I haven’t a creative bone in my body, apparently. I’ve been wanting to try my hand at writing some fiction, but every time I sit down at the computer, I stare and stare and stare at the blank page on the screen. I’ve wasted a lot of time staring at this infernal blank screen. I don’t even have a glimmer of an idea. My style seems to be fairly well suited to blogging, but anything beyond that, and I am at a loss. The actual writing part would probably go fine, if only I could seize on the right idea that I could develop enough to glean an actual story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. But there are no ideas. Not even bad ones.

My thought process goes something like this…

"       "

That’s it. Dead silence in my brain. My esteemed gray matter always seems to fail me when I am counting on it for ideas and words. It’s in there, somewhere, I know it is. It’s just being held hostage or something. Ahhhh, back to the drawing board.

I guess you could say I’m a late bloomer. I didn’t have my first real boyfriend until I was a senior in high school. We were friends, but I had developed a crush and was secretly hoping for something more. Finally, an opportunity presented itself, and I, ever the quick thinker, formulated a plan. I told a lie.

It was the season for college applications, and I had completed mine while the object of my affection had not. He was in need of a typewriter (yes, you read that correctly, a typewriter — did I just date myself?), and I happened to have one sitting idle since my mother had insisted my applications not be left until the last minute. He asked to borrow it. I told him it would be no problem, but that my mother wouldn’t let it leave the house, so he’d have to use it at my place. Of course she had never said any such thing. (Mom, I’m sorry I dragged your name into my little white lie, but it was for a good cause, honest!) It was my little way of forcing more time together outside of school. In my bedroom, even, since that’s where the typewriter just so happened to be plugged in. Of course I never considered moving it to some other, more properly supervised, room. I’m so devious!

I have no remorse, because my plan worked like a charm. He dutifully came to my house several times to use that typewriter for his college applications. Perhaps more than was strictly necessary, now that I think back on it. Our first date followed soon after, along with the requisite exchanging of class rings. The relationship only lasted a few months, but we’ve stayed in touch off and on over the years and I still consider him a friend.

Now having told this story, let me just say for the record that I did NOT have to resort to trickery of any kind to ensnare my husband. That was and is and always will be the real deal.

Happy New Year 2006

Flashback: December 31, 2002. We were leisurely dining out with friends, feasting on wings and curly fries, with the intention of going back to our friends’ home afterward to ring in the new year. But Noah is full of surprises, and he had other plans. The sporadic contractions I had been having began to grow stronger and more regular during dinner, and by the time we finished eating I decided the hospital might be a better location for celebrating the imminent change of the calendar. So we dressed Princess Maia in her princess nightgown and her pink monogrammed bathrobe and her fuzzy pink slippers, and shipped her, tiara and all, off to her aunt and uncle’s house, where I do believe she was the belle of the ball at their New Year’s Eve party. And while the rest of the world was toasting at midnight or kissing their significant others, or maybe already peacefully sleeping, I was in labor. We weren’t expecting him for another couple of weeks, but Noah made his grand arrival at 6:37 a.m. on January 1, 2003. Our very own Baby New Year. I don’t care how old he gets. He’ll still always be my baby. Happy Birthday, Noah!

On another New Year’s note, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on 2005, because it was an unusually good year for me. I have so much to be thankful for. Most importantly, I began to take God more seriously, and I’m convinced that He was the guiding hand behind all the other blessings of this year, both personally and professionally. I’ve had people comment about how my blog is always positive and upbeat, but it’s easy to have that attitude when things are going your way. And things have very definitely been going my way. I can only hope 2006 will be as fruitful.

Last but not least, it’s time for the dreaded resolutions. I’ve never managed to stick to one, until this past year. It took 10 months, but I achieved my weight loss goal — both my primary goal and my secondary "nice to have" goal. So now I’ve set the bar high to be equally successful for 2006. What pressure! But my resolutions are reasonable. I only have two, so I think I can do it. My first resolution is to keep off the weight I lost. My second is to read the Bible in its entirety.

Happy New Year to all. May it be a joyful and prosperous one. If you are the type who makes resolutions, I wish you much success in sticking with them and reaching your goals.

All things girly

It’s a good thing I have loads of Christmas gift certificates burning a hole in my pocket, because otherwise being off from work this week would be getting very expensive by now! Yes, it’s true. The reason I have been neglecting my blog is because I have been too busy shopping and otherwise pampering myself.

