01 January 2013

To celebrate the New Year, I am going to buy a portrait-quality picture of Annie, place it in a gilt frame, and hang it above my bed.

I will do that first thing tomorrow.

Like the Little Orphan Optimist, I love tomorrow! It is the one thing most likely to get me through today.

I got up this morning with a notebook full of resolutions. Thus far, I have worked toward . . . let me count . . . none of them. I am going on a diet, of course, but since I didn't get the chocolate croissants baked before New Years there was nothing to do but bake them this morning. (And if you think I will ever have the resolve to walk away from a chocolate croissant, we've never met.) Thus, I will start the diet tomorrow. Likewise the exercise routine and the new organizational system and the 2013 budget and . . . Tomorrow is going to be very busy.

I have spent most of my life vowing to do better tomorrow. The fatal flaw in this is, of course, the annoying frequency with which "tomorrow" becomes "today." As in years past, unless there’s a Joshua around somewhere to keep the sun from setting Wednesday evening, I have no more hope of completing my new To Do list then than I do today. 

Fortunately, six days of every week come with a shiny-new tomorrow of their own! The seventh day, Saturday, is even better. While it lacks a viable "tomorrow" in which to cram menial chores, day following it is a day of rest, thus it comes with something even better – a Monday! That is two days away, making it a veritable utopia for procrastinators like me. Until, of course, it dawns.

So, do you wonder how I ever keep a New Year’s resolution and/or keep from sinking into despair? Easy! Anyone can do it! First, obtain a pair of Genuine Little Orphan Annie Rose-Colored Glasses. (Quick! Send 72 proofs of purchase from 1940s-era Ovaltine to an address that no longer exists and wait patiently. Very patiently.) If that doesn't work, hold out until mid-January or so -- just when you’ve finally realized that you haven’t yet worked on a single New Year’s resolution -- and you will be delighted to recall that Chinese New Year is just around the corner. Another new beginning!

Wait, there’s more to my madness!

Come the middle of March, when I haven’t met a goal from Chinese New Year, I rejoice. The calendar shows that my birthday is right around the corner. Now there’s the day to begin a new year of life! When I fail at that, Easter is still a week or three away, giving me an even better reason to resurrect a glorious new me from the gloom of the last three months. If an overdose of chocolate bunny ears causes me to slack off just a bit toward the end of April, no worries! Summer begins soon – what better time to sweep out the moldy old me and embrace a bright new persona? Of course, summer is usually pretty hectic, but kids go back to school in late August. Good deal! Every September without fail I buy a new planner and use it faithfully (for a week or so) to help chart my new course of resolution.

Admittedly, I take October through December off for the holidays. (The holidays begin on Columbus Day and extend through Halloween and beyond.) But even in those joyous times of frivolity, merry-making, and overindulgence, I look piously ahead to a fresh start in the New Year.


In the interest of truth in blogging, I must allow that there is a downside. I have yet to lose weight, de-clutter my surroundings, or write the Great American Novel. (Or even the Mediocre American Novel.) Am I worried? Not at all. Not only is today only the first day of 2013, but it is the first day of the rest of my life! What am I doing sitting here at the computer? I have resolutions to keep, an eight-foot-long To Do list to check off, a glorious new me to sculpt from the ruins of the old model! (Please pray that I have enough raw material left for something useful if not decorative.) Today, right this minute in fact, I will begin the trek up that metaphorical mountain to vistas of unimaginable splendor!

And if I become beffuddled in the foothills and wander off course yet again? Well, there’s always tomorrow.


24 December 2012

A Prayer for Christmas Eve

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote:

"Keep us, Lord, from losing the awe of that Holy Night when Christ was born. May our carols of praise never become tiresome and old. May the thrilling sounds of Christmas ever remind us of how much we owe to our Heavenly Father for his great gift of love on our behalf.

Oh God our Loving Father, help us rightly to remember the birth of Jesus...that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the wisemen. Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Deliver us from evil by the blessing that Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clear hearts. May Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven for Jesus's sake. Amen."

14 December 2012

Frog Blog Reunion

The most fun I ever had online was when I participated on Six LDS Writers and a Frog, a blog founded by Sariah Wilson and written by Jeffrey (J. Scott) Savage, Robison Wells, Stephanie Black, Julie Bellon & me. (These folks remain my favorite authors -- and people -- of all time.) This week Julie put together a reunion. Today was my turn. 

