Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I am thinking of giving something up, but I have yet to decide. Chocolate? I already gave up sugar, and though I fail sometimes, it feels like cheating to give up something twice.
TV? Let's see... I just looked up how far away Easter was and decided that was a no go.
I'll let you know what I come up with.
But, I will let you know next week. I am taking the rest of this week off from "Bethany's Freelance Life" because I have a ginormous race this weekend! As it has consumed all my thoughts and free time, I have little else to talk about. I'll see ya'll Tuesday! Have a good week everybody!
Giving anything up for a season? Give me some ideas!
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
"Jai Ho" will be stuck in my head for weeks. I haven't even gotten to see Slumdog yet, and I will be singing the song BEFORE I watch it!
Like Julianne, it is yet another year in which I will have seen not a single, solitary Oscar contender. Also, like Julianne, in years past, I would have seen them all. Sigh. I was too resentful to even watch them this year, except for that snippet, when I got that song F-O-R-E-V-E-R imprinted in my brain.
All right...fine. I'm not really resentful. I love my small children and all they bring. I just knew watching the Oscars would make me ACTUALLY resentful.
So? Tell me! What movies are good this year? Did you watch the Oscars? What did you think?
Saturday, February 21, 2009
"Oh, oh, ho! Good organization, Mom!"
Me: (rapidly descending into the following sins): pride in my my totally awesome Martha skills, pride in my totally awesome vocabulary building skills, pride that my kid is a genius who uses five-syllable words, pride (i.e. completely unjustified bitterness) that SOMEBODY around here appreciates the work I do, pride that my pantry really looks pretty freakin' fabulous.
"Wow, thanks, buddy!"
"Yeah," he said. "You did good regutations."
REGUTATIONS. Good ones.
Screeching halt to all the prideful thoughts listed above.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
This is the worst thing a freelance writer could lack.
I get a single, solitary rejection letter, and I'm like, "MK, You are right, I AM a terrible writer..." (self-pity continues...) (for days...)
Those people who call for a job every week until the (future) boss finally caves? I am not those people. Well, not yet, right?
What is the worst that could happen?? They have all ready said no, right? Why am I so afraid they will say no again?
And this is my favorite persistent little Panda: Po in Kung Fu Panda!
Tigress: [seeing Po bounce down the palace steps] If he's smart, he won't come back up those steps.
Monkey: But he will.
Viper: He's not gonna quit, is he?
Mantis: He's not gonna quit bouncing, I'll tell you that.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Race Day Countdown: 10
The thing about distance running is that it's never enough. Ever. If I have done three miles, I need to do four. My first half-marathon is in a week and a half, and I'm already planning my first full marathon.
Running is like M&M's. Or crack. (Come to think of it, M&M's may be made of crack.)
Want to hear something scary?? Of course you do.
I found something worse than a full marathon. Ultra-marathons! Fifty miles. One hundred miles! Yikes. I should stop at a normal marathon. I think.
Want to hear something fantastic?? Yes? I just ran 13.3 miles!!! This race is going to be awesome. If you are in town, you should totally come and cheer me on! I'll buy you breakfast.
If you are reading this and thinking, "She's crazy and I hate her," let me reply. I would have hated me too, a year ago. I started running in September. I couldn't do 1/3 of a mile last February. One step at a time! You know you want to.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
It's one of those primary (primal?) emotions that kept our caveman grandparents alive to see another day.
It is good to fear giant furry spiders and prowling, roaring lions. That fear is a survival mechanism, and aren't we glad we have it?
The thing about fear, though, is that sometimes, it works too well.
I tend to fear people that aren't scary, and events that won't kill me, and situations that do little more than put me out of my comfort zone for an hour and a half. Distrust, which protects us from greater danger and future fear, is, to me, indistinguishable from real terror. I am terrified of people/places/things I don't trust. Is that silly, or do I have a early warning signal that has saved me from a lot of terrible things?
Things that terrify me: spiders, elevators, escalators, bridges, tunnels, heights, skin cancer, diabetes, talking to new people, failure, success, mind-readers, and my half-marathon in eleven days!
This list, however, is a vast improvement (read: much shorter than) from something I would have written as a younger me. I am astounded when I look back on the things I used to fear. Growing older gives us perspective on the silly things that, at the time, seem insurmountable and terrifying.
