Community Amenities: Use at Your Own Risk

Then one day(in 1995)…by the pool.

The usual suspects were on hand.  It was warm, but the shadow of the building was moving our way.  About 30 people chattered away.  The gate opened.  A well-chiseled man in rainbow leopard print workout pants came in.  He moved the lounge chair near the pool and dropped the pants.  He wore…

a thong.

Nobody moved.  Nobody breathed.  Nobody looked at anyone else.

30 minutes sunning on one side.

A dip in the pool.

30 minutes on the other side.

He got up and left.

The gate clanged shut;

Thirty people exhaled for the first time in an hour.

The party resumed.

But none of us would ever forget.

Because you can’t wash your brain.

A Good Time Was Had By All

As previously harped on mentioned, yesterday was our 21st Anniversary.

In view of the fact that we just bought a car, there are no big reveals of any other gifts.  I am still trying to figure out the phone thing.  Our early termination fees with our current carrier are absurd.  The good news, though, is that this week the Divas got caught in a stunt so devastatingly stupid, they are in a cultural lockdown so severe that they will wear their house arrest ankle monitors to their kids’ kindergarten graduations.  So, I won’t feel pressure to get in a hurry to deliver the new, the sparkly, and the modern.  If they are lucky, they might get to share one of Mickey’s and my old ones.

I’ll give you a hint:  “She only said we couldn’t have Facebook.”

Delightfully Ironic, No?

Last year, it wasn’t possible to observe our tradition of going to this steak house.  This year, a gift card mini-bonus from work made it freaking free.  We tipped the heck out of our waitress.  She was all like,”THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!”

Mickey swears he saw one of the other servers take a drink from the water pitcher.

They gave us a dessert because it was our anniversary. Red velvet.

I don’t have as much of a food hangover as I thought I would.

The second plank of the celebration is the traditional…movie.  Yes, we are this creative.

It was great.  That’s saying a lot, because we aren’t good movie pickers. It was showing at the theater where they show the long-haired, artsy stuff.  Of course, we’d never been there before.

We saw:

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Who’ll love it?

Anglophiles.  I love my tea.  I have been watching the BBC in America series-es on PBS since Bendict Cumberbatch was in grade school.  I’m as horrified by the destruction of the language as the Queen.  I would move.

People who get an aging joke.  This is a story about older people living life.  If you laugh at older people instead of with them, skip it.

Anyone whose favorite candy is Eye-candy.  Beautifully filmed.  By thinking people.  India.  Light and angle are almost characters in the movie.

Word junkies.  Love a phrase well-turned or a story well-told?  Get up. Go. Right now.

Not kids.  This is a grown-ups talking movie.   The sex is implied.  The people are old.  The story is excellent.  Zero special effects.

Who’s in it?

You’ll recognize Dev Patel, from Slumdog Millionaire; Judi Dench, from quite an awful lot of too many things to list, and Maggie Smith, most recently from Downton Abbey, but also from…everything.  A few of the other actors seemed familiar, but most because I’ve seen them a little bit, a lot of times on PBS.

While I highly recommend seeing it in a theater, it would make a rainy Saturday Night in November with a cup of good tea–extremely luxurious.

Disclosure: There were significantly less than 20 people in the theater and Mickey and I brought the average age down by, euh… 25 years or so.  One woman helped her husband to his seat.  As you know, older people keep the best stuff for themselves and enjoy it when younger people aren’t around. A lot.





Yesterday’s Music, Tomorrow’s Dance

If you’ve been following along, SOMEBODY hates a cliche.  That same somebody, is one.

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Maggie is having a mid-life crisis.

As we left our heroine, she was apologizing to the mother of a grown man for the accuracy of her remaining vision-the simple ability to discern an attractive adult male from a troll in the visual field.  Having forgotten almost entirely that the man in question is 10 months older than someone she’s been shooing away from her daughter for a year. She joined her 15 year-olds watching interviews on You Tube.*

Finally registering the distant sound of tires screeching and horns blaring.

HEY MAGGIE.  IT’S GONE.  THERE IS NO GOING BACK.  Step back and look, Darling.  No one will ever sing to you again about your flipping hair.  You worry about being that mom who is acting like her teen.  This is her.  She thought she’d take a break in the fun to raise some kids and then go back to charging around being spontaneous and irresistible.  Now her kids are approaching that time in their lives, she’s thinking she’ll just dust off her dance moves and join the fun.

Then she takes a new picture.

And. Sees. Her….  Jowls.

No, that wasn’t her, that was me.

Let’s tally up the score.

1) Face it.  You aren’t getting around like you used to.

2) You are old enough to be the ‘cool aunt’ for people who own their own homes.

3) You are appalled by little kids singing, “we-broke-up-but-Imma-stalk-you-or-you-stalk-me-K?” songs.

4) You keep thinking you’ll get back down to the weight you were in college.  No, Girl. You need that last ten pounds to fill in the loose skin.

5) Barring accident or injury, you are halfway to death.

6) Go quietly.

Back in my time, we had a saying,…

“Like hell.”


Grow up. Stop thinking magic works like that.  Magic happens when the callouses on your work-hardened hands click together and make sparks.

You can’t be the cool grandma, when the time comes, if the baby gets scratched on your navel ring**.

Nothing is as sexy as dignity.


By the time you were your daughters’ age, you were managing your life.

Stop complaining about them expecting to be waited on, if you won’t let them do the job.

All your “reasons” are legit.  If you don’t move on, they become “excuses”.

Do NOT pass that on to your kids.

Quit being vain.  Take care of your appearance.

If you won’t exercise because you’re embarrassed, the arthritis will come for you.

