Thursday, December 19, 2013

Bring Back the Awesome--The Un-Funny Post

A break from funny.  If you're here for humor--skip this one.

It's been a hard year for a lot of people, and I feel like I need to take a moment to say that, yes, I joke about everything, but behind that, it has been an exceptionally difficult year for us.  Permit me to wear my heart on my sleeve, just this once, and we will then return to my regularly scheduled nonsense.
I don't know why, but our family and friends have gone through more in the last 12 months than in our whole prior life combined.  We have collectively weathered bankruptcies, foreclosures, repossessions, judgments, lawsuits, and job losses.  We have seen the close of blood-sweat-and-tears businesses and the death of dreams.  We have seen people we thought were friends…choose to not be there for us when we needed them.  My brother was hit by a car while riding his bicycle.  A business associate/friend was involved in a double fatality accident which also rendered him unable to work and unavailable to our business--both accidents have still not been untangled. 

We have watched friends and loved ones suffer painful and deadly medical diagnoses, dismembering accidents, marital problems, infidelity, divorce, infertility issues, unplanned pregnancies, frighteningly wayward adult children, and drug addictions. We have lost close friends and family to deaths due to illness, accident and suicide (including two on the same day, on Easter weekend).  I have been to more funerals this year than ever before.  Three more in my circle of loved ones are at death's door as I write; basically the next call we expect will be the one saying they're gone. 
Our business, which thankfully has no lack of customers, has had one mechanical breakdown after another, literally weekly.  It's cost us thousands extra per month to try to maintain working machines so we can keep our business producing.  It's always just enough to give us hope that next week might be better, but somehow also never quite enough to get back to feeling solid ground underfoot.  Then something else will break, and another $500-2000.00 will be needed for repairs, and I'm sitting at my desk again, wondering whether to pay the mortgage or get the equipment that is our lifeblood running again (like some kind of morbid "income roulette"). 
We have experienced unrelenting blow after unrelenting blow weekly, if not daily, and they keep coming, right up to yesterday, when we heard that two more much-loved people might have serious medical issues, both under 39 years old. We find out more soon.  Hopefully it's nothing.  We're praying that it's nothing.  It has to be nothing.

I thought of writing a detailed list of everything we've weathered this year, in chronological order, as a recap of what we've survived and watched our loved ones go through, but even mentally tallying the last 12 months up took me so long and was so depressing that I gave it up.  And there's certainly no humor in any of it. 
Usually my blog is just about my funny slant on life, or shallow and sarcastic rants about whatever, and I don't share anything too personal or real on it, because many acquaintances read it, and I don't usually feel ready to share this with them, but so many people have the same story this year, and I wanted to say (once), that beneath all the joking here, lurk the same hardships many of you are facing every day.  Writing stuff that makes me laugh is a way to focus on something other than the stack of bills on my desk or the next email or phone call telling me what fresh hell has run amok in my small and happy universe today.  So if I make you laugh too, or even just distract you from the same headaches, with my rambly musings, then I'm glad if I've helped a bit.

I have spent more time crying in the shower, at my desk, on the kitchen floor, in the car, and in bed, this year than any other year of my life. Sometimes it's a daily thing--I don't even bother with makeup a lot of days because, hello--that stuff runs.  I can only hope that 2014 brings something better, and I'm sure it will.  Basically my life is usually awesome and happy and completely content, but after a year like this, it makes you tired, trying to keep seeing everything through AWESOME GLASSES, and yeah, it's OK if we need to cry sometimes.

When I started tallying up the depressing chronology of this year, I stopped.  Because there is a PLUS side.  We have our little family and our health, and our beloved home, and we have each other and our faith in things to come.  We have two kids who are doing great and turning into beautiful, funny adults. We have a happy marriage of rare and epic closeness, full of laughter and friendship and still-crazy attraction after 27 years, for which I am eternally grateful. We rely on each other and our faith to get us through what has been our hardest year ever.  Long hugs and countless wordless gestures of affection and deep appreciation for each other have saved the day many times, for both of us. 

I don't know why we go through trials, except to remind us from whence comes our strength, but--we're all still here, and I know we will get through all this.
I don't have a resolution for the New Year…just a hope that it will be a better year than the last one.  (Also to lose 25 pounds by working out everysingleday, learn another language, save $50,000, and get our whole property weeded.  Nothing big.)

