Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Memory Jar Gifts

This is a memory jar I made for an anniversary gift
When I was a teenager, my father used to tuck me in at night with these touching words: "Someday, when I'm dead, you'll appreciate me."  Luckily, he's still alive, and I appreciate him. Maybe because of his morbid warning, I want to make sure that my loved ones know I appreciate them before they die.

A few years ago, for Father's Day, I made Dad a memory jar.  I took strips of paper and wrote down short memories.  It was slow-going at first.  But it helped that I could write just one sentence.  I wrote, "I remember how you drove me to dance class." And "I remember us building the rabbit cage together."  Once I got going, the memories started flowing, and I remembered a lot more little things I could write down.  The whole process made me feel more grateful and more connected to my wonderful father.  I stuffed the little colored strips of paper in a pint jar.  And, my dad--who's notoriously difficult to shop for--enjoyed reading through the little strips of paper.

I wrote down memories of my mom for the next Mother's Day.  Only, this time, I didn't use a jar. I wrote my sentences down on notecards and tied them with a ribbon.  Here are a couple of memories I wrote down:
  • I remember how you wallpapered my room and ran out of paper when you were 3/4 of the way through.
  • I remember learning birds' names.
  • I remember how you would wake me up singing "It's Uppy Uppy Time."
  • I remember playing car bingo.
  • I remember learning to sew on my Holly Hobby sewing machine.
Some of the memories showed how much my mom sacrificed for me, and others were just funny.

 The next year for my anniversary, I made a memory jar for my husband.  For this one, I didn't even use complete sentences, just little phrases that would jog his memory:
  • Dancing with the kids
  • Arizona mountains
  • Strawberry crepes
  • Visting the library together
I've heard of other people starting memory books, where they write down memories in a notebook or journal.  I love that idea too.  I think the great thing about the jar was that I could write as much or as little as I wanted to.  The recipient could also read as much or as little as they liked.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Digital Detox

Being an author, I get to do fun stuff like blogging and call it marketing. I can also "market" on Facebook, Goodreads, e-mail, Twitter, etc.  I love it because I've met wonderful people, but I can easily spend too much time online.

It got to the point where my online activities were interfering with my actual writing.  I'd start to write a chapter, then I'd get to a hard part.  Instead of working through the hard spot, I'd do some "research" on the internet.  Before I knew it, my writing time was over, and I had only a few paragraphs written.  (So much for self-discipline, huh?)

We use a program called Kidswatch to limit my kids' computer time.  It works great because the kids hate the program instead of me. But I can't use it on myself because I know all the passwords.
So my mother-in-law gave me her old laptop.  (She has a new one.)  It has no internet access or games!  I spend my writing time on the laptop, and I'm getting a lot more writing done.  Last week, I hit 200 pages on my current work in progress.  Yay!

It's a self-defeating question for a blogger to ask, but I still want to know--how do you keep from spending too much time on the internet?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Do these shoes make me look younger?

I held up the comfortable pair of sandals I'd picked out at The Rack and asked my teenage daughter, "Do these look like old lady shoes?"

"Kind of," was her answer.  (Another mom beside me translated that for me into "Yes.")

I held up my second choice, a pair of neutral slip-ons.  "How about these?"

She picked up a pair of sparkly lavendar Converse sneakers.  "These would go with everything. Lavendar goes with jeans, so it's neutral."

I bought the shoes, and so far, I've only worn them with jeans and various lavendar tops.  They're comfortable.  They're cute.  But I don't think they're actually neutral.

(Disclaimer:  My daughter says I misquoted her.  This is why I'm not a journalist.)

I asked my kids if they make me look younger.  They said no, but I think they do.  Or maybe they just call attention to my size 10 feet. 

It's a funny thing about growing older.  People younger than me (people in their thirties) are starting to tell me how old they feel.  I guess that should make me feel old, but it doesn't because I like being forty-ish.  I feel great in my lavendar shoes and I care less about what other people think.

So what do you think?  Are lavendar shoes neutral? 

Pioneer Skit for Family Reunion

I wrote this skit for a family reunion, so the pioneers are all my husband's ancestors. Feel free to adapt it for your own purposes.

[Just a side note about writing this skit:  I had a bit of a geneaology poltergiest thing going on.  My mother-in-law asked me to write it back in October.  I wrote it, and I thought I saved it.  When I went back to send it to my mother-in-law, more than half of what I wrote was gone.  I wrote it again and sent it off to her, but she didn't get the whole skit and it wasn't on my computer.  So I wrote it again today.  I must have done it right this time because here it is.  Weird, huh?]

Family Reunion Skit

[On one side of the stage sits a modern-day parent with teenager.  On the other side of the stage are people dressed as pioneers.]

Teen:  Do we have to go to the Crandall Reunion?  It’s just going to be a bunch of old people talking about family history.

Parent:  There’ll be some young people too, but what’s wrong with talking about family history?  We have a great heritage.

  I get so tired of hearing about the pioneers.  They’re so depressing.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My Easter Disorder

It has been a decidedly imperfect week for me.  The kids are on spring break, so I'd planned all sorts of fun activities.  We were going to do some home improvement projects, visit museums, and help some neighbors.  Instead, we've had three different viruses circulating among the kids.  Needless to say, I have not been the fun-loving mom I'd hoped I'd be.

You'll probably think this has nothing to do with the topic, but hang in there.  Lately, for research, I've been reading books about eating disorders.  I'm a perfectionist, a control-freak, and I'm sometimes mean to my body, so I can really relate to people who suffer from eating disorders.  Another reason I can relate is that I'm an American woman.  I'm guessing most American women walk around with negative voices in their heads.  You know those voices--they say things like "you should lose weight," "you're not as smart as she is," and "if you just tried harder, things would be perfect."  Why do we do this to ourselves?

The Easter catalogs almost convinced me that I was a failure this year.  I had this idea in my head that Easter is all about healthy people in new clothes picking flowers.   No.  It's not about that at all.  Easter isn't about being perfect.  It's about getting a fresh start.  It's about not having to be perfect.  It's about having hope even when things look hopeless.  How can anyone not see the message in the seasons?  Winter's bleakness always yields to beautiful spring flowers.  Always!  So I'm quieting the negative voices about my imperfect spring vacation.  And I'm reminding myself that life wasn't meant to be perfect.