Makes-Me-Smile Monday: Truth! Beauty! Freedom! Love!

Makes Me Smile Theme - Blog CarnivalActually, the truth, beauty, freedom, and love thing is from Moulin Rouge, which I loved and Melinda fell asleep during. Can’t really blame her, though. Moulin Rouge is just yet another musical with the a bizarre never-ending musical/dance/dream sequence halfway through (think Oklahoma, Xanadu, and every Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire movie ever).

Here’s the topic for Monday’s MMSM carnival. Guidelines here. Marcy — you can’t say I didn’t remind you this time!

Dr. Cameron: Men should grow up.
Dr. Gregory House: Yeah. And dogs should stop licking themselves. It’s not gonna happen.

and/or

Dr. Wilson: Beauty often seduces us on the road to truth.
Dr. Gregory House: And triteness kicks us in the ‘nads.

MMSM: He Said, She Said

We took Dick to the airport this morning, and since I had a wee breakdown on Saturday, in which I calmly pointed out that he had not washed a single dish nor picked up a single black sock since my surgery, we stopped on the way to the airport so Dick could vacuum out the minivan, thus capping a marathon of pre-business-trip, guilt-induced deep cleaning. I’m sure he’ll find plenty of time between sessions to prepare his own presentation.

I hope that it is not codependent of me to say that I already miss him. I already miss his body next to mine in bed — close enough to touch, but far enough away in our king-sized bed for touching to be a matter of choice rather than necessity. I also miss that he will not be able to stay up until 2am before an important trip to fix my blog in Internet Explorer when it was perfectly fine in Firefox.

So this morning, well-rested, I drove, and ate my fourteenth McDonald’s breakfast in one month (is having a regular family order for the drive-thru an indication of nutritional abuse?). Dick could not find the airport if he were in a plane and it was lit up like a marching band. I said, “Don’t go,” in my cute little-girl voice and Dick just smiled.

He said, “Remember we can’t talk on the phone this time like we did last year.” Last year we were surprised by a huge bill for roaming charges even though national roaming, like long distance, is included on our Verizon plan. Apparently Vancouver is part of Canada, which is not actually part of the United States, but I think that’s just the phone company’s way of extorting more money. Along with not rolling over minutes and charging millions of dollars for calls originating at 8:59pm even though 99% of the call takes place after 9pm. Even if it’s 9pm in Vancouver, which is on Pacific Standard Time because Vancouver IS still along the Pacific Ocean, even if it turns out to not be part of the US of A.

Dick wondered if I remembered what our long conversations were about last year. Of course: he got lost driving from Vancouver to Seattle, because, as everyone knows, one has to cross an international border to do that. The only possible route is Highway 1, also known as Highway 99 in Canada (because in the metric system you number things from East to West), but it’s still really confusing because the signs are in Canadian English, so they say things like Turn Right, eh?

Dick remembered a different long conversation from last year. About my blog and something that wasn’t working right. Which hardly ever happens. I mean, computers always do exactly and only exactly what you tell them to do, right? And even if they did do something weird, what are the chances of my needing technical support right when Dick is supposed to go OUT OF THE COUNTRY? If he could just stay in the United States, I’m sure I wouldn’t need any help. And maybe Verizon would stop trying to convince us that Canada is not the 51st State.

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More MMSM

Tara wrote about her memories of BYU and what classes she would have taken if she had realized that what she would be spending her life doing isn’t exactly exhaustively covered in your basic liberal arts education. I remember when I first realized this — when we settled back in the US and I started to “stay-at-home” in earnest. Why did I think cooking/sewing/gardening/fix-it’ing were lamentably “vocational”?

Marianne at Writer-Mommy wrote about the bittersweet memories of her kids’ toddlerhood. Check out the picture of Mommy plus little girl plus baby. Is it just me or does the mommy look about 16 in that picture? Wish I looked that good AT 16! I love reading something where I think: I have felt that exact same thing, but this is expresses just so, so right. (Although, being still in the toddlerhood, I’m just assuming that one day I’ll miss it!). 

To join in the MMSM carnival, write on “memory” on your blog and follow these guidelines.

Think of me, think of me fondly

The MMSM Carnival topic tomorrow is memory. I googled “memory” because really, what is life for, anyway, if not to google everything? Actually, there is more to life than google, and that is youtube. Listen to this amazing performance (now can we make Jason Castro go home? Please?). I saw Cats at the Capitol Theater in Salt Lake City with my cousin Amy almost fifteen years ago. It was my first experience of real theater, and it was wonderful!

Random Acts of Blogginess

Marianne from Writer-Mommy has won the Free Publicity for Your Blog giveaway, which means that a button linking to her wonderful site will be residing on my sidebar momentarily. Marianne was chosen in completely random fashion:

Do you know how many times you have to ‘generate’ for the random number generator to pick the number you want it to pick? Right, of course not. Why would you know something like that?

