Monthly Archives: June 2013

3 Reasons I’ll Never Tell Anyone My Worst Fear

1. My enemies could find out and use it against me.

Have you read Orwell’s 1984? Spoiler alert, room 101 has your worst fear in it. Do NOT read this book if your worst fear is rats or spine pain. Do I have any enemies who might want to Room 101 me? Not that I’m aware of, but you never know.

2. Unwanted Advice

What? Get over my fear of flying (woops, wait it’s okay, it’s not my worst fear) by flying more? Thanks a lot. I’ll get right on that. Expensive and scary. Great idea. Guess what? I don’t want to talk about it, I don’t want to think about it, I don’t want to hear you talk about it, I don’t even want you to think about it. Next subject. How ’bout them Giants?

3. This Freaky Thing That Happened To Me

Okay, this sounds like one of those stories that junior highers tell at sleepovers, but it’s true. When I was seven or eight months pregnant, my husband and I took a childbirth class. These classes are really just something to give the future parents an illusion of control, as all this knowledge is going to find a way out of those impenetrable hospital windows when labor starts. Anyway, during one of these classes, the teacher had the moms take turns telling their worst childbirth fear. And I swear, just like a cheesy horror flick, every single worst fear came true, to a person. Girl who feared big baby? Only ten pounder among us. Lady who feared long labor? Thirty-four hours. And me? I wonder what would have happened if I’d said, “I have no fear. God is with me.” I do wonder. But I’ll never know, because I said, “Having to have a C-section.” Not only did I get to have a C-section, but I got to hear a play-by-play of every slice and smush, due to the fact that the doctor was teaching an intern. Side note, I strongly suggest that if you ever need a C-section you go into it ignorant of the details and hope there’s no intern. Don’t read up about it.

And so, what’s my biggest fear, you ask? I really don’t have one. I’m pretty squared away in the fear department. Nope, nothing to see here. Move along. How ’bout those Giants?

 

 

 

 

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5 Unique Gift Ideas For Teens This Father’s Day

1. Do Your Homework
So that you can get a scholarship, so that Dad doesn’t have to pay for your education. Also, he won’t have to wonder if he’s going to have to support you til you’re 30. Note: He might not support you til you’re 30.

2. Let Him Win A Video Game
You’re old enough to know. He stacked the deck so you’d win at Candyland. Practice this: “You got me, Dad. Remind me to have you on my team in a real zombie apocalypse.”

3. Acknowledge Him In Public
Just once. You don’t have to say you love him. A simple “Bye Dad,” in front of your friends will make his day. You probably don’t remember, but at least once when you were a toddler a scenario like this happened:

Dad to new middle-aged neighbor: Welcome to the neighborhood! This is my daughter/son.
New neighbor: What a delightful child!
Dad: If you need anything, we’re right next door.
Neighbor: Well thanks, see you around!
You: Daddy is that a boy or a girl?

He didn’t pretend not to know you. He smiled and took you in the house and fed you and helped you use the potty. You owe him one.

4. Volunteer For Something Charitable
It’ll make him look like he did a good job raising you. He does deserve a little of the credit for how awesome you are.

5. Let Him Take A Nap
He needs it.

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Littlefoot (part 3)

“Littlefoot, aren’t you coming to the market with us?” Benedella asked as she pulled an empty basket from a kitchen cupboard.
“Yes,” Kindra added, “Get your coat. Asher’s sure to be there selling his mother’s sweets today.”
Littlefoot didn’t know what to make of Kindra’s tone. Kindra was the boycrazy one, and Benedella was the one all the boys wanted. Asher was a friend to Littlefoot, and nothing more.
“No, you two go ahead. I think I’m going to rip some boards out of the old treehouse to patch up the fence today.”
“That treehouse is half rotten, too. Be careful up there, all right?” Benedella said.
“I will. There’s plenty of good stuff, compared to the fence at least.”
Kindra sighed. “I’ll miss the old treehouse. We had so much fun up there.”
Benedella smiled. “We sure did. Littlefoot’s right, though. It’s not safe anymore anyway.”

