Category: events (page 1 of 3)

Twenty-Five Years Ago Today

Five years ago today, I posted this. I’m reposting it now because reasons. Mainly that I was thinking about it this morning and so I shared it with my English classes. I cried when I read it to them – not for sadness, but because my heart was leaking love for all the people in the story. All of them.

I’m sure it must have been embarrassing for my class to see me lose it a little – that’s not an everyday occurrence. I apologized, but honestly I’m not that sorry. It’s okay for them to see me feeling things. There are worse things than feeling too much.

___

Standing at the circulation desk, filing cards grown soft at the corners, I heard the phone ring. Eager for a change of pace, even if it meant I’d be doing someone’s research over the phone, I grabbed up the receiver.

“Batesville Public Library, can I help you?”
It was my dad. Calling from the hospital room in Chicago where my mom had been admitted during their getaway weekend. He just wanted to check in on me – he’d missed me when he called home to talk to the boys.
“I’m good. Work is fine. I’m excited to go to Cincinnati this afternoon. Can I talk to Mom?”
Pause.
Now, I should explain that pauses in telephone conversations with my dad are not unusual. There is always… a great deal… of… white space… in talking with him. So why was I suddenly hot around my eyes, and tight in the back of my throat?
“Dad?”
Throat-clearing. “No. You can’t. Mom’s in a coma, Bec.”
Did I know that? Was there some conversation in the past few days where this information was given to me, and did I somehow forget about it? Is that even possible? But if not, how could he have neglected to mention such a vital fact to me?
The library, quiet anyway, went fuzzy like cotton around me. Even the whispers were muffled, and I felt wrapped up in the familiar. I didn’t even sit down. I tipped my chin to roll the tears back into my head, and finished the conversation like a well-bred teenager. Which I was.
Maybe years of living with a mom who spent a week every year in the hospital calloused me. Maybe the idea of her in the ICU was just part of my childhood. I’d lived with it my whole life, you know. So maybe you won’t find me a completely unfeeling ingrate when I tell you that the rest of the day was more than fine – it was fun.
After a rowdy drive into Cincinnati, Missy and I got dropped off downtown, scoured a few ballet supply stores (for her) and a bookstore (for me). We ate at Taco Bell. For a skinny person, Missy could really eat. She ordered no less than five menu items, and I watched, impressed, as she downed every bite. We met at the rendezvous point to get picked up for the dance.
The dance.
Here was where I belonged, in this under-decorated church-building-turned-social-hall. With these kids, from towns and cities an hour from my home — this was where I felt like me. Good kids, and all so different. Different from what I saw every day at school, and different from each other. I felt loved there, not judged, not watched, not weird. This was a place for a great deal of hugging.
Dance, dance, dance. Cute boys and happy girls and jokes and laughter and music. Forgive me for forgetting, for a couple of hours, what was going on a few hundred miles to the northwest.
After the dance, Pizza. As ever. Mr. G’s pizza, breadsticks, and root beer. More laughing. More talk. More teasing. Gentle teasing from the others, and more pointed teasing from my brother. I shook it off, like I’d learned to do (not like the years and years that I would scream and yell and then get in trouble for overreacting).
Somehow on the long drive home, I didn’t know. I had no premonitions. The earth didn’t shift. Air wasn’t sucked from the atmosphere. I just rode home, laughing and not sleepy and not afraid.
I checked on Marc. He was sleeping in the parent’s big bed, elbows and knees everywhere. Good. Wash face. Brush teeth. Change into jammies. Lights off. Climb into bed.
Knock at the door.
Blood runs cold.
Ignore it. It will go away. My fear of the dark, fueled by far too many Stephen King novels that first year I worked at the library, overtook all logic.
More knocking. Monsters. Axe murderers. Doorbell. Vampires. Psychotic animals. More knocking. Another doorbell.
I picked up the phone in my room and called our own number. I don’t know if this works anymore, technologically speaking, but that night, I hung up quickly and the phone began to ring. Once, twice, three times. It stopped. I grabbed the receiver.
“Nathan?”
“What?”
“There’s someone at the door.”
Only the intervention of a benevolent God prevented him from reminding me that axe murderers do not ring doorbells.
“Okay. Coming.” The bravest words of a brave big brother.
I stood, shivering at my bedroom door. Saw him walk from the basement stairs across the small family room. He turned and I heard the door open. Heard the Rockwoods’ voices, hushed appropriately for the time of night and the delicacy of their mission.
I didn’t wonder if we’d left something in their car. I didn’t wonder if anything terrible had happened to their kids between dropping us off and getting themselves home. I didn’t wonder anything. Because I knew.
I knew.
I walked to the front door. They’d come in, but only just. Their backs were pressed against the door, and I knew again. There were no jokes, and if the Rockwoods weren’t telling jokes, this was more serious than anything I’d ever experienced with them. Jolene, tall and stricken, held her arms out to me. I shook my head, not because I didn’t want her comfort, not because I didn’t believe, but because my head would shake. Back and forth as I was folded into her arms.
Whispered words: “Your mom…” Head shake, back and forth.
“… dad called…” Head shake.
“Come home with us, sleep at our house…” And then I could nod. Yes. Your house. That is the right thing to do. Because we shouldn’t be here alone. And we should give you the thing you need, too. We should allow you to do the only thing to do when there is nothing, nothing anyone can do.
 
