely little detour and hit up the area natural wonder, the Rain Forest. We drove for an hour and a half, and then we dawdled up a very short but engaging trail leading to a huge waterfall. We laughed, and tripped along, paused to admire the foliage and fungus, and measured the huge cedars, basked in the mist of the waterfall and discussed the necessity of decent tooth-brushing technique (a response to what appeared to be three weeks worth of plaque built up in the childs mouth – despite having just brushed). As we were coming to the conclusion of our tooth-brushing conversation, the kid pointed at a nearby rock formation and said “oh, yeah? Well it looks like I’m not the only one who doesn’t brush his teeth!”


We wandered in the woods today as a part of a delightful new endeavor – Guest blogging! On Sunday, March 28, I’ll be guesting on my friend’s blog,, and she’ll be guesting on mine! Shake Things up a bit, and share the wealth of Things.

The day wrapped up nicely with Soup for You(p) which produced a fair amount of empty wine bottles, and saw two of my favorite girls fed with the most delectable mushroom rice soup I’ve ever made. It was yum. The whole day was yum.

30 down, 970 to go.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day 29 (or: Out of My Way! Woman With a Chip on Her Shoulder Coming Through!)

Just when it seems that you might conceivably “good” yourself to pieces, and you may actually have to resort to cookie baking again, you wake up in the morning and find your good thing is just a phone call away. And, better yet, you don’t even have to make the phone call. In other words, the “good” thing comes knocking at your door (or ringing, as it may be).

For the second time in a month, darling friend Holly provides me with the opportunity to “good” someone else. Desperately in need of medicine for the ear infection she’s developed, and too high and silly on vicodin to get herself to the pharmacy, guess who calls on who for a ride? That’s right. Good Thing accomplished by 10:30 a.m. Hah! And what’s better, she approves whole-heartedly of the return to authenticity. In fact, she pointed out a lovely little quote that goes something like this:

"You know those things about yourself that you're self conscious of? Those quirks that you're trying to hide? Those are not your weaknesses, those are your strengths." - Terry Border

What a gem.  I really should run these “good” things by Holly for approval before undertaking them (Somewhere, Holly is reading this and saying "duh!"). I think she knows better than I do when it comes to remaining real in the face of the overwhelming need to prove ones-self. Sometimes we need to rely on others for those vital reality checks. Thank the heavens I’ve got these wonderful ladies in my life (and at least one gentleman) who will tell me what’s up when I can’t figure it out for myself. It’s almost like I’ve got a Greek chorus following me around as my consciences. My life is interesting enough to qualify as a Greek tragedy, so why not have a chorus?

But you know what? Because I realize this Thing fell in my lap (and was sort of a cheat), and I should probably make a bit more of an effort, I went to the extra effort and for Day 29 of One Thousand Days I (gulp) baked cookies. For the second time in a month and a half! I’m becoming a regular Betty Crocker. Or a Happy Home-maker. Or a Happy Hooker. Oh, all right. I fess up. I baked the cookies for the Boy Scouts. Because - ok, I admit it! - yesterday in a fit of hysterical no-fun-ness I quit the Boy Scouts on behalf of my darling boy. And I wasn’t very nice about it. This can’t come as a shock, can it? You can picture the scene, right? Me and my forthrightness trying to wade through one of the most uptight bureaucracies alive in America today. Yeah. It wasn’t pretty. But hey! I made them cookies, which proves that I’m just as American as the next gal. It's just that I happen to like gay people. And I’m not a misogynist. Which makes me an American who (other than the cookie baking) is pretty much ineligible to be a Boy Scout mother. 
29 down, 971 to go.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Day 28 (or: I’m a Bad Girl, and Proud Of It!)

Well, as S.C. (Hi, you!) kindly pointed out, I’ve been gone for another stretch.

Ok. Here’s the thing. I know it's going to come as a shock, but I am not a good girl. I don’t even come close. I swear, and I cry and I can’t spell for beans and I throw minor tantrums and I harass people and I’ve been said to be “shrew-like” (granted, the person who called me a shrew was also a shrew, so I don’t know if it counts). What I’m trying to say, is that all this quitting swearing, and trying to be happy all the time really got to me. I couldn’t pull it off and felt guilty about it, and avoided the heck out of this place.  And drank a little too much red wine.

But you know what? One Thousand Days didn’t start when I joined a nunnery. They started when I killed a baby bunny. I Killed A Baby Bunny. So what was I thinking - trying to “good” the me-ness out of me? Because you know what? Sometimes, I’m an ass and I’m supposed to be an ass. Like when I point out injustice, or lay down the law (both really the same thing, but you get the idea). I AM precisely who I’m meant to be. Flawed, imperfect, radical, delightful, passionate and irreverent (and sometimes I swear and eat cheese).

And you know what else? I can also do important things. Some of them may even be good and important at the same time. But I don’t think any one of my 14 followers would tell me that I need to change who I am in order to be good, so why in the name of all that is green and lovely was I trying to tell myself that that’s what I needed to do?

I may not be a saint, but I’ve been up to some things, regardless of not having been “here”, and I like to think that these things are…well…good. Like holding a fund-raiser for my Kiddos and their coffee-shop. And hosting “soup for you(p)” again (in which I did my level best to cut off my fingers – can we say Karma?). And hosting a “Painting The Town Red” celebration dinner at my church. And planting the baby trees that I ordered last month in the open community trail next to my house. And this:

I have a delightful friend, who is ALL of the good that I would aspire to be, and who has recently been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Which is a rather un-lovely thing to happen to such a lovely person. Multiple sclerosis interrupts the flow of information between brain and body and stops people from moving. Millions of people and thousands of them in our communities are affected by MS and the challenges of living with its unpredictable symptoms. But true to form, said delightful friend keeps a smile on her face and does the things that she can to support her health, and continues to be the person who she’s supposed to be (and to be honest, MORE than the person she’s supposed to be). She’s sort of fabulous.

Interestingly and synchronistically (this may or may not be a real word), one of my admirers left a book for me to read called “29 gifts - How a Month of Giving Can Change your Life” written by Cami Walker. The book is a journey through 29 days of giving as a part of an emotional cure for a woman who suffers very terribly from Multiple Sclerosis. I was told, when “gifted” with this book that it reminded my admirer of me, except that I’m (ahem) much funnier (but how funny can you be when you’re in agony and can’t move. No fooling). Not to mention that the author of this book had 29 gifts – and me? Obnoxious, obstinate and obtuse ME? I am currently on 28 of One Thousand gifts (not to toot my own horn or anything…HONK).

At any rate, Day 28 of One Thousand Days, I and my little tiny family of 2 have pledged to walk to raise awareness and to help fund research for MS.

We’ll be walking on April 10th, along with a whole bunch of other dedicated walkers, and are already at 44% of our $250.00 fundraising goal thanks to a generous anonymous donor! Now, this blog isn’t about begging for money, but if you feel like supporting us in this endeavor, I won’t say no. And for those of you who are my neighbors, expect a knock on the door!

Did I do good? I think I need to reward myself with a tattoo.

28 down, 972 to go.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Day 27 (or: The Most Unlikely of Good Deeds)

10 days.  I'm sorry.  I've been gone for 10 days.  I've been sick, and bed-ridden and traumatized and trying to be nice.  Really, I have been.  But it hasn't worked out all that well (read: I've been a heinous hose-beast).  You try to be nice when you're sleep deprived from hacking up a lung and when it feels like there's a small human sitting on your chest!  And (go ahead, I dare you!) YOU try to be nice when you feel like the worlds crashing down your around your ears because you can't get the laundry done and the cats are taking over the house, and the Son hasn't done any homework in god only knows how long.  What's that?  You say it would be a breeze?  You say I'm being whiney?  Well, you're a better human than I.  But that's what this blog is all about, isn't it.  Me being a better human. 

Okay.  Whining, lamenting and railing is over-rated.  I have to say, that while I haven't been being nice, all the lovelies in my life have been (bless their loving hearts!).  So for all of those un-done Days, there are the heros who brought me spicy soup and sushi (thank you, Holly!), and water in the middle of the night (darling boy!), and emailed and stopped by to see if I was okay.  And all of the extraordinary people who worked hard in my absence (sweet co-workers!), and sent me worried messages and offered to make me "witches brew", and who bought me herbs and entertained my son and drove him to soccer games.

And lastly, there's the secret darling who left chocolate on my car for me to find this morning.  And guess who that darling was?  That's right.  Day 27 of One Thousand Days, the Bad Relationship did the daily good thing and left me "subtly compassionate" chocolate (he's not an admirer, he says, but at least he's not a stalker!).  He's not all terrible, Holly!  Only partially.

27 down, 973 to go.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day 26 (or: Pizza. I want it. Badly.)

Day 26. Wow. I’ve been doing good things for almost 4 weeks. And 11 people are “following” me. And I was approached on the street by a friend/reader, who found the blog amusing. And my first complete stranger commented “I love this blog!”. And my best friend’s parents think I’ve found my calling (they may be right). And the first boy joined as a “follower.” And I’ve quit swearing, quit eating dairy/sugar/meat (more on this in a minute), adopted a healthier state of mind, baked cookies, bought coffee for a stranger, planted things, done nice things for family, observed eco-Sabbath’s, and 17 other nice things.

But not today. Today I did nothing. Nothing but write about doing nothing. And watching Lord of The Rings and Harry Potter. Those of you who know me, know that these are my stress busting fallback movies. I watch them compulsively and repeatedly in order to soothe an achy brain. Why’s my brain achy? Because I’ve got a lingering horrible cough from my three weeks of illness and in the last couple of days, I

(1) had an enormous fight with my bad-website-searching son (use your imagination), and

(2) had words with my mother, and

(3) had to hold my ground with the sneaky and pathetic Bad Relationship who I really care for.  The butt.  Yes. I told him to get lost. Again. This time it didn’t take me as long – only about 6 hours – you would have been proud, and

(4) suffered the brutal slings and arrows from a Besty (which was all for the best, she prompted me to stand my ground with Mr. Bad, but was really a painful thing). Boy was I up to my eyeballs in swear words. Good time to quit swearing, huh?

And (5) I may have also had a maple bar. Or two.

Can day 26 be about allowing myself to fall down a bit? Yes. I make up the rules. I’m glad you agree. And what’s more, I’m going to further someone else’s cheese habit. Day 26 of One Thousand Days I order pizza for the neighbor. Really good pizza. And I’ll watch the pizza delivery van drive up the street, and I’ll think about all that cheesy goodness, and I’ll remember that there are other people on this planet, and they might have difficulty in their lives and they might deserve cheese, too.

26 down, 974 to go.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Day 25 (or: F*** that!)

I have to start out by reporting that we’ve stumbled on the first thing that Holly doesn’t approve of. Or, at least the first thing that she’s told me she doesn’t approve of. Partially. I have the feeling that there’s going to be an overall lack of approval of today’s thing because, let’s face it, the hard “K” sound is so very satisfying.

You all are smart enough to figure this one out (the title gives it away, right?), but you’re probably interested in the nexus of the decision (whether or not you’re interested, I’m going to tell you, so sit down and shut the h*** up). That’s right, Day 25 of One Thousand Days I’m going to stop swearing. Right after I unleash an oh-so-satisfying litany of expletives directed at several to-remain-nameless (you know who you are) situations and people.

Basically, I’ve been scolded for swearing like a sailor. By my 12 year old. And frankly, swearing just makes me more angry, when I already feel like ripping someone’s head off (again, you know who you are). Honestly, I’m afraid that if I continue to swear, things may escalate to the point where I may just have to commit BadRelationship-icide.

Thank God there are helpful articles such as this one to help me with my process. Apparently there are 213,114 other people interested in kicking the swearing habit, too (misery loves company). My favorite suggestion in this article is a warning: “If someone annoys you and you tell them to "truck off", then people will probably laugh at you. Try to ignore them.” Heh-heh. I feel better already. I’d better invest in rubber bands so I can smack my wrist every time I accidentally (I swear – no pun intended – it was an accident!) let out an occasional "d***", or a minor little "s***".

I spent a fairly entertaining morning finding a random insult generator, and a Shakespearian insult dictionary  (who knew that “The insults used today are used by the ignorant - base and coarse in comparison to the Great Bard!”)

I would just LOVE to tell someone they have “Blasting And Scandalous Breath.” Or call them a “Brazen- Faced Varlet” or a “Bacon-Fed Knave.”  Or say to someone:  "Bless me, what a fry of fornication is at the door!"

But, to follow up on Holly’s lack of approval, here’s the deal: Holly suggests (with a great deal of sentiment) that quitting swearing on the whole is in not a good deed. However, quitting swearing at certain people (you know who you are) may be. And another friend chimes in by saying that it’s the emotions behind the words that are the problem, not the words themselves.

So, if I call you a bat-fouling sniglet…that’s just as bad as calling you an as*h*l*? Geez what a conundrum. I mean it. Great googledy-moogledy, what am I supposed to do? Not feel like ripping someone’s head off? Oh. Yeah. How could I forget about Day 19?

Ah well, no more vocal pollution.

25 down, 975 to go.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Day 24 (or: What color is your…box?)

I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m fairly alternative minded. I think outside the box, and I pride myself on my ability to think outside the box. I also excel because I think outside the box. And I have fabulous friends because I think outside the box, and I make pretty remarkable decisions in my life (interesting ones, to say the least) because…yes…because I think outside the box.

Why am I so skilled with the box identification and departure, you ask? Because, I reply, of the incredible alternative education I had access to as a kid. Kindergarten through 5th grade, there were no desks for me, no prescribed curriculum, no “everyone else is doing it, so you will too”, no "See Spot Run" kind of an approach to education. It was delightful. I studied Michaelangelo and Leonardo when I was in 3rd grade (because I wanted to), learned science in the field, where it should be learned, was taught by visiting poets, artists, writers, scientists and mathematicians. And since I’m on my soap box, I’ll convey to you that the kids who were enrolled with me went on to Yale and Julliard, and have excelled as leaders and innovators. I’ve traveled my own interesting path, but I’d like to think that I’m a sort of an interesting and successful person because I had an opportunity to grow in a non-traditional way.

By the way, In case you're wondering, and as an aside, I was a spunky but horrible failure and ne’er do well in regular grade school once I got there.  Except in music and art. Because I was a rebel. And hated to be told what to do (I once took a teacher to the principal because he accused me of cheating. Spunky, alternative minded me!). But that’s another blog. Oh, and I can’t spell for beans. It might have been helpful if someone had insisted that I learn to spell. 

Why am I ranting? Ok, I’ll stop. In a minute. But first…Day 24 of One Thousand Days: Call your senators, call your representatives, call every mover and shaker you know and tell them to call their leaders in the House and the Senate. Washington State, in its budgetary woes and infinite group think bureaucratic wisdom (is my opinion showing?), is considering cutting alternative education programs for k-6. Maybe if they’d had access to alternative education, our lawmakers would be able to find a better solution. Maybe they’d be able to think outside of their red, white and blue box. Honestly.

I called. And emailed. And because I like to be just a little bit different, I’m considering an interpretive dance titled “Out of the Box.”

24 down, 976 to go.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 23 (or: of Swastikas and Lollipops)

Just because I love contradictions. Nothing as wonderful as the opposites that exist in our world. Earthly opposites, political opposites, legendary opposites, philosophical opposites, emotional opposites, intellectual opposites. I am fairly skilled, I must say, in holding on to two opposing ideas. You can frequently find me play devil’s advocate (much to the annoyance of those who spend any appreciable amount of time with me), and pointing out the dualities that exist in the world around us.

Today, as a major departure from swastika dealings, I went to a Unitarian planning meeting to begin planning a middle school retreat weekend. A weekend which will be complete with snacks, and outings, and field trips and dances and scavenger hunts and capture the flag, and girls sleeping in one room and boys sleeping in the other. So wholesome. So innocent. The planning meeting was attended in equal numbers by youth and by adults. The youth, rather than swearing and being petulant, couldn’t stop with the effusiveness (seriously! And adults just indulged them in their effusiveness, no doubt thinking that it was a wonderful thing). I was actually stunned into silence by the complete oppositeness of the kind of planning and dealings that I have at “church” and the kind of planning and dealings that I have every day at work. Silence. Me.

At one point, one of the young-uns was dismayed by the “offensive graphiti” in one of the places the kids were hoping to visit. “We’ll have to cover it up before we can enjoy ourselves.” She said with youthful innocence. Cover it up! Cover what up (I query with a bit of rascally devil's advocacy, knowing precisely what things we'll be covering up)? Swear words? Graphic depictions of body parts? SWASTIKAS? The things that appear every day in the coffee-house I work at? Those things? So in essence, one group of kids I work with is expressing their angst by making raw depictions of the world they inhabit, and the other group of kids I work with is busy covering up all that angst and living brightly in the world of possibilities they see.

Now, don’t get any ideas here. I’m not expressing preference for one group of kids or the other. I’ve already said that I love teenagers, and I mean it. I love all flavors of teenager-ness. I’m just noting the complete and total contradiction. And loving it.

Day 23 of One Thousand Days I embraced the differences in this crazy world and switched gears from swastikas and swear words to lollipops and loveliness. Helping a different group of kids build their capacities and find their way in the world. And what a wild world it is that we live in.

23 down, 977 to go.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 22 (or: Swastikas? Really?)

Intriguing title, no? Here’s the story: I work for a non-profit youth resource center and coffee house. Very alternative. Very non-traditional. Very unconventional. Very cool. Very troubled and messy and loving and brilliant. LOVE these kids. So incredibly There and Out There with it all. I tend to adore teenagers for just such reasons. They’re completely messy intensity makes me happy. But, unfortunately, they like swastikas (I’m taking some artistic license here. Really, probably only one or two of them like swastikas, and "like" is probably a bit strong, given the penchant for feigned ennui so unfortunately abundandtly inherent in all things young adult). They like to tag swastikas. And they like to paint soap swastikas on the floor in the bathroom. And they like to use a pencil and oh-so-softly carve swastikas into the soft wood of the counter tops in our lovely coffee shop. And apparently, they like to do swastika-esque things in other places around town as well.

