Monday, October 14, 2013

Hot Stuff

It’s funny what brings out the best and worst in people.  In my lifetime I’ve seen our nation pull together in the face of unspeakable tragedy.   I’ve witnessed neighbors helping one another out during  natural disasters.   I’ve experienced small kindnesses that were uncalled for but certainly appreciated. 

Then the Sunday breakfast buffet happens and it all goes straight to hell.

We brunch now on Sundays, thanks to a new policy Mr. Newman has implemented.  He tells me it’s a great opportunity for us to get out and bond, but I’ve a sneaking suspicion it’s due, at least in part, to the fact that I only cook on Sundays.  I’ve tried to redeem myself since ‘The Wok Incident of ‘98’, yet my efforts still don’t seem to measure up.  I envision delicious, beautifully prepared meals that would make Gordon Ramsey jealous, yet the results are merely those that would make Chef Boyardee cry.

Anyhoo, I love brunches and am completely on board with the new policy.

Yesterday we opted for our regular joint around the corner.  It’s not fancy, but it’s consistently good.  We arrive early in order to beat the church crowd, because there’s nothing more terrifying than hungry Baptists who’ve been cooped up for a couple of hours without snack options.

Mr. Newman hits the omelet station, while I stride gleefully toward the buffet.  I’d all but skipped dinner the night before, saving up for a full plate of huevos rancheros, biscuits and gravy, and any other little not-good-for-me delectable I can get my hands on.  My glee is stifled somewhat by the woman in front of me.  She takes her time, lifting lids, spooning out contents, looking over them, and then putting them back in the tray.  Her plate is already full, and I wonder if she understands the concept behind a buffet:  you fill your plate, sit down and fill your pie hole, and then go for round two.  You don’t start contemplating round two until you’ve completed round one.  The man behind me starts tsking, which only seems to slow her down even more.  ‘Passive aggressive much?’  I think to myself as I finally fill my plate and take a seat.

I shake off the weirdness and prepare to dig in; however, there’s a problem:  no Tabasco sauce.  I can’t eat eggs without it.  I can’t eat anything without it these days, come to think of it.  I absolutely love the stuff and would drink it straight from the bottle if society allowed it.  ‘She literally burned up her insides’ is what I’d like for my obituary to read.  I leave the booth and hit the ‘Help Yourself’ condiment shelf.  No luck.  I see Tabasco on tables, my fellow patrons enjoying what I’m doing without, yet I can't muster the courage to approach them. Most of them are buried deep in their phones, I-Pads, or newspapers.  No one smiles.  As a matter of fact, they are the dreariest looking lot I’ve seen a long time.  I stand, waiting, biding my time until the Hot Sauce Gods smile, and when they do I grab a lonely little cap-less bottle, perched upon a cluttered, human-free table.

Mr. Newman arrives at our booth with his own story:  evidently there was a scene involving an overly bejeweled woman and a shortage of tortillas.   Two of the joint’s best workers were called over, insults were exchanged, eyes rolled…a bona fide spectacle.  We congratulate ourselves on our lack of pettiness, and then I share my plight regarding the Tabasco.

The subject then turns to death which, judging from our fellow patrons, is no surprise, really.  Recently, friends of friends have passed on, as have extended family members.  We conclude that no one really knows what to do in such situations.  The wrong questions are usually asked.  Priorities become misplaced.  Feelings get hurt, and by the time the heavy grieving stops, you must take pause to try to figure out just what the heck happened.  ‘Some people just aren’t sentimental,’ Mr. Newman muses. 

‘And some are just thoughtless,’ I add. 

‘Nothing a person can do about it, though,’ he counters.

‘Sure there is,’ I reply.  ‘Harbor a grudge and let it seep out slowly for years to come.’

‘That’s healthy,’ he smirks.

‘That’s my way,’ I respond.

I empty the remaining Tabasco on what’s left of my eggs, and realize that as much as I pride myself on my amiability, I’m no better than tskers and take-your-timers at the buffet.  ‘That’s okay,’ has flown out of my mouth so many times that people take it as truth. Most of the time it is the truth, but there have been a few occasions in which I said it in order to avoid any sort of confrontation.  As a result, I’m now the type of person who stands around like a fool, my food getting cold, because I’m too afraid to ask for condiments for fear of rocking someone’s Sunday morning boat.