So Littlefoot’s sisters left down the path to the village and Littlefoot made her way, hammer in hand, past the vegetable garden and through the tall grasses to the giant tree where the girls’ father had built them their magical playhouse in the sky. Its ladder had thirty rungs, and Littlefoot remembered fondly how her father had waved off her mother’s worries about the great height. The memory made her miss her parents.
None of the sisters had ever fallen. Now Littlefoot climbed as quickly and surely as ever, slowing only to skip a weak-looking rung or two. When she reached the top, she grabbed the railing that ran the perimeter of the treehouse floor and felt it tilt toward her. She gasped in alarm, and then, grunting, launched herself off the ladder and into the treehouse. But the wood had pulled away completely, and in launching herself, she kicked the ladder and a section of railing clean away from the treehouse. She watched it all tip, tip, and crash below her.
“Spinich and chard,” she swore. “It could be hours before Benedella and Kindra get back so they can bring me a rope or something. Oh well, might as well get to work.”
Stepping very carefully, she found a few sturdy planks of wood toward the back of the treehouse and began prying one up.
She sang a pirate song while she worked.
“Yo ho, truth be told
I will kill you for some gold
Yo ho, what’s your pleasure
Take your wench and take your treasure…”
Littlefoot piled up the boards and yelled, “Uh oh, the pirates are getting drunk!” She continued, louder and less in tune.
“Yo ho, gimme some rum
Take my wench and-”
“Littlefoot? Is that you up there?” It was a man’s voice.
Littlefoot hopped from one solid board to another until she could see down to the ground where the ladder had crashed.
“Asher!” Her throat turned hot. Why couldn’t he have come before the sailors got drunk? “We thought you’d be selling at the market today.”
“Mother wanted me to come ask if you had any sugar we could borrow instead.”
“Why didn’t she just give you money for the market?”
“She did, but, I, well never mind that now, I can see you’re in rather a predicament.”
“The ladder fell,” Littlefoot said unnecessarily.
“Yes. Hmmm.” Asher looked around like he might find a spare three-story ladder stuck in the bushes. “Too bad you don’t have really long hair.”
“Excuse me?”
“You could cut it off and tie it to something and slide down.”
She smirked, content that he had made himself look as stupid as she had looked with the sailor song. “Or you could get me a rope.”
“Right. Umm,”
“Yes?”
“I’m not sure I could throw a rope that high. Wait!” He reached into his pocket and pulled out what looked like large seeds. “I wasn’t going to tell you, but this is what I bought with the money Mother gave me to buy sugar. Supposedly they’ll grow into a beanstalk that will reach the clouds. I’ll plant them here where the ladder was.”
Littlefoot snorted. “Beanstalk, ha!”
Asher looked up at her with a sheepish grin. “I know, but it’s worth a try. Let me run to your shed and get a trowel.”
Littlefoot scooped up some leaf dust from a nearby post and, laughing, flung it down at him. “Silly.”
For some reason, he kept grinning up at her, not ducking away from the leaves and dirt.
“Ow! My eyes! What did you do?”
“Oh, I’m sorry! I thought you saw me! I thought you’d close your eyes!”
“I thought you were just pretending to throw something. Salt and sugar, I can’t see!”
“I’m so sorry!” Littlefoot didn’t say what she was thinking next, that now he’d never be able to find her a rope.
Nobly, Asher waved his hands in dismissal and said, “I, I think I can feel my way to the shed and find a trowel.”
“A trowel?”
“Okay, okay, I’ll get a rope.” Asher stumbled away with one hand over his eyes and the other swiping the air in front of him to find trees before he ran into them.”
“Veer right,” Littlefoot called once in a while.
When Asher came back out of the shed with a rope, his eyes were still closed. “Where are you?” he asked.
“Follow my voice. Sail me ship and flog me crew, pirate swords will come for you,” she sang sweetly. “If your meal we can’t afford, we will throw you overboard.”
Asher made it back to the treehouse and, after several tries, got one end of the rope up to Littlefoot. She tied it to a girthy branch and came down hand over hand.
“Thanks Ash,” she said. “Let’s get you in and wash your eyes.”
He blinked at her and pressed his eyes closed again. “If you really felt bad, you’d be crying enough tears to wash my eyes,” he teased.
“Sorry, Bean Boy.” She punched him in the arm and led him to the kitchen where she helped him with a pitcher of water, gave him sugar for his mother, and sent him on his way.

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How I Lost Those Last 10 Pounds (and kept them off!)

People keep asking me how I lost my ten pounds. Did I eat carbs? (Jesus ate carbs, and so do I) Did I juice? (Only by chewing) Did I exercise? (I was actually lazier than ever) The answer is quite simple.