Are they Nazis? No. Are they hate-mongerers? No. Do they indulge in white supremacist thought processes? Gee, I sure hope not. And I’m pretty sure, no. Are they expressing themselves? Yes. Is it a fairly harmful way of expressing themselves? Oh yeah.

As with anything Kid or Human, when one person expresses onesself, it can, in some cases cause a complete hurricane of backlash. And in this case, the semi-drawn out appearance of swastikas in our beautiful coffee shop caused some angst among staff. And staff (kid volunteers, for the most part) figured they might be able to address things fairly well, and they were right. Someone suggested that we invite the community who may be the most affected by a swastika to be a part of the Solution For Swastikas, and that’s when things got really big. This very small town has a loving and involved Jewish community, who lovingly (and at times fearfully) helped get some really incredible stuff going on at our coffee shop and in our community in response to the appearance of swastikas.

That was a really long and drawn out (I’m sorry, Holly) explanation of what led to what I’m doing on Day 22. Day 22 of One Thousand Days, I made spaghetti for 3 adults and about a million kids as a non-intense way of having a conversation about symbols and hate and where these things come from and what we do about them. The first “thing” in a series of “things” (including a showing of a movie at our local theater, a “primal scream” event, a series of rap sessions, an art installation and a open theatrical dialog) that will address hate, symbols, free speech and several other complicated things about the world we live in.  Day 22 should probably count as several Days, given the amount of involvement it's taken to get to this point. 

Did I mention that I have seven followers now? Hi Shelley! And a friend stopped me on the street to say she'd read the blog and found it amusing.  And I got my first comment from someone I don't even know.  Apparently I've found my calling.  Boy, what a responsibility, all this Living Up to My Potential business.

22 down, 978 to go.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 21 (or: Soup for You(p))

Well, I really wish I could solidly report that my good thing for day 21 of One Thousand Days was a complete success, but I can’t. I can, however, surmise (based on the empty soup pot, the house full of biscuit crumbs and the six empty bottles of wine I found in the morning) that it was indeed a smashing (no pun intended) success. I'm kind of sorry that the details are blury.

I’ll tell you what I do know:

(1) Before the wine hit the proverbial fan, I made my first ever batch of biscuits. I’ve had some minor success with a couple of batches of scones, and I recently baked a batch of cookies for the first time in two years, so I figured I could probably pull off biscuits. After all, they’re just lard, salt and flour, right? How can one go wrong with lard? Apparently one can’t. All 24 biscuits were consumed by five ladies and three children.

(2) I made a mean summer minestrone. I even made it before I left for work, so I wasn’t frantically throwing soup ingredients together at 5:00. I was frantically vacuuming instead.

(3) You could basically watch any episode of Sex In The City and know exactly what the conversation at the dinner table was like. Yes, I know there were children in the room, but I did already mention the six empty wine bottles, right?

(4) In the morning, in addition to way more empty wine bottles than 5 ladies should have been able to polish off, I found that there were enough biscuit crumbs all over my house (in my bed? Really?) to piece together at least two biscuits. Maybe three.

(5) There was a very tiny, cute wheelchair in my house. And a very tiny, cute, pleased (when she wasn’t in the wheelchair she got to ride around on her mama’s back and generally treat her mama like a cross between a slave and a donkey) but whiny broken footed 6-year old. If I did NOTHING else good today, I scooped that child off that mama’s back when they limped in the door, handed mama a huge glass of wine and told the child not to bug her mama for the next several hours. Thank god I have a 12-year old who could do a pretty decent stand in as a slave donkey.

At any rate, Day 21 of One Thousand Days may or may not have been a wine-induced smashing success, but I did do my good deed, and I fed my dear friends, and intend to do so every week from now on. And apparently all those dear friends have been following my blog, so they actually deserve to be fed.  And to drink six bottles of wine.

21 down, 979 to go.

**For a fun party game, try to spot the three paragraphs in this post that didn't reference wine.  Two of those paragraphs are so tiny they don't count.  Geez what a lush. 

Day 20 (or: Coming clean)

Did I tell you how horrifying it was to take cookies to the firemen? Well, it was. I don’t know why I’m so chagrined about do-gooding, but it was a little embarrassing to be so public about it all. I know I’m blogging, but I really don’t want to be hanging my stuff out there for all to see. Even though that’s precisely what I’m doing. Having to explain exactly why I was bringing cookies to firemen was, it turns out, a difficult thing to do.

“Well…you see…I was in this bad relationship…”


I said they were left over from a Boy Scout activity. Chicken.

Okay, now for the part I was avoiding by telling you all about cookies for firemen. I’ve had feedback saying that the Bad Relationship talk is lame. But I’ve also been told in no uncertain terms that I need to come clean about the Bad Relationship. Because this blog is a response to the Bad Relationship, and apparently one of my six followers feels that I need to be responsible to my readers.  And apparently I wasn't clear enough in my post last week when I described my inability to think of anything "good" due to exhaustion from too much smooching. Okay. Here goes.

I contacted him. Yes. I did. And I invited him over. Uh-huh. Yep. And we kissed. And other things. And now it’s over. Again. I’m sorry! I know I seemed determined. And I was. Am.

There! Happy, Kiera?

Blech. And that’s the last time you’ll hear about the Bad Relationship. I swear.

The whole thing makes me feel like this:

Speaking of funny cat pictures. If I’d had my camera (I’ve ordered a new one!), I would have had some fabulous actual photos of the Leckenby cats having a frolic in the bathtub. And by frolic I mean a cat’s nightmare visit into the depths of watery hell.

Yep. Day 20 of 1000 days I did something nice (I SWEAR it was nice!) for the cats. I bathed them. Because they were flea ridden. And the flea meds I put on them were making them itchy and I was afraid they were having bad reactions and were on the verge of death. So I had to wash it off. And the fleas. And instead of being on the verge of death from flea pesticide, they were on the edge of death from the indignity of being dipped to their flanks in water. Holly will approve because I have adopted her former cat, and he was in dire need of flea attention. Poor itchy things.