‘You need speak up for yourself and tell people how you feel,’ Mr. Newman says to me, and not for the first time.

‘I wouldn’t have any friends left if I did,’ I chuckle, while making a mental note to do just that…and to carry my own Tabasco with me.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Very Large Family to Feed

While strolling through the aisles of my local healthy grocery store the other day (I won’t tell you which one, but it rhymes with ‘Mole Lewds’), a woman accidentally pushed her overflowing cart into mine.

“I’m so sorry,” she chirped.  “I can hardly push this thing.  I’ve got a very large family to feed.”

“No worries,” I responded, and then proceeded to scan the cat food shelf in vain, searching for Newman’s Own Organic Dry Mix.  It’s a tad pricey, but The Two Spoiled Cats won’t touch anything else these days.  I was out of town for a month over the summer, and Mr. Newman allowed them many indulgences, including expensive nibbles.

“How about you?”  she asked a little too enthusiastically for my taste.

“I beg your pardon?”  Honestly, I thought she’d wheeled by already.

“Do you have a very large family to feed?”

Glancing in my cart, I felt its contents should have answered her question:  three bottles of wine, olives, a box of Frownies, and an all-natural supplement that promises to ward off the symptoms of pre-menopause.  Just because my body’s getting older, doesn’t mean my face has to show it.  If it does, the wine will surely make me feel a whole lot better about things.

I smiled and shook my head.  “But you do have a cat,” she stated emphatically.

Lord, give me strength.

“I’ve got two,” I replied.

“We had one.  She died several years ago at the ripe old age of eleven.”

One-upmanship is not my style, but anyone who’s ever had a cat knows that the house variety can live up to 14, 15, 16 years or more. 

“I lost my Kramer last year.  He was twenty.”

“Oh,my God!”  she exclaimed.  “How did he die?”

“He was murdered,” I whispered, then proceeded toward the produce section.
I was thumping cantaloupes when I heard her voice again.  I had no intention of buying cantaloupes; it’s just something I enjoy doing from time to time.  She parked her cart next to the kale, regaling an elderly gentleman with stories of her very large family and what they like to eat. 

“Seven kids – can you beat that?” she cried.  “Four are Bob’s from his first marriage and three are mine from my first and second marriages.”

“Well, you are blessed indeed,” the man responded, trying to maneuver around her.

“With such a large family, I can hardly stay on top of all this grocery shopping,” she continued – a little too loudly, if you ask me.  I decided to make a run for it before she found me again, but then I remembered I needed one more item before leaving. 
I heaved a heavy sigh at the sight of the ridiculously long check-out lines.  Remind me, dear reader, to never go grocery shopping on a Saturday.  Luckily, I had just the right amount in my cart to give me license to drop into the express lane. 

“Hi, again!” I turned, and there she stood, grinning like a mad woman, items literally falling out of her cart from the heap she’d created.  I offered back a salutation, and then she asked if I’d mind if she cut in front of me.  Before I could answer, she explained that she was running behind schedule, and she feared the wrath of her very large family if dinner wasn’t on the table by a certain time.  Luckily, the hip and happening young man working the register piped in, informing her that this was strictly express, and she would have to go to another line.  Dejected, she did just that.

Bags in hand, I stopped short of the door in order to retrieve my keys.  I overheard her explaining to the cashier that yes, that coupon should work in this store, and the reason why she needs twelve packages of cold cuts is because she has a very large family to feed.

On the drive home, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her.  She’s obviously missing something in her life that compels her to share her story with strangers.  The conspiracy theorist in me, however, chooses to cook up another scenario:  perhaps she’s all alone, and this ‘very large family’ story is merely a ruse to hide a food addiction.  Then I felt bad because I didn’t make more of an effort toward friendliness.  I should have more patience with people of the bubbly, talkative variety.  I should find the filter I use to have before popping off and leaving others to assume my cat died under suspicious circumstances.  I should take people for what they claim to be, rather than whiling away the hours creating little soap operas for them inside my head. 

But if I start doing that, what would I have to write about?



