Friday, December 31, 2010

Fantastic Favorites Friday


   Another Friday, the last of this year, and another chance to celebrate Fantastic Favorites Friday, or my favorite things from this week.

Chops & Jones.  I know, this either sounds like a steak joint or a 3rd rate law firm, but these are actually my kids.  Chops is a precocious 1st grader and Jones is a brand spankin' new 12 year old.  These little darlings made my week the best this month just by getting to stay home with them through Christmas break.

Artificial Trees.  After the now infamous Christmas tree debacle of 2010, on Christmas day, and since all the needles feel off the dumb tree 3 days before, I slipped into my office for a few moments and ordered an artificial tree online.  It arrived on Wednesday morning, and since I had all the decorating stuff still out, I put the new tree up.  No more wrong sizes, no more wrestling it into the house.  I am still not a completely converted fan of the fake tree, but I have to admit, I like not having to sweep up dead pine needles everyday.

Leaving Town.  Leaving town is a breath of freshness no matter where you live.  It is an escape from routine,  and an opportunity to return home at the end and see your life with new eyes.  Also, it's chance to go to IKEA.

The New Year.  O.k., I know it's not really a part of this week's favorites, but I am looking forward to a fresh start for 2011.  A chance to renew, reflect and begin again.  I love a new year.    

May you live your best life this year.
May love's fullness wrap itself around you.
 May joy be your guiding light,
and may peace distill upon you as the dews of heaven!

From the Square Toothed/Mountain Man Clan to you,


Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Birthday Girl and the Tambourine

THWHACK!
There is a strange little holiday in the Square Toothed/Mountain Man clan that pops up directly after Christmas and a bit before the new year: it's my birthday.  Without a doubt, my birthday falls on the worst day of the year, Boxing Day.  This is the worst birthday date of all time, (unless of course your birthday falls on a leap year, and my heart goes out to you) because the underlying problem with a Boxing Day birthday lies in fact that the Christmas hub-bub is over and all really anyone wants to do between the night of the 25th and the celebration of the 31st is balance their credit card statements and wish they'd used a little more discretion while purchasing for the holidays.

Even as a child, my birthday was a bit of a mess even though my parents did their best to distance my birthday from Christmas by being sure all the gifts were wrapped in birthday paper instead of Christmas wrap.  However, there was no masquerading the tired children dropped off by tapped out parents bringing re-gifts bearing ornaments, wreaths, and in one case, chocolates filled with liquor--no doubt a gift from a generous employer given to a non-drinking employee then re-gifted to a confused, and soon to be drunk nine year old.  Needless to say, Christmas birthdays left a lot to be desired during my childhood.   Bless my parents hearts, even their one attempt at celebrating my "half birthday" ended up with someone nearly ending up with heat stroke as the temperatures reached record highs that year.

As an adult, my near constant eye-rolling concerning my birthday has reached epic proportions.  For so long, I have expected my birthday to be what is has been my entire life: Just a big pain in the neck.  Until this year.  This year, I made a ridiculous and nonsensical request to my dear Mountain Man, "Let's leave town, but before I do, I want a tambourine."

I know, even the request makes my brows furrow together in confusion.

Here's the gig, traveling with your birthday so stinking close to Christmas is just really code for: let's travel on Christmas and battle long lines for Boxing Day specials while people shove you around and make you mad and test your patience in a way that even Job would cave in to.  But why a tambourine?  Well, what better instrument to drive home a pointless point, or a ridiculous request, especially on one's birthday?  Tambourines by their very mystery and allure reach through all the common sense and magically transport the hearer to new depths of uncommon sense.  Let me illustrate:

Situation One: Line too long at your favorite book store and it's your birthday?  Pull out that tambourine, make and announcement and watch the line scatter to your request...(I know, I may be delusional.)

Situation Two: Upset your family is taking too long to get ready for church?  Simply say, "If you don't hurry up, I will sell you to the gypsies!" Then--THWACK!  Tambourine hit, point made that either you hurry up, or you get to listen to me strum my little drum-covered-cymbal-circle with passion for the next few minutes until we are ready to depart.  I don't know about you, but I'd hurry it along...

Situation Three:  "Hey, I have a great idea!  Let's spend all our savings on a trip to Greece for my birthday this year!"  Without the tambourine, you find yourself faced with a bunch of head shaking and comments of, "No, that's just not possible this year."  With the tambourine, however, your family finds itself completely distracted by your fabulous tambourine playing and merely nod at your request to go to Greece because they can't figure out why you are shaking a tambourine in the first place....if you think about it, it's kind of like charming snakes or lulling animals into a deep sleep...not that I've had experience with either.

Anyway, owning a tambourine has been long on the list of birthday wishes for a while now because it may be the last thing on earth that transforms my birthday from just a big pain in the neck to an actual magical day.  And I have to believe that a good birthday exists in my future somewhere.  Somewhere, lines will be shorter, tickets will not be sold out and there won't be a soul at my favorite restaurant.   I must have hope.

