Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Thing To Do in 2008

I tend to shy away from resolutions, because things we "resolve" to resolve are so rarely ever fully resolved (bad habits broken must forever be avoided, weight lost must constantly be kept off, etc.). That's where my "List of Things to Do" comes in. Yes, I have one. And I'm not talking about the one that tells me which errands to procrastinate over on any given Saturday. I'm talking about the Big List.... the one that deals with my -- you should pardon the expression -- "issues." Yes, it's true... I have "issues." But then, so do you... and you... and you over there (don't be hidin' behind your neighbor, actin' like I can't see you). You all have issues, and so do I, and so does Dick Cheney (in spades!), and so does Angelina Jolie, even with all her money and her big, poofy lips.

So rather than "resolve" to do something I may or may not be able to "resolve," I'm just making a list... a list of things to do in 2008. Things that need to be fixed that only I can fix. Things that need to be handled and arranged better to my liking.
  1. New job: No joke. Really need to get me a new one of these. I need to start teaching for a living, or working for a publishing company, or actually supporting myself as a writer (or any combination thereof) sometime this year, because working in the legal department of a major motion picture studio is the opposite of being creative, and it's sucking my creative energy.

  2. Finish losing the weight I put on during Daddy-Palooza 2006-2007. That's about -- gulp! -- forty-five pounds. On someone who's not even 5'4", that's a whole lotta weight.

  3. Turn fifty. Okay, this one doesn't really need to go on the list, because, hey, it's happening in November. But I want to do it in style -- a party, or an exciting trip somewhere, and I want to have No. 2 accomplished by then, so I look completely hot for whatever I'm doing to celebrate. I plan on buying a very expensive, chic little dress and some very tall, impractical shoes.

  4. Get a literary agent. I'm tired of being told how impossible this is, how hard, how it's nearly futile, how it happens to only the luckiest few budding writers.... Yeah. I get it. Now shut up about it. I don't want to hear that kind of naysaying bullshit from another breathing soul (if they want to go on breathing). It's happening, it's happening this year, and you can either help or get the hell out of my way. (If there's anything ambivalent or confusing about No. 4, please feel free to write me and ask for clarification. I dare you.)

  5. Finish the triathlon. In one piece. Undrowned, unscraped, un-shin-splinty. So there.

  6. Get a home. Not just another crappy apartment. A home. As in house. As in, with a yard. With a space to plant bare-root roses (yellow in memory of my godmother, Linny). And room for a boxer (the dog, not the prizefighter). I am through asking permission about what colors I can paint my walls and how many pets I get to have and what kind of showerhead I can have. I'm a grown-ass woman, and it's time I exercised all rights and privileges therein.

  7. Be more patient. Stop the foot-tapping, steering-wheel-pounding, standing-in-line sighing. Enough ahready. This isn't a conspiracy against me. I need to just grow up and get over myself. Likewise, to be more tolerant of people's oddities and peculiarities. You know what, if you want to eat sardine-and-peanut butter sandwiches, as long as you're downwind of me, that's fine. I'll go on loving you all the same.

  8. Stop apologizing for being me. It occured to me during the whole ordeal of the past eighteen months that I have spent the better part of my life apologizing to somebody for being me. To my mother, for being born at a time when she wasn't prepared financially or emotionally to have a child. To my father for not being... well... Christie Brinkley. To my ex-husband for not being his mother. To various men* that I've dated for not being, alternately, too virginal, not virginal enough, too opinionated, not decisive enough, too headstrong, too sensitive, too young, too old, too fat, too short, too blonde, too redheaded, too... Well.... shit.... just too "too," really. My new motto when it comes to people in my life, particularly male-type people, is this: "I'm not sorry. I don't apologize. Please don't forgive me. Please don't 'fix' me. Please don't deconstruct, reconstruct, rescue or repair me. This is the package, and if it's not what you want, this town is chock full of 'Acting for Commercials' classes that are chock full of plastic-titted bikini models just waiting for you. The door's thataway. And it locks from the inside."

  9. Travel. I want to go to Maui (with Kim) for fun this summer, and I want to go to Prague sometime before the end of the year. I want to see Prague before they start using the Euro, and my weak-assed American dollar isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

  10. Finish "Vision," the collection of linked short stories about a half-dozen people who see (or think they see) an image of Virgin Mary on a freeway support at the corner of Pico and Sawtelle.

  11. Finish a first draft of "Death of the American Western," the novel I started in the MFA program. It can (and mostly likely will) be, in the words of Ann Lamott, a "shitty first draft**," but it has to be finished and ready for revision by December 31, 2008.

  12. Get the publication arts certificate. This will hopefully provide me with certain skills that will allow me to accomplish No. 1 and (spoiler alert!) No. 13.