I think this year, that phrase about being kind to everyone you meet, because everyone is fighting their own private battle, rings more true than ever, for everyone.

Whatever your trial is right now, look around--you are not alone.  This Christmas we need to remember, it's not about the gifts--it's about our time together, and if we can brighten someone's day by a smile or a word, we should.  Who knows if it's not the gesture that saves their day?

And here's to 2014 being the year to bring back the awesome. I'm ready.

Monday, December 16, 2013

I'm Not Little, and I'm Not a Mermaid. But Still...

I love to swim.  I have always loved to swim.  I love water in general; I love lakes and ponds, rivers, the ocean, and above all, swimming pools.  I didn't learn to swim until I was about 9 or 10, though, and I guess I can thank my dad for "teaching" me by always threatening to come with us to the lake and throw me in off the dock.  So I taught myself.  Then I realized, the answer to that age-old childhood question of "what animal would YOU be?", for me, was without doubt:  a fish.  (But I'd have to be a shark or a whale, because of course smaller fish just get eaten in that whole circle of life thing, and I'd just want to SWIM without that whole hassle, so, yeah--shark, definitely.)
 Remember how awesome this was?
After I learned to swim, we spent what seemed like every summer afternoon at our local lake.  I was always that kid who would stay and play in the water until the sun literally went down.  "I can't get out, Mom--I'm a mermaid!"  Not even Doritos Nacho Cheese chips could lure me onto the beach, which is saying a lot, because we were a hippy family who mostly consumed stuff like wheat germ and garbanzo beans.  Oh, and Brewer's yeast (what the HECK what that all about?).  Even Nacho Cheese wasn't enough to get me out--I was a mermaid, and mermaids don't eat chips. 
No time for Doritos, Mom--I'm a mermaid!
Then I grew up, but on the inside, I was pretty much still that mermaid. 

We put up a 24' round pool for a few years when we lived in southern Oregon, and I swam twice a day, pretty much every day.  It was heaven.  My very own pool, just for me.  And no one cared if I did handstands and underwater backflips, even if I was a 28-year-old mother of two...It ended when a big wind came through one year when it was half-empty for the season, and blew it literally inside out and crushed it, while I watched in horror from the dining room, and that was that.

Next we moved back to the inland northwest, where it is cold way too much, and the lakes here, while plentiful, are also pretty much MELTED ICE WATER, all year.  I got an earache last time I went underwater at a lake here, in August.  So I decided, if I wanted to swim again and not suffer ear infections in August, I needed to find a pool.  Which, if you're a grownup, and unfortunately I am, means joining (dun-dun-dunnnn) a gym


I don't like gyms.  I don't like memberships.  I don't like crowds.  Or locker rooms.  Or crowds IN locker rooms.  But I really missed swimming, so about 5 years ago (this was before I sank out of sight into wedding cake madness), I bit my lip (and my fear of nearly-to-completely naked chatty people), and I joined a gym.  I swam as often as I could, but between the pool's open lane schedule and my kids' schedules, trying to arrange a time to swim laps got so complicated that I was going once a week, if that, so I quit.

I still missed it, though, and it hasn't turned tropical here yet, since global warming isn't working out quite the way I'd hoped, so I decided to join another gym that has a giant pool that, so I hear, is easy to get into and always available. 
This is what I wish for, when I hear "pool"...
Unfortunately, we live in a fairly busy area, and pretty much every person in this county has a membership at this gym.  Fortunately for me, most of them seem to just like to work out with weights or on those machine things (I don't get it.  I'm like:  Guys! There's a POOL).  Even so, when I walk in, it usually looks more like this:
only less splashy...
But mermaids in sight.  And no one who looks like they're having FUN there.  Just lots of serious-looking swimmers.  Swimming. 
What??  People, it's WATER! Why so serious??
They don't get it, and I don't ask them.  So I find what is usually the last open lane in the whole pool, put on that stupid thing to cover my hair (which I'd rather let loose), and goggles--OK, yes, THOSE are very cool, because you can SEE underwater, even though mine fog up, because I'm a dork and probably don't know the secret to keeping them clear AND keeping the water out of my eyes. 