*        *       *
On my "special day" before we left town,  I found a beautifully wrapped box sitting on the passenger seat of our car.  As I tore the paper from the gift, joy infused my soul, for there lay a drum topped tambourine to help me get whatever I wanted on my birthday.  As we drove over the rivers and through the woods, I imagined the many ways I could use it to get the long lines to move faster and people to be nicer.  Traveling along,  I found myself tapping out a jaunty little tune and Mountain Man driving a little bit faster to get there--or to get away from my tambourine playing...I'm sure I will never know.

That night, standing in a long line at our favorite book store, I broke out my tambourine.  I raised myself up to all my almost 6 foot tall wonder and said in a loud and dramatic voice, "You all need to move so I can go to the front of the line because it is my birthday!!!  THWHACK!"  

Let me tell you, those people moved.

What are your feelings on your birthday?  What is your birthday wish?

E-mail me at squaretoothedgirl@gmail.com or leave your comments here...Join us in celebrating the simple moments of everyday life!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Fantastic Favorites Friday

This week has been filled with children running in the house, sleeping in (hallelujah!), and lots and lots of baking in preparation for the upcoming Christmas festivities.  All of this celebrating got me thinking more about the small moments that made my week full of joy.  Here are my top picks (in no particular order) for this week:


1.  Sledding.  Wind whipping through frost covered eye lashes as you race down the mountain at break neck speeds...ah, winter. 


2.  Tasha.  While I usually give my friends and family nick names on Diary Of A Square Toothed Girl, for some reason, Tasha defies this rule.  She is so sassy, no mere nickname can contain her. Tasha is from the south and any conversation with her is littered with the words "Honey!" "My land!" and "Y'all!"  Except when Tasha says it, it sounds like, "Huuuuuuunnneeeee!  Ma lahhnd!"--and well, "Y'all".  These phrases express anything from mild annoyance to utter astonishment and I find myself, after talking to her, uttering, "Huuunnneee!" to everyone I meet for at least a week.  Tasha and I are separated from one another by a large mountain range now, and we don't get the chance to talk as often as we'd like to; but each and every time we speak to one another, I am left with the feeling that there is something good in the world--especially a world where drawling expressions of amazement dot the conversation like friendly smiles.

3.  Baking with kids.  I have two small people in my possession who are two of the most hilarious and generous souls to ever walk the earth.  And doing anything with them is an absolute delight.  This week, in honor of the two hollow legs that belong to Mountain Man, we decided to do our best to fill them up with baked goods.  We made gingersnaps, lime cookies, currant almond sugar cookies and these luscious little chocolate things topped with white chocolate that my son ate like they were the last cookies on earth.  Baking with my kids is a joy.  It was fun to have the time to relax and engage in something we enjoy doing together...and eat cookies too.

Notice the terrifying and 'glowing' red eye!
4.  The "Man" in the box.  My son likes to create villains and super-heroes in his spare time...and, as he is currently unemployed, he finds himself with a lot of spare time on his hands, so you can imagine the plethora of cartoon characters we have around the house.  Usually these creations are confined to the page, but this week he went multi-dimensional and created "Man" in the box.  He is the "man" in the box and this particular super hero fights his foes by tormenting his older sister all the while peering at her with his red glowing eye.  It's terrifying....truly.  

5.  Berny's Tacos.  So, y'all (hey Tasha) know that cooking dinner just isn't my favorite thing.  So eating out in the Square Toothed/Mountain Man clan is a luxury that we just fit in the budget because if we didn't, Mountain Man would have to peel me off the ceiling from the terror of dinnertime.  And there is this place that makes my carnal appetite sing:  Berny's Tacos.  I don't know what Berny puts in his tacos, and quite frankly, I don't really care--just as long as he keeps making them and I get to keep eating them--all will be right with the world.

6.  Heifer International.  Off to the right of my posts are a few links I am passionate about.  Heifer International is an amazing non-profit organization that through charitable contributions, provides a myriad of animals to people in developing countries who raise and care for the animals. Proceeds from the milk, calves, honey, etc. help the recipients provide for their families.  It is a beautiful organization which gives hope and dignity.

7.  Sassy-Britches and Rocky Babe-Boa.   A couple nights ago, I was able to spend some precious time with some near and dear ones who truly light up my life with their generosity and beauty.  I call them Sassy Britches and Rocky Babe-Boa.  How these woman bring great joy, comfort, laughter, and true majesty to being human.  They make my life lovely and rich.  Je t'aime mes amis.

8.  Gifts in the mail.  C'mon--who doesn't like receiving a gift?  Yesterday this gigantic box arrived all the way from Las Cruces, filled with a book on things that make up the perfect day.  Accompanying the book were all the items found within.   Each item was labeled with a page number where the idea could be found.  And all the items and activities were things I enjoy doing.  It is one of the most detailed and personal gifts I have ever received and I felt the love pour from the box as I opened it!

9.  Christmas Eve morning in bed with Mountain Man...and our kids (you saw that going another way, didn't you?)  Snuggling together.  Being together.  Just being wrapped in love.  'Nough said.

From our Square Toothed/ Mountain Man clan to yours: 
 May your holiday be merry and bright!
Merry Christmas!

What are your fantastic Friday favorites?

E-mail me at squaretoothedgirl@gmail.com or leave your comments here... Join us in celebrating the ordinary moments of everyday life!  


