Wednesday, February 27, 2008

what's on your bedside table?

It occurred to me the other day that a person could know me pretty well just by looking at the objects on my bedside table. Here they are (in no particular order):

- Restoration Hardware's No Crack Hand Creme for my forever dry hands (a result of constant hand washing in an attempt to avoid sickness from my students)

- Sudoku book (what I'm usually doing with the last 10 minutes of my day...I know, I'm a nerd)

- Wooden hand-held back massager (in hopes that someone (ahem, Phil) will use it on me. Massages are just about the best experiences on the planet)

- My glasses (so I can see in the morning)

- My journal (one of my most precious possessions and something I try to write in at least once a week...or month, as the case has been lately)

- Love in the Time of Cholera (the book I got for Christmas and haven't mustered up the brain power to read yet. I've heard great reviews, though, and having it by my bed increases the chances that I'll read it soon)

- Heaven (another book I got for Christmas. I've actually started this one and am taking it in doses--a great book)

So, there you have it: I love to moisturize, do puzzles, have massages, look intelligent (or sleepy) in my glasses, write, read, and plan to read. What more is there to know?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

My Life in Six Words--Really?

A man once bet Ernest Hemingway $10.00 that he (Hemingway) couldn't write a short story in just six words. Hemingway found himself six words and $10.00 richer when he penned the words, "For sale: baby shoes. Never worn." This little bet started what has now become a popular contest among writing magazines and has even inspired a book called Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure.

Before you all begin thinking that I am some Hemingway scholar, I must admit that I recently read an article entitled, "A Life in Six Words? Fantastic" (, which challenges people to write the story of their lives in just six words and serves as my information well.

As a poet, a six-word memoir--the memoir-haiku, if you will--intrigues and intimidates me. At the end of the article are some entertaining examples including:

"Wasn't born a redhead; fixed that."
"Can that really be the time?"
"Five novels; two kids; insufficient sex."

So, here are my attempts--and yes, there will be more than one...and yes, they are attempts:

"Lose all, Receive all, Give all."
"Humility in great doses is wisdom."
"Chattanooga girl. Birmingham woman. Divided loves."
"Seven siblings; twin brother. Never alone."

A memoir in six words? Let's just say I have a lot to learn from Ernest.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Cleaning Therapy

Today I discovered that my hair sheds in more places than I realize, that my baseboards are dust magnets, that my sock drawer is out of control messy, and that I have a Christmas present still sitting in its box on my floor just waiting to have its own place in my home. These are the discoveries made on a day off of work, a day dedicated to deep cleaning, a day that comes around only so often. Tomorrow, the dust will again begin its descent onto my baseboards and my socks will probably find their way into inconspicuous places, but today, my house is clean and organized. And as silly as it sounds, when I'm organized on the outside, I feel organized on the inside, like all is right with the world. I'm pretty sure that's just the orderly, type A part of me speaking, but it's true (of course, the fact that I didn't have to go to work today also significantly contributed to that blissful feeling).

So, I am proud to report that my shedding hair is all vacuumed, the baseboards are white again, my socks actually have their own little section in my drawer, the lingering Christmas present has a home, the laundry is clean and folded, my wash-by-hand-only sweater is washed and still air drying, the floors are mopped, the bed is made, the sink is clean, and the mirrors are spot-free.

Some call it spring cleaning; I call it therapy for the neat-freaks of the world.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Sleepless in Navou

I didn't even know that Navou, AL existed until last weekend when I joined a group of 9th grade girls for an overnight retreat at Camp MacDowell. There are a lot of small towns that I never knew existed in Alabama until I moved here 8 years ago, and I'm still discovering new ones. Among my favorites are: Eastaboga, Reform, Arab, Wetumpka, and my personal favorite, Social Circle.

So, Navou, AL is where I found myself surrounded by giggling, energetic 9th grade girls at 2 a.m. on a Friday night. Thankfully, my bed was not located in the same room as all the girls, but the thin wooden walls did little to block out their stories and songs and laughter...until 3:30 a.m. At about 3:30, the still nighttime silence began, but the coldness set in. We were in a heated cabin and I had a 15 degree sleeping bag, but somehow my insides felt like they were in a freezer, and I probably looked like some sort of alien with the mummy bag zipped up all the way over my face so that only my mouth was showing and my body compacted into a fetal position. I'm pretty sure that I slept for about 30 minutes that night; let's just say it was a long night and I have an immense appreciation for youth workers everywhere.

The retreat was well worth the sleep sacrifice, although I'm glad for several months before we do it again. Through the miracle of caffeine, I drove the 12-passenger van full of girls home the next afternoon and settled down for a long winter's nap.