20 down, 980 to go.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Day 19 (or: I’d rather be happy than right)

Man, am I ever self-involved. I’ve spent a whole week being utterly wrapped up in my own horse-pucky, and it’s beginning to wear on me. And if it’s wearing on me, it must really be wearing on all six of my followers (Hi, Jessamyn!). I didn’t even pull off an eco-Sabbath today. Laundry. And it was frosty this morning, so the heaters went on. And I baked some scones. Blahblahblahmememelamelamelame.

But the day started with a bang at 6:30 when I should have been organizing to get the boy and me out the door for the boy's soccer game in Poulsbo at 8:30 am. Not. Couldn’t find the uniform, didn’t have the right shoes, no chance of getting any gas, let alone feeding ourselves. In other words: I’m The Worlds Worst Mom. No. Don’t argue with me. I am.

Or at least I was until 3:00 this afternoon.

Remember yesterday when I said that I’d address the “taking it out on everybody” tendency? Well I’m gonna. And it all started with a lovely conversation with a besty this afternoon, where I described my life philosophy of two years ago when I spent 8 blissful months of loving kindness which was facilitated by the phrase: “I’d rather be happy than right.” Pretty simple sounding, right? That’s because it is. Do you find yourself saying things like: “I should fold the laundry right now.” Or: “I really should have folded the laundry yesterday, what a slacker. I’d better fold it now” Or: “I’m the worst mom in the world. I didn't fold the stinking laundry and the cat's now pee-ed in it and NOW I have to wash the whole load over again. Twice (to get the pee out). Could I BE any more lame?” Well…now imagine yourself responding in a soothing voice: “I’d rather be happy right now.” Or: “I’d rather have loving relationships than fold this laundry.”

Now, when I asked the above questions, I expected you to be there with me, experiencing those thoughts. Did you? Where you?  Could you feel the laundry?  Did you smell the pee (EEeeew).   And when you told yourself you’d rather be happy, did your breath come a little easier? Did your fists unclench? Mine did. And does.  And do.

I’ve been a pretty unbearable poop this week. Yesterday I actually told my lovely little boy to “go to hell” (he deserved it, really, but I probably could have said something more politic). He responded by telling me that it was very rude and he’d prefer that I not say that to him. And then he went on to say: “How would you like it if I said *#$k you, you piece of s*#%! I hate you! You’re an a#@h***!…” The dot dot dot there actually turned into a 10-minute skit, which was quite hilarious and included a rendition of what his ghost might say to me if he died and more bad language than I’d care to discuss. My boy. Turning adversity into levity. I couldn’t be more proud! A proud poop.

Yeah, I’ve been sucking as a human being, and I’m going to stop now. Day 19 of One Thousand Days I declare that “I Would Rather Be Happy Than Right (Insert any “should” or logical linear process that gets you mucked up, or just any bad feeling, into that “Right” slot).” There are probably a lot of euphemisms and platitudes that could work here, but the idea is that I will let go of the “shoulds” and the right thinking and will just simply be. And be happy.

Ironically, the most difficult things that I’ve undertaken so far in One Thousand Days have definitely been the personal ones: Giving up meat, dairy and sugar; giving up cigarettes; letting go of the “shoulds.” These things are a constant battle. Baking cookies only takes about an hour. Hmmmm. If nothing else keeps me from being self-involved, maybe this will.  Self involvement is labor intensive and time consuming.

Coming tomorrow: I promised Kiera I’d come clean about the Bad Relationship. And I pledge to actually do something good for someone else. Something tangibly good. I don’t know about you, but I’m really getting tired of all my self-involved horse pucky.  Now you'll have to excuse me.  I need to fold the laundry.

19 down, 981 to go.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day 18 (or: I only smoke when I’m on fire)

Yeah, I know it’s gross, but I’m an occasional smoker. So occasional, that I really should give it up. Seriously. I mean it. For real (I’m trying to convince myself here…give me a break, will you?) I buy a pack when I’m totally stressed out, and I “borrow” cigarettes from other people. Which is just plain annoying. It’s amazing I have any friends left with all the cigarette mooching I do. And my son hates it. And it’s a disgusting, costly habit. And it increases ill health. And bad breath. And chances of developing horrifying diseases. And decreases life span (duh). And makes little wrinkles appear around your mouth. And turns your skin a delightful shade of gray (isn’t gray the new black?). And makes your hair smell bad. And your clothes smell bad. Yadayadayada. I know all of this, and yet I’m still a filthy, disgusting, lamentable, weak willed, occasional smoker (cough, cough...HACK).  Lovely.

Well, not anymore! Thank god for One Thousand Days. It's the new and improved "remarkable" me, and I’m doing it. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the trees are budding, the cat (yes, the one who thinks the laundry is a wonderful place to relieve himself) has decided the great outdoors might not be such a bad place after all, and Day 18 of One Thousand Days seems like a lovely day to give up cigarettes.

In case you're wondering about my progress on the quitting of meat, sugar and dairy, I’m pleased to report that I haven’t had a lick of chocolate, a whisp of cheese or a dollop of meat all week long. Until today when I had a burrito with cheese and sour cream and an iced lavender mocha and a cookie because I quit smoking

But honestly. I quit all these things. I do (don’t give me that raised eyebrow, Holly. And yes, Susie, I know I promised I wouldn’t buy “party cigarettes” any more. And ALL RIGHT, love-of-my-life-darling-baby-boy, I did make that new years resolution. Three times.). I quit. These bad habits all make me feel like hammered you-know-what. And then I take it out on everyone around me. Which is something I’ll address on day 19, but not today (cripes, I’m not Super Woman, after all).

Day 18 down, 982 to go.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Day 17 (or: Back to the beginning)

Is there anything better than a girlfriend? When you’re feeling like the world is no place for such a nice person as yourself, isn’t calling the best lady you know the first thing you want to do (after wallowing at the bottom of a PBR and a vat of Ben and Jerry’s for half the day)? Who else but a great girl-buddy will lie to you about the hideous new haircut that makes you look like a poodle, or unfailingly insist that your Bad Relationship is a creep and he doesn’t deserve you at all (even though you’ve been a real a-hole to everyone within reach for about a week, and probably provoked him. And even though she’s said the same thing at least a million times already), or tell you when your blog post is lame?

