Secret Society of List Addicts: Unite!

I’m in a link-love mood tonight, so I’m throwing out a little love to the Secret Society of List Addicts. …

Now, I don’t know about you, but any blog with the phrase “list addict” is going to get my attention. I’m a frenetic list-maker (the 27 Post-it notes strewn across my desk should convince any nay-sayers), and I can hardly imagine life without an endless series of lists: things to do, calls to make, e-mails to return, home improvements to tackle, gifts to buy, books to read, birthdays coming up, things to get at Target, things to get at the grocery store, places I want to go, possible weekend getaways, etc., etc. … The list (of lists) goes on. ….

But the fine ladies at the “secret society” have converted what feels like a crazy compulsion into something … well … fun. They’ve put together a blog that’s lovely to look at, fun to read, and really makes you appreciate some of the finer things in life – like your favorite album cover titles or the silly traditions you create with your significant other. Their list of “Things I Love About My Home Town” really made me think of all the loveable things about Placentia (the water tower, Rosa’s pizza, the 1920s adobe homes, the Bradford house, the old Music Plus, etc. …) and it just gave my heart a little lift for the rest of the day. And the list of “Things At My Desk” made me think about how all the little things you surround yourself with can really add up to tell quite a story about you …

So go on over and check them out! I think I’m going to have to join the society myself. I wonder if they’ll give me one of those cool little blog buttons. … (I’ll add that to my list of things to do today.)

What about you? Are you a list-maker? Give me a list of your lists. …

Countdown to the Super Bowl

football-hashmarksSome people may shake out their Steelers jerseys. Others may scan the position breakdowns. Others may scour sports blogs or review point spreads. But I do none of these things. I have more important things to deal with: like what type of chips I should bring and whether I should chop or mince the onions for the artichoke dip. …


Here’s my own personal Super Bowl countdown:


  • 4 days before: Review complicated process for buying betting squares; discuss with coworkers; decide to buy two squares, even though my money would probably be better spent on the artichoke dip.
  • 3 days before: Double-check with sister-in-law about what she wants me to bring to the party. E-mail Lauran from the book club to get the mac-in-cheese recipe that I will probably be asked to bring.
  • 2 days before: Pick up brother-in-law at John Wayne airport. Note that he misses Christmas; he misses Thanksgiving; but he never misses a Super Bowl with his brothers.
  • 1 day before: Scour the e-vite sis-in-law sent to find out who the players are. Skip names like Kurt Warner and Ben Roethlisberger; look instead for party guest names. (Did you really think I cared who the quarterbacks were? Stay with me, here, people. …)
  • Day of: Ask my son (for the fourth time) who exactly is playing again? File into brain the fact that the Phillies is a baseball team, not a football team. Stand in kitchen with brother-in-law while he makes gumbo and manage to not bring up once that I don’t even know what state the teams will be playing in. Scoop up chip bags, artichoke dip, mac-and-cheese, and gumbo into car with hubby/ kids/ bro-in-law and head toward fun guests and great conversation at Super Bowl party. Have great time. …


What about you? What does your big countdown entail?



Life-Altering Questions

A few years ago, when I was a stay-home-mom-who-freelanced (I was never sure which of the jobs was more demanding, so I packaged them as one descriptive job), I was standing in the kitchen, drying glasses, watching Oprah. There was a motivational guest on (I can’t remember who specifically) who told everyone to imagine, for a second, what they would be if they could be anything.

My dishtowel hardly missed a swipe. “I’d be a novelist,” I said, in the general direction of the TV set, putting the glass away into the cupboard.

I grabbed the next dish as Oprah left a dramatic pause. And then she said, “So why aren’t you?”

My dishtowel halted. My hands went to my side. I turned toward the TV and stared. I stared at Oprah. I stared at the audience members. The camera panned and caught similarly stunned expressions from everyone.

So why aren’t you?

It sounds sort of silly that a television show – and only one line out of it, at that – could change your life, but that show did. Continue reading

Strange Obama-Inaguration Details …

Regardless of political leaning, no one could deny that the last few days — surrounding the presidential inauguration — have been electric. Today feels a bit “business as usual” (as the Dow drops, and Microsoft announces layoffs), but Tuesday and Wednesday felt a little bit like hope.

The inauguration itself was truly one of energy. I don’t recall ever seeing a presidential motorcade drive by to such cheers, and I must say it was really exciting. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been a bit of a skeptic regarding Obama — I find it hard to believe that so much change can happen in a White House that can hardly change the curtains without an RFP and 25 stamps of approval — but I have to admit, the inauguration set things off on a great note. There was truly a feeling of energy and youth swirling through those Washington skies.

Aside from all the regular significance that everyone was feeling, though, I couldn’t help but be embarrassed that I was really fascinated over a few strange details:

  • That Lincoln’s bible made that strange reappearance.
  • That the television commentators kept saying that Obama was the first “non Boomer” president in a long time. But I think he still is in the Boomer category, no? Doesn’t Gen X start around 1966?
  • That the TV people kept bringing up Obama’s iPod.
  • That somewhere, behind the scenes, there was a staff at the White House scrambling (… scrambling, mind you) to unpack the Obamas’ bags, clothes, books, shoes, musical interests, bedding, stuffed animals, Scattergories games, Webkinz, Monopoly pieces, backpacks, socks, coats, scarves, etc. before they returned that afternoon. I would have loved to have seen that unpacking frenzy.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun to watch. Now, I guess, it’s time to get to work.

Back to your regularly scheduled programming …

What detail did you find most fascinating? Were you zeroing in on odd things like I was during the fanfare?

Lane Cake, Crescendoes and Atticus Finch

The Lane cake made its appearance somewhere around 9 p.m. It arrived after the vegetarian chili, but before the discussion about triathlons. And it was before the discussion of the 1940s in the 1950s house, but after the inspection of the dog bed for the cat. …

And thus went another book club. …

I love our book club. It’s one of those arrangements of people you don’t even realize, when you’re there in the thick of it, that’s amazing.

I had this experience a few other times – once with set of neighbors, from about 1996 to 1998; once with a group of kindergarten moms; and once with a group of coworkers at the newspaper. When you’re in the middle of things – in the middle of the everydayness of gathering around the coffeemaker at the newspaper or walking your babies or dropping your kids off at kindergarten – it’s easy to overlook the fact that you get along remarkably well with this group of people. You tend to think (in the everydayness) that you would get along with any people who were walking their babies, or that you’d laugh that hard with any gathering of coworkers who created weird collections of plastic cups in each other’s cubicles. But it’s only later – years and years later, sometimes – that you realize that … well, no. No, you wouldn’t have laughed that hard with another gathering of coworkers, or felt that connected to another set of moms in front of the swing sets. That was a special group. It was just the right personalities at just the right time who came together at just the right moment, when you all understood and needed and appreciated each other. It’s like the coming together of random band instruments on a street corner, all at the proper pitch and proper speed, to create the perfect crescendo. Continue reading

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