I'm pretty sure I look exactly like this:
except without the tattoos of course...
But unfortunately, reality is more like this:
Mind if I join you? Let me just hang up my cape-
There are two lifeguards there, and I think, that must be the most boring job in the whole entire world EVER.  They sit there and watch people swim, who know how to swim.  Who's going to get in trouble out here?  It's also weird to swim with people watching.  I just like to swim however I want, but I'm pretty sure they're watching me and making signals to each other like--"OMG she has no form.  What is that? What is she doing right now? That is not how grownups swim.  Doesn't she know this is the competition pool?"  When I see a lifeguard walking around the pool, I'm always sort of half-sure they're coming to tell me I should go swim in the kid pool if I'm not going to take my swimming seriously...and I'm half tempted to go there anyway.  It looks like more fun.
I'd rather be here...
But, I'm a grownup swimmer, and this is where WE swim, so I gratefully get in.  I'm just glad to have some water to myself. 
A whole lovely lane of sparkly, bright blue water, just for me...

I remind myself that I'm here to swim.  So I swim laps, but on the inside, I'm like this:

I try to be serious.  I look to my left, and there's this guy...
Then I look to my right, and see this guy:
Training for the 2014 Olympics, obviously...

So I try to focus on my form.  I feel the water gliding over me and around me.  I want to be under the water, where it's quiet and mystical and sparkly blue, but I also need to work out, because I'm pretty sure mermaids don't have body fat, so I tell myself to concentrate on the feel of my muscles stretching and propelling me through the water.  I get my wind up, so I'm getting a work out (because it's a GYM people--you must work on cardio here; we don't come here to mess around, and we certainly don't come here to work on underwater handstands).  I try to work on breathing, so I will look as effortless and graceful as real swimmers, like her:

Instead I am usually just happy I didn't actually suck in water and have a coughing fit in the middle of the pool, and I end up looking more like this:
I'm fine.  Really.

I occasionally stop and float along on my back, because I feel like it (and possibly to catch my breath), dreamily paddling along and daydreaming at the ceiling, but I stop short of underwater backflips, because--well--I'm too old for that.  And I don't want the lifeguards to have to get all the way out of their chairs to see if I'm OK. 

Besides, if you go to a pool and see a 43-year-old woman (who should be working out, because yes, she's got some weight to lose) doing underwater backflips, you're going to want to choose a lane not next to the water freak.  Why is that, I wonder?  Maybe people are worried I'll ask them to throw a coin for me to go find or something...

I guess I need to win the lottery and build my own indoor pool, and then I can swim in it any way I please.

So I swim laps, and I watch the clock, and I get my wind up, and I feel toned and sleek (ha), and I get out and nod at the other gym-goers like, "Hello, fellow grownup," but the whole time, I'm still wondering, why can't I just enjoy swimming?

What is it about growing up, that takes away the magic of THIS?

I think next time, I'm going to try the slide.  I bet I can get at least one ride in before they kick me out.  Or maybe I'll pretend to be a shark and remind this guy that swimming is supposed to be fun.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Leggings are Not Pants...and Other Fashion Advice I Should NOT Have to Give

I always think, look, I totally shouldn't have to point any of this out, but there are some things that I guess have to be said, people. 

Maybe it's because I'm from the 80s, where the most out-of-line we ever got as teenagers was wearing too much makeup (Cyndi Lauper style), too many layers of bangles and scrunchy socks, and neon colors…Madonna wannabes that we were.   Also, there were shoulder pads.  But I have to say that, even then,  AT LEAST WE MATCHED THE NEON COLORS.  And we kept our butts covered, people.  Covered. 

(I almost said "Back in MY day" right there, but I'm not THAT old.)
Nowadays, I look around at what women are wearing, on purpose, in public, and I have to wonder--Did no one teach these girls the basics of coordinating articles of clothing, or how to dress to flatter their body type, or at least appropriately cover most of it in various social settings??  It always baffles me.   

I'm no fashion maven.  I don't shop (like, ever), or buy whatever's 'hot' this season.  But for crying out loud, it takes roughly the same amount of time to put on a matching outfit that flatters my figure (no matter what weight I currently am), as it does to throw on pajamas.  There's always a top and a bottom involved, and some shoes.  It's not rocket science to glance in a mirror and check to see that I don't have back-rolls lining up under my bra because my shirt or sweater is too snug for the amount of Christmas cookies I've eaten this year.  Muffin tops are not like vampires.  They DO show in a mirror; all you have to do is LOOK.  If you see one, those pants need to go in the "skinny jeans" pile until you don't see a muffin top when you put them on again--THEN, you can wear them out of the house.   No one wants to see that.  And covering the muffin top with a spandex top just makes it worse.  If you HAVE to wear those pants, for whatever reason, then at least join me in putting on a looser top as a clever disguise and make a vow to eat fewer cookies or start working out or something.
Soooo, in the interest of education and helpfulness (hey, it's Christmas, I'm here to help) is a list you can read, memorize, write on your hand, or print and hang on your bathroom mirror, as a reference guide, in case you're wondering whether that outfit is "fine" to go out the door in.  I can't believe I even have to say some of these, but if your moms or friends or every fashion magazine and store mannequin haven't helped you, then maybe THIS will. 

