Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hooray for Leap Day!

Me:  "Do you know what day it is?"

Husband:  "What did I forget?"

Me: "Nothing.  It's leap day."

Husband:  "Oh.  Does it mean I'm getting lucky later?"


Me:  "Hey kids, do you know what day it is?"

Second Grader:  "Did it snow last night?  Do we have off school?"

Me: "No, it's leap day!  It's an extra day on the calendar.  What will you do with your extra day?"

Second Grader:  "It be better if it snowed.  They should put the extra day in the summer."

Me:  "Hey twins!  Want to leap like frogs?  Today's leap day!"

Twin Daughter:  "Do we get candy?"

Me:  "Not for breakfast.  Sorry, honey.  How about later? I'm sure some sugar would get you leaping, wouldn't it?"

Twin Son:  "Boing! Boing! Boing!"

Me:  "Now there's the spirit!  Just not on the bed ... and not on the couch ... and watch out, for the dog!  Uh-oh, you're going to spill your cereal and milk now!  Okay, enough leaping!"

Second Grader:  "What about you, Mom?  Why aren't you leaping?"

Me:  "I don't know.  Grown-ups don't act silly like that."

Then I thought, maybe we boring grown-ups should attempt a little leap every now and then.  I'm not saying we all need to parachute from an airplane or go bungee jumping, unless that's your thing.  Maybe something more like throwing in a few skips from your car to your front door when you're sure the neighbors aren't watching.  Or hopping on the swings at the park and showing your kids (or some random kids that happen to be there) how high you can go.  And if today is a miserable day, maybe like my second grader says, make it a leap year and pick a summer day for your random act of silliness.

Me:  "Boing! Boing! Boing!"

It felt silly and mood lifting ... and to think, I hadn't spiked my coffee mug yet! 

Happy Leap Day!

Leap on over to Facebook!  I'll leap for every "like" or comment :)


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Wisdom of Erma Bombeck

A while back, my uncle complimented my blog by saying that I was “channeling Erma Bombeck”.  I remembered the name fondly from the eighties when I was a teen and that my mother had been a fan.  After looking up a few classic Erma quotes, I realized just how much of a compliment my uncle had given me.  And, I discovered the inspiration for how I would like to approach this blog.  Erma Bombeck found the humor and simple truths out of everyday living and wrote about it in a way that entertained as much as it touched the heart. 

Yesterday would have marked her 85th birthday if she were alive today.  In her honor, I’d like share a few of my favorite Erma Bombeck quotes.

"If you can't make it better, you can laugh at it."

 "My theory on housework is, if the item doesn't multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?"
"Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died."

 "Sometimes I can't figure designers out. It's as if they flunked human anatomy."  
"Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere."

"The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one."

"When a child is locked in the bathroom with water running and he says he's doing nothing but the dog is barking, call 911."

"There are people who put their dreams in a little box and say, 'Yes, I've got dreams, of course I've got dreams.' Then they put the box away and bring it out once in awhile to look in it, and yep, they're still there. These are great dreams, but they never even get out of the box. It takes an uncommon amount of guts to put your dreams on the line, to hold them up and say, 'How good or how bad am I?' That's where courage comes in.”

"Laugh now, cry later."

And, finally, perhaps my favorite line:
"Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the 'Titanic' who waved off the dessert cart.”


Seize the moment and "like" me on Facebook!
And, I'd love to gain a larger audience.  In high school, to be more popular, all you had to do is sleep with the quarterback but Eli isn't returning my tweets, texts, e-mails or calls (and needless to say, my husband doesn't approve of this approach).  So, if anyone has a better idea, I'm open to suggestions. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Boy, a Girl and a Squirrel: A love story

Before the boy ever met the girl, he befriended (in a manner of speaking) the squirrel.  It was on a fated hunting trip while trekking through the wilds of Pennsylvania that the boy and his redneck relatives came upon a most unusual sight.