Are we too cautious? Or do we have a healthy fear mechanism that does us a lot of good?
Monday, February 16, 2009
The thing about sleep deprivation is that unless we have crazy neighbors, or psycho night-barking dogs, sleep deprivation is almost always self-induced.
What keeps us awake?
Worry. If we have a lot going on, we can't sleep. If we are worried about... almost anything.... work, money, family, kids, relationships, big scary tests... we can't sleep.
The problem with sleep deprivation is that the effects are cumulative. They build up. We stop functioning. Our brains stop working. We fall asleep when we are stopped at stoplights. We fall asleep when we are walking!
So, what to do?
Counting sheep, you ask? I end up daydreaming (note the not actually falling asleep) about being a shepherdess, and it never works. Warm milk? Well, yes, but blech! If you must, add sugar and vanilla, and call it something delicious: vanilla steamer. Giving up and doing something else for a while? No... the point is to go to sleep! Giving up is not an option!
So what DOES work? My answers are quite cheesy, but they work for me, so maybe they will work for you too.
I sing slow songs in my head. These have to be non-emotional, not related to any memory or person, and not too happy. I've got a few that I learned when I was little that never fail. "What times I am afraid, I will trust in you," is a great one. I sing "Sweet Baby James." I sing "Blackbird."
I write. I write in my journal about my day, or what I am worried about, and I always fall asleep with crazy pen marks across the paper.
I read something boring and technical, so I'm learning something while turning into a zombie. Multi-tasking! This has include gardening manuals, or grammar handbooks, or tennis magazines. Whatever you want to know, but never want to take the time to learn: this is the time to try.
I pray. I tell God I want to sleep, and I want rest, and I am worried, and I KNOW everything is going to be OK, but I don't FEEL like everything is going to be OK. "Lord I believe, please help my unbelief."
And then I say these. These verses are like mantras, only better, because they mean something. Mantras empty your brain and help you relax. Sleep.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-31)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. (Psalm 34:4)
My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest. (Exodus 33:14)
Now... Go to sleep!
What works for you?
Friday, February 13, 2009
I was an English major. I read for... well, reading is like breathing. I write for a living. Words are very, very important.
So. I have books.
I also have a little one who is turning into an excellent climber! So, the bookshelves (which were wobbly, and likely to collapse), left the house.
Where did the books go?
The question is, where DIDN'T the books go? Every closet. Every flat surface. Every room. Every cupboard. Every dresser. It's was like a library exploded in here. After weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, I pared down. I currently own only the basics. The "Bare (Bear?) Necessities," if you need to sing Jungle Book all day. But... yeah... it's still out of control.
The climbing has gotten better. I am done stepping over my poetry collection to get to my shoes every day. It's time to go shopping! I need opinions! Help!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I found these two fantastic books!
Every single sentence has six words.
Six-Word Memoirs on Love & Heartbreak.
Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure.
Both are edited by Larry Smith.
Rachel Fershleiser was also an editor.
These were published in Smith Magazine.
Maybe I'll give it a try?
This is harder than it looks.
Six words is all I get?
Wishes were horses, beggars would ride.
The bar is high! Do pull-ups.
Your verse? Power, love, sound mind.
Can do all things through Christ.
Good luck! You will do great.I quit: this is crazy hard.
Here are the experts at this:
Much married, fourth time is charmed. - Erica Jong
Everyone's crazy except you and me. - Mark Frauenfelder
I'm your one that got away. - Mary Elizabeth Williams
He told me he was single. - Esther Newberg
What do you want for dinner? - Drew Magary
My life's accomplishments? Sanity, and you. - Elizabeth Gilbert
Savior complex makes for many disappointments. - Alanna Schubach
Seventy years, few tears, hairy ears. - Bill Querengesser
Wolf! She cried. No one listened. - May Lee
I'm my mother and I'm fine. - K. Bertrand
What can YOU say in six?
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
That drummer grew up, turned into a fantastic man, and that very fantastic man asked me to share his forever.
A grand gesture to be sure: homemade dinner, candlelight, secluded dining room of a borrowed mansion, one knee and a promise.