I pride myself on being a first class girlfriend. I’m not the kind of girly girlfriend who’s going to bake cookies with you or for you (I only bake cookies once every two years. And then only when I’m forced to), and I don’t “do lunch” (unless it’s really greasy fish and chips or take-out noodles) and I don’t hang out at the gym or in day spas. But dangit, I’ll hold your hair while you’re puking. Or I’ll drive for 4 ½ hours just to spend 20 minutes at your baby shower. Or I’ll help you pack up your house and move it when you’re overwhelmed and under-manned. Or I’ll dish out some seriously astute advice (most of the time without being asked). I’ll even finish off a half dead baby bunny for any one of my girls. Any one of them.

For Day 17 of One Thousand Days, I gladly made a trip back to my One Thousand Days roots and diverted my afternoon to sit on the sunny side of the house and listen to one of my favorite lady’s slightly weepy exclamations of terrible day and even worse week-ness. Because she called in tears (“oh god! I didn’t even start crying until I called you!), and I love her.

Holly would approve. In fact, she did approve. Just after she wiped the snot off her nose (post weepy exclamation of terrible day and even worse week-ness) and took another big gulp of PBR.

Day 17 down, 983 to go.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 16 (or: Just call me the Fairy Godmother)

I feel like something that crawled out from under a rock today. Without going into details, I’ll just say that I’ve been re-visited by whatever horrible germ infected me a week or so ago, and my temples are crashing out the opening timpani part from Bugler’s Dream (Warning:  click on this link ONLY if you don’t have a screaming headache). Not pleasant. Timely, given the onslaught of everything Winter Olympics. But not pleasant.

And I’ve spent the week feeling generally overwhelmed and sneezy and under-pleased. For the most part. Which stinks about as much as the 3-day headache.

In this mildly growly state, I can't help but think back to when I was a little girl, when I imagined that being a grown up woman was all fairy tale princes and taffeta. I obsessively drew (of course I drew obsessively. I was obsessive as a child, too) princesses in flowery taffeta and lace dresses with ornate crowns perched on blonde heads standing in fields of tulips. Until some freaky childcare lady gave me a good shake and told me I had to draw houses on hills. And then I obsessively drew houses on hills with water and boats.

But I digress. My point is that I spent a good deal of time imagining that I would someday be the princess. And somehow I’m just not. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about adult-hood (not seriously, anyway). There’s a great deal to be grateful for and a whole lot about being a “Dult” that I wouldn’t trade in for anything (I do so love “adult” drinks. And I enjoy the unearned clout of simply being 38. And I’m not sorry to be shot of acne).  However there simply hasn’t been a good deal of taffeta in my life since my senior prom in the charmed May month of 1990.  Did I mention that I had two dates to the prom?  Charmed indeed.  And I still remember (with shocking detail) dancing with the love of my early life (who was not my prom date) to Prince's "Purple Rain" for an entire 7 1/2 blissful, dreamy minutes.

I miss taffeta. And I miss dreaming about taffeta and fairy tale dances and romance and sappy love songs. So today, Day 16 of One Thousand Days, I dig to the back of my closet, and pull out the size-8-green-silk-sleeveless-tea-length-rouched-jobby-that-I’ll-never-wear-again-because-I’m-no-longer-a-size-8-and-apparently-I’ve-already-kissed-all-the-frogs-in-the-pond dress and I’m sending it to Cameo Cleaners of Gramercy Park, 284 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10010. Why? Because they will then give it to Operation Fairy Dust who will then give it to a young, stars and hearts in the eyes girl who still dreams of fairy tales and proms. Supporting the silliness of the next generation. It’s a pretty decent day after all!

16 down, 984 to go.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 15 (or: Sisters! Sisters! There were never such devoted Sisters!)

Do you wonder if you say "I love you" enough to the people who you love?  Is it even possible to say "I love you" enough?  I wonder all the time.  I'm truly blessed to have so many amazing, loving, supportive people in my life, and every once in a while I remember some person of fabulous stature who I haven't spoken to or seen in a while and I have a little sudden lurch of panic about whether they know I love them.

Todays good thing is inspired by a friendship love note that one of my buddies received last week.  What a lovely thing to do.  Send a love note to a friend.  I've adapted things a bit, and directed a love note at one of my sisters.  She's amazing (all of my sisters are), and I literally feel like dancing when I think about her.

Day 15 of One Thousand Days.  Love note to sister:

Darling Shelly-belly,

Just a quick note to say that I love you dearly. You know this, of course, but I don’t get to see you often enough to say it in any consistent sort of a way, and it’s important that you know what an incredibly important part of my life you are.

You introduced me to pesto, after all. And you were the face shining up at me from the photo of lovely ladies (with funny looking 70’s hair) holding me as an infant. I’d stumble across those photos in my only-child-of-a-single-mother youth and I’d wonder at the mystery of my family. You’ve lovingly solved that mystery, and I’ve so loved the unfolding of each part of our lives together. You tempted me all the way to Salt Lake City and shared beehives and Tabernacles. You share my love of musicals (sing it with me: Sisters! Sisters! There were never SUCH devoted sisters!). You amaze me with your grace. Your humor sets a fire in my heart and makes me burst with laughter and makes me love that the same blood flows in my veins. Your love of family makes me a better mother. Your Christmas visits make me warm and make me a part of the dream family that I always wanted – complete with singing around the piano (sigh). Your understanding and patience is a loving example of sisterly everythingness. Your knowledge of our family ties and history and your story keeping are valuable beyond measure and help me and mine to be a part of a family hiSTORY with you as an exclamation point on the narrative. You bring us together - and who else would be brave enough to call a reunion the dysFUNfamily reunion? You genius, you.

Did I mention that you’re really pretty?

I just love you. Thank you for being born to be my sister.