You can find the reunion on Julie's blog HERE.
The Frog Blog's archives are still HERE.

And here is my contribution:

Just for the record, I voted to hold this reunion next week. My thought was that it would make a nicer gift coming that much closer to Christmas, and . . . okay! Hold your comments! I’ll come clean. My actual reasoning was that if we “reunited” next week my day would fall on Friday, December 21 and, with any luck at all, the ancient Mayans would be right, the world would end, and nobody would ever know I missed yet another Friday! (Worst case scenario: the world wouldn’t end, but none of you could expect me to hear that news from my bunker deep beneath Mingus Mountain.) But, nooooo. Everybody else wanted to blog this week, so here we are pre-apocalypse.  I’m sorry.

 I sat down to write this yesterday. I had just teared up over Julie’s blog, so I started out echoing what everybody else said about how much we love, appreciate, and miss you guys. Well, you know me: six thousand words later I was sobbing outright and my elderly pit bull, picking up on the maudlin vibes, was pressed against my leg, howling harmony.

For the sake of us all, I walked away from the computer then to try again this morning. You’re welcome.

So, first I asked myself: Back in the days of Froggy yore, when I wasn’t being sloppily sentimental and/or preaching to the choir, what did I do? Honestly? Mostly I ditched. Every once in a while I ran a cheesy contest, but when I wasn’t doing any of those things, I liked to hang out with the Frog. This prompted me to wonder: Where is that little terd . . . er . . . toad, anyway? Shouldn’t he be here, too?

Alas, what came of all that is all this:   

‘Twas twelve days before Christmas when all thro’ the bog
Six Writers were blogging—but where was the Frog?
The notes were all posted, lest anyone care;
All hoped that our Frog friend soon would be there.

The readers were nestled all snug at their screens
While visions of frog legs danc’d thro’ their beans.
And Janice with her candy canes, and Jon and his dogs
Had just settled their brains to write their own blogs.

Then out in the weeds there arose such a clatter
I fell from my chair, wond’ring what was the matter.
Away to the pond edge I staggered, not fast,
Tripped into the cattails and fell with a splash.

The moon as reflected in newly-stirred muck
Lacked luster, thus seeing required some luck,
When what should appear to my dim, blurry eyes
But a miniature sleigh pulled by six dragonflies.

With a sprightly green driver so quick with the goad
I knew in an instant it must be our Toad!
More rapid than Rob-whines his coursers they came,
And he croaked as he called out to each one, by name:

“On, Julie! Go, Kerry! You, Robinson! Now, Steph!
“On, Sariah! On, J. Scott—or, wait—are you Jeff?
“To the edge of the bog! To the top of the weed!
“Now, dash it all ‘flies! Slow it down! I must read.” 

(And then there was this whirlwind of leaves and . . .
Some other stuff happening with eagles or buzzards
Or something . . . and the next thing I knew . . .)
As I drew back my head lest my staring eyes pop
To the bog Saint Amphibian came with a plop.

He was clad all in green from his head to his feet
But he wore a fake beard that was white as a sheet. 
I rubbed at my eyes, hoping it was the fog
That had me believing I saw Santa Frog.

His eyes—how they twinkled! His wide lips—how scary!
His feet were like rubber; his toes were webbed, very.
His looooooong, sticky tongue he shot out like a whip
And the moth it encircled was gone with a “Ziiiiiiip!”

The stump of a pen he held tight in his mitt,
It was full of red ink. Had the Frog come to ed-itt?  
He had a broad face, and great round white eyes
That could turn in his head and indeed hypnotize.

He was chubby and plump and looked like an elf
But I didn’t laugh. (I’m too elf-like myself.)
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I’ve delusions to dread.    

He spoke not a word. (But, hey, no surprise there!)
And read all the six blogs—which was rather rare—
Then, laying a finger aside of his nose . . .
(I looked away at this point so I wouldn’t even be

Tempted to rhyme whatever he might do next.)
He hopped to his sleigh, to his team gave a shout!
I stood there still wond’ring, “What’s that all about?”
But I heard him exclaim ‘ere he sped out of sight,

“Merry Christmas to all! Hope your New Year is bright!”

I hope that, too. And I really do miss you all!  Merry everything!