Thursday, December 23, 2010

a river of stones


Something beautiful is happening:  


Many people on this big, blue planet are going to be participating in a river of stones during the month of January.  This unique project is about paying attention to one moment in your day, then recording it.  You can read examples of small stones here.     

"Stones" are one recorded thought of concentrated attention and you can post them to the a river of stones website, or just record them for yourself.  There are no rules!  Will you join us in celebrating the "extraordinary in the ordinary" during the month of January?  


My small stones will appear on Diary Of A Square Toothed Girl everyday during January along with my usual posts.  I am excited about this opportunity to re-connect with the beauty that surrounds me.   Curious to see what it's all about?  Click on the links above or the badge to the right and join us in national small stones writing month!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

O Write Me A Letter

Every Christmas, kind wishes of goodness and joy flood post offices.  Christmas cards turn our minds to friends dear, long lost, or even forgotten.  Much to my dismay, social networking sites have made it possible to check on the latest updates of friends far and near with such ease, that the exchange of actual cards may seem a bit redundant.  But truly, there is nothing like getting a hand written letter in the mail.


This holiday season, I find myself running to the mailbox like a little kid, to find it filled with holiday cheer.  This is the one time of year personal mail outnumbers bills and junk by ten-to-one  and I am delighting in it.

I've always been surrounded by letter senders.  And I have stacks of them.  I keep them in a huge basket in my office and I have no idea why.  For some reason, this is the one thing I collect--while I am swift and severe in ridding myself of needless possessions, both large and small, (a couple of summers ago I even got rid of our car before my husband got home from work) letters defy this rule.

I have notes saved from when I was in 6th grade, to letters written to me while I lived in a far off land.  There are letters from parents, siblings, lovers and children.  There is something so praiseworthy in the handwritten letter; words chosen with care and scrawled carefully across a clean, blank sheet.  It is one of the most reflective forms of personification of the human soul.  

Just for fun, I spread out the contents of my letter collection this very morning and re-read a few.  Here are some of the thoughts sent to me over the years:

"Dear Lisa, 
Merry Christmas you lamb chop!  How can one chop candidly express to his fellow sister chop how cool chop souey and pork chops are around this holiday season?  I'm sure glad we've employed this novel idea of no gift giving this year.  Even though we will have to send Mom to a mental institution to cope with her purchasing withdrawals, it has actually been fun to focus on talk, laughter, and Diet Coke this vacation."

"Dear Lisa, 
Remember when we painted my ziggurat blue on the patio?  Well, I was getting some wood for the fire and I saw a huge blue streak on the patio.  I don't think Mom has seen it yet.  Count yourself lucky that you are out of the country so you're not here when she goes ballistic.  I really miss you.  I hope you're having a good time."

"Lisa, 
This morning I noticed the smoothness of your cheek, then the yellow of the marigolds when I came downstairs.  You make my life beautiful."

"Lisa, 
Happy Anniversary.  See, all this time you thought that I forgot that...today is the anniversary... of the day after our Anniversary."

"Lisa and Mountain Man,
Love is a trembling happiness...You two are the most beautiful match ever.  I look forward to your life together cause I know it will rock the house with Mountain Man in his overalls and Lisa sportin' the painting bandanna toujours..."

"Lover, 
So you've moved!  How is the new location?  I also heard you bought a guitar...Maybe we can be the Indigo Girls after all."

"Hello Leeeeeesa!  
Greetings from the les plaines d'Abraham...I am still running frantically not sure which end is up and meeting some of the biggest hearted folks ever--(big hearts packaged in cheese curds and sucre a la creme) Hey!  You're all over this place...besides the streets cobbled with your blood sweat and bootprints, we just drove down a street called SASSVILLE and I knew it must be named for you."   

"Mon Cher,  
I slept in until 10h30 this morning!  Yes, I am thankful for sleep, as it is a rare commodity indeed.  One and a 1/2 more weeks until finals and (please forgive me for being a bit too dramatic) I'm going to die of a nervous breakdown.  One paper down, 2 more ten-pagers to go and I'm almost there!  But I love it--I think I work better under pressure."

"Dear Lisa, 
Join with me to an afternoon not so long ago:
Ripples of laughter peaked over mists rising.  Pale fish swam like butterflies to sandstone beached edging.
Wasn't that a fun afternoon.  Quiet, peaceful, and placid.  It was a time of reflection and self discovery.  Somewhat nostalgic, we stood and wondered what it wold have been like to live near the banks of Walden Pond during the 19th century.  A few mosquitoes scampered by,  the train pounded off in the distance, and the breeze swept through the nearby trees with outstretched limbs.  What a peaceful day that was.  Thank you for that day, it is one I shall remember for a long time."   

*        *        *
Instantly, I am reminded of the sender.  I am filled with joy at memories forgotten.  Letters remind, letters give, letters capture the sentiments of the sender and the feelings remain frozen forever upon the page.  Letters celebrate living, capture life in all its vast simplicity. Letters lend a little immortality to our lives.  Letters, tangible with ink on paper, link us to the sender and like John Donne said, "More than kisses, letters mingle souls; for, thus friends absent speak."

Are you a letter writer?  A letter saver?  
  
E-mail me at squaretoothedgirl@gmail.com or leave your comments here!  Become a follower of Diary Of A Square Toothed Girl and join us in celebrating the simple moments of everyday life!