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Things I Remember

This time of year causes me to wax nostalgic – it always does.  I assume it comes from having taught school for twelve years.  Things always end in May.

If you’ve never taught school before, you may not be able to relate to this idea.  I have a tendency to get attached to my students.  Perhaps it stems from not having children of my own, or perhaps it’s because I truly want what’s best for ‘Newman’s Own’ and take on more responsibility than I should.  Maybe it’s a combination of the two.  I don’t know, but I do know this:  Facebook and other forms of social media are great when it comes to keeping track of ‘the kids’, who by now are not kids anymore.

I read their posts and am amazed by what they’re all doing now.  They’re scattered all over the world, living, loving and succeeding.  The trouble I have, though, is thinking of them as adults.  They remain in middle school as far as I’m concerned, and I am absolutely bemused when I receive college grad announcements, wedding invitations, and word that they’re having children of their own.  A rush of memories befalls me – most of them good, many of them hilarious, and a few that are quite bittersweet.

One of them just graduated from med school.  I recall him always having a runny nose back then.  I hope his studies have helped him clear up that situation.

One of them has become a bit of a spiritual guru.  He never handed in his homework whilst a student in my class.  Even back then, I think he sensed what was really important.

The ham in class is now a ham on stage.

Other things I remember: 

The brothers who made my classroom an absolute delight with their enthusiasm for all things fabulous, who were not a delight to their older brother who was forced on more than one occasion to physically remove them from my room after school. He had places to be, I suppose, and a middle school classroom was not one of them.  I did not teach the older brother, but I liked him very much, and my heart goes out to his family on his tragic passing.

The trip to London in which a young man carried a pair of underwear around in his pocket because “Mrs. Newman said if it’s not in your suitcase that’s already loaded on the bus, that’s just too bad.”

The tiring jaunt to Paris in which a very weary Mrs. Newman told a young lady to ‘kick him where it counts if he’s bothering you.’

That time in Spain when Mrs. Newman told you all to be quiet and go to bed.  Mrs. Newman’s harsh tone did not stun you into silence, but her lack of makeup, bed-head, and super thick glasses did, and you all talked about it for days on end. “You don’t want to see her in the middle of the night,” I heard you whispering to the others.

When we went to Greece and Mrs. Newman was too preoccupied with other things to have as much fun as she should have had with you all, and for that she remains deeply sorry.

The mud day that virtually destroyed the front lawn of the campus.  What fun!

The boy who thought an entire bottle of soy sauce was necessary for our classroom chili cook-off.  We didn’t win that year.

The girl who left as quickly as she arrived when rumors regarding her well-being at home began to circulate.  I still think about her, and wonder how she’s doing now that she’s a twenty - (or is it thirty?) something.

The family of nine whose father signed his name on school forms with a dollar sign.

The laughter.

The love of good literature.

The power behind the written word.

And now the knowledge that every little thing we did really mattered…at least to me.




Friday, May 17, 2013

To Shell with It

A while back, a dear friend and I found ourselves deep in discussion on how to best transport a turtle from Southeast Texas to Iowa.  I won’t go into the reasons why the turtle has to get to Iowa – it’s not as intriguing as you might think. 

Our conversation caused me to reflect on some of the more interesting things I’ve ever had to carry by car:  a second-hand headboard, secured in an open trunk by jumper cables; a groggy cat, who did not handle his tranquilizers well for the 12-hour ride from Amarillo to Houston;  a dozen poinsettia plants, only two of which were mine…I could go on, for the Old Camry and I have covered a lot of interesting miles together.

Then I began thinking about the things we carry physically on a regular basis, became bored (except when I remembered once seeing a guy carry an entire bucket of chicken on his head), and started to muse on the figurative…

We carry hopes and dreams.  Sometimes they manifest.  Sometimes they don’t.  That lack of manifestation could easily turn into despair and hopelessness, and shouldering it all takes a mighty large toll.  We carry responsibility for ourselves and for others.  We might find, too, that we’re carrying more than our fair share.  People let us down and situations prove fruitless, so we have no choice but to carry that weight and carry on.