Here are a few of my Least Favorite Things:
1.  Leggings as pants.

This is just WRONG, even if you're a size 00

 I have been living in leggings straight thru since the 80s.  Every day, even before they came BACK into style.  Possibly before you were born.  Leggings and a long t-shirt are my uniform (at home).  I think I pretty much invented this outfit.  Here's the deal though:  Leggings are NOT. PANTS.  They aren't!!  The rule is…if you're wearing a skin-tight garment on the bottom; you balance it with something long and looser on the top.  If you wouldn't wear just nylons and a shirt to work…Apply that rule here.  No one wants to see you running around in just leggings, a waist-length t-shirt, stilettos, and a puffer vest (gag), no matter how cute your figure is. The only place I think anyone expects to see leggings all the way up is if you're starring in a workout video.  Shoe choices--Leggings look good with flats or the oh-so-common tall boots, but not with loafers, Keds, Crocs, or Uggs (more about shoes later).  High heels DO work if the top of the outfit is long and dressy--then the leggings become like tights and voila--flattering outfit.  So, basic rule of thumb with leggings:  Put them on and turn sideways in front of your mirror.  Your top should hang PAST YOUR BUTT.  It's iffy even if it's just right to the top of your thighs at the back…which is not quite long enough to be flattering, but the leggings-as-pants thing should really stop.  Just--ew.  Have mercy.

See this?  Yes--super cute
2.  Pajamas, sweats, or slippers.  In public.  No.  No, NO NO.  Unless you are riding in an ambulance, I guarantee you, you had time to put on regular clothes.  This is just lazy and sloppy beyond belief.  I get it--you don't "care what people think" about how you look.  How about YOU caring about how you look? No one wants to see your dirty sweats or Superman PJs hanging off your butt while you scuffle around the store in slippers that I wouldn't wear to wash my car in.  So, telling yourself it's OK because you don't care what we think…this tells me you are a rude and possibly inconsiderate person, which makes me like you less, even though we'll probably never meet.  Which is sort of sad.  Maybe you're not rude and inconsiderate, but all we're given is that one first impression of you, and "Rude Slob" is what this says to me.  Or, I should really quit going to Wal-Mart…
3.  Quit with those giant, stupid, furry boots that make you look like you cut the legs off a woolly mammoth and used them for leg warmers.  The 3" round furry puff-ball pompon things don't help either.  Actually…these boots don't work with anything.  There should be a boot-burning somewhere, and these should be the kindling. 
Somewhere a yak is running naked
Let's hit the beach! Wait--my feet are cold. 
4.  Boots with shorts.  (Triple demerits if they're the boots above).  I get it about the cute cowgirl thing, and on some girls (at the fair, in the summer, with the horses), the cowboy boots and cut-offs look *can* be cute.  But be careful it doesn't cross over into the WTH category.

5.  Dirty sneakers.  I don't…even--just, why.  Even clean sneakers, to me, scream soccer mom, which is a term I despise (even though I am crazy about my kids' sports games), so I avoid sneakers (even brand-spanking-new ones) unless I'm actually jogging or hiking or shooting hoops.  Wait.  I don't jog.  Cute Keds to a volleyball game, sure.  But sneakers, to me, just don't help any outfit, or at least very rarely.  They're for SPORTS.  I have too many fun summer shoes NOT to swap the sneaks for a cute sandal or a pair of flats.  Put on whatever you're wearing, and then put on the sneakers.  Then pull out your cutest heels or sandals and switch out the shoes.  See?  It changes the whole look, even if you're wearing jeans and a sweatshirt.  And yes, there ARE comfortable other options.  Sneakers, to me, just always say "I don't care; no one looks at my feet anyway".  Which segues into…
6.  Gym clothes when NOT inside the actual gym.  You work out.  Good for you.  But get dressed AT the gym.  It takes like one minute.  Unless you jogged to the store for some soy milk or electrolytes or something, we probably don't need to see this, either.  Toss the spandex in your gym bag and put on some jeans or even leggings before you leave…also see #1 above.