Ten years ago today, on Valentine's Day, we (he and I) made a very big promise.
This promise led to a life that is nothing like we pictured, but more than good. And this promise is worth keeping. Marriage is not easy. There is a REASON we make vows. But I am so glad he has held on for dear life.
Though I didn't know it then, he would become an amazing dad. He is a rock star to hundreds of budding musicians. He taught himself how to kayak, snowboard, ride a motorcycle, and open a champagne bottle. He is just as comfortable in the woods as he is at black tie dinners.
He can sing! (If you know him, or are ever lucky enough to meet him, feel free to ask about Beowulf, the rock musical.) He does our taxes. He can play instruments... all of them. He can fix my computer. He can cook. He can build a fire. He got straight A's without having to try. He has seen me at my worst, and loves me still.
He is what they call, "a good man." And I am beginning to believe that is the highest compliment a person can receive. He is a good man. I am so luckyblessedhonoredhumbled to have him.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
"If your Christianity is the same as your politics or your economics or your favorite music or even your theology then you have missed the boat entirely. And that is a scary scary thing."
Monday, February 9, 2009
The race course?
1. Run two miles.
2. Eat a BOX of original glazed. (TWELVE!)
3. Run back.
I would have to break the sugar ban, but I think I could do it. Could you?
Sunday, February 8, 2009
A: You see, I'm both convinced that we're seen by a loving God and there's nothing but purpose to our lives. So my answer is sheer optimism: To love others just as much as we love ourselves and to live our lives fully, together with and for others.
- German film director Wim Wenders (The Buena Vista Social Club)
San Francisco Chronicle 1/11/09
Friday, February 6, 2009
Have you guys been watching this on PBS? Oh. My. Word.
If you ever need some perspective-gaining on broken hearts, darkness descending, abject poverty, or destructive parenting, this is the movie for you! Do I know how to sell a good time, or what?
Thursday, February 5, 2009
How silly is this? Feel free to sing along.
If I had a million dollars, I would eat out every day, just to help the local restaurants in my town.
So many places are going out of business here. Everybody is struggling. If I had a million dollars I would be one FANTASTIC customer. I would also tip giant thirty percent tips. And I would buy large coffee drinks, even if I would throw out half of them, just so I could pay more.
It's not much... maybe it's time to dream bigger.
Ha! Maybe this is why I currently do not have a million dollars.
What would you do with a million? Or two?
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
You have to know what you are going to say before you say it, no?
No. They do not think so anyway.
How do I prove to them that this is how writing works? How many essays and articles do they need to see to believe me?
And, it is really starting to bug me that their other teachers keep pointing this out as a weakness. If this is the THIRD TIME I have taught this, perhaps the failing is on the part of the teacher?!?!?!? sigh....
Any ideas on how to explain this? Got anything better than, "Because I said so, that's why!"?
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
I find, when this happens (which seems to be quite often this year), I spend entire days trying to wallow in self-pity. I want to crawl under the covers and sleep away the day.
And, when this happens, I can...
...tell you everything that's going to be on Food Network for the next twelve hours.
...tell you who is on Facebook.
...tell you what my hometown friends are doing... working out without me!
...tell you the best new articles in this month's Writer's Digest.
...tell you the speakers on Book TV on CSPAN this week.
The thing about having small children is that they keep you from wasting your entire life away when self-pity tries to take over. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go rescue my toothbrush which seems to be headed for the diaper pail.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
10. Because she will listen to me say anything, even if it's ugly, and awful, and basketcase-y.
9. Because she once drove a billion miles just to help me decorate and organize my house, because I am clueless, and she is a genius at girl stuff.
8. Because she stayed up all night to watch election returns with me.
7. Because she will say anything to me, even if it's ugly, and awful, and basketcase-y.
6. Because she truly wants the best for everyone (me), and that usually (always!) means closer to God... and not my beloved tv.
5. Because she always tells the truth when I need it.
4. Because she remembered that my big life battle is discontentment, and reminded me at a time when I had forgotten.
3. Because she lets me cry at her.
2. Because she is the world's greatest mom and wife and cook, and I still want to be like her when I grow up.
1. Because, "stupid, shallow things that mean a lot," was one of the funniest things I've ever heard anybody say. And a thousand reasons more...