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Piercings, tattoos, and underwear

This is from 2009. I think I could make a series of "the more things change, the more they stay the same," because I still feel the same way about piercings, tattoos, and underwear. I still don't know where to look. But I still maintain none of those things are sufficient criteria by which to judge a person. - Liz

I don’t mind piercings. I don’t love them, by any means — I nearly fainted the first time I got one. That was the first ear with a darning needle and then I had to go ahead and have the other one done. Then they were crooked and I let them grow back, vowing never to do it again. But I did, and then one more time just because I wanted to wear two sets of earrings. I’d like to do the cartilage thing, too, up in the top of one ear, but I’m too big of a chicken, so that’s not going to happen.

I don’t mind tattoos, either. Some of them are beautiful and meaningful to their wearers. I’d even kind of like to have a little shamrock tattooed somewhere not obvious, but in addition to being a big chicken, I’m also a cheapskate. I’d rather spend the money required for a tattoo on something else. Probably earrings. Maybe purses. Or shoes.

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Did you see the meme that’s making its way around Facebook? What it declares, in big, bold letters, is that “Every high school should have a mandatory class called ‘life’ which teaches you how to sew, change a tire/oil, do taxes, basic first aid, basic cooking etc. Basic things that you need in real life.”

In a comment on the meme, my friend Bob said, “We learned that sort of stuff helping our parents. Family isn’t the same as it used to be.”

Of course, he’s right, because very little is the same as it used to be, and I’m pretty sure that’s a complaint that has gone on since the day after the beginning of time.

But I think he’s wrong, too. Family may not be “the same,” but most parents still love most kids. Most schools and most teachers love them, too, and do their level best to prepare their charges as well as they can. I’m not sure when in the schedule they are supposed to find the time to teach them everything they need to know about “life.”

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This is from August of 2015. It has served as a good reminder to me this week. Although it was first on a writing blog, I think it works okay for the Window, too. Enjoy your moments! - Liz

Magic Moments

Life is measured in love and positive contributions and moments of grace.
 - Carly Fiorina

My thanks to Jenny Crusie for this post. Not that she wrote it or even knows it exists, but she suggested we “take a moment” in another blog, and that's why I’m writing about happy pieces of time.

Like when someone tells your kid she’s just like you and your kid says, “Thank you.”

Or when no one’s around and your aloof five-year-old grandkid climbs into the chair with you and stays a while.

Or when in the manuscript from hell, you get a scene that is so perfect it leaves you laughing, crying, or jumping up and down.

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Red Hearts and Moments

Recently—was it only last week?—my column had to do with being average and the virtues thereof. Reader response was great, and I’m so appreciative of that. And I’m still average and happy with it.

But today I met a friend for a several-hour work session and lunch. We talked and laughed and wrote nearly all day. On the way home, the sun was shining. It was warm but not hot. The Beach Boys’ “Fun, Fun, Fun” played on the radio and I sang along—loud and terrible.

I’m in the last chapter of the book I’m writing, there was a red heart in my last text from my husband. He’d told me to be careful, because he doesn’t like how I drive. And to take my time. And…you know, the red heart—it fills a well I didn’t even know was running shallow.

There was nothing average about the day.

The Case For Average

I'm not sure when I wrote this, but my letter grade in life hasn't risen any since then.

 average stamp sign

I'm coming clean. It's said that confession is good for the soul — plus it's a novelty in this day of not admitting to anything. Makes me feel all sanctimonious and Marmee-like. So here goes.

I am not a leader.

Umm, felt good. I'll say it again, louder and longer. I'm a follower with absolutely no aspirations to lead.

I have never dreamed of gathering obscene wealth or dining at restaurants where cute guys park your car and paparazzi snap pictures of you as you walk past. I've never longed to be a CEO or a member of any other profession that has initials as its description.

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“…Bluebirds sing for nothing—and the shade comes free with a tree…” – Troy Jones & Shane Decker

I like money. I used to like working with it in my job. I liked paying bills and working out the best way to do it so that we’d have as much money as we had month—well, most of the time. Having more of it would be nice, I guess, but since we don’t really need more, that doesn’t really matter. I like what money can do, but not what it often does do.

Even though I like it, I don’t want it to become important. At least, I don’t want it to become more important than things that are free. When I wrote that, I thought it was sort of profound. I also thought some people reading it would just think it was goofy. And I’m good with that.

But this afternoon on Facebook, I saw pictures of some of our kids and grandkids on different beaches. The sky and the waters of Lake Michigan and the Atlantic Ocean were brilliant blue behind them. The sand was sparkling white. Another of the kids told me about a bicycle ride down the Virginia Creeper Trail. Seventeen miles almost all down-hill. I’m not sure I’ll ever make the ride, but it’s been fun thinking about it, visualizing our son and daughter-in-law riding it, remembering the conversation.

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The more things change...

This was written in January of 2011. As I too often say when about old things, very little has changed, although politeness and respect have gone so far out the proverbial window we can no longer see them even in the distance. I am appalled, not for the first time, that as a society we are all too eager to fix that which is not broken, but totally unwilling or unable to fix the things that are.

Criticism is just a really bad way of making a request.

No, I didn’t say it, but I wish I had. Diane Sawyer quoted it from someone she’d interviewed, then pointed a pistol finger at the side of her head and said, “Genius.” She was right.

For the nearly 40 years I’ve been married, I have hated television. Not because I think all TV is bad, but because in our house, it’s on every waking moment of the day. When the house was full of kids and noise, the TV was the loudest noise of all, because not only was it on, people were watching it. From my point of view, which is admittedly only half the equation now and was much less then, nothing that was said on TV was as important as anything that was said between us. This argument has been shot down for 40 years. I have complained about the one-eyed-monster that lives in three rooms of our house and criticized its watchers for…well, you know how long by now.

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I’ve written about grief before, about what a gift it is because of the love that came before the loss. I still mean that, but I left too much out of what I said before. While I didn’t make light of the pain of loss, I probably didn’t address it, either.

Grief is hard. I tried to think up some better words, to be more articulate, but there really isn’t a better one. It’s just hard.

When you’ve gotten through a day and you haven’t cried or had regrets or thought too long about how you’ll never see the person you lost again in this lifetime, you might think the worst is over. You sleep through the night and wake without the familiar feeling of dread that goes with mourning and you think it’s a brand new day. The sun still comes up. The first cup of coffee’s still the best one of the day. You will be strong today. You will laugh and mean it, be productive. You’ll be yourself again.