Redneck Relative #1:  “Stop the truck!  I done seen a most unusual sight.”
Redneck Relative #2:  “Dress me up and call me Lucille Ball.  That there is a black squirrel.”
Redneck Relative #1: “Lucille Ball?”
Redneck Relative #2:  “Hell, yeah. I ain’t never seen a squirrel that color before.”
Redneck Relative #1:  “You reckon it might be one o’ them in danger creatures?”
Redneck Relative #2:  “Yeah, it darn well could.”
Redneck Relative #1:  “Well, then, you know what we got to do.”

Many years passed and the boy met the girl.  In fact, he fell so much in love with the girl that he asked for her hand in marriage.  When the girl spoke her vows on her wedding day, she knew she was gaining the boy as her husband.  She didn’t know that he came along with a certain black squirrel.  The girl discovered this fact on the day they moved into their first home.

Girl:  “I just saw the most unusual sight hanging in our bedroom.”
Boy:  “Do you like it?”
Girl:  “Do I like a stuffed and mounted rodent hanging above the bed?  Let me think about it.”
Boy:  “It’s not a rodent.  It’s a black squirrel.  The only one of its kind.”
Girl:  “So you shot it?”
Boy:  “I wanted to preserve it for all time.”
Girl:  “Oh, of course.  That makes total sense.  So, how about we donate it to the nature preserve?”
Boy:  “How about I make a deal with you?”
Girl:  “Like what?”
Boy:  “Like I could move him to the mudroom …and buy you flowers every Valentine’s Day … and chocolate … and wine  …and dinner?  And, what else?  … Help me out here.”
Girl:  “And if you ever cheat on me, I will personally release that squirrel back to his natural habitat!”

Ten Valentines later, the boy, the girl and the squirrel continue to cohabitate happily ever after. 

(The names of the actual boy and girl in addition to the exaggerated redneck speak were intentionally withheld and altered in the event PETA happens to discover this post.)

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Review: A Cluttered Life: Searching for God, Serenity, and My Missing Keys by Pesi Dinnerstein


Insightful, unsettling, and wildly funny, A Cluttered Life:  Searching for God, Serenity, and My Missing Keys (Seal Press) is the story of Pesi Dinnerstein’s quest to create a simple and orderly life—only to discover that simplicity is not so simple and what constitutes clutter is not always perfectly clear.  When a chance encounter with an old acquaintance reveals the extent to which disorder has crept into every corner of her existence, Pesi determines to free herself, once and for all, of the excess baggage she carries with her.  Along the way—with the help of devoted friends, a twelve-step recovery program, and a bit of Kabbalistic wisdom—her battle with chaos is transformed into an unexpected journey of self-discovery and spiritual awakening.


From the beginning, the reader is told that this book will not be sharing advice of the “Get Organized for the New Year” or “Simple Storage Solutions for Clutter” kind.  Since I read those organizational type magazine and internet articles all the time, I welcomed a different perspective.  Battling clutter, especially in a small house with three children and a husband, is an ongoing, never ending process for me.  So, as Pesi shared her honest and amusing stories from her personal battlefront, I could certainly relate.  And, I could throw in several, “Well, at least I’m not that bad!”

I found reading this story of inner conflict very enjoyable.  There were moments when I wished I could grab a mug of coffee, run off to Brooklyn and join Pesi as she met with “The Holy Sisters”.  This devoted group of friends who shared the same faith and values provided unfailing support and remarkably accurate insights.  May we all be so lucky to have even one friend like this, let alone a whole group as in Pesi’s case!