Note to my male readers: Unless you have a burning desire to read about shopping and perfume and makeup and the color lavender, you might just want to stop here. I’ll forgive you for not reading on. You’ve been warned.

Okay, now that we’ve rid ourselves of those who would roll their eyes at such talk, let me speak candidly about my shopping week. On the plus side, I have beefed up the "skinny" wardrobe a little, with the help of my 25-year-old sister who is much more in tune with current styles than I am. She told my husband she was turning me into a "hot mom." I don’t know about that, but I did buy a couple of cute tops that I never would have looked twice at if she hadn’t been with me.

I’ve also fallen in l-o-v-e with a pricey perfume that I just might have to invest in. That’s saying a lot because I’m usually not much of a perfume person. While there are some I like, most don’t work on me. They are either too heavy or too dramatic or too powdery or too sickly sweet. I tend to stick more with inexpensive scented lotions and such. But today, I sampled a fragrance on a recommendation that it is similar to my favorite Bath & Body Works lotion. Every time I catch a whiff I keep asking myself, "What is that lovely smell?" Then I remember. It’s me! I smell just like the freshest cut flowers and I love it. Even as I am typing this, I keep sniffing my wrists because I smell so darn good!

On the downside of my shopping extravaganza, I was held hostage at the Clinique counter in the department store this afternoon. As with fragrances, I’m not a big cosmetics person. I HATE to feel heavily made up. I much prefer to keep my makeup as simple and natural as possible. But every once in a while when I have too much time on my hands, I get to thinking that it’s time to try something new. I can’t help it. I just get antsy that way sometimes. So I subjected myself to a "professional" makeover during a special makeover event currently in progress. Big mistake. The woman knew nothing about color. First she used a foundation that was way too dark. Then she kept asking me what colors I usually wear in various cosmetic products. But I wanted HER to tell ME what colors would complement my skin tone and the clothes I wear. I didn’t quite see the point in wasting an hour of my time to get made up the same as I would do it myself with products I already have at home. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of trying to make a sale? Because why would I buy things that are essentially the same as what I already have? Except when I let her choose, everything she chose was either too dark or too light. So much for being a color "expert." I came home and immediately washed it all off. Despite the clownish makeover, I did manage to leave with a couple of new products, which I then reapplied, but the way I like it.

Last but not least, we’ve been examining paint swatches in every shade of pink and purple known to man, and have finally selected the perfect lavender to paint Maia’s room. It’s a long overdue step in a slowly evolving room makeover. She’s ecstatic, because we’ve been promising to do it for a year. If SHE’S lucky, we’ll buy the paint and get it done this weekend. If WE’RE lucky, the paint on the wall will look the same as the color on the swatch. That’s all I’m going to say about that, because anyone who’s ever tried to pick a paint color from a swatch knows exactly what I mean. Or maybe it’s just me. Sometimes we hit it dead on, but sometimes we have to go back to the drawing board. When we painted Noah’s room, for instance, what looked blue on the swatch was purple on the wall. On the second try, though, we got the perfect blue.

So there you have the highlights of my post-Christmas week, wherein I have immersed myself in all things girly. 

Merry Christmas!

Is anyone missing some presents? Because I think Santa left a few too many at our house. And I certainly hope Santa doesn’t live to regret a drum set for a certain three-year-old!

Must go brush up on the engineering skills to figure out how to extricate some of those toys from their packages. Then on to church to remember why we celebrate this special day. We’ll be spending the rest of the day with family. A very Merry Christmas to all!

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"She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."  Matthew 1:21

 

Note to self

Do not, under ANY circumstances, ever go to the grocery store on the day before Christmas Eve again. Whatever you need, you don’t need it that badly. Next time, your family can just do without that apple pie for Christmas.

It was ten times worse than the mall, people, and I know this because I was at the mall today, too. Stay away. Stay far, far away. 

Ode to a blog vacation

All the shopping is done
But I’m still on the run
Because the presents have not yet been wrapped, not a one.

The holiday yuletide is upon us, at last
And I’m looking forward to that scrumptious repast
But there’s still so much to do, that I’m simply aghast.

And while loved ones would doubtless proclaim and opine
That my many blog musings are mostly sublime
There have been rumblings afoot that it takes too much time.

My family, they need me, this fine Christmas season
For quality time they deserve, with good reason
Else I might be accused of committing high treason.

So this is all my fun little way
Of announcing with spirits most joyful and gay
That my blogging vacation begins right now, today.

Yet please never fear
My loyal readers most dear
I’ll be back with new writing come the first of the year.

