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!