7.  Socks with sandals, or socks with Crocs.  Just--No.   This shouldn't even have to be explained; yet, many people do it.  So…officially:  NO SOCKS WITH SANDALS.  And Crocs are only acceptable (and then only barely) if you are in Home Depot, where you had to race over in the middle of a yard project to get that emergency bag of potting soil, and you are possibly still covered in garden dirt, and you literally did not have time to put on different shoes.  Even flip-flops would be better…  (Again, yes, I see a shoe theme here, but sorry, shoes really do change things).
Unless you have some scary foot disease, this = 50 lashes
8.  High heels.  Heels are sexy, no doubt about it.  They are fun to wear, and they accentuate nice legs and all that.  But--don't wear them if you can't walk in them.  You should be able to walk as if you're not IN heels, when you're in heels.  Comfortably and confidently.  If you're wobbling and tip-toeing along in them, you need to go to a shorter heel, or spend some time seriously practicing; otherwise, it's just embarrassing and we are afraid you might actually fall down.
9.  Spaghetti straps and sheer clothes.  2013 was like the year of sheer.  Maybe I'm being old-fashioned again, but when I was growing up and learning to dress myself, one of the cardinal sins was do not let your undergarments show EVER.  NEVER EVER EVER.  So the trend lately of spaghetti strap tank tops just kind of…shorts out my brain.  I'll be standing there with this super cute shirt, but…it has spaghetti straps.  My kids insist that it's totally OK if I just put this on over a bra and walk out the door.  But, my bra straps are then showing.  What the heck?  Do you see this?? My bra is showing.  That, to me, says white trashy to the max.  Next year will it be ok if our underwear are showing? (I won't even START on the guys with the pants hanging down…you guys look ridiculous; WHY don't you know this?!? See also #11.)  And those sheer tops are adorable, but then again, I'm always wondering, what do you wear under them (I know!--spaghetti-strap tank tops).  But then they'll also have some odd cut-out at the back, and there I am again--holding it up and peering through the hole at my kids and going, "WHAT do you wear under this? This hole is right where my bra hooks would be."  And they're like, "Yeah…so?"  

10.  Flares.  Wide-leg pants.  Bell bottoms.  Different names for the same hideous garment.  I don't know what fashion designer ever lied to us enough to get us to believe that there is a body type ever born that looks flattering in flares.  I hated them in the 70s, even in 2nd grade, and I have hated them ever since.  Women's legs have a lovely tapered shape.  When you put a pair of bell-shaped pants on, they exactly reverse the contour of our legs.  Shorter legs look even shorter--stumpy and wide.  Long legs look like the bottom of a cypress tree or an upside-down mushroom.   A nice straight leg will always look longer and more attractive.  I'm always partial to a tapered leg, because that's the shape my leg IS, but straight is OK too.  Flares don't flatter anyone, and the sooner we all revolt against them, the sooner they might go the way of kaftans and tall headdresses.

11.  Low-rise jeans.  Ok.  Again--I may be old-fashioned, but womens' waists (you know, the part where we are the narrowest?) is way up there, above our hips.  Remember the hourglass analogy?  The midpoint is NOT on the bottom half of the hourglass--just saying.  Jeans that sit with a waistband accentuating our widest point, aside from being a pain in the ass (pun intended) to keep UP, bend over in, or sit down in, are just not flattering.  Some slimmer girls who are still 100 pounds soaking wet can pull this off, but if you have curves or have had kids (or stretch marks), you have probably already realized that these are not for you (or me).  These can be cute on the right figure, but make sure you HAVE that figure before trying these.  You also might be surprised how much more flattering a higher rise can be--a flatter stomach and a defined waistline come to mind…Also please, for the love of God, if you are going to wear these, check when you bend over, to make sure we are not subjected to a view of half your underwear and/or that tattoo that screams "Classless" across your low back.  You'll also be glad you missed the cringes of horror as the rest of us Grown-Ups are forced to look away from that and any muffin top above the sparkle-pocket pants you swiped from your teen's closet.
Your homework for this week is to get dressed, then go and LOOK IN THE MIRROR.  Full length.  All sides.  Is your butt covered?  Do you need a softer fabric or a looser shirt so those confidence-killing bra-bumps or back rolls don't show? Is that a stain on your shirt? Does your 15-year-old need her jeans back?  Take a minute to fix these things before you go out--you'll feel better; we'll feel better.  It's a win-win.