In other bloggy news, don’t forget the new, improved Makes-Me-Smile Monday is back in four days (Monday, May 5), on the topic of memory. Write on your blog, send me the url of your post (whataboutmom@gmail.com), and I’ll link to you in my post. Here’s an exerpt from Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park:

If any one faculty of our nature may be called more wonderful than the rest, I do think it is memory. There seems something more speakingly incomprehensible in the powers, the failures, the inequalities of memory, than in any other of our intelligences. The memory is sometimes so retentive, so serviceable, so obedient; at others, so bewildered and so weak; and at others again, so tyrannic, so beyond control! We are, to be sure, a miracle every way; but our powers of recollecting and of forgetting do seem peculiarly past finding out.

Makes-Me-Smile Monday: To love or not to love

I know almost to the minute when the word divorce stopped being a concept and became a possibility, a reality, a real thing in real life that could be devastating.

Oh, not for me. Dick and I fought like pole cats the first couple months of our marriage, ten years ago. We fought about the usual things: money, sex, how to spend our free time and who should be home cleaning the toilet on a fine Saturday morning. I said the “d” word once and Dick looked at me with hurt eyes; I hadn’t accepted that I could hurt him. But for him divorce was a real thing, because his parents were divorced. For me it meant “I’m really mad at you and right now I think not being married would just be simpler.” Neither of us has said that word, in relation to us, since that day.

But on Sunday, March 16th, 2008 at approximately 9:43 am, I found out that divorce can happen to anyone. It wasn’t me so I wasn’t hurt. It was someone I love, so I was mad. I wanted to pull newly-grown hair and smash Christmas ornaments and throw dinner on the floor.

In college you hear a lot about paradigm shifts. Adolescence could probably be characterized as that stage in a person’s life when (they think) they’re experiencing massive paradigm shifts between each class. My middle-aged humanities professor shocked me by saying that it had been a long time since he’d read a book that actually changed the way he thought about the world, and OH! How I pitied that man.

Threat of divorce has shifted my paradigm. It makes me feel rebellious. No one should have to turn herself into Clean House Barbie to keep her husband happy, or pretend to enjoy Jazz basketball or not to mind when the kids are not fed and in bed on the one night I go to the library after dinner. When I told Dick I felt like never cleaning again, he panicked, made me promise that I was just joking. Then I had surgery and had a medical excuse anyway.

I could probably turn into a model wife, for a week or so, at least. If I did, if I woke up and made lunches and saw him off with a kiss and a stack of French toast, and kept the house clean and kept up with our finances and never used the mean voice and picked up socks without asking, “Did you want these socks washed or were you going to wear them again tomorrow?” And if I made one of his five favorite dishes and had dinner on the already-set table and three happy, clean, and sweet-smelling children lined up to throw themselves at his legs at 5:52 pm. If I didn’t yell at them or let them hear me swear, would he love me more and think that I had lived up to the promise of my 30-pound lighter, not-stretch-marked, adoring, twenty-year-old bride-self?

Love me more: I don’t think so. Think I lived up to the promise better: probably. We did both promise to be our best selves. That’s not true. There was nothing in the actual sealing about setting goals or maintaining our figures or cleaning the toilets before doing fun things together on Saturday morning. Instead, though the LDS ceremony is slightly different, it including something about loving, honoring, cherishing. And while it didn’t say anything about in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, it did say forever, eternity. Which pretty much includes all the rest. And you usually think that the hard times would be the sickness and the worse and the poorer. But maybe those are the easy times — the times when you know you couldn’t possibly make it without your spouse at your side.

Without a man who will wipe your armpits with baby wipes when you can’t shower. Or laugh when your milk squirts him during an otherwise romantic, amorous moment. Or not even shout when you kill a laptop with your bare hands.

I didn’t really mean to write about what I don’t do to make my husband happy. And I meant to be humorous and light. Go read Marie’s Making Men Happy for a great, funny list of things men (at least the Ask.com men) want in a woman. And for proof that Google might be getting in touch with it’s feminine, nurturer side.

What I do try to do is: communicate to him that what he thinks and feels and does is important, significant, relevant. Make him know that he is the big tuna in my life, and always will be. That even though I wouldn’t actually rather get sick myself than see him sick, his health and comfort and life and happiness are vital to my own.

I would promise, like Tracy Lord in The Philadelphia Story, to always be yar. But I know I’ll use the mean voice again. I’ll get mad that he is Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout. I’ll wish at least one of us were independently wealthy. I’ll even, heaven forbid, swear in front of the children again. But with my paradigm forever shifted, I’m seeing the sickness and the worse and the poorer as opportunity to thank God for knowing better than I what was good for me.

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I think this week (month?) has been hard for a lot of people. Hard to smile when terrible things happen. Loraine has a post, Still Trying to Smile After Sunday, that nigh unto broke my heart. I usually feel pretty darn callous. What do I care about someone I don’t know? But determination to find something, anything to smile about is irresistible. My favorite line? “Likewise, Mekare finally cleaned off the coffee table- wait, one of the kids already threw her hoodie on it.” That’s my life, in a nutshell.