Monday, December 20, 2010

On Sleeping In

Oh the glory!

Oh the wonder!

Oh the joy!

What is so glorious, wonderful and joyful, you may ask? 

It's a Monday morning, and I am still in bed.  With Christmas break finally here, I am joyfully writing this post from the comfort of my big, fat, warm bed with my little people nestled in beside me like sardines in a can.  Not much can compare to being awakened late (anytime after 6 a.m. and on a Monday no less!) by the sound of padded pajama-ed feet running across hard wood floors.

What is it about sleeping in that gives me such a thrill?  Simple:  It is a joy that I don't get to experience too often, and therefore, the novelty is still surprising.  As a teenager, I considered sleeping in my sacred duty.  As an adult, I can't imagine such decadence.  Even sleeping past sunrise on a Saturday is as foreign as, well, putting syrup on a grilled cheese sandwich.  And the reason I don't sleep in lies in the fact that I have kids.

Sacrifice is a major component of parenthood.  And for the most part, the sacrifices have been all worth the joy of child-rearing except for not being able to sleep in on a Saturday.  Imagine our dismay as the brand-spankin'-new parents of a rosy-cheeked baby, when the darling girl didn't realize it was the weekend, the sacred day to lounge about unencumbered by social and work related responsibilities!

Which brings me to my next point:  The definition of the phrase 'sleeping in' has changed dramatically since having kids.  Back in the day, (when big hair was my signature look and shoulder pads were all the rage) 'sleeping in' meant noon.  Since the arrival of kids, it means anytime past 5 a.m.

Ah yes, sleeping in is one my life's greatest guilty pleasures.  And sleeping in on a Monday morning is almost downright scandalous.  But even in it's decadence, I can't resist it.  I look forward to it, I crave it, and dare I say it?  (Yep.)  I love to sleep in.

What is your 'guilty' pleasure?

E-mail me at squaretoothedgirl@gmail.com, or leave your comments here!  "Live on the edge" and become a follower of Diary Of A Square Toothed Girl!  Join us in celebrating the simple moments of everyday life! 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Terror of Dinnertime

   There is a question that strikes terror into my heart every time it is uttered in our house.
It is: "What's for dinner?"
Deer in headlights, anyone?
Yep, that's me on the
inside when the kids ask,
"What's for dinner??"

Without meaning to, this innocuous phrase sends me into a panic every day.    Please don't misunderstand--I love the ritual of dinnertime; family gathered around the table, reconnecting with each other after being in the throws of the storm.  It is our most important hour, but it would be a heck of a lot more enjoyable if I didn't have to cook it.

Every day, without fail, I begin my day like any of you--getting kids off to school...then work work work...pick up kids...little more work...household stuff that needs to be attended to, and then...BAM! Out of the blue (Hah! Like I didn't know it was coming??!)  one of my little people asks, "Mom, what's for dinner?"  My response is immediate and completely full of swagger, "Oh, you know, something AWESOME."  At which point I begin mentally inventorying my kitchen for ingredients for something edible and kid friendly.

Diary Of A Square Toothed Girl is all about celebrating the everyday, and in order to celebrate, it helps to have a positive out look on life.  But I'll be honest, there's a good 20% of me that harbors a negative attitude about cooking dinner.  What can I say?  I'm human, and we've all got our stuff.

Really though, I've diagnosed my problem with cooking dinner:  I'm o.k. if I have a plan, but it's when 5 o'clock rolls around and I haven't given it a thought all day long that the panic sets in. And unfortunately, that's how I roll most days.

Anyway, for me, cooking dinner is right up there with getting vaccinated for rubella, spending more than twelve minutes in a room with twenty 3 year olds, and listening to fingernails being scraped on a chalkboard.   And you may be wondering:
Since I'm writing a post on cooking dinner, what are we having?

BAM!


...something AWESOME.

*        *        *

What do you like to cook for dinner?  No really, I want to know, because the deer in the headlights have just set in as I've realized it's dinnertime.  [Sigh.]


Leave your comments here or E-mail me at squaretoothedgirl.com  Live on the edge and become a follower of Diary Of A Square Toothed Girl and join us in celebrating the simple moments of everyday life!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Just Not Crafty

My last crafting fiasco about 3 years ago...who puts beads
around a serving spatula??  To be fair, I was at a
 Mothers of Preschoolers meeting and there was a lot of
peer crafting pressure...Crafting is dangerous, so I just say No.
In fact, the end product was so hideous, that's why
even this picture sucks.  
  Christmas time is a time for gift giving, celebration, music, over eating too much peppermint ice cream and, much to my dismay, crafting.   

In my neck of the woods, crafting has almost taken on a religious fervor as groups of ladies (not to discriminate, but I personally don't know any men crafters--not that they don't exist...) gather together to eat, drink, and be merry while crafting.  The word itself is an enigma to me, and as far as I can glean, it's code for making something oh-so-cute out of something like material, beads or two-by-fours.  I have many dear friends who are avid "crafters" and create these amazing pieces which bring great joy to them as well as many others whom are the recipients.  But here's my confession:  I hate crafting.  