I’m so proud!

I’m so proud of my daughter. She’s always thinking about how she can help others. I submit for your examination the following evidence:

Exhibit A 

A few months ago, we decided as a family to show support for our troops overseas by sending care packages to soldiers registered with anysoldier.com. We try to send a package to a randomly selected soldier every month. Maia has turned out to be the supreme taskmaster in this effort. She reminds me at the beginning of each month that it’s time for another package. She does not forget!

Exhibit B

A while back, Maia and I were discussing her hair length, which she wants long, long, long. I casually mentioned that if she let it grow long enough, she could donate it to Locks of Love, which uses the donated tresses to make wigs for children with medical hair loss. I had forgotten the conversation entirely, until last night. Her hair has indeed grown quite long (but not yet long enough for Locks of Love), and I was fed up with the constant tangles. I had her all poised for a haircut, with scissors in hand and towel placed in the floor to catch the clippings. Before I took the first snip, she asked if we were giving what I cut off to the kids who need wigs. I can’t believe she remembered that. My daughter, who adores her long hair, was completely willing to cut it off for a good cause. She only needs another two or three inches to meet the required 10-inch minimum and still have a cute bob for herself, so needless to say, we cancelled the haircut last night. Maybe in a few more months. I’ll deal with the tangles until then.

Exhibit C

Maia understands that not everyone is as fortunate as she is, and always wants to help. We periodically go through her room to get rid of the toys she no longer plays with and the clothes she no longer wears. I’m always amazed at how generous she is in giving things up when she knows they are going to the Salvation Army. Just tonight, she told me it was time to donate some clothes.

I’d say she’s pretty darn aware and amazingly unselfish, for a 7-year-old. I know more than a few grown-ups who could learn a thing or two from her example. I couldn’t be more proud!

Why does it matter?

On Saturday, I attended a Christmas tea. Since it was mid-afternoon and I had already eaten lunch, I limited my intake of the traditional tea goodies. This, of course, did not go unnoticed by the other women at my table, most of whom I had not previously met. We women are such a catty bunch. When I explained, to ward off their attempts at pushing more food on me, that I had recently lost quite a bit of weight and was working to keep it off, they dismissively wanted to know what I meant by “quite a bit,” obviously expecting some ridiculously vain low number. Apparently, 50 pounds worked for them. Because suddenly, instead of being an object of ridicule for my light appetite, I became an object of admiration for my restraint. I understand the shift in attitude because I’m proud of me for my accomplishment, too. It still shocks me when I say that number out loud (FIFTY pounds? ME?).

Yet I couldn’t help wondering. Why in the world did it matter in the first place if I was newly slim or naturally so? Either way, trying to maintain a healthy physique is a good thing, right? And why is losing weight any more praiseworthy than never having gained it to begin with?

I speak Chinese 

My poor dad. He actually tried to read my article last week. He gave up, and called to tell me he didn’t know I spoke Chinese! Probably exactly how I’d feel if I tried to read his medical journals.

********** 

I miss the cleaning lady

I learned something new last night. Good old cheap Comet is much more effective at cleaning the bathtub than those more expensive bathroom cleaners. Comet did effortlessly what Lysol Antibacterial Bathroom Cleaner, combined with a lot of elbow grease on my part, could not. Comet has just become my new cleanser of choice. Well, the former cleaning lady was my first cleanser of choice, until she chose not to clean our house anymore. So now Comet it is.

********** 

What was I thinking?

I went to the mall today with my mom, and remembered why I avoid that frenzied mecca on weekends at this time of year. Because the line at Bathy & Body Works? It was at least 15 people deep. No, I didn’t wait. I am, after all, the person who does not have the virtue of patience. Bath & Body Works will just have to get my money some other time.

********** 

Hallelujah, we found Baby Jesus

Baby Jesus, tragically, was missing from our nativity until today. We just hadn’t found that particular box yet amongst the Christmas decorations, and it was really, really bothering me. But the situation has been rectified, and the infant Savior has been restored to His rightful place in the scene. All is once again right in the world.

********** 

Confession is good for the soul 

They say that confession is good for the soul, so I confess. I ate chips and salsa for dinner tonight. That’s it. My entire dinner. Just chips and salsa. And I enjoyed every bite! But I wasn’t alone; my sister-in-law joined me for the "chips and salsa for dinner" caper. I’d say she’s a bad influence, but, um, it might have been my idea. Maybe.

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