All that carrying could cause us to develop a shell similar to the one of the aforementioned turtle.  We could hide when we feel threatened or afraid.  We could move much slower and trod more tentatively.  Unlike the turtle, though, we have choices:  we can ask for help, refuse to take on more than we can handle, and move through life at a peppier pace.

My friend and I have yet to figure out how to get that darn turtle to Iowa.  Contrary to popular opinion, I really don’t know that much about turtles.  “Make sure all of your pit stops are at a Shell station,” was the best that I could do.

And the best that I can do is really the best that I can do.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

That'll Show 'Em

Sitting inside Happy Honey Nail Salon the other day, I overheard strange noises coming from the waiting area.  I glanced over and caught sight of a suburban woman wearing yoga pants, a ball cap, and a tremendous amount of bling for mid-morning Monday.   She was rolling her eyes and ‘tsking’ repeatedly.

“Five more minutes,” cried the salon manager.  “You came too early.”

This was met with a tsk, a grunt, and a muttered, “I thought you might be able to get me in now.”

Then I heard sniffles from her side of the room.  Surely she’s not crying, I thought.  I mean, after all it is only a nail appointment.

She got up, stomped past me and the other customers, and entered the ladies’ room.  She came out with a roll of toilet tissue.

“Don’t you have any Kleenex?”  she snapped at no one in particular.  One of the nail techs left her customer, went to the back room quickly, came out even quicker, and handed this disgruntled patron a box of tissue.

“No,” Ms. Tsk replied, clinging to the toilet tissue as if her life depended upon it.  “I’ll just use this.  You guys must have mold in here.  My allergies are going ape!”  The nail techs began speaking to one another in their native tongue.  I made a note to myself to contact Uncle Ed to see if he picked up any language lessons during his stint in Vietnam.  Then it occurred to me that nail salon gossip was probably not something he encountered too often during combat. 

After an incredibly heavy sigh, a nose blow,  and yet another tsk, our yoga-panted friend stormed out of Happy Honey, taking the roll of toilet tissue with her.

I never thought of stealing TP in order to teach someone a lesson, but hey, if it makes you feel any better about things….

And the hits just keep on coming….

A blast from the past with whom I reconnected via a social media site has determined that ‘some things never change’ and as a result, she disconnected herself from those with whom she reconnected, including yours truly.  Evidently, she’s held a grudge since childhood – why, I don’t know, for she seemed to have it all as far as my young perspective could tell.  Long story short, a planned gathering that took weeks to figure out was not to her liking.  I had no opinion on the gathering either way, but she apparently did.  I wasn’t hurt by her disconnect, just a little baffled how I, who has very little interaction with these folks, got lumped into it all.  Her Disconnect Proclamation stated that she would again accept a social connection invitation from those of us whom she ‘dissed’, but I’ve opted to decline.  We were never that tight in the first place, and I’ve got plenty of connections keeping me entertained and up-to-date on whose child has the worst earache and ‘That’s What’s for Supper’ photos for the time being.

So I find myself musing today about how far people will go in order to ‘teach others a lesson’.  Sure, you’ve got the usual – quitting a job and blasting Johnny Paycheck’s Take This Job and Shove It while emptying your desk drawers and stealing the company’s stapler and pushpins, allowing your husband’s dirty clothes to pile up because he hasn’t complimented you in weeks, or taking a neighbor’s beat-up old bicycle to the dump because he’s had it parked on your side of the lawn for days.  (Side note:  he got the bike from the trash – I saw him, and short of parking it on my property he didn’t do a darn thing with it, so there.)  Are we really teaching a lesson here, or are we simply delving into drama in order to garner a little attention, some sympathy, or perhaps even a bit of notoriety?  Does ‘sticking it’ to someone make us feel better, really?  In my case it did, but I shouldn’t speak on someone else’s behalf.  I have issues.

Personally, I think the best way to teach a lesson is to live by example.  Through our manner of living, we can offer someone an awful lot to think about – whether good or bad.  Some of my best teachers have been truly the worst sort of people, but I’m thankful for each episode, for it made me realize what I don’t want out of life:  pettiness, selfishness, micro-managing, and weird-but-not-in-a-good-way type of stuff.