Please don't misunderstand:  I respect and love to receive  handmade wonders from others, but as soon as I sit down to "craft" my brain freezes up and I revert back to my 3rd grade self trying to decipher fractions, and find myself (just like in 3rd grade) copying the person next to me--because crafting is only slightly more enjoyable than fractions--but only slightly.  

And "crafting parties" have reached a fever pitch with their abundance and frequency.  Many church groups, ladies societies and a perverse amount of other local groups laud "Crafting!" as one of the selling points of getting members to come and participate...so what do I do?  Simple...I flee.  The world of crafting is like kryptonite to my sensibilities, water to my wicked witch, and chloroform to my Wonder Woman--(seriously, did you ever notice how the bad guy with the handkerchief full of chloroform sneaking up behind Wonder Woman was the only thing that could take her out?  Weird.)  Anyway, crafting makes me run.  

And I will admit, a large part of my disdain is I am too impatient; there is less mess and time if I can just purchase said item and be done with it.  And besides, I figure I enjoy supporting others in their joy of craftiness as long as I don't have to participate...so, to my dear crafty friends, Craft on!!! 

Are you crafty?  What do you like to craft?  (That's a verb, right? :)

E-mail me at squaretoothedgirl@gmail.com or leave your comments here.  Live on the edge and become a follower of Diary Of A Square Toothed Girl, join us in celebrating the simple moments of everyday life!  (Or the simple fact that you run from some things too...)


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Favorite Things--Minus the Nun turned Nanny



So today, I found myself with a couple of extra hours on hand, just enough to get some things done around here that have been needing my attention for more than a few days.  As I was blazing (code for puttering) through these tasks, it got me thinking about my favorite things.

My favorite things are pretty arbitrary as well as simple--but they make my days better, just by their convenience, beauty or pure delightfulness. And contrary to popular belief, my favorite things do not consist of hand made play clothes out of recently discarded drapery, singing high on a mountain top with a lonely goat-herd, or dancing around a gazebo with Christopher Plummer--although, if he were a few years younger, he and Mountain Man would be in a dead heat for my affections, but only if Mr.Plummer is attracted to loud-mouth, klutzy, once-upon-a-time brunettes who don't sing nearly as well as Julie Andrews...

Anyway, I mentally began making a list of a few of my favorite things--these are just little items I find that make my days beautiful and more enjoyable...and may not be of much interest to any of you reading Diary Of A Square Toothed Girl, except for my most devoted reader, my mom, Magnolia, (whom I once referred to as 'Karen' on this blog and she requested something more "exotic") who will now conveniently have a nice and tidy list of things to choose from for my birthday.

If I were Oprah or Ellen, I would hook all ten of you readers up with each of these things, but alas, I'm not and therefore, you're out of luck unless you have some kind of secret tip on how I can win the lottery without actually playing it, and then I would rush right out and buy each and every one of you everything on the list!

Without further ado:

Diet Coke in a Styrofoam cup.   Utterly sinful by its very styrofoaminess, but oh-so-delicious and wonderful in its Diet Cokeness.  Only true lovers of this nectar of the Gods can comprehend its wonder.  And yes, I know its bad for me.  I could write a 2 page essay on all the reasons I love it, and you could write a 60 page brief on why its bad for me (and you would be right), but I don't care, I would still drink it.

The Strange Yet Beautiful Cement Head.   If you know me at all, you know that one of my most ardent beliefs is that of imitation.  It truly is the sincerest form of flattery.  Therefore, I shamelessly copy style, expressions, haircuts and even furniture from those with great taste.  The Strange Yet Beautiful Cement Head is one of those things I saw in a friend's house and after I got her to bequeath it to me upon her death, I figured I couldn't wait that long, so I went out and found my own.  My daughter says it kind of creeps her out, but I don't care--Ms Cement-Head is strange and beautiful and I love her.

Really Smelly Candles.  I love really smelly candles.  I love all of them--any flavor, anytime, and the one currently burning is Winter by Slatkin & Co.  It smells like mint and eucalyptus and sugar plums (o.k., I really don't know what sugar plums smell like except that children like to dream about them around Christmas time so they must be good, right?)

Scarves.  I love scarves.  Again, any color, texture or type--as I get older and I see my neck starting to look more like a turkey's than a human's, my love affair with the scarf has become even more obsessive.  Sigh...if someone could just make a scarf to wear during the summer...

Hats.  Every occasion calls for a hat.  I really should have been born in the South (famed for its women who wear outstanding head creations to the Kentucky Derby) or England, where hats are a must at four weddings and a funeral while being accompanied by Hugh Grant.

Booooooooks.  O so many, o so little time...

Photographs.   I really love photography, and wish I had time to develop that interest, but in the meantime, I appreciate other's photography.  The photo in the pic above is by my friend, Clover, who gives joy to all of us who know her with her flawless eye for beauty.

Art.  Art is like books to me...so much, so little time.  The print in the pic above was brought back to me from Africa by my brother, Scott.  It is one of my favorite things in my home.  It not only reminds me of him, but it makes me happy with its color and theme.  I love it.

Music.  We've talked about this--nothing can put me in a good mood faster than music, and I love it all.  Even Nuns turned nanny who sing to children wearing drapes. Except that I must put in a plug for my favorite band of all time:  Les Indigo Girls.  Really, if you don't know 'em check 'em out.

