Making sense

Anne Lamott, on writing ...

"We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little. But we do. We have so much we want to say and figure out.”

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Fifty books, fifty movies, and me

Just signed up for an amazing challenge: Read fifty books and see fifty movies in one year.
My writer friend posted a link to the 50/50 challenge on her Facebook page a few days ago, and ever since it's all I've been thinking about. Well, that and Indian food. Taj Majal opened in Liberty about six weeks ago and I've been there half a dozen times. My new deathrow last-meal request is now going to be chicken tikki masala and onion naan.
But I digress.
My "major" in this reading/viewing challenge is to read fif ... fift ... fifty books that have garnered National Book Award status (Read: Big Deal; Impressive Literary Award). Going to start with a YA Title: What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell.
I intend to blog about each book and movie as I go.
Oh yeah, my "minor" is to watch fifty movies that started out as books.
I can already see, ten minutes into fully grasping this challenge, that it is going to be difficult to focus only on NBA and book/movies: I will try my best, but I am already admitting that a random novel from my bookshelf is going to sneak in, or a movie one of the offspring brings into the house will end up in the DVD player.
DEFINITELY I will be reading above-mentioned writer friend's YA novel Hate List, which collected numerous awards, too. Her name: Jennifer Brown.
And I know her. Feels good to know a "real-live-publishing-author"!
Maybe someday I'll get there myself. If not, I'll have a heckuva good time reading good books and seeing good movies.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thursdays with Patti

My therapist is a genius.
Salient points from today's session ...
In no particular order:
1) There has not been a vast right-wing conspiracy to keep me uninformed about a friend's sister's passing. The people who knew have already dealt with and then moved on with the death. These are the same people who lost no sleep over Don Harman's suicide. (Like I did.)
2) The Bible says it is imperative to love one another; not to like one another. I am not going to go to hell because I don't always like my sister. Or my mother.
3) She Who Must Not Be Named is mean; I am hyper-sensitive. Not a good combination.
4) I need to forgive the behaviors that offended me when the person doing those behaviors was young and immature. Oh.
5) I ruminate over EVERYTHING. I need to stop doing that. Not everything deserves careful consideration or basic contemplation. (My words, predicting what Patti would say about my rumination.)
6) The girls in my Bunco group have not been losing sleep over the Sister Issue.
7) I should not care so much (or base my self esteem) about people's perceptions of me when those people are flawed human beings, just as imperfect as I am.
8) Not all people are as giving and generous and empathetic as I am. "Most people are totally self-absorbed," says Patti.
9) I need to wait until I am in a better, more composed place before sitting down to talk with my sister, even if that means waiting until after Christmas. It is all right to wait until after Christmas. IT IS ALL RIGHT TO WAIT UNTIL AFTER CHRISTMAS!
10) Sometimes, when things come to a sudden end (i.e. me dropping out of Bunco), that's not so much a tragedy as it is God telling us to move on, that staying is unhealthy.
What I have learned through therapy (making it real):
1) It is my OCD that makes me feel like I need to write EVERYTHING down. The world is not going to end if I stop recording life's minutiae. I need to stop: It's exhausting.
2) My anxiety disorder can, and does, cause heart palpitations.
3) My logic will trump my emotions! Every time. So think logically.
4) Give everything to God. Surrender, Dorothy. He is the only one truly in charge, anyway.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Now what do I do?

Four days ago I got an alert from that a fancy-schmancy private school in a beautiful part of Kansas City, Pembroke-Hill, would be hiring an English teacher for the 2012-2013 academic year. Right away, two thoughts surfaced: ohmigod I want that job; nuh-unh, teaching English means grading papers. A lot of papers. Thousands. And that's no hyperbole.
And then the Yes! You need to apply!! Don't delay!!! opinions came swirling back, all dressed up in exclamation points and urgency.
I need to figure out what to do.
In a sense, and in a very large and profound sense, I believe that I have been put on this earth to teach. Only I didn't really get to teach at Northgate. Oh, with my challenge class ~ the advanced learners (RE: motivated) ~ teaching went on there. And it was fun and good and inspiring. But 75 percent of the time, I taught kids who came to class without pencils and without a positive attitude.
Redirected constantly, disciplined incessantly: Get out your pencil, quit talking, quit touching him, do NOT even think about throwing that, that is NOT appropriate language for school, where's your pencil? you don't have your homework? sit up straight, quit talking, don't run in the hall, where's your folder? where's your spiral? where's your pencil? quit talking, quit talking! quit talking!!
Ad nauseum.
I should shadow a teacher at Pembroke before I even consider sending a resume. Presuming that prep school would even hire me ... .

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Whoop, there's reality ...

Back from vacay. Seven glorious days of sandy beaches and 24-hour room service, artistically plated meals delivered by white-gloved waitstaff, and a turn-down-the-bed housekeeping service that lit fragranced candles and deposited dark chocolate squares on my pillow. Heated indoor swimming pools and the Caribbean Sea to refresh and invigorate. Serenity pools, massages on the beach, and a constant parade of cabana boys to bring Mandarin Sours and Dirty Monkeys.
I drank more alcohol from November 25 through December 2 than I have drunk in the last three years. No kidding.
Had more romantic nights with my spouse those seven days than I've had in seven weeks.
Not kidding about that, either. And though I might be oversharing, just let me say that spending one full week in Playa del Paraiso (near Cancun, Mexico) was like being granted a week-long glimpse of Heaven.
There, everything was clean and pure and smelled like limes and ocean breezes.
Now I am home and everything is untidy and dusty and smells like wet dog and burned toast.