Before getting in the car, I did the only thing I could do when there was nothing else to do. I went back into my room, picked up the phone again, and listened as the buttons sang Jorja’s song – the eleven-note jingle that meant I could reconnect with my far-far-away best friend.
Her mom told me she was asleep.
“Please.”
“I need her.”
“My mom died.”
Gasp. “Oh, Becca.” A quick waking, and there it was. The comfort I needed, across a thousand miles. The words, just right.
Will you be shocked, or will you understand when I tell you we laughed? Will you know what it is to share a heart, and to realize that there is a time for tears, and a time for laughter? And, sometimes, will you understand the need for both at once? Will you know that both, in equal measure, are required in order to heal?

This (past) week

I know I’m one of the only people in the world who still blogs, and the other one is the Pioneer Woman, so let’s just say I’m in good company. But I do try to get in more posts than this (hello, last week! How’ve you been?).

Allow me to walk you through my life in the last seven days.

1. I printed The Manuscript. I ended up reducing the font size so as to not use so much of a ream of paper. But – irony – I managed to miscommunicate with my printer (not so hard for a champion miscommunicator like myself) and printed 2.75 copies of the story. Awesome. Because if one huge printing is good, two and three-quarters must, must, must be better. So I gave one to Kid 2, who made noises of interest in reading this draft. And the other .75 sits in the office, waiting to be scrap paper.

2. I registered 2 Kids for high school. Thus, we eat beans and rice for a month. Or two. Free public education = really expensive in August.

3. I discovered (again) that something I said in an offhand manner hurt someone I love. This is not a proud thing for me. And it happens more often than I like, and I wish (oh, I wish) it didn’t. I have a gift for thoughtlessness, and I hate that gift. If you’re among the hurt, I give a sincere blanket apology. Sheesh. I should not speak. Ever.

4. I left an ill husband and four Kids to fend for themselves and went on a writers’ retreat. Here’s the thing: I like to think my family can’t possibly do without me. I LOVE the idea that they’re miserable when I’m not here cooking for them, folding their underthingies neatly, bleaching white surfaces, and sweeping crusties off the kitchen floor. The truth is a little different. They love it when I’m gone. They totally step up, and they don’t miss me for a second. Also, Husband tested negative for strep, so there’s another bonus. They all did great without me. And could have continued to do so indefinitely. (*Note to Self: Research long-term effects of strict salt-and-vinegar chips / Bugles diet. End Note.*)