Jewelry.  I have to be honest, if there is one thing I would consider selling a kidney for, it's jewelry.  And not diamonds, rubies, or gold, but more common stones or gems set in silver.  I have no idea where this fascination comes from...so, like all self respecting daughters, I will blame it on my mom who pierced my ears at age 7 and therefore left me with two holes in my head that I must fill literally and figuratively--oh lucky psychiatrist who may be awaiting in my future, see what you can make of that!

There are also some things I didn't feel like dragging into the photo above before I took it, like, my ipod shuffle (o so cute!), a star lamp  (another thing I copied from a friend), and my bike (which I could wax on and on and on about until you wished you could hop on it and ride away from hearing me talk about it...)

While none of these things is really very important in the grand scheme of things, I really enjoy them.  Happiness is found in the small and simple.  And some days, while puttering around, it's nice to celebrate the little luxuries that I'm grateful for.

What are some of your favorite things?

E-mail me at squaretoothedgirl@gmail.com or leave your comments here.  Become a follower of Diary Of A Square Toothed Girl and join us in celebrating the simple moments of everyday life!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Wonder of Monday

I am one of the few persons on this grand planet who actually looks forward to Monday. Not too long ago, I received this post card in the mail:

...and for some reason, it reminded me of Mondays.  After the "hard partying"  (legos anyone?) of the Square Toothed/Mountain Man Clan on the weekends, "Monday Morning" is said with a hallowed tone and maybe a bit of longing too when I see the remains of our weekends around us.  Monday is my day to reset, renew, remind, and re-focus.  And for this reason, I really love Mondays.

Each day we are new.  I have long subscribed to the belief that we are always changing, growing and learning and therefore, we are never, ever, EVER the same person we were the day before--each day begins as a blank slate where we can flesh out and define our authenticity.  I for one, am grateful that I get to start anew each day, and none more than on Mondays...

Or, maybe it's just because there's a full seven days until Sunday rolls around again....

What is your favorite day of the week?  Why?
  
E-mail me at squaretoothedgirl@gmail.com or leave your comments here!  Live on the edge and become a follower of Diary Of A Square Toothed Girl...Join us in celebrating the simple moments of everyday life!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Prayer of St. Francis

Today, I will admit, I've been a bit down.  Sometimes, you just have those days.  I figure not everyday can be a celebration, you have to know the bitter to know the sweet.  Anyway, not too long ago, my friend Clover gave me a little pendant of St. Francis accompanied by his prayer.  This prayer is pure poetry, and no matter what religious background you come from, there is beauty and peace here.

Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon; 
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master grant that I may seek
Not so much to be consoled, as to console, 
To be understood, as to understand, 
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive, 
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

A peaceful night to all...

Lisa, Square Toothed Girl

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

In Defense of the Holiday Program



Today was my son's "holiday" program at school.  It was great.  And I mean that sincerely, because the kids sang well and their music teacher had obviously put a lot of work into the program.  There were several songs from other countries and religious backgrounds. As a French speaker, I was delighted to hear my little man, in all his 1st grade glory belt out, "Bon Jour Mes Amis!!!"  There was even a tribute to our feathered friends from the South called "The Penguin Dance".

However, there was a lot of grumbling among parents, and has been for some time now regarding these "holiday" programs the schools put on.  I hear, "Where were the Christmas songs?!  There were too many foreign songs!!  Let's remember the reason for the season!" I am, by no means, disregarding the most important figure in the Christmas season, and no, I am not talking about Santa.  He, who was born in a stable, is the reason for the season. And just as I believe that the first Christmas night led to the bright and glorious Easter morning, I acknowledge and even honor the fact that not everyone believes as I do.  But I think we can do without the hysterics of parents who want to hear "Silent Night" during the school program and complain, loudly and with anger, that 'this song' or 'that song' should have been sung.

Now, this post is not about politics or school reform, or bad teachers.  This post, like every post at Diary Of A Square Toothed Girl, is about celebrating the everyday.  Even if that means celebrating something that most people find convenient and necessary to complain about.  And here is why I celebrate the Holiday Program: Today, as I listened to all these songs performed so wonderfully by bright and beautiful kids, it made me remember that we are not all from the City of 3000.  We are not all American.  We are not all the same religion.  We are not all the same.  


I often tell my kids that God delights in great variety, and it is a great blessing to be different from others but we can always find common ground if we look for it.  I want my children to realize, understand and celebrate humanity in its vast and glorious variety.  And even with all of our wonderful differences, we are all members of a great family.  It's called The Human Race.  The woman tending her children in Bangladesh is my sister.  The man cultivating the earth in the fields of Peru is my brother.  Even the jerk driving the car behind me, and who shamelessly tailgates me, deserves my consideration and even my compassion because we are all connected.

When I remember this one thing: that we--all of us--are unique, rare, significant and beautiful in the Great Creator's eyes, then I am able to see and feel the worth of every person I meet, no matter our differences.  I am kinder to the stranger.  I am more patient with my family.  I am more giving to all, and no amount of singing Christmas carols is going to help me remember the "reason for the season" unless I remember that the greatest adoration is the emulation of the life of the One of whom we celebrate this season.  And quite frankly, I'm not sure He really cares that we heard "The Little Drummer Boy" if our treatment of others merits us a lump of coal in our Christmas stocking.