Day 15 down, 985 to go.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Day 14 (or: Do I have to resort to cookie baking already?)

Okay. I admit it. I’m stumped. And all right, fine! I admit it. I spent too much time smooching the Bad Relationship last night to be able to be anything approaching organized and thoughtful today. Don’t look at me like that!

Note to self: Schedule a frontal lobotomy. Clearly I can’t stay away from him. Blocking the email didn’t keep me out of trouble. Deleting his “friendship” on Facebook didn’t keep me out of trouble. Being responsible to the blog didn’t keep me out of trouble. Blissful trouble. If only I had figured out how to block myself from contacting him. None of this blissful trouble would have happened. Where’s the duct tape when you need it? At least I didn’t break down and bury myself in chocolate and brie.

And the real crux of the matter, as it relates to do-gooding, and therefore my responsibility to all 5 of my followers (thanks Mercedes and Kiera for joining us!), is that I’ve got a million good ideas floating around, and haven’t been able to commit to one for today. Next Tuesday, Day 21 of One Thousand Days, I’ve got a new “Cara’s Soup Kitchen” lined up. Actually, a soup meal next Tuesday for all my lovely friends, and for any subsequent Tuesday and for any subsequent lovely friends. You should have heard Holly howling with laughter when I told her that idea…she suggested that it’d been done, and that I should start a toy drive for needy kids for Christmas. And that I should call it “Toys for Toddlers.” She’s a sharp one, that Holly. She then admitted that she was teasing, and she just wanted to wind up in my blog again. Cripes.

One of those million great ideas that I’d like to focus on is responsible purchasing (re-purposing, re-using, recycling, finding things for free, finding things at thrift stores and consignment stores, supporting local businesses), but not today. That’ll take some research. And I’ve already said I can’t even land on an idea for today, let alone execute.

Another idea: I’ve got a beautiful artist friend who put out calendars this year, who I may be able to rope into an artistic good deed. And there’s still the music factor. Singing as a good deed! And I’ve got sisters who have been neglected and could use some direct love from their little/big sister. And I could be helping out at the animal shelter, or the human shelter…and…and…and…

Bah. It’s five o’clock, and I find myself seriously considering baking cookies. Yep. That’s what I’m doing. Day 14 of One Thousand Days I’m going to bake cookies and take them to the fire department. Those people run into burning buildings for us.  And I figure giving the cookies to the fire department is an acknowledgement that I didn’t burn down the house in my bi-annual cookie baking effort. Funnily enough, as I write this, the sirens and horns from the fire trucks are screaming up the street in my neighborhood. Oh Holly. I know I’m a disappointment. Promise you’ll love me again when I start up “Toys for Toddlers?”

14 down, 986 to go.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 13 (or: Kan I have some Koffee?)

13. Not a lucky number. And on top of that, it’s Monday. And frankly the day started with a rather ugly little nudge. I suppose that’s the danger of being involved in a fairly public organization, and also in being involved in a social networking site. I did say I needed to give up Facebook (because of the time demands of this blog), and now that a negative intention and comment toppled me this morning, and made me feel inappropriate and ineffective, I say: “follow your own advice, knob-brain”.

I don’t know why other peoples business causes me angst. Frankly, I think part of the problem is that I’m half starved due to cheese, meat and sugar deprivation. Yeah. That’s it. And I’m cranky from withdrawals. Yeah. That’s it too.

Well, there’s nothing like doing something for someone else to spur an attitude adjustment, and if anyone needs an attitude adjustment, it’s me. On Day 13 of One Thousand Days, on my way to work, and a long day that will stretch into the late evening hours, I drive through the Kinetic Koffee Kompany espresso shop (purposefully chosen, for its Konnection to the Kinetic Sculpture Race, which makes me laugh), not for myself, but for the next person who is thirsty, and who needs a pick-me-up, and who is maybe grumbling about Monday. I paid for coffee for that person. And a tip for the barista. You’re welcome, whoever you are. Enjoy your Monday!

And because today, I needed a little extra help in doing my deeds, I share this limited list of lovely thoughts on generosity and giving, taken and edited from the Alpena College Volunteer Center. People all over the world make these kinds of efforts on a daily basis. Thankfully.


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead

Service to others is the payment you make for your space here on earth.
Mohammed Ali

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
Edmund Burke, British statesman and orator

Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.
Japanese Proverb

One is not born into the world to do everything but to do something.
Henry David Thoreau, poet, writer, philosopher

I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
Mahatma Gandhi

Everyone can be great because anyone can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't even have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve... You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love...
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and help them become what they are capable of being.

Nothing is so contagious as example; and we never do any great good or evil which does not produce its like.
Francois de La Rochefoucauld

We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give.
Winston Churchill

It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Living is the art of loving. Loving is the art of caring. Caring is the art of sharing. Sharing is the art of living.
If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.
Booker T. Washington

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong.
George Washington Carver

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it for someone else.
Benjamin Franklin

When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.
Eleanor Roosevelt

I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
Edmund Everett Hale

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

The miracle is this - the more we share, the more we have.
Leonard Nimoy

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean, but the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
We can do no great things, only small things with great love.
Mother Teresa

13 down, 987 to go.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Day 12 (or: Mmmmmm, bacon)

Love fades from my arms, but not from my heart. Today, the day of Hallmark romance and tokens of affection, I love very deeply and truly. Love my friends, love my family, love the Bad Relationship. That might be the champagne talking, but I do.

Snippets of Love day:
Sleep in until 9:45 (joy!)
Eco-Sabbath day. Candlelight and silence.
Text from The Bad Relationship: “Happy sugar heart day”
My response: “Back at you”
Lissy's advice for response:  "Happy kiss-my-ass day"
My thought: Must block cell phone number. Maybe.
Champagne cocktails and brunch with the best of the best.
Tiny crepes and omelets made by an incredible 8 year old.
The most remarkable red-velvet cupcakes made by my lovely bakestress friend.
A house full of babies and children and delight.
Conversations about Love on my arm.
And about eco-sabath observation.
Red primroses and hand-made cards for my family.
Son at the end of a weekend long playdate with the greatest non-grandparents ever.