4.5. Meanwhile, I retreated to Bear Lake. Kid 4 was stunned to discover that I never actually got IN the lake. But I did look at it a great deal. I watched the water change from blue to bluer to gray to slate to amazing as the cloudcover shifted throughout a couple of days. Also I finished the latest revision. Read it on paper and then inputted (that’s totally a word) changes in the computer. I did not get distracted by facebook or blogs or email, because… no internet. Except on my phone, where I had patchy, spotty internet. And service in general. Leaving me no excuses in the text-message realm, either. I read a lot. I pondered. I fixed, and changed, and adjusted, and polished. And then I pushed “Save” and moved on. And ate a whole lot of really, really good food.

5. I started writing on something new. It had been a while since I lived anywhere but inside Fifth Gift draftiness, and it was very fun. I didn’t do a whole ton of writing on the new thing — maybe 2500 words or so. But I planned (which is different than outlining, but I wish it weren’t because I think I should get good at that particular skill, and right away) the story, and thought of some stuff that I’d like inside it, and played with ideas. And wrote some. Inside this story, there’s a historical (fake) post-WWII poet who needs a name. I love the idea of two initials and a last name (a la ee cummings, E.B. White, E.M. Forrester, but without the “Es” — SEND IDEAS. I may reward you with a book.)

6. I had a tiny breakdown. I didn’t mean to. It just happened. I got emotional, spoke something that had been inside my heart for a long time, and sort of burst open. Dear friends who were there: Fear not. I am fine. And that won’t happen again. Probably.

7. I came home fulfilled. Then I swept the kitchen floor. Then I slept for a really, really long time.

8. I sent the revisions to Agent Meredith. (My heart is beating faster, just for having written those words.)

9. Life is moving on, faster and faster. Days are short, nights are short, moments are quick.

10. I just got a look at what room and board cost at the university of Kid 1’s choice. It would be awesome if somehow I dug up a treasure box full of Spanish gold. And soon.

And so it goes. Good things, filling up the days and nights and hearts and minds. I hope things are good with you, too.

Feeling Olympic?

If you’ve hung around here at all, you’ll not be surprised that we don’t watch much television. But this week, um. Much television. And I have learned a few things about myself by watching the London Olympic games.

(Got this from Google. Probably I should be paying the IOC for use of it or something. Let’s just call me an unofficial sponsor.)

I am SO not competitive. There is no joy in me that stems from counting points. (Unless it’s Scrabble or something that reflects my braininess.) I do not love the idea of one winner and the rest of the world is losers. Can’t we all be winners? (I know. I’m just saying.)

I feel sick to my stomach when something horrible (a fall, a slip, a misstep, an unreached expectation) happens to any one of the competitors. That first day, when I saw that 155 mile bike ride and they showed the pile-up after a crash? I gasped out loud. I wanted to run to England (theoretically) and help pick up those guys and their bikes. And watching the US men’s gymnastics? Oh, don’t even. Out loud groaning. Lots of it. And I wanted to hug them. All.

I feel so, so sorry for the fourth place winners. I mean, seriously? YOU’RE THE FOURTH BEST IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. THE WHOLE, ENTIRE WORLD. You are not a loser. You are amazing, and you have done something that seven billion of us can only dream about. You should feel proud, under there somewhere. I hope you do.

I seriously want to injure mean commentators. Especially, somehow, the woman who announces synchronized diving. I mean, really? Lady. Those guys just leapt off a huge, high platform and spun in ALMOST EXACTLY the same manner, then entered the water HEAD FIRST, and you’re going to find disparities in their ANGLES? I couldn’t do a flip off one of those high platforms if the lives of all my children depended on it. (I’d try, of course, but I wouldn’t bet on my own success is all I’m saying.)

I must be blind. Unless the athlete actually falls over or his arms come off, I can’t see the mistakes. I’m just amazed at what those bodies can do.