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To participate in the brave new world of the Makes-Me-Smile Monday carnival, write on today’s topic “How to keep your husband (or other loved one) happy” and then follow these guidelines.

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Before you object, let me say that I believe that if anyone is in a relationship with an addict or abuser or adulterer or abandoner who is not 100% committed to changing and to the relationship, they should get out. Even (especially?) if you have kids and even if the abuse or abandonment is emotional rather than physical. Staying in a bad relationship on the strength of what once was is too Rose for Emily-ish. Get out.

Free Publicity For Your Blog and a New Kind of Carnival

I hope you diehard bloggers aren’t suffering massive finger fatigue from the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival. Or, if you are, I hope you at least win millions of good things. I don’t know if anyone will notice my little link here at the tail end, but what I’m offering is completely priceless: Free Publicity For Life For Your Blog.

One lucky winner will win a place on my sidebar for as long as your blog remains family-friendly, which I expect to be for life. We do have decency standards around here, but, depending on how funny you are, those standards aren’t too hard to meet.

If you don’t already have a button for your blog, I can make you a custom one from a graphic you send me or from what is already on your site. Oh, and if you’d like a scrolling box to display the html code for your button on your own sidebar (encouraging your own readers to display it), I’ll make you a scrolling code box. [Any html-ness I can lay claim to I owe to Dick and to those lovely ladies at Blogging Basics 101.]

For examples of buttons and to see what a scrolling html code box looks like, direct your attention to my striking sidebar. The MMSM button is an example of a button made from a graphic tweaked from a Picasso print. The Fortune Cookie Kit button I made from a photograph Shalece sent. The Daily Delight and June Cult buttons I made from graphics that were already on Tara’s and June’s sites, respectively. So, my sidebar: that’s where you could be. Just think of it: my many readers and unwitting-Google-searchers-who-land-here will see YOUR custom button winking out at them day and night. Honey, you can’t buy that kind of publicity. Well, you could, but, better to get it for free, right?

To qualify, I’d like you to help me get a head start on the next Makes-Me-Smile Monday Carnival on April 28th. The MMSM carnival is a different kind of carnival: no more Mr. Linky’s! Instead, if you follow the guidelines here, I’ll include a link to your post in my own MMSM post, with a short blurb about it. If you know your SEO (search engine optimization) and Google/Technorati stuff, links in actual posts are much more valuable than in Mr. Linky (not to disparage Mr. Linky; he’s certainly necessary for the million-link carnivals like the Bloggy Giveaway!).

This Monday’s topic was a request from Dick, who wants to see “tips on how to make your husband happy.” We’re totally not influenced by self-interest around here. And I don’t need any more sex tips, so I hope that doesn’t rule out the top five things that immediately sprang to your mind. The movie I thought of to go along with this is The Philadelphia Story. (or the more jazzy — literally — remake High Society). You don’t have to have seen either movie to write a post with great tips on how to keep a significant other happy, but it certainly wouldn’t be a bad use of a Saturday night.

But I digress. You should probably automatically qualify for the Powerball Lottery if you’ve actually read this far, but, getting back to the Free Publicity For Life For Your Blog (button, sidebar, scrolling box) contest, simply leave one tip on the making of a loved one (child/parent/friend/spouse) happy, and you’re entered. If thinking up a happy-making tip gets you thinking on a post you could write for the MMSM carnival, even better. But not necessary. (Well, not for this contest. For the betterment of mankind, maybe).

Comments Closed — Winner to be announced SOON.

Toni is a Winner, and I am nothing if not flexible

I generated a random number (why couldn’t I just write 8 numbers on slips of paper and draw them out of a hat? Well, then I wouldn’t have proof that this was a totally unbiased selection):

And Toni is the WIN-NER! She gets TurboTax, Mother’s Day Loot, SEATTLE, a Fortune Cookie Kit!! Email me at whataboutmom@gmail.com, and I will ship you your fortune, today!

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Breaking News on the MMSM Carnival!!

Since I am nothing if not flexible (mentally, anyway), the topic for next Monday (April 14th) is Melinda’s favorite movie, The Great Muppet Caper. I wanted to list some great quotes from the movie, but it was really hard to pick just a few.

If you haven’t seen it in awhile, I definitely recommend a re-view with — or without — the kiddies. In the meantime, here are some of my favorite quotes:

Miss Piggy: What am I? A glutton for punishment?

Nicky Holiday: Miss Piggy, you’re a very different-looking woman. I’m so tired of the same type. Those tall thin creatures with the long legs, the aquiline noses, the teeth like pearls, soft skin.
Miss Piggy: Yeah, well I can see where that might make you sick to your stomach.

[In a hot-air balloon]
Gonzo: I’d like to try this without a balloon.
Kermit: Try what? Plummeting?
Gonzo: Yeah.
Kermit: I suppose you could try it once.

Kermit: Quiet!
[all fall silent except Janice]
Janice: So I said, Look, Mother. It’s my life. OK. So if I want to live on a beach and walk around naked…” Oh.