In the end, I began to realize that Pesi’s struggle wasn’t really about the clutter - in same way as I’ve heard it said over and over about other afflictions and addictions.  Although clutter doesn’t invade my life in the same way as Pesi, there was a common thread worth sharing.  It seems life is a constant battle against whatever we individually need work.  For Pesi, whenever she would have an orderly home, a pipe would literally burst or she would find a way to unravel all her success through self-sabotage.  Pesi ends the story still struggling, yet she did make the important discovery to find strength through her spirituality.  I thought her image of a Florida thrift shop find stuffed goose summed up Pesi’s plight very well.  Bewilda, the goose, had a ruffled appearance and, as Pesi describes, “weary eyes permanently fixed on heaven.”  I can say I’ve had days when I felt like this goose! 

About the Author:
Pesi Dinnerstein (a.k.a. Paulette Plonchak) has written selections for the best-selling series Small Miracles, by Yitta Halberstam and Judith Leventhal, and has contributed to several textbooks and an anthology of short stories.

Dinnerstein recently retired as a full-time faculty member of the City University of New York, where she taught language skills for close to thirty years. She has been an aspiring author and self-acknowledged clutterer for many years, and has spent the better part of her life trying to get organized and out from under. Despite heroic efforts, she has not yet succeeded; but she continues to push onward, and hopes that her journey will inspire others to keep trying as well.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hmm, Nod, Chin Scratch

Altogether now, let’s practice:
Say, “Hmm,” in a thoughtful manner while nodding and, just for fun, throw in a subtle chin scratch.  Perfect!  Remember that for later.

Announcing a new dimension to this blog:  BOOK REVIEWS
Swing by this Saturday for the first official book review!
In cooperation with the wonderful website WOW (Women on Writing), I will be posting reviews of books they send my way. 

This month’s book is A Cluttered Life by Pesi Dinnerstein

Clutter like dust, dirty floors, laundry, bills and a multitude of other annoyances seem to keep coming back no matter how many times it’s banished.  I’ll look around my house from time to time and mutter, “How did this happen?”  The obvious answer is that clutter like dust, dirt, laundry and bills mate and reproduce like rabbits. 

Pesi tackles the subject of clutter on a much deeper level.  Without getting all review-y until Saturday, I leave you with this thought summed up from a point made in the early chapters of the book:
Some objects obstruct us.  That’s clutter.  Let those go.  Other items inspire us.  Those are treasures.  Display them beautifully.

Ready?  You know what to do:
Hmm, nod, chin scratch …

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

One candle, A Slice of Cheesecake and a Blogiversary

One year ago yesterday, I put up my first post entitled, "My Story", and then immediately wondered, “Now, what the hell am I going to write about?”

Fortunately, inspiration struck and 47 posts later (including today's), All Things Audry has reached the one year mark!

Mostly viewed by my family and friends here in the United States, this blog has pageviews from around the world - traveling farther than I ever personally have.  Hello to my international friends in Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Slovenia, Russia, France, Canada, Romania and China! (That's so cool!) 

Last month, this blog had 288 visitors and in the past year, that number stands at 3,698 pageviews and counting!  

So, what were the most popular posts?  "Thank You" from February 22, 2011 tops the list - either people really like a genuine note of appreciation or google sent a bunch of internet searches for thank you cards my way!  Now, second place is one of my favorite posts, "I'm no expert, but..." from March 11, 2011.  I'm no expert, but I think I'm going to keep writing posts like this one.  Rounding out the top five (because a good title can you far in this world) are "Roasting a Weiner on a Hot Topic Fire", "It's a Barbie World" and "Having a bad hair day?"    

The post I will award with an Honorble Mention and one I recommend that you check out is "So ... I Got Kicked Out of the Dentist Office" July 5, 2011.  As unbelievable as it seems, this story really happened.  It was the first time I lived through one of life's little insane moments and was somehow happy because if nothing else, I could blog about it!

Happy Blogiversary!  Enjoy this virtual slice of cheesecake (pictures may be worth 1,000 words but they're also zero calories and dairy-free - even if you lick your screen - but please try to restrain yourself!)

I leave you with a few of my favorite picts (not stolen from the internet, but that were taken with my own camera) from the past year: