Sunday, January 31, 2010

Resolution Recap

Following in the footsteps of my blog-friend Elbee, I will update the 2010 resolution situation:

1. Listen to new (i.e., new to me) music. SUCCESS! This month I've listened to Wyclef Jean (before he started raising money for Haiti), Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Ben Folds. I'm so "with it."

2. Work out on Wii Fit two or three times per week. I have learned several yoga poses, and not one of them is named the "lunging lemur." I have met my goal of doing WiiFit at least twice per week, but I have to say--I am not a fan of the abuse my WiiFit trainer (whom I have named Vincent) dishes out.

"So," he says, with an edge of sarcasm in his voice, "You haven't been able to make the time to work out for the last four days. Been busy?"

"Yes, Vincent," I tell him, hanging my head as I step on the WiiFit balance board.

"Ooh!" it says, wincing under my weight. "You've gained 1.2 pounds since your last workout," the lying slab of plastic tells me. "You now have 3.2 pounds to lose to meet your goal."

Fine. Whatever. It's not about the weight, I tell myself. It's about being healthy. It's about having pants that fit.

Then when I start doing the poses and/or exercises, it tells me, "Oh, E. Peevie, you're a bit wobbly! You need to work on building your core muscles."

Sometimes I trick the Wii into thinking that I'm totally fit and have perfect balance. I use a chair to do some of the poses so that I don't actually hurt myself--and Vincent tells me, "Hey, baby! You're pretty strong and fit! Are you free Saturday night?"

3. Write my book. Let's see. I think I have written a total of 2,000 additional words this month. This pace is not going to get my first draft, or even my first several chapters written, before I head to the Festival of Faith and Writing in Grand Rapids in April. I must pick up my pace.

4. Take my sin to the cross, over and over again. Why is repentance so hard? It's so good, and it feels so good--it's like working out: it feels so good when you're done. I have not improved in this area. Fortunately, repentance and forgiveness are, by their very definition, always available, waiting, unchanged in their power to change me.

I will go to the cross. I will write my book. I will work out. I will listen to new music. It's not too late to begin, to start becoming a New Me.

How are your resolutions going?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Grand Social Experiment

The Peevies have embarked on a Grand Social Experiment.

The Background: We are indefatigable consumers in this family. We love food, toys, clothes, music, books, and stuff. We buy when we could borrow. We acquire when we don't really need, and even sometimes when we don't even want. We collect, consume, gather, keep, amass, obtain, hoard, and procure all manner of crap that we don't require for health or happiness.

Mr. Peevie and I are trying our best--OK, maybe not our best, but we're trying--to set an example for the Young Peevies, and to teach them to be grateful and generous. We certainly don't give them everything they want.

But somehow, somewhere, we are failing. The littlest Peevies are spoiled just by living in the time and place in which they live: they have an attitude of expectation and entitlement; they exist in a constant state of desire for what they do not have. One day after receiving a new game, book, or CD, they are already talking about the next game, book or CD they want to get.

One reason we fail is that I, too, frequently find myself wanting what I do not have. I want new windows on the house, new clothes, more books, more music, more candles, another purse. I want to spend money on decorative things; I want to replace old things that are still perfectly serviceable with new things, because they're new. Or new to me. (I do like to shop resale.)

I would like our family to spend less time and less money on stuff, and less emotional energy wanting and thinking about getting stuff. I want to teach our children these values in a more compelling and effective way. I want my kids to be more thankful for and aware of what they have and how much they have; and I want to replace the mindset of wanting and desiring with the mindset of gratitude and generosity.

So at breakfast this weekend, I made a not-so-modest proposal: Let's pledge to have a year of Not Buying New Stuff That We Don't Really Need. We'll exempt things like food, necessary clothing for growing children, necessary replacement clothing for adults (I need new underwear desperately! Oh, wait--was that TMI?) and household fixes and repairs. Our goal would be to not bring anything new into our house for one year except what we really need.

The responses ranged from totally on board (A. Peevie), to lots of clarifying questions (M. Peevie), to reluctant assent (C. Peevie and Mr. Peevie).

We talked about what we might learn from such an experiment.

"I think we'll learn to be more happy with what we already have," said A. Peevie.

"I just read an article today about a study that showed that generosity is directly related to happiness," offered Mr. Peevie.

"Maybe we'll spend more time playing with the toys we already have!" M. Peevie said happily.

"Will we still get allowance?" asked C. Peevie.

We encountered our first test of the Grand Social Experiment within a couple of hours of signing up. M. Peevie's friend J.Lala invited M.P. to go to the mall with her, and she was flush with cash from Christmas and her recent birthday. She looked at me with sorrow and regret in her expressive brown eyes.

"Mom," she said, "What can I buy?" See what I mean? We just love to spend money. If it's in our pocket, we go looking for ways to spend it.

"Well, M.," I said, "J.Lala just had a birthday last week. Why don't you buy her a birthday present?" Her face brightened immediately.

"How was the mall?" I asked her when she got home. "Did you buy J.Lala a birthday present?" As it turned out, M. Peevie accidentally bought herself a pair of fingerless Lady GaGa gloves, a set of mouse-ear barrettes, and a lip gloss.

I think we're in for a long year.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Story Slam: My Destiny

I got to tell a story on-stage at Martyr's last night, at the Moth StorySlam.

The room was sold out, standing-room only. About 30-40 story-tellers who wanted to tell a story on stage put our names into a hat. The atmosphere was fraught, because only ten people get picked. When host Brian Babylon mispronounced my name, I prayed I wouldn't trip going up the stairs and entered my Destiny.

The theme was Neighborhoods. My neighborhood is one of the whitest neighborhoods in Chicago. "It's whiter than this crowd," I told the StorySlam audience, which appeared to be approximately 97 percent white.

My neighborhood is so white that your car radio automatically tunes itself to NPR when you drive into it. It's so white that brown rice feels uncomfortable here. But that doesn't mean my neighbors are racist, I told the crowd. My neighbor will tell you: he has a friend who's black.

But this guy is a real piece of work. He didn't pay his water bill, and then the water got shut off, and his tenants had to come to my house to take showers. They moved out, and the house was vacant for six months.

In late summer he told me that he had a prospective renter looking at the house. "She's Caucasian," he said.

"I don't care if she's Caucasian, east Asian, or Martian," I said. "I'm just wondering if she'll chop down the NINE-FOOT TALL WEEDS in the backyard." Yeah. He doesn't want a brown person renting the house because they might not keep the property looking nice. I heart irony so much.

Anyway, after this intro, I adapted my story about this guy stealing my water in the middle of the night.

Certain female and gay male members of the audience cheered when I mentioned that I was watching Angel DVDs in the basement when I first heard the squeak, squeak, squeak of the felonious water-stealers.

"Yeah," I said. "I might be twice as old as you guys, but I'm not dead yet. I can totally appreciate a TV show in which David Boreanaz takes his shirt off."

I only scored 7.1 from the Moth scoring teams, but boy, I had a blast. I'll be back--and maybe next time, I'll actually prepare a story more than five minutes before I walk through the door.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

24 Highlights of 24

In case you're not following Dave Barry's 24 blog (you're welcome, Dave Barry), and in case you don't have time to read M. Giant's hilarious recaps on Television Without Pity (ditto, TWOP), this blog is proud to bring you 24 highlights of the Season 8 premiere of 24, to get you up to speed in time for episode five.

1. The first shooting occurs maybe--MAYBE--four minutes into the episode. Excellent.

2. Little-known fact: The continuity staff of 24 use two cans of hairspray every day to keep President Hassan of Fauxraqistan's humungous pompadour pomped. Up.

3. Katee Sackoff, whom many of us in the a-little-too-fond-of-TV-set know as Starbuck, plays Dana Walsh, aka Jenny-with-a-sordid-past, who wears her hair in an affected side sweep over one shoulder. I'm not saying it's not cute; but it's definitely an affectation, and it would be more believable as a style thing if it was occasionally out of place, hanging straight down her back, or if we actually saw her playing with it absently, or chewing on it.

4. The chief bottle-washer of the New and Improved (read: lots of glass and chrome) CTU is none other than Forrest Gump's Bubba, minus the giant lower lip. He talks like a dick-wad, if I may be blunt; he says to Chloe, who's still getting up to speed on the new technology: "I'm all about efficiency, so if your performance doesn't improve, you may want to rethink working here. I trust this has been clarifying."

5. Best moment of Episode One: Jack using the fire axe to do thoracic surgery on the bad guy chasing him up the stairwell, with a mere four minutes left in the epi. Awesome. And then he uses the fire-axe-impaled bad guy to knock the second bad guy over the railing. Double awesome. Kiefer Kill Kount: 2.

6. Second-best moment of Episode One: the helicopter being blown up by a rocket-powered grenade that Jack actually notices in time to pull Freddy Prinz, Jr. down to safety. Because he's Jack Bauer, with lightning-quick reflexes. He's SuperJack!

7. BTW, Bluetooth should be listed in the credits as a character, because Bubba is constantly talking on it.

8. Fifteen minutes into episode two, Bubba displays his true colors, suggesting to Freddie Prinz, Jr. that he conveniently adjust the facts about the recent helicopter-blowing-up situation. Hey, a CTU head who's a CYA weasel! That's new! Not.

9. When Spawn insists on coming to CTU to pick up Jack, we are left with no choice but to laugh at the TV and say, "And that ALWAYS ends well, doesn't it?!" But surprisingly, it does. Hmmm. New writers?

10. Starbuck's dark past begins to come back and haunt her about half-way through episode two. We don't know what it's all about yet, but it has something to do with a scruffy guy, a name change, and some as-yet-unnamed illegal activities that give ScruffyGuy some hold on her.

11. So far, the most boring character is the fake-assassin-contact-insider-reporter-girl (FACIRG), Meredith, who serves as a plot device for diverting suspicion from the real assassin-contact-insider, President's Hassan's hippy-haired brother, Farhad, affectionately known as FarHair.

12. It's good to see that Jack's man-purse is back this season. That thing is probably a member of SAG. It probably makes more money than I do.

13. We've got a bullet in a thigh! And it's not Jack's doing! But otherwise, episode 2 is kind of boring.

14. In episode three, they're still interrogating the FACIRG, and I wonder: when a suspect's biometrics indicate that she's holding something back, why doesn't anyone ever remember that it might have nothing at all to do with the threat? This has happened so often that, were I the interrogator, I would immediately start mining those unrelated questions: are you secretly working for the CIA (S2), are you secretly gay (S4), are you having a secret affair with one of the principals (S1-8).

15. By 11 minutes into the third epi, Jack has fallen into the hands of BadCop--one who assumes too much and wipes the floor with Kiefer's ass for the next 20 minutes. Bad, bad cop. This whole sequence is a whole bunch of time-wasting, IMHO, to make sure 24 remains 24 and not 17 or 18.

16. ScruffyMcTrailerTrash shows up at CTU, and Starbuck actually gives him the keys to her apartment in order to get rid of him. Hmmm. Counter-intuitive, that. I predict that ScruffyMcTrailerTrash will end up dead, and Starbuck will have a body to hide before the end of the seventh hour (11 p.m., 24-time).

17. When CTU finds the plans showing the fake bomb in the U.N., and the dignitaries are rushed to their cars to get out of the building, BadAccentBadGuy gets put on notice that the car will be coming up the ramp in five minutes. Five minutes? By that time, if there really were a bomb in the building, they would be digging people out of the rubble. Plus, how long is the damn ramp? A freaking mile?

18. Another excellent explosion at the end of episode three, in which Freddie Prinz, Jr. saves the President of Fauxraqistan and gets almost blown up himself for the second time in three hours. My next prediction: They are totally setting FPJ up to be Jack's replacement in Season Nine, when Kiefer has gone on to other shows with explosions.

19. M. Giant wondered, and I did too: Where did Farhad-the-Hippie get the large pointy knife he used to stab the CTU agent and get away?

Seriously, a big old sharp knife. Has Farhad been carrying that around all day? While sitting at a table with not one but two presidents? Because if so, that's the biggest security failing of an entire afternoon that's been filled with them. --M. Giant

20. Agent Freckles is back, introduced by some extremely confusing exposition. Did she do this alleged undercover work with the Russian mob before or after last season, which was supposedly six years ago? Before or after she got fired from/quit the FBI? She referred to herself as a former felon--did she spend time in prison? Why? When? Or maybe that was her undercover persona.

I am so confused. I'm going to just let all of this go, and assume that it all makes sense. Like it usually does. Bottom line: She's now DarkAgentFreckles, with a bad-ass history of some bad-ass off-book shit.

21. Nu-KLEE-ar, Kiefer. Nu-KLEE-ar.

22. SARK! Is back! Yay! And he's now part of the Russian mob, into which Jack and DarkAgentFreckles will be going, undercover-like.

23. Holy circular saw, Batman! She cut off his damn hand to remove the parole bracelet! Girlfriend spends one day in the company of Our Hero, and decides his moral ambiguity is just the ticket for resolving her daddy issues. DarkAgentFreckles, indeed!

24. It's not a little bit ironic that Jack finds this bloody violence in the name of national security to be Too Too Much. It's fine when he shoots a government witness and chops his head off with a hacksaw in order to re-establish his cover (S2), but when somebody else starts cutting off body parts, he gets all huffy and indignant.

All he can say is, "Dammit!"--which is the perfect ending to a pretty good premiere.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Conan Takes the High Road

Nattering nabobs of negativity will say that Conan can afford to take the high road with $32 million in his pocket.

They'll say it's part of the deal he made. They'll say that he can spout bumper sticker philosophies like "don't be cynical" all he wants, but when you're in his shoes, you can afford to be gracious.

Hank Stuever in the Washington Post joked that Conan was aiming for Oprah's job when he urged fans to take the high road with him:

I hate cynicism -- it's my least favorite quality and it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you, amazing things will happen.

But it doesn't matter that he walked away with a huge payday. He could have said anything he wanted. He could have ripped Leno. He could have criticized NBC. He could have been caustic and bitter.

But instead, he's grateful for what he's had, and grateful for the opportunities he has received.

I'm trying to figure out how to embed the video into this post; but for now, here's the link to Coco's gracious exit speech.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Culinary Surrender

Here's how low I have sunk: I bought Potato Buds.


You know what Potato Buds are, right? They are an abomination of nature. They are flakes of dehydrated potatoes plus some chemicals and food additives that simulate actual mashed potatoes when mixed with hot water, milk and butter.

When prepared, they smell like the inside of a sneaker.

I only bought them because A. Peevie has acquired a mysterious malady whose primary symptoms are fatigue, sore throat, and headache--and he has only been able to eat soft foods for going on nine days so far. I can't keep feeding him only ice cream, even though he would have no problem with this narrow diet; and he won't eat yogurt, applesauce, or pudding. And I can't be making real mashed potatoes three times a day.

So Potato Buds it is. They smell as appetizing as a soggy basement carpet two weeks after a flood--and yet my kids love them. C. Peevie saw me serving his favorite food to his little brother, and decided to try them; and then M. Peevie made Pretend Potatoes her favorite after-school snack.

Even Mr. Peevie, who usually has much grander sensibilities when it comes to foodstuffs, was fooled, eating the faux-poes without realizing their unnatural origins.

Well, I suppose their origins are natural enough. Betty Crocker herself claims that "each 28 oz. box" of faux-poes "is made from 17.5 pounds of fresh potatoes!" But the mono and diglycerides, the sodium bisulfite, and the butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT is what the box says, but cleverly using initials doesn't make it any less a chemical additive, Betty!) turn lovely, lovely potatoes into a freakish chemistry experiment masquerading as a side dish.

But they help keep the skinniest Peevie nourished in his time of need, so I guess I must concede that Potato Buds have found their place in the Peevie Pantry.

Just don't tell my mother.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

24: Jack in the Saddle

January 17. Circle the date on your calendar. Highlight it with yellow. Put blue stars all around the edges. And then, right in the middle of the little square, with a thick black marker, write "24."

Because you don't want to miss the season eight premiere of 24. Even if the season sucks, which we pretty much expect it to after seasons five through seven, I'm confident that the first four episodes will NOT disappoint.

Remember the beginning of, what was it, S6?--when Jack went all Lost Boy on that dude, killing him by biting him in the neck? Remember the assassination of David Palmer in S5? The train wreck that opened up S4, with the giant ball of fire exploding up into the night sky? We are guaranteed that the first four hours will be exciting, dramatic, intense, and fraught with peril and explosions.

Here's what we know that makes us excited about the Season Eight kick-off:

1. Katie Sackoff. That's right: Starbuck has joined the CTU team as Dana Walsh, a data analyst with a past. (Weirdly, the Fox/24 website lists her character as "Renee Walsh"--but there's already a Renee, our friendly and conflicted Agent Freckles.) Anyway, we at the Green Room are happy to see Starbuck reincarnated and hooking up with Freddy Prinz, Jr. Although, I'm not sure, but she might be too much woman for him.

2. Drones. What could be more current in the world of cyber warfare, espionage and international intrigue than drones? And what do you bet that the CTU drone gets hacked and redirected sometime during the first four hours of 24? By a guy using a $26 software package?

3. Explosions.

4. My favorite 24 Leader of the Free World so far: President Allison Taylor, played by Cherry Jones. I just hope they don't ruin her character by making her morally ambiguous, like they did with every other president. And I also hope they keep her weaselly daughter in prison. That whole storyline at the end of S7 was a giant snoozefest.

5. Jack.

7. The fact that Elisha Cuthbert is not listed among the regular cast members for S8. She certainly is visible in the promos--but maybe a burning helicopter falls on her head or something, or she gets caught in the crossfire during the assassination attempt, or Freddie Prinz, Jr. accidentally runs over her with a sponsor-brand SVU. It's not that we don't like the actress--but the character and her story-lines could not be more annoying. And not in a good way.

8. Chloe, the queen of snark. And from the photo (above), she looks to be in full snark mode. Yay!

I got tickets to see a special screening of the Season 8 premiere TONIGHT. In NEW YORK. When I asked Mr. Peevie if I could zip on out there, he just looked at me. My heart, she is broken.

But I will survive. Just like Jack.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Things My Daddy Said, Part I

My daddy used to say, "You're never too old to be spanked!" He was wrong.

But he was right about so many other things that I'm going to let that one go. For example:

"I'd just as soon hear crying as laughing."

This always came on the drive home from Ocean City after one of our family beach day trips. We'd spend the day body surfing in the Atlantic, making gigantic sand turtles with a garden shovel, eating peanut-butter-and-sand-and-jelly sandwiches and drinking sweet tea poured from a metal thermos into nested thermos cups, each a different color. My strawberry blond sister would get so burned that her skin would blister and peel; and I'd rub Noxema onto her hot, lobster-red shoulders.

We'd rent showers and changing rooms at a local beachhouse at the end of the day, sliding fresh cotton t-shirts and shorts over tan lines and sunburn. Then we'd head over to the board walk for dinner--usually a slice of New York style pizza, or a Taylor's pork roll sandwich, or a Philadelphia cheesesteak, washed down with a birch beer and followed with funnel cake and salt water taffy. We'd ride the bumper cars, play some skee-ball, and walk the boards from one end to the other, until we reached near catatonica.

But then, in the car on the way home, we'd get our second wind. We'd be so tired that everything made us laugh, and we'd giggle and hoot and snort until snot came out of our noses, and then we'd giggle and hoot and snort some more, until my dad would reach back as far into the rear of the station wagon as he could while still driving between the yellow lines--it was like an early version of WiiFit!--and smack one of us.

"I'd just as soon hear crying as laughing," he'd say grimly. "Now you kids knock it off. I want some peace and quiet for the ride home!" The smacked one would cry, and the others would pinch their noses to keep the snorts from coming out.

I didn't ever ask my dad to explain himself--that would have been grounds for further smackage--but it never made sense to me that it wasn't better for him to hear laughing than crying. It never made sense to me--until now.

Now? I get it. Sometimes, you just need quiet. Sometimes you just want to be able to hear yourself think. Especially in the car, when my eardrums and my brain and my SANITY are at the mercy of everyone else's decibels.