Perfection is a mystery to me. See above. I’ve never been perfect at anything, anything EVER in my life. I can’t even comprehend what that whole world must be like. When I was a kid, I was a huge fan of Nadia Comaneci. I did many reports on her, and I even remember learning that her floor routine was danced to “Yes, Sir, That’s my Baby.” (Why? Why, brain? Why are these the things you hold on to?) She was the first person to earn a perfect score (10, then), and in the 1976 Olympics, she got 7 tens. (I had to look that up. I was only three. I didn’t watch it, as far as I recall.) My little world is so subjective that the idea of perfection, measurable, markable perfection is unfathomable. (Do you hear SpaceDad from Megamind in your head every time you read that word? “Unfathomable.” *sigh* I Love that show.)

Body image. And advertising. They’re linked and strange and bizarre. There’s a bodybuilder/weightlifter from the US called Sarah Robles. HERE is her blog: Pretty Strong. She’s a great lifter — the strongest (man or woman) in the US. Lots of olympians get $$$ ad contracts, but it doesn’t look like Sarah is getting a bunch of offers. Or any at all.

(I got this image from Strollerderby.com, but it’s also on Sarah’s blog, only smaller. I wanted you to be able to see it.)

I’ve read several articles about Sister Sarah, and many of them mention that she’s living in poverty, some giving numbers ($400/week? Really??) — because unlike many of her fellow athletes, she’s not being wooed for any advertising endorsements. Does that sicken your heart? Is she not awesome enough to advertise something? Do we only buy products because they’re going to make us look like the hot models that sell them to us in magazines and on TV? Hey, Advertisers: Strong is Beautiful. I’d buy it if Sarah helped you sell it. (You know, within reason.) (She competes on the 5th. I’ll be watching if Bob Costas puts her on NBC.) [** UPDATE: An online company has entered an endorsement contract. But NARY an athletic outfitter… Come on, guys. Step up. **]

I remember training (“training”) at swim team practice in my tween years. I think the IM is the hardest (physical) thing I’ve ever consistently tried to do. Including childbirth. And I tried the IM (not in competition — my Butterfly was [and remains] an embarrassment) more times than I tried to deliver babies. But wow. That’s hard stuff those people are doing there in that pool. The hardness of it almost allows me to ignore the fact that THERE ARE LIKE DOZENS OF OTHER EVENTS HAPPENING THAT WE ARE NOT SEEING ON PRIMETIME NBC TELEVISION.

I want to go to London. This isn’t really something I learned this week. But I’m remembering it. Again and again.

How about you? Are you learning anything about yourself while you watch? (Are you even watching?)

Catching

Name a cliche with “catch” in it, and I’m trying to do it. Up? Yep. Catching up. With my life that’s trying to run away without me. A Break? Yep. I’m always trying to catch a break. A Tiger by the Tail? Why not? My Breath? Always.

(But so far I’m not catching a wave or catching hell. Let’s hope that all stays that way.)

New York was perfect in almost every way. I adore the upper East Side of Manhattan. I became a total pro at the subway business. I would live there (Manhattan, not in the subway) for a year. (Husband’s not convinced. I’ve got time to work on him.) It was cold and rainy and sunny and windy and cloudy and cold again, and that was great. Everyone in New York wears a scarf. Everyone. Man, woman, child, and dog. Not kidding. I was glad I had a couple of scarves, because otherwise I did NOT blend in, clothingwise. Remember how color is back? Nobody told NYC. It’s all black, all the time. I stood out like a proper tourist in my orange and blue. Ah, well. No worries.

I spent a great many hours wandering. Museums, book shops, Union Square, Times Square, Park Avenue, Madison Avenue, streets in general and specific. You’d think I’d have come home skinny, but for this: The white-flour based foods. Oh. Yes.

And now it’s time to work on my revision. Because Agent Meredith is excited about submitting, but she’s holding the reigns until I get it right. Whatever. (JUST KIDDING. I WANT IT TO BE RIGHT, TOO. THAT WAS JUST A LITTLE IRONY.) So I’m working on it in chunks and pieces. And it will be great. Because she has good, good, good ideas. And she asks important questions (like “So, what happened to that character who was so important for the first 2/3 of your story? Where did he go?” Oh, that.)

