Saturday, August 19, 2017

Food issues

Every ten years or so I have a major depressive episode which = no fun at all.

The upside is that I do lose weight and since the last bad time (two summers ago) I have kept the weight off.  WITHOUT EVEN TRYING.

 But suddenly I find myself wanting to devour everything in sight.  Not only that but I am actually HUNGRY.  Starving.  I'm just this walking bottomless pit of a woman who's trying to eat tomatoes and cottage cheese but who wants to knock over a donut shop instead.  Many donut shops, in fact.

I really want to be all, hey!  I'm cool with eating every donut that currently exists in Salt Lake County.  What does it matter?  I can love me and this body no matter what.

But actually I just feel super anxious.  I'm sixty and I can still feel this way?   No fair!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Coach Mac

I was parking downtown to meet up with a former student and forever friend (she's lives in England now!) for breakfast, when I noticed a man getting out of the car right in front of me.  He seemed familiar--his stance reminded me of my uncles.  And suddenly I realized it was Ron McBride, my dad's old rival and cherished friend.

I called out to him.

He paused--and when he realized it was me, he gave me a big old Dad Hug.  We looked at each other and our eyes filled with tears.  We talked, of course, but really.  Nothing needed to be said.

His hug was a gift.  Thank you, Universe.  Thank you Coach Mac.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Something I just figured out

I've sometimes wondered why I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Which I am.  Like, when Jennifer Napier-Pearce called me into her office last winter, I assumed she was going to fire me.  I put on my best, stoic "I-assume-you're-going-to-fire-me" face, made a plan to eat myself into a coma afterward, and then carry on the way one does after a) being fired and b) eating too much.

Turns out she wanted me to be an advice columnist.

This morning as I was walking my damn dog Tinkerbell around Liberty Park, I had an ah-ha moment.  The reason I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop?  It's because I had a father who on more than one occasion cheerfully said, "There are only two types of coaches in America:  the ones that have been fired.  And the ones who are about to be fired."

There it is.  The answer.

I haven't been writing because I've been afraid I would linger too much on my dad's death and what things look like from here now.  I've been afraid it would look like a play for sympathy or something. But.  Whatever.  I want to write about where I am these days--just like I've done for the past thirty years.  So I hope you'll indulge me.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Dog the First

Fair Warning:  I can't imagine the next series of posts are going to be very interesting to anyone, because I am going to do some remembering about Dogs I Have Owned in chronological order.  This is just an exercise to get me up and writing again, so feel free to check out.

OK.  First Dog.  She was a boxer named Priney, which my parents had owned for a couple of years before I was born.  But when we met, it was love at first sight for both of us.  There isn't a picture of me from my young childhood without that dog standing at my side or lying on my feet.

TRQ used to put us out in the yard together first thing in the morning because you were allowed to do that in the 1950's.  We spent our days together, which did lead to some species confusion for both of us.  She thought she was a human.  I thought I was a dog, which is why I put her bones in my mouth and ran up and down the lawn one day until TRQ made me stop.  She was a good mother that way.

Here's what I remember about her.  The dog.  Not TRQ.

--Soulful eyes
--Slick fawn coat that was warm to the touch because of sun on her skin
--Her eating all the Easter eggs at my Birthday party (sorry, kids!) before we had a chance to do our Easter egg hunt

I always say when I cross over, I hope she's one of the first to greet m on the other side.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

This blog

I've been toying with the idea of shutting down this blog again.  Since my dad died I haven't felt like writing, although I am actually writing a lot for the Trib now.

I've been especially low the last few weeks.  The more time passes the more ways you discover how to miss a person.  But this morning on a walk with the dogs I had this (obvious) epiphany:  you keep the person you loved with you by doing some of the things that person did.  Write notes of encouragement.  Tell funny stories.  Play cards.  Plant flowers in the spring.

OK, Blog.  I'll keep trying.

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Advice Column

As some of you know, I am now the advice columnist for the Salt Lake Tribune.  My tagline is "Like Doctor Laura!  Only Nicer!  Like Dear Abby!  Only Not Dead!"

The response has been interesting and wide-ranging.  Sometimes people think I'm smart.  Sometimes people think I'm an idiot.  I just had an email from a reader who had as his topic heading "Lousy Answers!"  Then he proceeded to tell me why those answers were so terrible with relish.

Which is fine.

I don't actually get my feelings hurt very often on the advice column front because I understand that people are going to have really different opinions based on their own experiences.  But what I loved was this guy's P.S.  After basically ripping my column apart, he apologized in his P.S. for the email's font, which is sort of like apologizing to someone because the knife you just stuck in him hadn't been polished the night before.

Friday, March 24, 2017

A little advice for writers

Last night I had an awesome time at the Sweet Branch Library as The Author in the House.  Chris Chambers and his crew had lights and candles and tea and crumpets and, as my friend Gretta said, it's like I was attending my own wedding again.

Speaking of Gretta, I'm posting these suggestions I gave for all of us writers to keep us focused.

1.  You will never have enough time to write, so don't put off writing the thing you want to write.  It never gets easier.

2.  Negotiate on a daily basis when, where, and how much you'll write.  When I'm struggling, I write to a word limit.  500 words is doable for me.

3.  Remember that slow but steady will get you to the finish line--just like it got the tortoise there before the hare.  If you write 500 words a day, 5 days a week, you'll have a book-length manuscript by the end of the year.

4.  You don't have to start at the beginning.  Start wherever your energy takes you--even if it's in the middle or the ending.  You can fill in the necessary details (such as a beginning, for example) later on.

5.  In other words, give yourself permission as Anne LaMott suggests, to write a shitty first draft.

6.  Stop writing before you write yourself out during any given period.  That way you'll have an easier time getting started the next time you sit down.

7.  Try writing the old-fashioned way sometimes--with paper and pencil.  Martine Levitt suggests that when you write by hand, you slow down the process just enough to make better word choices.

8.  Read like a writer.  When you find yourself marveling at something an author has done, ask yourself how she/he did that.

9.  But don't forget to read like a reader.  Sometimes writers become so aware of craft that they stop reading for fun.  READ FOR FUN, YOU GUYS!

10. Remember that if you write, then you're a writer.  You're a real writer.  Too many people think that you're only a real writer if you've been published.  And too many people think that getting published is the only reason for writing.  Write because you want to.  Because you need to.  Because writing helps you make sense of your life and the world around you.  And while you're at it, create a writer's life for yourself.  Do a reading!  Join a writers' group!  Go on writers' retreats with writer friends!  No matter where you are on your writing journey, you can do any of these things.  Just remember to write.