Friday, May 18, 2018



Thursday, February 8, 2018

So Many Other Things

The day after the Super Bowl, it occurred to me that I watch a lot of football games.

I spend a lot of time and money on football.

I go to a lot of parties celebrating it.

I support those who love it and live it.

And on that day after the Super Bowl, I was relieved that football season is over for now. Having a breather from arranging my life around football – either watching it or avoiding it – is welcome.

It’s not that I’m morally opposed to football. It’s just not interesting to me. I don’t care about it. I feel about football the way other people feel about opera, or the way engines work, or astrology, or the feeding habits of mackerel, or Project Runway. Football just isn’t my bag.

And yet, because those important to me love football, I spend a lot of my life on football.

It is weird to not be into something that your friends and family are really, really into a lot of the time. I can’t speak meaningfully about football, recall details about it, or join the excitement that follows it. You’d think that just by association I’d be more into it, but instead I withdraw when the subject rolls around. I’ve been told “If you tried to understand it, you would!” “If you learned how it’s played, it would make more sense!” Well, of course.  But I’ve achieved my peak level of interest in the game. I know enough to know I don’t want to know more.
It occurred to me, the day after the Super Bowl, that though I love the people around me who love football, I haven’t really been working that hard to do the things that I find interesting.

It’s my own fault for not looking out for myself better, but it’s also a consequence of being a mom and wife. I’m used to helping others with their own interests and putting mine to the side. I put my interests first a few years ago when I started writing, but even that fell by the wayside as my family’s interests became more demanding and I became more involved in supporting them.

I’ve spent years giving to others so that their lives can function, to the sacrifice of my own interests. It’s cool to give yourself to others, but when you have filled your life with the lives of others, the life is sort of squeezed out of you.

So the day after the Super Bowl, I wondered just what is it that interests me?

So many other things, I remembered. Faith. History. Other cultures. Working with others. Movies. Art. Languages. Reading. Writing.

Football didn’t make the cut.

But how do you get back to what interests you, after a time of only being interested in what others are interested in?

You start small.

What can I do? I can read. I can dust off my blog for the hundredth time and get back to writing. The Oscars are coming up and I never miss watching. I can go to the movies to see all the Best Picture nominees, something I want to do every year but have never, ever done.

My interests are many. You’d never know it. I almost forgot, too.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Fifteen Candles

A couple of weeks ago my husband was driving us home from some sporting event that one of my kids was involved in (don’t ask me who it was or what kind it was; after a while they all sort of morph in my brain into one giant SPORTS fusion) and I was on my phone poking around, as any ill-mannered auto passenger is wont to do1.

[“Wont to do” is one of those old-timey phrases that annoyingly pops into my head instead of a more modern wording of the same idea. Also see “champing at the bit2”.]

I feel I should mention that doing anything other than talking to the driver while you’re a passenger in a car is R-U-D-E rude. It’s right up there with sleeping, or insisting on turning up the radio when your favorite song comes on. By the way, I do both of these things, too.

Anyway, while I was being rude to my husband by ignoring him and surfing the internet waves instead, I spied a wonderful advertisement which announced that my favorite scented candles were on sale FOR ONE DAY ONLY for Less Than Half Of The Regular Retail Price!!! Soon after reading the ad, I watched a friend’s video featuring a shopping frenzy related to This Amazing Sale and at once I felt called to be a part of it.

And then I immediately complained to my husband that I was going to be missing the sale because we were trouncing around the countryside all day to watch kids play sportsball.

So I did the next logical thing: taking advantage of my misappropriated downtime, I shopped online.

“Limit of 15,” the website read. I sneered – how dare they limit my shopping power?!? – and promptly ordered 15 candles. That’s fifteen, with a ten and a five. Fifteen three-wick candles of dubious scent combinations. Would they compliment the natural aromas of my household? Would they please guests? Overpower nostrils? Leave perfume migraines in their wake? For 8-10 business days, we wouldn’t know. It didn’t matter. I got mine.

Fifteen candles ordered, three weeks before Christmas. I will argue that I got a screaming deal on these candles, because I can burn through two of them in a given week, an expensive habit. I will argue that because they were on sale I saved a ton of cash. I will argue that it’s Christmas, otherwise known as Treat Yo’ Self season.

But the truth is that I bought them because it was easy.

My fifteen candles came in a big heavy box yesterday, big enough to warrant having to create a storage spot in my house to accommodate it. As I stared at the box and wondered where the heck it would go, I mused that, ten years ago, it wouldn’t have occurred to me to buy fifteen candles at a pop. I would have been in the car, turning up the radio to sing along to Andy Williams on the Christmas station, or boring my family with a monologue about old-timey phrases that should be brought back into the lexicon, or sleeping. Ten years ago, it wouldn’t have been as easy to shop online while cruising at 70 mph, asking my fellow hapless travelers what they think a blend of cypress and vetiver smells like.

Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have been teaching my kids how to be a bad auto passenger as well as a spendthrift. I wouldn’t have been staring at a box as big as a microwave ten days later, trying to think where I would stash it. I wouldn’t have been kicking myself for spending all that extra money on stupid stuff like candles. For myself. At Christmas.

Fifteen candles is a lot of candles.  

1adj. accustomed; used (usually followed by an infinitive): He was wont to rise at dawn.
Also: an annoying habit.

2v. to betray impatience, as to begin some action.
Also: to be up someone’s butt with your needs.