I Could Have Danced All Night

It’s jazz night at the Senior Center. Dan’s playing saxophone in the band and the kids and I are eating delicious gentle-on-the-dentures delicacies, reading middle grade fantasy novels, and periodically dancing like spasmodic maniacs.

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My feet move in a pattern somewhere between awkward tween shuffle and the jive. My arms twirl and throw Laylee around until she’s dizzy, grinning and confused. We’ve got moves. They just might not be sanctioned by any of the currently ruling international dance organizations.

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Out on the floor is a couple who knows all the moves. They’re probably in their eighties or nineties. She’s beautiful and he’s a little hunched over but incredibly strong and confident. They glide through turns and lifts like they’re still in their twenties and people applaud them whenever they take the floor.

Near the end of the night, the man taps me on the shoulder and asks me to dance.

“I don’t really know how,” I laugh.

His smile is warm as he gestures to the floor. “It sure looks like you do.”

“You are kind, but last time I danced with someone at one of these things, he was very disappointed.”

“I can’t believe he would tell you that. I have never in my life made a lady feel bad about her dancing.” He looks incensed.

“I’ll try if you promise to help me and be patient.”

His look says, Don’t be ridiculous.

It’s an understatement to say he’s good. He is A-FLIPPIN-MAZING! Hands down the best dancer I’ve ever danced with, of any age. I shuffle along at first but gradually start to pick up on his lead and find myself doing moves I’ve never attempted. My face is locked in a perma-grin.

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Between songs, I thank him for dancing with me. “My husband is in the band so I rarely get to dance.”

“And let me guess,” he says with a twinkle in his eye, “If you’re husband’s in the band, he’s probably not much of a dancer anyway.” He winks. This ninety-year-old man is flirting with me.

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I don’t let him lift me off the ground, although I can tell he wants to, and when the song ends my dip is not as low as he intends. At 35, I’m not as graceful or petite as his bride. But I feel amazing.

As he leads me off the floor, everyone applauds, and I realize that I didn’t once notice anyone around us while we were dancing. I’ve rarely been so absorbed in an activity. My cheeks ache from smiling and I’m drenched in sweat.

That dance was a gift.

I take a minute to imagine myself as a young girl in the 1940s, having a night out at a dance hall. Instead of Chacos and a t-shirt, I’m wearing pumps, hose, and my best dress, my hair curled in victory rolls. I wonder what my dance partner looked like back then.

Then, I laugh to think what senior centers will look like when I’m in my nineties. Will we be crowded around an aging DJ, cranking out Milli Vanilli and Dub Step remixes, while we imitate MC Hammer and pop and lock? Maybe one of my friends will teach krumping on Tuesday afternoons.

But no. We will never grow old so I don’t even need to think about it. I could better use my energy preparing for the hip hop class I’m taking with my friends later this summer…

Posted in around town, aspirations, family fun, save me from myself | 2 Comments

Pearls with Purpose

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I wore pearls to my wedding, my mom’s pearls. They’re classy and dignified and I love the way you can wear them with jeans or an evening gown or even yoga pants. And now you can do more than channel your inner Julia Child when you wear pearls. Pearls with Purpose is changing lives by giving women in underdeveloped countries opportunities to learn the art of jewelry making.

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The women use the training, resources and micro-financing from Pearls with Purpose to become more self-reliant and provide for their families. Learn more at their website, and consider taking their pledge to do more good in the world, donating, or ordering gifts for loved ones… or for you. You love you, right?

*I did not receive anything in conjunction with this post. I just like them.*

Posted in beauty, fashion, shopping, women | Leave a comment

To-Do or To-Done?

“To-Do or not To-Do, that is the question. I have a wide pendulum swing when it comes to To-Do lists. There are times when I am obsessively writing, writing, writing everything I will do on a given day and checking off the items as I go. At these times, I will often add times to each item so my day is a series of overscheduled minutiae. At other times, a 43-day-old To-Do list languishes on a napkin in my purse or a neglected app on my phone and I’m flying by the seat of my capri pants, doing everything or nothing as the mood strikes me and forever missing deadlines in a house that looks like the seven dwarves’ cottage before Snow White kicked their butts into gear.”

[Read about my current answer to this problem at HowDoesShe.com]

Posted in all about me, aspirations, domesticality | Leave a comment

Glad to Be Dad

As is seasonally appropriate, I’ve been thinking a ton about dads this past week. As part of my mental celebration of all things fatherly, I opened up the book, Glad to Be Dad: A Call to Fatherhood by Tim J. Myers. Tim is writer, songwriter, professional storyteller, and for several years he was a stay-at-home dad. I found out about him through Familius, the publisher for my upcoming Drops of Awesome book.

dadGlad to Be Dad is a thoughtful look at the joy, pain, and depth of experience that is fatherhood. It’s a call to action for fathers everywhere to recommit to fatherhood as a life’s work and it was beautiful to read.

When I say it was beautiful, I mean that in the most manly, at times laugh-out-loud funny way. The book is full of personal stories, research, and a lifetime of parenting wisdom that doesn’t come off as pompous. Tim Myers has lived life in the trenches and gives a very real perspective on parenting as a daily unending labor of love and somehow manages to capture a glimmer of the truly joyful nature of raising children. It is a book about the importance of “capital F” Fatherhood, fully realized.