And that is what my son's holiday program taught me today.  Even though I didn't hear "Silent Night" or "The First Noel", it didn't matter.  Those may be the songs that I sing when I celebrate this time of year, but there were songs shared today that other members of my community sing to celebrate the season.  No matter the words, I heard Joy to the World.  And there is joy in the world.  There is joy to be found in being different from each other if we view our differences with love.

And that is something to celebrate.

  
What are your feelings on holiday programs?

E-mail me at squaretoothedgirl@gmail.com or leave your comment here!
Live on the edge, and become a follower of Diary Of A Square Toothed Girl 
Join us in celebrating the simple moments of everyday life!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Walking



It's funny how when you don't do something for a few days you either really miss it, or don't miss it at all.  Case in point, going for a daily walk.  The last days around here have been slippery, and when God was passing out the graceful gene, I fell down before I got in line, and so rather than end up splayed out on the sidewalk with a broken leg, I skipped my daily walk.  And man, I've missed it.

Walking, to me, is a religion.  My day is better if I get up, get out, and get walking.  It has become such a habit that if I don't get out there, I can feel the tiny tethers holding me to sanity start to tug loose.  I have walked through sorrow, joy, change, anger and even depression.  To move and let my mind wander allows me to meditate and listen to truths deep within.

Preservationist John Muir said, "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.  Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.  The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and to storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."

I love that:  "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings."  I currently don't live near many mountains--there are some lovely hills in the distance, but none close enough for me to walk to and be home in time to pick up kids from school.  But, I can put on my shoes, lace them up good and tight, bundle up in a warm coat and hit the sidewalk.  Somehow, I feel just as refreshed and energized doing this simple daily act as I do hiking in the mountains.  I can still get "good tidings" from the nature I encounter and feel the light of the sun or the rain or snow, all the while feeling my cares drop off like autumn leaves.

And who couldn't use a few less cares?

Enjoy a walk today.

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What activity brings you sanity, peace, joy?

E-mail me at squaretoothedgirl@gmail.com, or leave your comment here!  
Live on the edge and become a follower of Diary Of A Square Toothed Girl, join us in celebrating the simple moments of everyday life!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hark!



It's the sounds of the season!
The plucking of the harps, the voices of carolers.
Feet on crunching snow.
Silver bells by Salvation Santas, and windshields being scraped clear on a frosty morning.
Bell choirs and joyful greetings.

Nothing says Christmas to me like the music of the season.  One of the first Christmas songs I can remember singing was "Rise Up Shepherd!"  My buck-toothed, 3rd grade self belting out,
 "Follow! Follow!  Rise up shepherd and follow!  There's a star in the east on Christmas morn!  It will lead to the place where the baby is born! Rise up shepherd and follow!"

From then on, I was hooked.  It has long been disputed in our house the appropriateness of playing Christmas Music before Thanksgiving...my thought is, anytime after July 4th is fine by me.  This has resulted in not a few digs here and there from Mountain Man who insists on what he calls "Christmas song purity"--or the idea that any person who plays Christmas music before December 1st should be drawn and quartered in the town square.  Lucky for me, I seem to be the one person who can shamelessly skirt his arbitrary rules and fear no retribution.  Therefore, we have quite a vast collection of Christmas favorites...but I'm always always looking for more.

So today, I need your help.  If you are reading, would you mind sharing your favorite Christmas album, song, or collection with all of us?  Leave a comment, or you can e-mail me at squaretoothedgirl@gmail.com.  The world needs more music to rejoice to--I need more music to rejoice to!!!  And you may be just the person to introduce me to my new favorite!

Here are my top 10 Christmas cds of all time:

Holly Happy Days--- by none other than the greatest duo on the planet, the Indigo Girls.
The Dawn of Grace--Six Pence None the Richer
Christmas Songs--Dianna Krall (The perfect Christmas party cd)
Joy: A Holiday Collection--Jewel, with a great holiday rendition of "Hands"
The Bells of Dublin--The Chieftans
A Midwinter's Night Dream--Loreena McKennitt
Wintersong--Sarah McLachlan
The Spirit of the Season--The Mormon Tabernacle Choir & Orchestra featuring Sissel
December--George Winston
A Traditional Christmas--by Brian Crain.  A beautiful piano cd with holiday favorites.

I have two bonus cds we really enjoy in our house this time (all time) of year, but which didn't necessarily make my top ten.  They are:  Light of the Stable by Emmylou Harris, and Come Darkness, Come Light by Mary Chapin Carpenter.

Anyway, there are a few of my Christmas favorites.  Please, please, please share yours with us!  Music has such power to being peace and joy, especially this time of year.  Just last night we attended an annual Christmas concert.  The choirs were outstanding and the selections covered a vast array of holiday music from many cultures.  But my favorite was the end...

As the organ began her bellowing, the choirs rose from their seats and audience joined them in singing, "Silent night!  Holy night! All is calm!  All is bright!"  I closed my eyes and heard a thousand voices coming together for one brief moment of unity and love.  For that one instant, peace filled the air around us as we sang with one voice.

Joy abounded.