With that being said, I do understand that even the most blinged-out among us might be struggling with some sort of incomprehensible scene – we really shouldn’t judge.  I know firsthand that high school hurts can run deep, and boy, am I glad I let those go years ago. It is my sincerest wish that anyone who was bullied, mocked, or just plain ignored are able to do so as well. 

But stealing toilet tissue?  That’s just messed up.







Monday, April 29, 2013

April's Nutshell

Okay, okay, okay – I know!  I’ve been incredibly lax in musing elegantly on a consistent basis, but I promise, Sweeties, that I will get back on track.

As we bid April a fond farewell, I think it wise to review this past month to see just how elegant we’ve truly been.  I confess I’ve fallen short, so no need to beat yourselves up if you, too, haven’t behaved as elegantly as you should.  We’re only human after all, and in a world where elegance is hard to come by, it’s no wonder we slip from time to time.  So, here I go with my true confessions:

*As much as I enjoy writing, putting my words into songs is far more difficult than I imagined.  I’m going for Dolly Parton, but keep ending up with Weird Al Yankovic. I feel, however, that  A Busload Full of Angry Spaniards is destined to be a hit.  How do I know?  Because I lived it, and everyone knows that only authentic, heartfelt, sincere music gets attention (that’s sarcasm, for those of you who don’t know me well).

*I must practice patience with people who still have no idea what it is I do for a living.  I teach.  I wardrobe.  I write.  I fabulosticize.  I make up new words in order to suit my needs.  I do no sell products, nor have any desire to.  I do not preach sermons, though I’ve been accused of coming off a bit preachy from time to time, particularly in my writing efforts.  I am not a nutritionist, but I’m comfortable with what little I know about the subject to inform you that ten sodas a day is not a good idea.  I am not a counselor, a fashion designer, a seamstress, or a gynecologist.  Honestly, you’d be amazed by some of the inquiries I receive.

*A pumpkin patch may not have been the best idea for my small patio.

*I never thought I’d have to impersonate someone else in order to make a very important ‘cake deal’ go down, but I did.  If you happen to spot me inside a bakery, please refer to me as ‘Bonnie’.

*Passive-aggressiveness while climbing ladders might backfire, resulting in a mild back injury.  Simply ignore the one who’s commenting under her breath that you’re getting preferential treatment from her crush.  By the way, the crush is involved with Steve.  I can’t believe she doesn’t know that.  It’s not like he’s trying to hide it or anything.

*There really is no greater satisfaction for me than teaching a child, particularly one who’s struggling in a typical classroom setting.  He’s making progress.  Maybe when I grow up, I’ll go back to teaching full time.  I miss it.

So there you be with word from my little corner of the universe.  How’s it going in yours?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

They Are Not Lunkheads. They Are Trash.

I stole today’s title.  It’s a line from Jincy Willet’s story, *The Best of Betty.  I don’t know why it made me laugh out loud, and I certainly can’t tell you why I chose it as the title for this little musing.  It’s counter to all the ‘life is meant to be good and we should all love one another and you should really try to look your best’ blah blah blah I usually try to promote.

I suppose blah blah blah sums up my mood today.  I’ve been falsely accused recently of always being in a good mood, and I generally am.  But when someone describes me as nauseatingly happy, it causes me to pause and reflect on just how far I’m pushing this happiness thing – onto others, and onto myself.  If people want to vomit after spending ten minutes in my company, I’m obviously not doing something right.

But am I happy?  Yes.

Am I always in a good mood?  Certainly not.  In fact, I can get downright snarky, and this little literary effort is my outlet for doing so today.  Some people like it when I go on a snarky tangent; others not so much.  If you fall into the latter category, I invite you to leave immediately and return when the content centers on lollipops and roses again (snarky remark #1). 

I’m not choosing to be snarky or reveal my woes for the sake of getting attention, like a lot of folks who air dirty laundry in public and on social media sites (snarky remark #2).  In fact, I try to draw as little attention to myself as possible (note the fact that this blog only has 17 followers, and yes, that’s snarky remark #3).  I’m doing this so that others who have, like me, hopped aboard the feel-good train know that doubts, concerns, and general malaise can still creep in.  As a passenger, I know it’s important to snap out of it, and I will.  Myriad ways exist in which to do it.  I hope my fellow passengers know it, too, and I hope that they actually get a kick out of how I’m choosing to snap out of it by wallowing in it for a little while.