But today, and tomorrow, and also Saturday, it’s time to conference. I’m ready to party with the LDS Storymakers’ people. I’m helping with an intensive workshop critique today (in a few minutes now), and I’m teaching a class on overcoming the things that keep us from writing. That will be Saturday. Right before lunch. Also I made a presentation. Like Powerpoint, sort of, but not. Because it’s different. And nothing flushes off the screen. (The Flush transition always makes me disregard any further points of interest in a PP presentation. You’ve been warned.)

And if you’re in the direct vicinity of Provo, Utah, there’s a massive book signing Friday night (I’ve heard that there might be 100 authors there) at the Marriott at 100N and 100W. I’ll be there. Wearing orange, so you can find me. Maybe that trick won’t work so well in Provo as it worked in Times Square, but I’m trying it anyway. If you come, come say hi. I’ll sign a book for you. Or your arm. Or whatever you stick in front of me, You’ve been warned.

 

Again. Again. Again.

Do you ever feel like your life is on repeat? Those same things, again and again? Like, for instance, we watched the Les Miserables 25th Anniversary concert again this Sunday afternoon. And, again, it felt a lot like THIS. Also this time, I wanted the guy who designed the lighting to come out and take a bow. Wow. The lighting.

And I’ve been doing a lot of school teaching. And I love being a substitute teacher, because it gives me the very best of the teaching opportunities without any of the hard work. (Yes, that is just exactly the kind of girl I am. Are you new here or something?) And this week I got to talk about To Kill a Mockingbird, and even to watch Gregory Peck be Atticus. Oh, Gregory. Oh, Atticus. You are one in my heart. And I got to teach high school seniors about resumes, so naturally I took in like 500 bloopers from the worst resumes ever written and shared them. Also, I showed them THIS. Because I own the skill of getting around the local school district’s non-YouTube filter. Add Hacker to my resume. Also, yesterday this dumb thing I did: I asked a certain class to do a certain thing, and several of the kids said they’d do it. So I wrote their names down. Here’s the thing. I teach these classes now and then, maybe almost once a month. I’m THEIR sub, if you know what I mean. And they like me. And I like them, too. And I’m learning many of their names. But. Mostly the ones on the top half of the attendance rolls, because once I hit the Ms, I’m just ready to move on instead of making eye contact with everyone. See? So yesterday, I wrote down the names of the kids I could remember, then I had TO ASK A COUPLE OF THEM TO TELL ME THEIR NAMES. They were offended, in the most polite way. They teased me. One said, head cocked to the side, “Really? You don’t know me?” And I laughed and said, of course I do, you’re my very best friend, and COME ON. It’s not like you know MY first name. And he got that “What are you talking about?” look on his face and said, “Becca.” Like, duh, lady. Then he told me who he was and I repeated his name seventeen times, and now I will never forget it again. First or last. Or initials BS (no kidding). And I used to think I was good with names. Turns out that as a sub, you end up with about a thousand different students a month. And I’m just not THAT GOOD.

And Nunsense is a riot. We’re pretty darn funny, if I must say so myself. Again. (Saturdays in March at 7:00. 100N 100W in Heber City. I’ll be there, I promise. I’m the one in the NunSuit.)

Also, apparently while I was inside a building somewhere, Spring sprang up around here. Sprang is a word. Spell checker doesn’t even try to stop me from using it. Sprang, sprang, sprang. I’m giddy with freedom. Sprang. It sounds like “boing” — another word that is very fun to say and type and read. At least for me. And, need I remind you who this blog belongs to? I thought not.