Near the beginning of the book, Tim talks about how refreshing it would be to see a nativity scene in which Mary was asleep and Joseph was holding the baby Jesus. I first began reading the book in December and the same day I read that paragraph, I went to see a live nativity and was so pleased when I saw an attentive Joseph bringing Mary water, while tenderly holding the baby.

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Reading this book, I often recognized myself or my children in its pages and it motivated me to tune in more as a parent but also to cut myself some slack. There is no perfect way to be a dad [or mom]. It also made me grateful to be married to a non-helpless, non-zombie husband who engages with our kids and who never sees his time with them as “babysitting.”

It’s a book about how to be a more engaged father, but it’s not preachy. It’s a book about women and men better understanding and appreciating each other in family relationships, but it’s not trite. It’s a book about being torn between two worlds, the world dedicated to family and the world of everything else. Mostly, it’s a book about finding joy with the life you have and the people you love most.

Consider Glad to Be Dad as a last-minute gift for the fathers in your life.

Posted in family fun, holidays, I can read, Reviews | 1 Comment

Slug Friends Probably

Slugs sick me out. They make me want to vomit. If you’ve never stepped on a slug with your bare feet and felt it pop, you might not be emotionally equipped to understand what it feels like to truly hate a slug the way I have come to hate them. That being said, I’ve made it one of my many diverse missions in life to help my kids be okay with slugs.

When they see a slug, I compliment it. “Wow,” I say, “What a cute slug friend. We should name it.” Or, “Aren’t we lucky that we have slugs to leave sparkly trails all over our front door and car door handles? People who don’t have slug friends wish they were us.”

Maybe this is disingenuous. I prefer to think of it as positive psychology or self-deception for the greater good.

So, Wanda is convinced that she loves slugs and they love her back. She talks to them, adopts them, cries when we wake up to a slug-free morning. One thing she never does is touch them. This is telling. I can say I think a boy is cute, but if the thought of touching him makes my skin crawl, I probably don’t like him all that much.

So, last night Wanda left her shoes out on the lawn by the trampoline… so the balls and shovels and popsicle sticks wouldn’t be lonely. Tonight when she was coming in after a parentally-mandated, screaming-fight-with-her-brother-motivated cease and desist order, I told her to bring in five or ten shoes from the area around the trampoline.

She began gathering them up and soon screams erupted. “AAAAHHHH! MOM!!!! They’re in my shoes. THE SLUG FRIENDS ARE IN MY SHOES!”

These were not screams of delight. They were screams of terror. They were screams filtered through tears, shaky tears.

“GET THEM OUT! I’m seer-yuss.”

I couldn’t help laughing. I could help taking a picture of her distress but I chose not to.

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My favorite part is probably the position of her fingers as she tries to hold the shoe with as little of her hands as possible. Eventually, I made my way out to the front porch to shake the slugs out of her super fast cheetah shoe. Four slugs people. Four invaders. Or so I thought.

There were five.

One more slug had somehow clung to my person as I came inside and several minutes later Laylee noticed it shlumped on the middle of the living room rug.

Chaos.

I was busy sitting, so I asked Laylee to get a kleenex and flush it down the toilet. She looked at me like I’d asked her to fill her own bed with rat babies, but eventually agreed. “Oh… kaaaaay.”

She left to grab the tissue.

She returned with hands full of half a roll of paper towel, bunched up into a toddler-elephant-sized wad.

“Aaand I guess you won’t be flushing that.”

She giggled nervously. But she bravely did the deed. Slug friend was disposed of and we salute the many trees who gave their lives so our house could be free of living slime.

When we say our family prayer each night, every person gets a chance to say one thing they’re thankful for that we then incorporate into the prayer.

Tonight, Magoo said, “I’m thankful that we got rid of all the slugs in our house… probably.”

Laylee said, “I’m thankful that the slugs are gone.”

Wanda said, “I’m thankful that there are no more slugs in my shoes.” She then gave a cheery smile and continued, “Isn’t it cool that we all said slug things for the prayer?”

I prayed tonight and when I got to the slug portion of the oblation, I said, “And we’re thankful that we got rid of all the slugs in our house.”

Magoo whispered, “Say, ‘Probably.’”

Probably.

Posted in blick, disasters, kid stuff, poser in granolaville, save me from myself | 7 Comments

Awkward Family Photos – Daredevil Edition

We were at a friend’s house today when Wanda saw a horrific sight over my shoulder. It was a sight that made her startle, gasp and clasp her hands over her mouth, her eyes wide.

What she had seen…

Prepare yourselves emotionally…

Was…

THIS!!!!

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“Mom!” she said emphatically, “She’s sitting on the train tracks! She could have been KILLED!”

Indeed. She was sitting on the train tracks. My diabolical friends had posed their adorable child at death’s door because they thought it looked cute. Maybe they’re thrill seekers. Maybe they hate safety. Whatever the reason, they put their family in great peril, took pictures of it, blew them up huge on canvas and hung them on their walls.

The look on Wanda’s face said it all. What next? We could take a picture of Laylee hanging by three fingertips from a cliff wall or Magoo juggling chainsaws, smoking a stogie, or riding in a car with no seatbelt and hang those on the wall. Twisted. Very twisted, my friends.

Posted in fun, fun, fun, Honesty of Children, scaring the neighbors, unbearable cuteness | Comments Off