MY BACKSTORY

Publishers say you can’t use backstory. You have to start with the action and weave the backstory in. Luckily I don’t need publishers. I will just click “publish” when I’m done and assume that my readers don’t have the attention spans of kindergarteners. Here’s my backstory.

As I grew up playing year-round softball, and my mom cooked healthy meals and didn’t buy soda or doughnuts, and I got skinny genes (that’s genes with a ‘g’ for those of you having Siri read this to you) I started off my adult life at a rather thin 120 pounds. When I had morning sickness I got down to 104! Don’t worry, that’s not what I’m recommending for you.

After having my daughter, I eventually got back to 120, but after I turned 30, I gradually made my way up to 150. Then, after a month of two illnesses and an injury bad enough to ruin my appetite, I ended up at 140. Don’t worry, I’m definitely not recommending that either.

MY PLAN

With no weightloss aspirations, last New Year’s I randomly decided to cut my sugar intake to only two pints a month of Kozy Shack pudding. I don’t know why. I know sugar is evil, but I didn’t want to go without it completely. Why Kozy Shack pudding? I have no idea. I like it. Bonus, it’s all natural.

HOW I DIDN’T FOLLOW MY PLAN

The first thing that happened was I realized an open container of Kozy Shack wasn’t going to stay edible for two weeks, so I switched to two pints a week. My goal was not weight loss, so I was surprised when I weighed myself after a week or so and had lost two pounds. I continued to lose two pounds a week through all of January. Unholy crap, I thought. I must have been eating a lot of sugar before!

Three things I’d like to point out here:
1. January was too cold for walking, so I sat around a lot during this time.
2. I did not (and never did) eat sugar substitutes. Yuck.
3. I did not cut back on fats. I love lots of full-fat sour cream on my burritos and lots of butter on my toast.

Besides not ordering lemon cakes at Starbucks, and saying no to cookies and cake, a major change was switching from a bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats for breakfast to a piece of toast (with butter!) fruit, and sometimes an egg.

And that’s it! I have even cheated many times, but even with the cheats, I figure I still eat less sugar than I would if I didn’t have the resolution at all. At first, I checked the ingredients of crackers, bread, everything, and I’ve slacked off on that a bit, but I still weigh 130, which I’m very happy with. I actually feel healthier than I did back when I weighed 120.

So what I AM recommending is that you try cutting your sugar before you go crazy with counting calories and buying a pedometer. It’s simpler than counting calories, healthy even if you don’t lose weight, and doesn’t cause repetitive stress injuries like exercise.

Marie out.

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Trombone Playing Is Not A Crime

I saw a newsclip from Atlanta today about a man who was arrested outside a Braves game. His crime? Playing trombone.

Now I know several trombone players I’d like to arrest, but I wanted to haul them in for things like playing high A flat in first position, not for anything that’s an actual threat to society. Seriously, if you want to find the group of people least likely to commit a crime, it might be us trombone players. I’ve known some hothead trumpeters and crazy clarinetists, but all the trombone section ever wants to do is play a little too loud and entertain each other with puns and double entendres while we count rests.

Band people know that the stereotypes about different sections are true. What we should really ask in job interviews is, “What did you play in high school band?” Want attention to detail? Look for a clarinetist. Friendly face for customers? Flute. Hipness? Saxophone. Multitasker? Percussion. But if you want someone who will laugh at the absurdity of a rude customer instead of arguing, if you want someone who would never get arrested, find yourself a trombone player.

And this guy who got arrested was a true trombone player. Not only did he play well, but he had a hilariously low brass relaxed reaction to his first time in jail. He relayed this conversation.

“What you did?”

“I played trombone.”

Apparently what happened was the cops told him he couldn’t play on the street, and he said he could, and they said the problem was that he was asking for money, and he said he hadn’t said a word to anyone about money, and they said his trombone case being out was asking for money.

I ask you, was he supposed to leave his case thirty feet away? Put a sign on it that said, “Please No Money?” And I am willing to bet that within a hundred feet of this guy were a dozen scalpers and two drug dealers, but no, the worst criminal on the street is the guy who has practiced a fine art until he was good enough to take it on the road. Not that he shouldn’t have done what the cops said in the first place. I don’t think it was worth the fight. That’s another thing about us trombone players. I never said we were smart.

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