And remember once when I told you I read NORTH AND SOUTH? And that I wanted to adore it? Well, I finally found enough minutes to finish watching the BBC miniseries. Guess what. Go on, guess. Oh, all right. I’ll tell you. I said these words to Husband: “The movie was better than the book.” He gasped and made me repeat myself. (It’s happened before. I feel that way about the Wynona Ryder/Susan Sarandon/Christian Bale version of Little Women, too.) But N&S was so lovely that I will watch it again. When I get 4 hours. Check back with me in a few months. (Keyword: Richard Armitage. Yes. Yes.)

I made hotel reservations to go to this lovely place in July. It will be glorious and tree-full and hot and humid and my hair will be a flat-out disaster. But it will be awesome nonetheless. (Sometimes I just like to write things that aren’t words normal people would ever say.) (Should ever say?) And my parents are there, and it will be so, so good to have a real, face-to-face, hug-it-out kind of conversation with them again. It has been WAY too many months. (11 already.) And I’m going to find out how to get an excursion on a Mississippi River paddle boat, ala Mr. Mark Twain. They’d have that, right? (Google, come to my aid.) (Again.)

And, since it’s been very nearly a year, I’m thinking about paying someone to cut my hair again. Just a trim, but a trim done by someone else’s hands sounds like quite a treat. Yes. That sounds like a lovely idea. I’ll let you know if I actually choose to act on that lovely idea.

Then there’s this: On my no-white-flour, no sugar thing, I lost 12 pounds (mostly in February). And then I started getting cocky and cheating now and then (pizza, yes — pasta, once — cookies, only the lemon ones — and it’s girl scout cookie ice cream month [thank you, Dreyer’s], so, Samoas, yes) and for the last 3 weeks, I’ve been at a stall. But I’m back on the wagon again. Why do I feel the need to tell you these things? I have no idea. But I told you anyway. You’re welcome.

 

Tell Me A Story

Did you know that when my first Kids were very small, I used to live in fear of the words, “Tell me a story”? Well, I did. I would read to them all day and all night and love every second of it. (Except for maybe the Cat. I have issues with the Cat.) But there was something terrifying about the very thought of sitting on the edge of a bed and making up a story. All the pressure. My Sure Knowledge that anything I said would not only be dumb, but dumb enough that even a two-year-old (a really pleasant one) would sneer. I had nothing worth saying. I knew it, knew it.

I dreaded that sneer.

But do you know what? Something changed. Obviously. I started writing it instead. And with the writing came a tiny bit of confidence. I couldn’t tell a story suitable for bedtime. I was sure of it. But I discovered that I could tell one that would make a kid laugh. And hey, what better way to go to bed than laughing? (I know. It’s a ridiculous claim. Calm is better. Duh. But we go with our strengths. We make it do.)

And I discovered that sometimes, I could get a good laugh by telling a true story. I could tell the Kids stories about… the Kids. (I know. Genius.) I could tell the story about the “nose-picking light.” I could tell the story about “have you ever x-rayed a chicken?” I could tell about haircut disasters, and tossing a kid into a dumpster, and spinning a shopping cart until the inevitable vomiting. (Those weren’t all me. Just the dumpster one.) I could tell about “baby bird face” and “pots and pans / In a rock and roll band” and chin stitches and “somebody stole my wife” and “the piano is the joy of my life.” I could tell about “Every day, my head gets bigger!”

And when I told, it mattered. The Kids knew that their stories mattered. Because they were the stories we told. Over and over.

So, guys, I have something cool to tell you about.

It’s a story conference.

That’s a little different from a writing conference, but I bet it will share all the best parts. [1] It’s called Story @ Home, and it’s in Salt Lake City, Friday and Saturday March 9 and 10th. Here’s the cool part: There’s a place for you there. Even if the words “Tell me a story” make your teeth sweat. Because it’s made to cater to people with different kinds of interests. Like this:

There’s a Family History track, full of all kinds of genealogy and personal history stuff that looks mighty intimidating to a person like me, until I realize that I AM TELLING OUR FAMILY’S HISTORY EVERY DAY.