And synchronicity. It’s Eco-Sabbath day again, and in a happy little bit of synchronicity in a conversation about my whacky eco-day, my friend told me (after protesting observing anything eco.  After all, she lived off the grid in Alaska, and that makes up for a lifetime of eco-gluttony) about a wonderful way to save ourselves a little energy: Blackle. Ironically, I had to Google it before I could sign up for it. Interested? You should be. It’s an energy saving search engine. By displaying a black screen with white lettering, it saves energy! Blackle claimes that 1,706,161.543 Watt hours have been saved. One step at a time, right? Well, I’m all for it, and today (of all days) seems like a good day to switch my search engine to Blackle. Which I did.

But that’s not the end of my good streak. I’m ready to take a big step. BIG. I’ve done it before, but it bears repeating. In fact, it was one of the wonderful things that I did during the terrible 1,000 days. And if it was that phenomenal (which it was), I think it deserves to be done during the good One Thousand Days. And possibly (hopefully) for the rest of my life. Today, Day 12 of One Thousand Days, I commit to consuming no sugar, no meat, and no dairy (basically Vegan, with the addition of controlled sugars). I do this for my own well being (allergies, hormone imbalances and other unpleasantness), and I also do this for the earth. Animals raised for consumption (mainstream consumption, anyway) tend to be treated badly (understatement of the year).   And the environmental impacts of raising, slaughtering and distributing meat to water and other resources are more severe than raising and distributing vegetables. And damn it, it makes me feel good. So there. Now that I’ve downed my poached eggs, and my red-velvet cupcakes, I’m not going to eat brie (oh, lovely brie) or bacon (mmmm, bacon) or copious amounts of pie (WHAT? Even the pie?) anymore. Again.

Day 12 down, 988 to go.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Day 11 (or: To Write Love on Her Arms)

Day 11 musings:

Note to kids who filled my house with food and laughter and music last night: You are incredible, and I admire the heck out of you. Make noise, make joy, make your voices heard, make your mark on the world and make us proud!

Note to self: You know it’s a good party when there are Twinkies and Doritos left over to snack on the next day.

Note to cat: Don’t think I don’t see you hiding behind the curtain in the bedroom, waiting for me to leave the room so you can have the freshly made bed all to yourself.

Note to weatherman: Stop predicting rain. I’ve got yard things to do.

Note to cat again: You’d better vacate. I’m about to run the vacuum. It might eat your tail.

Note to bad relationship: I’m too much work? Really? I let you ignore me for a week. Not a week and a half, that pissed me off, but a week was pretty okay. And that’s too much work? You so don’t deserve me. At all.

Note to self again: Figure out how to block numbers on the cell phone.

I’m finding it easier to be happy instead of grumpy and sad. Today. Wednesday I thought seriously about jabbing my eyes out with a plastic fork, but today I see some joy in life. Even if it’s soggy, wet, rainy joy. There are things to remember when we’re feeling like the world is at an end (she says, stepping up on soapbox and giving an “ahem” in her best preachy voice). Things like girlfriends who would never say you’re a waste of time, and Elevated Ice Cream’s Swiss Orange Chocolate Chip ice cream, and furry cat bodies, and little boys who love you, and a world that is full of “yes” in so many ways – even in the face of seemingly doom-filled “no.”

There are new babies (thank you, dear ladies, for enduring 9 months of indecent bodily functions, several hours of agonizing pain, milk stains, diaper fillings and horrendous bed-time battles) and there are people in the world who write blogs like this: (because Yes is more fun than No!). And there are people in the world who start foundations like this To Write Love On Her Arms (if you do nothing else today, read this story and vision and be moved). And there are people in the world who care enough to pay attention to the Science of Happiness and how we can all become scientists (from my favorite folks again, Yes! Magazine). It can’t be all bad if these things are in the world, can it? Even if they occupy the same space as earthquakes and floods and wars and poverty and corruption.

I love my friends dearly. I love my friends who hurt even more dearly. I love my friends who hurt themselves more than I can possibly say, and today, Day 11 of One Thousand Days, I write love on my arm for you. And hold you in my heart all day and every day.

11 down, 989 to go.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Day 10 (or: We're into the double digits, lets eat!)

Today marks the first milestone for One Thousand Days. I’m into the double digits! Which means that I’ve got 990 days left, or that I’ve accomplished %1 of my commitment. Cool. I’ve been a bit more than worried (as you might have been able to tell from previous posts) that I’d poop out and this would be a terrible flop and Holly would be beating me up for being lame. But in those 10 days, I’ve done good for my family, for the earth, for my town, for my soul, for the kiddos I work with and for my friends. I’ve been able to hone in on what I’ll be doing in these One Thousand Days (make small commitments, long term commitments, commitments to others as well as to myself), and most importantly, I’ve been able to stay away from the bad relationship. For the most part. He’s managed to sneak back in through the cracks (cell phone – couldn’t block him), but I’m kept from behaving badly by remembering the positive things that I’m doing, and being responsible to them. Constantly.

On my 10th day, I can’t help thinking about what it will look like on my 990th day. Will life be significantly different? Will the good that I’m doing have any impact on anything other than my own life? Will it even have impact in my own life? Where will I be in 990 days? My son will be a teenager in 9th grade. My yard will be established, the trees might be taller than the house and the gardens will be producing food and flowers. I will have passed my 40th birthday, and my 20-year high school reunion. My mother will be 77. Will I be a college graduate? Will I still be overweight? How many more wrinkles will I grow? And will someone who deserves me love me?

On Day 10 of One Thousand Days, I acknowledge my milestone and look forward to what comes. And I throw a potluck for volunteer staff and board of directors of the Boiler Room, the youth coffee-house and resource center where I’m working right now. This potluck wasn’t my idea, it was our volunteer coordinator’s idea, and a GOOD one! These volunteers give their blood (doing WAY more than One Thousand Days of good), sweat and tears to a place that is home to them and to many others. They deserve so very much more than just a potluck. But then again, there will be MY spaghetti! And I make a mean mean spaghetti. Yum.

10 down, 990 to go.
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