Friday Nostalgia

Two of my favorite storytellers: John Prine and Nancy Griffith, 1990.


My Latest Epiphany or Movies Teach Me My Life

Some of my most life-changing realizations have come while watching movies. For instance, in 1986, I went to see the movie 16 Days of Glory. After years of angst over "what I wanted to be" when I grew up, feeling that writing-- or any other art that didn't directly serve the greater good the way being a teacher or a nurse would--was an unworthy vocation, that movie about the athletes in the 1984 Olympics helped me understand: We are each born with certain talents and passions, and our real job is to practice those things, aim for perfection in those things that make us most fully ourselves, and to do it all with love and gratitude.

A few years later, when Sadie was about three and The Wizard of Oz on VHS was her reason for waking up in the morning, I learned from the Scarecrow the truth about the soul: "First they took my legs off and they threw them over there! Then they took my chest out and they threw it over there..." It occurred to me that if the flying monkeys kept taking parts away, the scarecrow would still be the scarecrow.

There have been other moments, but the most recent happened last night while I was at the Y, on the elliptical machine, watching Kill Bill 2. But let me back up a bit. For the past few weeks I've been thinking a lot about addiction--how we beat it, what kind of miracle has to take place to free us. A friend was quizzing me about my own addiction history--binge eating, alcohol--and how I managed to stop, how I was able to finally give up sweets and liquor. This friend struggles with food some herself, like so many people do, and I wished I could give her the answer--explain it to her. I told her about how many times, and for how many years, I had tried to stop unsuccessfully, and how one day, it was as though someone flipped a switch. God maybe. The moment came when I was done.

I posted that 'quote of note' (upper left corner) last week because it seemed to illustrate that moment of being done--that moment when it was no longer about WILL POWER but, rather, a deep, unwavering desire to change, a complete giving up of the old way.

So, as I said, yesterday I was striding to nowhere, watching Beatrix fight Pai Mei, and I found the answer. If you go along with (and I do) the idea that we use the substances or activities we're addicted to in order to satisfy our god-hunger, or our need for unconditional love, and if you believe the old saying (as I do) that 'you can never get enough of what you don't need,' it makes sense that alcohol or drugs (or shopping or gambling...) are never going to take the place of god or love. We use up our energy and waste years of our lives trying to satisfy that hunger through our addictions until the addictions have all the power. We actually make them god--or our divine. They are stronger than we are, but we still maintain an illusion that we have control. We fight and fight. Eventually, they deal us a near-fatal blow and we hit bottom. We realize we are powerless.

For me, this scene (between 4:25 and 7:25 in this particular Youtube clip) shows clearly what hitting bottom is like:


Friday Nostalgia

We have the same hair.

Here's the original for Collin:

Pretty much the same hair.


Coaches Shorts

I was horrified to see my husband had purchased a pair of these and more so when he proceeded to wear them for the entire weekend, exclaiming over their comfort and "retro" stylishness. I explained to him that coaches shorts have special evil powers--that they generate belly fat, kill grass, and make dogs run away--and that he should burn them and say a prayer. But he refused to listen to me.

I'm hoping he'll read what Beth has to say, though, and reconsider.


Happy Valentine's Day

A favorite love poem by a favorite poet:


by Tony Hoagland

She goes out to hang the windchime
in her nightie and her work boots.
It's six-thirty in the morning
and she's standing on the plastic ice chest
tiptoe to reach the crossbeam of the porch,

windchime in her left hand,
hammer in her right, the nail
gripped tight between her teeth
but nothing happens next because
she's trying to figure out
how to switch #1 with #3.

She must have been standing in the kitchen,
coffee in her hand, asleep,
when she heard it-the wind blowing
through the sound the windchime
wasn't making
because it wasn't there.

No one, including me, especially anymore believes
till death do us part,
but I can see what I would miss in leaving-
the way her ankles go into the work boots
as she stands upon the ice chest;
the problem scrunched into her forehead;
the little kissable mouth
with the nail in it.


Meanwhile, His Grades Continue to Suffer

This morning, Jack came downstairs more than half an hour ahead of schedule--around 7 o'clock. This was most unusual, since given the choice between breakfast with the Falcons cheerleaders or an extra fifteen minutes of sleep, Jack would choose the snooze.

I was getting excited, thinking he must be up early for an Algebra help session, so I casually asked what the occasion was:


Jack: No, we're playing a practical joke on Dennis.

TR: Seriously? You got up early for a prank?

Jack: Yeah.

TR: I've gotta hear this.

Jack: Well, see, Dennis hasn't asked Kaylee to the prom yet. He thinks that just because they've been dating for a long time and it's just assumed they'll go together, he doesn't have to ask her.

TR: Hold on. Asking is a really big deal these days--right? The guys are supposed to build a cake or something?

Jack: Right. And we think Kaylee deserves that, so everyone's annoyed at Dennis.

TR: And?

Jack: So the other day, this guy asked his date by filling her locker full of rose petals. When she opened her locker, all the petals fell out, and then she saw the invitation.

TR: Sweet and simple...

Jack: So this morning, we're going to fill Kaylee's locker full of dead leaves and sticks and rocks, along with the invitation, and when Dennis walks her to her locker like he always does, and all that stuff falls out, he's going to have to convince her that he didn't do it.


When I'm Sick, I Hallucinate

Saw this vision in a Nyquil fog during my recent flu.




I enjoyed this with my coffee.


How a Dracula costume becomes Puss-N-Boots for Fairy Tale Day at school.


Small Dog Smackdown

So you can fully appreciate the malevolence that is Fay, some still shots:


Click here for the answer.


Song for a Sunday

The girl asks all the right questions.

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Writer, teacher, student, mom.

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