If you won’t take care of your skin and hair because of money or time or “those products don’t really work”,

the mirror will not pull any punches. Don’t complain about the lighting.

Get over your boobs.  No one cares.

There’s no promise you’ll get to keep them.  Appreciate them.

Keep them under control, but don’t apologize.



Feel Beautiful.


This second act, unlike the first, which was largely written by others, must be entered on purpose.

Head up, eyes open.  Because you learned in the first act what you can trip over.

Enter strong.

This is when the reviews are written.


* If you are dancing in the 100th row, with a phone you just fished out of Chelsea’s Sprite, the video sucks; be ashamed to upload it.

**This is not to say I’ve ruled out the navel ring, but there will be no ink and a granny must categorically never sport a bare midriff.

***photos have been removed because I can’t







Riding the Short Bus to Heaven

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that the lessons babies learn in Sunday school are just coming to me in middle age.  I’m 45 years old and may have opened the book on learning to receive God’s love in the way that He expresses it.

This weekend, we got together again with friends from our church in the other city.  3 families.  6 adults. 16 kids. I dreaded it , because I knew it wouldn’t be enough time. Ray, whose house we were at, voiced similar thoughts about getting together making him remember. It was a phenomenal time and place.  The relationships are proof that God is at work and it all really happened.

We went to the church.  Participated in worship in three languages.  And in the quiet of the celebration, I realized it is so prideful of me to worry about being understood. I am so busy wishing for more than what God has given, that I don’t experience the fullness of what He has given.  And that, my friends, is sin.

If I worry about what is not happening or the scarcity of time or the fear of this being the last time we’ll see each other.  Or what you’ll think of our house or kids or the chins I’ve acquired since we last met.  I miss out on the growing more “What-Makes-This-Great” memories.  The thrill that your kids have grown up so beautiful and wishing you ‘Happy 21st  Anniversary’ and how precious and nourishing this time is for my daughters.  And discovering that, when I was attending your son’s birth, my son had, just 4 days earlier, come to the orphanage in China.  The thrill of simply standing in line at Wal-Mart together.  The necessary goodness of sharing late into the night.

Living in the past and the future misses today.  Wanting more than is given leaves me continually hungry without being filled, and continually consuming without ever feasting.  It is a subtle rejection of the manifold richness of abundance of God’s deliberate personal outpouring of love to us.

I don’t merit anything in the Kingdom.  It is all favor.  While I wish for more time and more money and a BLT that will make me lose pounds and inches, I rebelliously overlook the FACT that He has privileged us more than most.

It has taken me longer than the average grade school child.  But now, I know.

Thanks. Again.  Good Friends.



There’s Always an Extra Blessing to Obedience…Darn It.

When I wrote that post on Tuesday, I already had a phone date with Cousin.  I also told her in the email I would call our Aunt.  Both conversations went really well.  Bottom line?  I come from good people.  I told Aunt what happened with my dad, which she didn’t know.  The cousin truly didn’t know anything.  We mainly just caught up.  It was wonderful.  I found out Dad’s pretty sick, but if I lived down the street I probably wouldn’t have found out any sooner.  That’s just how my people are.

So yesterday,  I can’t concentrate on getting anything done with school mostly finished.  It is not energizing to wait around watching 14 year-olds NOT do Algebra.

No matter what the tabloids say.

When they gave up, I did.  And after they had stood around in the backyard strategically out of sight, for about half an hour, I leaned out the back door and said, “Clean my house and I’ll take you to [the amusement park].  Ha Ha.  It took them, like, 20 minutes.  The place sparkled.

The down side?  Now I know they are able to do it that fast.

Okay, so it’s weird.

We get there and start walking around.  I wait by myself while the kids ride something I can’t ride.  And this feeling comes over me.  God is going to show me something at the park.

Typing this, I feel foolish.  Like people who refer to God speaking to them like Larry King talks to Alec Baldwin.

But it was what it was and I thought, “That’d be nice.”  And more or less went on with my on park job of waiting while children ride rides(no, I like it.  I people watch.).

At the entrance to the third ride, my kids freak.  They ran in all different directions.  I couldn’t get there attention to say where to meet or find out who was going where.  It was partly the area of the approach, but mostly like herding bouncy, highly energetic cats.  Or puppies.

I digress.

They kind of freaked.  And I am standing there trying to holler names and find out where everyone is trying to go and one of them says, “That lady just called your name.”

I spun around.  What lady?  An adult who knows me?  That my kids don’t recognize?

“Maggie, Is it you?”

It was me.  It was her.

We stood in the exact middle of the exit.  Holding each other and rocking back and forth.

We were friends before kids.

Both of us were new to the church, stayed home even though we had no kids, and needed a friend our age in town.  I was from Oklahoma and had worked as a nanny for two years.  She was from Brazil.  Her husband was in law school and she was alone a good bit.

I was at the hospital when her first baby was born…the girls were 13 months old.  His feet were bigger than theirs that day.

All the children gathered around for 3.5 seconds for an introduction, looking all the time like,”Is this going to keep me from going to the next ride?”

It was okay…we started talking.  Just like before.

It began to rain.

She had to go.

She told her son, “She was my only friend, then.”

I sat in awe of her as simply amazing.  Then, as in a moment, yesterday.

The rain poured down and the kids ran on ahead and I pondered.

I noticed a group whose t-shirt had a Bible verse on it.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

I thought, “Yeah, I need to start doing that.”

But then I realized… What if it was seeking his Kingdom to seek peace with relatives and He added family?  What if obedience, like Algebra or housecleaning, is soooooo hard, yet it doesn’t take very long and look at the results?   The downside?  Now I know I can do it.

Work for two.

Gets one free.








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