I know.  It's a lot to take in.

P.S. -Disclaimer--In case you're wondering, "wow, this chick is shallow"…Yep--This is me at my most shallow and ranty.  Although I do believe in taking care to look at least somewhat pulled together, I'm not a fashion freak (at all)--More of a leggings and t-shirt, stay-at-home kind of girl, and I'm usually barefoot (go figure).

I have had sort of an overload of regular grown-up stress lately, and 2013 has been an especially hard year--sort of just one long series of "I can't believe that just happened" kind of stuff, none of which needs to be shared with, oh, the wholeentireworld.  Since sarcastic joking is my way of dealing with pretty much everything, and I don't feel like adding to the general angst at Christmas, I thought I'd throw in a rant about fashion instead.   After all, I was a very snappy dresser, back in the 80s.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Auto-Text-Correct Fail

Conversation with my brother last Saturday, when I'd been driving since 7 a.m., had been home 5 times for 45 minutes at a time, and was on my 5th trip out of the house in 5-degree weather.   I had my hands full and was overheating waiting at the mall for one of the kids, bundled up for the cold, when my phone went off.

Jesse:  Hey it's your long-lost brother.  I need to get a Christmas list for you guys if you have time.

Me:  Oh Lord.  I'm at the mall in a coat and sewage, too hot! and it's 2 degrees outside.  gahhh

Me:  Not sewage. 

Me:  Sweater.  I'm in  SWEATER.  !#^&$

Jesse:  Nice auto text. 

Me:  I've been driving all day and won't be home for awhile.  Can I call you when I'm home.  and not in  A SWEATER.

Jesse:  Sweet.

Sewage???  from "sweater" ?  What the actual heck, autocorrect?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Of Black Friday, Shakespeare, and Sit-Ins...

The ultimate wordsmith...

First let me say that I have never shopped Black Friday.  Even before it was a thing...I never went out shopping for any sales the day after Thanksgiving, or the day after Christmas.  Then it became a thing and I was like, "What?"  And now it's become a whole 2-day thing where people plan for weeks and strategize and sleep in front of doorways and trample each other for Playstations or Kitchenaids.  I can only hope that in 300 years...THOSE are not the images the future will look back on and see of our culture, but I digress.

Leaving aside that the retailers could totally prevent this crap by not opening at 8 pm the night before or 3 a.m. on Friday or whatever causes the mayhem, and realizing that it wouldn't matter one way or the other what I did on Friday, but hey--I like to contribute--so I decided to stage my own one-person protest sit-in over the weekend.  Which I did, by staying AT HOME, unplugged from the world, with all my techie stuff turned OFF all weekend.  (Remember when a real test of humanity would be, like, climbing Mt Kilimanjaro or something?

We don't have TV anyway, so that's nothing new to go without, but I turned off the computer and didn't go in my office except for severely necessary work-related things.  I turned off the wifi.  And my e-book.  And my Facebook.  And Twitter.  I used my phone just to CALL people.  (Actually, just to receive calls; I even refused to call anyone). 

Instead I baked and sat in the hot tub with hot cocoa, and I slept IN with my husband, and I laughed my head off with my kids, and I very slowly and deliberately read a paper copy of Shakespeare's Richard II (because I'm a medieval English history freak, that's why).  Oh, and I didn't pay any bills or talk about money, which made it almost like they didn't exist.  (almost)


It was AWESOME. 

Aside from spending the weekend saying to myself, "Huh.  I'm having my own protest about Black Friday and consumerism and the overuse TO DEATH of technology and social media...and no one even knows about it, because I can't get online to tell them."

So, while I didn't go shopping, I did reconnect with books with PAPER pages, and I fell in love all over again with William Shakespeare and with my house and my family.  I cleaned and did laundry and just lived here, instead of sitting at my desk (which is also *here*, but sort of doesn't count as being home, because when I'm at my desk, it qualifies as *working*, even though yes, I'm technically at home).

I'm planning to spend as much of December as unplugged as possible--I can't wait to see how it goes.

Try it sometime.  You won't believe the stuff you will get done, plus--sometimes a great book, a quiet afternoon, a clean living room and a cup of perfect coffee are really just what the doctor ordered.