  13. Be financially secure. Need I elaborate? I thought not.

  14. Get more sleep.

  15. Eat less crap.

  16. Take less crap.

  17. Have more fun.

So, there we have it. My List of Things to Do in 2008. It's ambitious, for sure. I dare say there'll be things that flop over on the the 2009 list. But that's okay. I think it's important to set the bar high, so lots gets, if not accomplished, then at least attempted. We'll meet back here, next January, to discuss what did and didn't get done, and how it all came together in the end.

February is almost upon us. The month of "that holiday." No, not Presidents' Day, you knuckleheads! Valentine's Day. I've always dreaded that day. I think I'll add a codicil to my list right now.

18. Have fun on Valentine's Day. By hook or by crook. Whatever it takes.

There now. That's better.

On an unrelated note, but still newsworthy: My very good friends, Valerie and Matthew will be bringing their new daughter home from Ethiopia in late February. Come to think of it, maybe it's not entirely unrelated at that. Little Josephina will have her own tiny list of things to do when she arrives -- learning to hold her head up, cutting some teeth, getting some decent hair on her head, figuring out how the hell that damn opposable thumb thing is supposed to work, and learning how to modify her parents' and siblings' behavior, simply by smiling and/or spitting up. Her list will be just as important to her as mine is to me. Maybe remembering that is the way to keep from taking all this "list" business too seriously. It is, after all, just a list of stuff that needs doing, one thing at a time, and we're here to get as much of it done as we can in our allotted time.

That's my List. And I'm sticking to it. Until Josephina gets here, and then I'll be putting some of it off to play with the baby.


* Not that it's exactly been the Cavalcade of Stars, mind you.
** If you haven't read
"Bird by Bird" by Ann Lamott, please don't post a comment chastising me for referring to my work as "shitty." "Shitty first draft" has a very specific meaning in this context, and I mean what I say. Buy the book and read it. It's artistically edifying, and it's a hoot and half.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

And, Thus, I Hand Over the Crown

It is with a mixture of gratitude, nostalgia and pride that I pin the "Meanest Mom on the Planet" tiara onto the glorious head of one Jane Hambleton, 48, of Fort Dodge, Iowa. It's been a long and fabulous run as "Meanest Mom", my darling subjects, but all good things must come to an end, and Mrs. Hambleton has proven herself to be more than amply capable of assuming the throne.

According to this CNN article, Mrs. Hambleton only made two rules when she purchased her 19-year-old son a 1999 Oldsmobile Intrigue: "No booze, and keep it locked."

When she found a bottle of alcohol under the seat, she decided that the best punishment would be to sell the car. She placed the following ad in the Des Moines Register:

"OLDS 1999 Intrigue. Totally uncool parents who obviously don't love teenage son, selling his car. Only driven for three weeks before snoopy mom who needs to get a life found booze under front seat. $3,700/offer. Call meanest mom on the planet."

So far, Jane has received 70 phone calls, the majority of which came, not from interested buyers, but from people wishing to converse with the planet's meanest mom. All of the calls have been supportive, including several from teachers, emergency room medical personnel, grateful fellow parents and school counselors.

In fairness, young Master Hambleton maintains that the booze wasn't his, but was left there by a friend, which Jane readily admits she believes completely, and which she apparently has ascertained (as would her "Meanest Mom" predecessor) that the argument is utterly moot -- "no booze" means "no booze," period. The lesson (in the words of my Texas granny, may she rest in peace): "Lie down with dogs, you'll more than likely get up with fleas."

So, here's to you, Jane Hambleton. My tiara is off to you. Hold your crown high, accept this bejeweled sceptor and take your walk down the runway before your subjects. May your reign as "Meanest Mom on the Planet" be every bit as rewarding as mine has been.


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Happiest of New Years to You All in 2008!!

Went to the most fun New Years party I've ever been to -- very small, but with a bunch of New York actors. We ate Chinese food, we drank almond champagne (a new fave), we watched some Luciano Pavarotti in his last concert from Central Park, we watched the ball drop in Times Square... hug, hug... kiss, kiss... nosh, nosh... nosh some more. So much fun....

Left the party totally wired at 3 am, got home and couldn't even think about getting to bed until 5. I was Eliza freakin' Doolittle. Got up this morning totally energized after only about four hours sleep, then went to Macaroni Grill with my daughter and her boyfriend. Lovely lunch, went to Target, spent money on DVDs on sale, and a new purse and wallet (desperately needed Christmas presents to myself), then came home.

Now, I'm going to toss one of my many new DVDs into the machine and wile away some time on this chilly, windy New Years Day, and spend the remaining alone time I have tidying the apartment and doing some purging of stuff.

If the year thus far has been any indication, 2008 is going to be a very good year. I go back into training for the triathlon this week, and am starting a new food plan tomorrow that I hope will whittle the ass down to some less cumbersome from running around the desert.

Here's to 2008. May you all find yourself on the path to your heart's desire.