Yes, thank you for asking, I have many, and here they are, in no particular order:

Does God really care, or is He too caught up in searching for a new pope that He can’t really focus right now on my trifling little worries?  (snarky remark #4)

Why do some give so much and receive so little? 

Why do some give so little and receive so much?

I’m sure he had his reasons, but why?  
 PALM BEACH, FL (Palm Beach Post) A customer at a store in the 100 block of North Dixie Highway stuffed two bottles of Head &Shoulders shampoo into his pants, then left the store without paying for them. He was arrested for the $15.58 theft and taken to the county jail. 
He obviously needed the Head & Shoulders, but really, pant-stuffing has become such a cliché among thieves these days.  I hope his jail time wasn’t long.  I think he’s got bigger, more head-scratching problems to deal with (snarky remark #5.  corny joke #1).

Why am I not jazzed about this season’s Project Runway?

Why do these and other questions keep me awake at night, and why can’t I simply just turn my brain off occasionally?

I wish I knew, but I don’t.  Not now, anyway.  In good time, I’m sure all will be revealed (except for the shampoo thief who’s probably keeping a low profile due to the embarrassment of jail time and dandruff.  Snarky remark #6).


I have a few, in case you’re in the market for any.

Those who generally go about life all bubbly do hit a wall from time to time, so give them a break and quit trying to cheer them up.  Stop hounding them with questions, but do consider buying them a nice gift (snarky remark #7).

If you’re one of the bubbly ones, don’t tell others when you’re feeling a bit blue.  Blog about it instead (snarky remark #8).

Finding like-minded souls helps, no matter how weird they may seem, so get over the fact that you may have to drive twenty minutes out of your way to get to them (snarky remark #9).

As much as I’ve preached about the sins of too much TV, a little daily viewing can certainly be a good sort of get-away.

Stop trying to make everyone happy.  It won’t work.


Yes, as a matter of fact, there is.  Name-calling is never nice, chic, or elegant, but it can be fun sometimes (snarky remark #10).  This lunkhead enjoys it occasionally, but only does it in a teasing manner….usually.   Trash is a category, and we should never categorize our fellow humans as such.  Blog entries, on the other hand, well, that’s a different story (snarky remark #11).

There, I managed to tie in the title with the actual content.  Talk about a good little ‘pick me up’– well done, me! (snarky remark #12)


*The Best of Betty by Jincy Willet can be found in the anthology Children Playing Before a Stature of Hercules.  Forward written by David Sedaris.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Look at a Family

Monday, January 28, 2013.  I race home from evening tutorials in order to plop myself in front of telly to catch the season premiere of Dallas.  I had just spent a good twenty minutes explaining to one of my students how watching television leads to brain rot, so I feel like a complete hypocrite.  I don’t normally race home nor plop for telly, but there’s something strangely reassuring about the night-time soap, the one I grew up with, which now possesses a bittersweet tone due to the recent passing of actor Larry Hagman. 

Mr. Newman is home on Monday evenings, and I’m sure he’d rather be doing anything else – detailing my car, ramming an ice-pick into his left eardrum, etc. – anything other than watching TV with me.  We don’t watch much TV, and after 14-years-of marriage it remains new territory for us.

I catch him up on the story line (J.R. is bad.  J.R.’s son is bad.  Bobby is good.  Bobby’s son is good).  “See,” Mr. Newman begins, “it would have been better if J.R.’s son had been the good one and Bobby’s son the bad.”  I agree with him and pray that the history lesson is over.  My prayer goes unanswered.  “Why can’t Sue Ellen have a glass of wine?”  he asks.  “Because,” I sigh, “she’s a recovering alcoholic who ended up in a sanitarium at one point.  My god, the things you don’t know!”  How I’ve remembered  this for thirty years, yet  can’t recall where I put the lid to my coffee pot during yesterday’s ‘ kitchen experiment’, I couldn’t tell you.  I don’t mention it to him, though, for I’m slightly embarrassed by it.  I also need to concentrate.