There’s a Storytelling track, full of people who don’t even flinch at the words, “Tell me a story.” Who live and breathe story. Who delight in the sharing. And who want to learn how to do it even better.

And there’s a Blogging track. Where we can find the awesome, the crucial, the totally possible ways to tell our own stories (even if they’re not Absolutely True). [2]

So go over HERE to Cherish Bound’s website and take a look (Cherish Bound is the company presenting the conference). Guys, the tickets for a two-day conference are only $79. That is a STEAL. (Not that we approve of stealing, which we Do Not. Just to clarify.)

The conference is on the lovely Temple Square, and is hosted by FamilySearch, the online genealogy experts. That might make you think that this is for Mormons. But it’s certainly not in any way limited. We like to think of ourselves as a welcoming bunch. And there is good information here for everyone. Even you. And even me. But did you know that zillions and zillions of people use the internet for genealogy searches? And that means that as soon as the FamilySearch people release their tickets, this baby will sell out. So I’m here to tell you that you can go ahead and register right now. And I’ll see you there.

And maybe, just maybe, I can tell you a story.

[1] The best parts of a writing conference include awesome presenters giving awesome ideas, and also lunch.

[2] Not that I’ve EVER told a story that wasn’t 100% absolutely true. Somewhere inside the murk in my head.

It’s about Today, and 20 years ago…

Today, kids, is my 20th (twentieth) year high school reunion.

You know that feeling, the one that you catch a glimpse of yourself in a photo or the mirror or the car window and you gasp and go, “Holy stink, when did I get so old?” The answer is Today. (For me. Not for you. You are not old. Unless you want to be. Which is great with me. Getting older is Some Kind of Blessing, as it certainly beats the alternative.)

Do you want to know what I’ve done in preparation for today? Let’s check my list, shall we?

1. Lose 20 pounds (which would have put me below what I weighed in HS): Nope. Didn’t happen.

2. Get a tan: Nope. Didn’t happen. But I have a good excuse.

3. Buy a cute sundress: Sort of. I have a dress. I bought it months ago, and it’s my standard wear-it-when-I-need-color. But it’s not really new. Nor does it appear, when I wear it, that I managed to accomplish #1. Alas. But it is very bright and pretty. And comfy. Which matters most to me (and says plenty about my crimes of fashion over the length of my life.)

4. Buy great shoes: Nope. How about the comfy 3-year-old sandals? Check.

5. Shave legs: Does yesterday count?

6. Pedicure: I’m counting it. I did it myself, but really, will anyone get THAT close? Let’s hope not.

But despite my utter lack of apparent motivation, I have to say, I’m glad to be going. I loved so many people that I knew in High School. And yes. I know that I use the word “love” easily, but that doesn’t make it any less true. I only went to this high school for a year and a half. But I spread my little heart all over that place. And it came right back to me. As much as there have been days and days over the past few months that I thought “Why in the world would I want to go back to high school?” — this is it: The people I knew there were extremely generous spirits. Even at seventeen, these people cared deeply about things that still matter.

I’m not saying they didn’t also care deeply about that Kevin Bacon movie “Tremors,” I’m just saying they were also capable of sincere, deep love. For each other.

And for a small window of my life, I was one of them.

So off I go, to the Family Picnic part of the party, to smile a lot, to squint out of the corner of my eye at nametags, to solidify my sincere hope that these good kids turned into happy, fulfilled adults. To reconnect. To laugh at memories and to gasp at the wonder that is Right Now.

Today is the Day…

Hooray — it’s time to get moving. Bills are paid. A few meals planned. Snacks purchased. Car vacuumed,  full of gas and oil. Windows clean.

That’s right — road trip!

Kid 1 and I are off to drive through the desert to party it up in Vegas. (That sounds way more sketchy than it really is. We’re not really the “party it up in Vegas” kind, especially since she’s sixteen.)

We’re going to see Phantom tonight, and then lounge about in DeNae’s pool until she kicks us out.

I hope your week is shaping up to be nearly as great.