Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fairyland in the Parking Lot

"But I want to go with you, Mama!" My five-year-old daughter's big, blue eyes gazed up at me under bangs that were beginning to remind me of ornamental grasses. Her lips trembled, and yet again I felt the pity of her being the only daughter in a houseful of boys. A basketball game was on, Bean was sleeping, and the other boys were doing whatever boys do on Saturdays. I was looking forward to a few minutes out alone, even if that was only a thirty minute run to the store.

"Oh," I sighed, "All right."

"Yay!" she proclaimed, and ran off to don her purple coat and shove on pink and leopard print boots. Without socks. (Those boots are wild and not my choice, definitely. But she loves them--and they were free.)

Not fifteen minutes later, we got out of the van and headed into the store. She held my hand and said, looking at the ground, "Look at the rainbows!"

I knew she was referring to the mess of oil and water that results from car offerings and melting snow. It is beautiful, I thought, but pushed that to the back of my mind, preoccupied with getting the errand done. "That's wonderful, huh?" I said, only half listening.

Twenty minutes later we left the store, and loaded up the van. After returning the shopping cart, we strolled (well, I strolled, she skipped) back across the parking lot. She stopped when we reached the back of the vehicle, and her little, awed voice floated through the air, "Wow, look at the rainbows."

I glanced down, then saw--really saw what she was looking at. Just as I expected, the rainbow was comprised of oil and water, blended together on the filthy parking lot. What I didn't expect was how bright the colors were as they washed long over the dark surface, like a rainbow tower laid sideways. Sunlight coaxed a brilliant sheen that sparkled like Tinkerbell's dust, and it was as if a magical fairy world was just waiting behind the pavement. "It is beautiful, isn't it?" I said. We stood there together for a few moments, my little girl and I, enveloped in the world of magic and fairies and rainbows.

Then we got into our van and drove home.

Now and then I'll take the time to look--really look--around me. You never know when magic might be around the corner--or down at your feet.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Year's Restitutions. Yep. Restitutions.

I used to be the person who said, with a big laugh and self-satisfied smirk, "My New Year's Resolution is to not make any New Year's Resolutions." Then I basked in my own cleverness.

Sad, huh?

The only problem with that was that I felt like a shmuck who, instead of actually trying to do something new, gave up before lifting a finger even a quarter-heartedly, never mind half.

In the distant past when I made resolutions, I never stuck to my guns--so in recent years, instead of filling my being with self-loathing and more chocolate than should be legally allowed, I didn't make any at all. However, this year I got to thinking, and this was the result: why should I miss out on all the fun? After all, making resolutions feels great! There's something about a list that makes me all excited and trembly inside, like I imagine the Baby New Year must feel when presented with a Tootsie Roll pop for the first time. (Disclaimer: I do not recommend giving normal babies lollipops, but I make exceptions for magical babies who are teenagers by March.)

Therefore, instead of resolutions, I'm making restitutions. As in, making it up to myself for past resolution-inflicted soul wounds. Instead of setting goals that make me cry and reach for the Hershey's by February, I'm making ones for things that I have been unwittingly depriving myself of that will make me entirely, selfishly happy. (Though this benefits my family--if I'm happy, generally they are too.)

So, here are my restitutions for 2011:

1. Watch Avatar. James Cameron's version. Blue people. I heard it's good. (I have to clarify which version because as all geekish people know, Avatar: The Last Airbender is the true version, even though Mr. M. Night Scaryman royally messed it up.) Which brings me to number. . .

2. Watch the original Last Airbender series. I got to see parts here and there, and heard a lot of it because I was cooking dinner while James and the kids were watching the show. I should cut a hole in the wall over the stove so I can see what they're up to while I'm stirring a pan full of onions.

3. Watch Inception. (I detect a theme going on here. I think it's because people are incredulous when they've heard I haven't seen this or that movie, and said movie is so awesome I just may die from the lack of awesome by not watching it. I don't watch many movies.)

4. Read The Hunger Games trilogy. I keep my fingers in my eyes going "La, la, la, I can't see you!" while cruising the interwebs. It's about time I sink my eyeteeth (meaning my sharp pupils, not like Edward) into those books.

5. Read some James Dashner. Read the latest Brandon Sanderson/Robert Jordan Wheel of Time. Read everything by every author I have on my mental want-to-read list. (Sorry, got carried away. At least Sanderson and Dashner. At least.)

6. Learn to make those peppermint balls James had as a kid and loved. I didn't get to it this last Christmas, but by golly, I'll learn in time for December!

7. Edit my book and *gulp* write and send out querys to real, live *double gulp* agents.

8. Fit into a size--dare I say it--14 pants by my birthday in October. (Mind you, fitting in means zipping up. While laying down is ok. Standing up and causing a button to be embedded into the wall doesn't matter, as long as the zipper holds.)

9. Eat something containing cocoa powder at least once a week.

10. Have a Diet Coke at least two times per month.

11. Paint my bedroom some other color. Buy this or this print for it. Maybe both.

12. Paint my daughter's  and baby's bedroom light yellow, even if I have to buy new paint because the other one I got is probably three years old, has been frozen several times in the garage, and is most likely gross now.

13. Make these adorable wall hangings for Princess' and Bean's room: Happy Garden , Hill Man , and Bird Hill. They're so whimsical; I love them!

Ok, I guess some of these are more resolutions, because they may cause me some anxiety, but humor me. I'm going with it.

'Tis the spirit of the season, after all!

***Thank you all for your words of love and encouragement after my last post. They meant the world to me. I'm doing better now, and will keep on keeping on with the hope of brighter days to come!***