Strange noises begin to emit from Mr. Newman’s phone.  He recently acquired a new sound effects ap- for work purposes, I’m told, and soon he peppers tonight’s episode with them:

“Cliff Barnes nor his daughter will ever lay claim to Ewing Energy!”  someone hisses from the screen.

“What – Ever!” replies the snarky Valley Girl voice from Mr. Newman’s phone.

“There’s something you need to hear,” whispers a tearful member of the Ewing clan.

“THWWWPPPPPPSSSS!” screams the I-Phone, as if it had recently experienced a bad all-you-can-eat night at Big Bob’s Burritos.

Once our guffaws die down, we tune out the show for a bit in order to discuss our family.  Not the silliness that is us and the way in which we live (I describe it as silly; others have told me it’s downright deranged), but a very real, incredibly serious conversation about recruiting a new member to the Newman Team.  Since the passing of our beloved Kramer, we’re down a cat, and life seems unnatural and disjointed with just the three of us.  Tallulah Belle sits between us, trying to watch the show, and is visibly agitated by the disruptions.  Kramer never minded disruptions.  Tallulah Belle is a different story.  Tallulah Belle has developed quite an attitude lately, and is playing a dangerous game.

We’re pretty lucky, though, given the fact that our most pressing issue right now is whether or not to adopt another cat.  The only point during the evening in which we get sideways with each other has to do with the color of Patrick Duffy’s eyebrows, but I won’t bore you with the details of that debate.

As the evening draws to a close, I wonder if other families do what we do.  Do they center their lives on the comedy that is life?  Do they treat each day as if it were middle school, complete with animated discussions about cats and fart noises?  The Ewings of Dallas don’t, but my hope is that you and your family do.
Beth Newman
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Taking Inventory

Well, Sweeties (sigh), now that the beautiful insanity of the holiday season has finally come to an end, I thought it would be a good time to take a bit of inventory.  I’ve checked closets (which are now clean) and kitchen pantries (which are not clean).  I’ve rearranged furniture and rid my home of items that no longer serve me in order to make room for items that do (thank you, Santa!).  I’ve semi-fasted, semi-jogged, and am semi-eating organically.

I guess you could say I’m semi-ready for new beginnings.

I don’t make resolutions and I certainly don’t encourage you to do so.  Intentions are more my bag, for I find that I’m more accountable when I intend to do something rather than when I resolve to do it.   Does that make sense?  I didn’t think so….

2012 proved to be an interesting year for me.  I think I experienced some sort of an awakening.  Things that bugged me this time last year don’t seem to bug me anymore.  For example:

-I actually enjoy a bit of chaos with regard to my work schedule.  Need a dress for tonight’s party?  No problem!  Need to drop your child off for additional tutoring?  Do it! Need to reschedule your appointment?  No problem – how does Thursday work for you?   I’m not too terribly bound by a set schedule these days. 

-Sometimes taking a stand for what you feel is right can lead to one big goose egg.  I’ve learned not to expel too much energy trying to right the wrongs of others;   I’m learning to simply trust that the powers-that-be will fix things that need fixing, especially when it comes to dark forces that are beyond my power – or mental grasp.

-  My subscription to Vogue has expired, and I’ve yet to renew it.  I’ve collected the fashion bible for many years, but honestly –I just can’t wrap my head around Anna Wintour’s game anymore.  Yes, fashion is important, but I like real fashion for real people and want to save real money when styling myself and others.  I don’t need Vogue, or any other fashion mag, telling me what the trends are – I’d prefer to make my own.

-Sitting and staring off into space is cool.  I no longer set the timer while I do it (‘Oh, gosh!  Timer’s gone off. I must get started on (insert random, usually work-related activity here’).

Balance, I suppose, is what’s been lacking in my inventory.  A clean and orderly closet in which to store my beloved wardrobe is important.  An organized kitchen pantry?  Not so much.  Time to sit quietly with a cup of tea and enjoy good music – important.  Sitting at the table with a stack of fashion magazines while jotting down notes – not so much.  Going to bed early and enjoying a solid night’s sleep – important.  Hitting community do’s in order to hobnob with folks whose ideals may or may not be aligned with mine – not so much.

Sweet simplicity.

Take an inventory, and see if you’ve got it.  If so, well done!  If not, think about it….
Beth Newman
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!