Don't forget!  Please let me know what your favorite Christmas album is.  You can leave your comment here, or e-mail me at squaretoothedgirl@gmail.com


Live on the edge and become a follower of Diary Of A Square Toothed Girl!  Join us in celebrating the simple moments of everyday life! 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Oh. My. Christmas Tree.



Life in our house is pretty peaceful.  The kids are kind to one another--for the most part, and Mountain Man and I rarely get in any disagreements.  He is the rare, patient soul who would move heaven and earth for anyone he loves.  Over the years he has gone along for the ride with some of my crazier ideas.

Shortly after we were engaged, and in the midst of planning a 3 course-sit-down-all-out-wedding-reception, he calmly (and with great relief, I think) rolled with it when I called the grand event off and bought two tickets to Europe instead.   

When we decided to move to the City of 3000, upon seeing the interior of our house, I gasped and turned to look at him with wide eyes.  It was a lovely turn of the century Arts & Crafts, but it had been shamelessly tortured,  and was in need of some serious T.L.C.  He knew the sign, he put his lips together and took a deep breath.  I dived in, and with both hands, some blood, lots of sweat and a fair share of tears, I had my way with her.  

When I decided to shave my head and let it come in the color heaven gave me--grey--it was Mountain Man who convinced me to let the roots grow out before I cut it off so I wouldn't have to shave it, and in turn, keep my Montana head warmer in the winter months.  (I was just going to get a hot-pink waist length wig until it grew out, but, I concede, his idea was better than mine.)

You see, with all my schemes, I rely on Mountain Man to pull me back from the edge of unreason.  
Because most decisions I make, I make quickly, and commit completely.  I jump in with both feet and figure if it doesn't turn out--well then, the fates can have their way and I'll be the wiser next time.  Most of the time, the expeditiousness of my decision making serves me well, that is...until yesterday.  

Every year, as a family, we go-a-hunting for the Christmas tree.  We will usually look at 5 or 6 and then choose one.  We always, always, always go together.  But for some reason, I got it in my head to "just run after school" with the kids and get the tree so it would be ready to move in when Mountain Man got home.  

WHAT WAS I THINKING??

Upon dragging it in the house and wrestling it into the stand, I gazed in wonder at the pine forest before me and uttered, "Oh. My. Christmas Tree.  It really did look smaller on the lot."

Mountain Man said, "Compared to what?  The tree at Rockefeller Center??"

Here's a couple of pictures:




Seriously, the pictures don't do it justice.

Mountain Man is 6' 5" tall, but his arm span is 6' 8" across.  The tree, before we cut the top off was 13 feet tall and is 7 feet wide.  In one rash decision, I have decreased the size of our living room by a cool one-quarter for the month of December.  

The fates have finally caught up with me.  

[Sigh.]  Maybe we should just invest in a nice artificial tree next year.

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What Christmas tree adventures have you experienced?

E-mail me at squaretoothedgirl@gmail.com or leave your story here.  

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Today

Today's post is a pictorial one!  These are a few of the moments I celebrated today:




















Enjoy your evening and celebrate today.  It is a gift.

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What moments did you celebrate today?


E-mail me at squaretoothedgirl@gmail.com, or leave your comments here!  
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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Celebrating the Ordinary

The Ordinary Family


I was recently asked in an e-mail, "Why is your blog about celebrating the ordinary?"

Good question, and probably a bit overdue for me at address, since I've been at this blogging thing for a while now.  Forgive me, sometimes I get caught up in the rush.

Gary Morson said, “Cloaked in their very ordinariness, the prosaic events that truly shape our lives--escape our notice…The infinitely numerous and apparently inconsequential ordinary ones, which taken together, are far more effective and significant.”

At Diary of a Square Toothed Girl, I celebrate the ordinary because, while it is the ordinary that usually escapes our attention, it is in the simple moments of living where we can choose to be happy.  These "infinitely" ordinary moments are the building blocks of our lives.  I am a firm believer that little hinges swing big gates, or the idea that small and simple acts bring about great change.  When measured as a whole, who can estimate the value of a kind word, an afternoon in the service of another, or a quiet moment by ourselves to reflect and meditate?

Here is where joy lives:  in the small and simple--need I say it--ordinary moments of our days.  Too often, too many look ahead to tomorrow as their arrival point of happiness.  "When I am_______, then I'll be happy."  And then they wonder "why?" when it never comes, because they missed the present moment, the ordinary, the simple and the prosaic--they missed right now.

Right now, in these ordinary moments, happiness dwells.

Happiness can be ours right now, right here, imperfect though we are, it can be a gift of our choosing.  Sometimes we will need to change in order to get it.  Maybe we'll  have to refine ourselves and our habits.  Maybe we will need to pay more attention to our thoughts.  Maybe we will need to pay more attention to others.  Maybe we will need to find a bit more balance, or take some time off, or change careers, or...you get the picture.

Pearl S. Buck gave the world one of the greatest quotes, and it is my favorite.
She said, "It is the hour to seize joy with both hands."

So, grasp the joy of the hour.  Seize the gift that is today.  Find, look for, fight for your happiness.  You are worth it.

Celebrate the prosaic.

Celebrate the moment.

Celebrate yourself.
    
Join us in celebrating the simple moments of everyday life.
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