Archive | September, 2013

Sweet Summer Sunday

16 Sep

My brain has been dulled by a frantic search for unwritten words; I’ve been fooled by the calendar and its desire to propel me forward toward self-imposed deadlines. The leap-frog days of July and August have ushered summer off the stage, because that’s what days do. They usher in busyness.
On cue, school buses rev their engines, football stadiums open their doors, and mulch flyers find their way to our doorsteps. Candy corn is back on the store shelves. The woodpile has been stocked. It must be autumn.

Butterfly in the garden

Sweet sip of summer

But apparently, Nature does not use a calendar. Nor does Nature rush. So, this afternoon, when I could have been writing, I instead found myself lying on a park bench by the pond—eyes closed, pen lost—letting the sun bake my to-do list as if it were a bonfire marshmallow. I savored the rustling of the lush green trees, which showed no sign of changing color, and the gentle clucking of the ducks and geese, who seemed in no hurry to leave. I breathed in a summer bouquet: grilled steaks, roses in bloom, and freshly mowed grass. For the first time in months, I just rested. It took valiant resolve to rouse myself at sunset and head home.
Tonight I lie awake, listening to the symphony outside my open window as crickets and toads toast the glorious moon. I’m pulled from my bed, enticed by their joy. Telling myself I’m going to regret this in the morning, I quietly slip outside to listen to the concert and stare at the stars. There’s a soft rustling in the trees as they sway—perhaps we’re listening to the same song. Nope, I won’t regret this.
It has been a lovely day. A lovely, summer day. And in this peace, in the quiet of God’s amazing display of beauty and perfection, at last, the words come.

Time Management for Cheater Moms

2 Sep

With all deference to published authors, to whom writing milestones are no big deal, I must make an announcement:

I’ve finished the first chapter of Joe’s book!

Oh, please, please tell me it will always feel like this. For me, this is big. Baby’s first step big. Underdog team makes State Finals big. Lost ten pounds on a bread and chocolate diet big.

I know what you’re thinking. Wow, just a few weeks ago she was complaining about taking on Hebrew classes and now this, and only a month behind schedule! She’s a working mom with a clean house and folded laundry, AND she writes a weekly blog! However does she do it all?

Well, from my lofty perch atop this Mile Marker One sign, I do, indeed, feel qualified to tell you my time management secrets. But first, you must glance furtively from side-to-side, shoo all family and friends from the room, and pinky swear that this will stay between us.



So, here goes…

I cheat.

Sorry, Chika, that’s all I’ve got.

But hey, if it were possible to do it all, we’d take on even more, right? So be glad there’s no way to win. However, if you want some cheater tips, I’ve got the inside scoop. The following are five tips on what I call Faking Your Way to Finished. Feel free to pilfer as needed.

Faking Your Way to Finished

Dirty Subaru

The Perfect Car!

1. Shop to mop. You’ve got to be willing to jettison the high fashion. Gray is a perfectly acceptable, all-purpose color. Find the right shade, and you can quickly wipe down a bookcase or table on your way out of a room, leaving it looking freshly dusted! Walk close to the walls. I sometimes wear my duster inside out until I get to the front door, giving it a quick snap to remove the big fluffy parts as I flip it around. Most days you can hardly tell. Additionally, there are many cleaning products you can spray on your socks that won’t harm your skin. Dance like there’s no money for a maid.

2. Multitask. By this, I mean, eat while you drive. I have enough syrup on my steering wheel to hold up to seven Hebrew flash cards in place so I can study vocabulary on my way to work. Oh, and in case it’s not obvious, I drive a Subaru because washing it is a chastise-able offense.

3. Treat numbers like the mythological creatures they were meant to be. Establish early on in your relationships with everyone that you are not a math person. When someone points out that it’s been eight days since you posted on your weekly blog, hold up 12 fingers, shrug coyly, and say, “Yep! Almost time, isn’t it?”

4. Define your boundaries and resist temptation to cross them. Ensure every family member understands that socks and underwear are not laundry. Ergo, they do not get folded. As soon as a child is tall enough to reach the laundry basket, he can fish out his own socks. Store the basket on the floor.

5. Embrace the eccentric, particularly if it saves you a trip to the store. Cereal is the new dinner. Red stripes and green plaid create contrasting but amicable artistic statements. And, it’s perfectly acceptable to bring mushroom soup to a potluck lunch, assuming you also bring a can opener—no need to be cruel. Although I’ve yet to convince my teenager that ice has nutritional value, we do keep plenty of peanut butter and canned cheese on hand as filler when there’s need for creativity. I’ve been known to produce some amazing peanut-cheesy goodness with a base dish of nothing more than old raisins and a stick of margarine—oh, and a coupon for Papa John’s.

6. When you get to the end of the day, tie a knot, and move on. If I’ve learned anything from NASCAR it’s that there’s always room at the end of the longest line. Tomorrow is another day. In a future blog, we will discuss five ways to convince your brain of this at 2 in the morning.

So those are my secrets. I hope they help. And yes, I realize there are six items here. I refer you back to item number three for a refresher.