And if these Peevies are good at one thing, they are good at being LOUD.

Sometimes, I think to myself, I just as soon hear crying as laughing.

But my first choice would be QUIET.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Three is Apparently NOT a Charm

Because our life isn't complicated enough; because I covet a friendly visit from the local child protection agency; because bad luck apparently does NOT come in threes--because of all of this, C. Peevie decided to break his arm on Friday night.

I am not even kidding.

This is the fourth broken bone among the Peevies in eight months. After nearly 13 years of parenting with zero visits to the orthopedic surgeon, we now have Dr. Todd Simmons on speed dial. We see him so often that he recently friended me on FB and we decided to start a book club together. Our first title is The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold.

OK, none of that is true. Except the broken bone part. THAT part is true. C. Peevie was ice skating with his buddies Harmonica and G-Man, plus HarDad. They started playing hockey with a couple of younger girls who, C. Peevie said, totally schooled them. (I love the idea of little girls who are really good at ice hockey.)

Anyway, C. Peevie fell on the ice, stopping his fall with his hands. He came home favoring his left arm, and we wrapped and iced it, hoping for the best. The next morning it was still tender and sore, so we headed over to the pediatrician, and then to the hospital for an x-ray. No surprise: the x-ray showed a hairline fracture just above the wrist. We've been keeping it wrapped, and C. Peevie is attempting to make the most of it.

"Mom!" he hollered from another room. "Can you bring me the laptop?"

I walked into the living room and confronted him. "Honey, your leg is not broken," I said. "Get up and get it yourself."

"But my arm. Is broken," he said piteously. "I can't carry it."

"You have another arm," I said unsympathetically. And just to be clear: By this time, his pain was well under control.

"But Mom!" he said, "I can't carry the laptop AND the cord AND the charger! Please!"

"Seriously, C. Peevie," I said, unmoved. "The last thing I need is you acting all helpless. If you want the laptop, you can get up and get it yourself."

"Humph," he grumbled, and then he stomped off up the stairs, picked up the laptop, and brought it down to his apartment, I mean, to his usual divot on the couch.

I can dish out the empathy and concern when pain is involved. But when the meds have kicked in, I have a zero tolerance policy for helplessness. I HATE helplessness. It makes me INSANE.

Fortunately, C. Peevie already had an appointment scheduled for follow-up on his healing tibial fracture for today. Nurse Gail said, no problem, we'll piggy-back the arm and the leg on the same appointment. By day's end we'll be a two-cast family.

I figure, things could be worse. Way worse. Like, if we had no health insurance. Or if C. Peevie had cracked his head open instead of hurting his arm.

I'm thinking I should either invest in a truck full of bubble wrap, or I should buy stock in cast supplies.

UPDATE: It's not broken. Doc says hospital radiologist hedged his bets by calling it a "possible" hairline fracture;" but in reality? Not so much. So C. Peevie is officially off the orthopedic hook.


Saturday, January 9, 2010


My tooth fell out when I was chomping a piece of Red Vines licorice. I was all, chomp chomp, and then something hard was rolling around in my mouth, and then I was like, hey! what's this? and then I tongued it away from the masticated Red Vines and pulled it out, and it was a tooth! Weird. I felt like an Appalachian.

So I called my dentist, Dr. Frank (the one I love because she is very understanding about my complete lack of tolerance for even minor discomfort) and left a message.

"Should I put it under my pillow?" I asked her. "Maybe the tooth fairy will bring me the thousand bucks it's probably going to cost to fix it!"

"Where is it?" she asked, when she called me back.

"Well, that's kind of a weird question," I thought to myself, but out loud I answered, "Upstairs on my dresser."

"No," she said patiently, "where in your mouth did the tooth come from?"

Aha. That made a lot more sense. From my description she was medium confident that the tooth was actually an old crown which could be re-cemented without too much trouble.

"Put the tooth in a zip-lock bag and bring it in," she instructed. "We'll take care of it." I made an appointment for the next day, and obediently put my tooth in my purse.

The next day I got ready to head out, checked my purse one last time to make sure the crown was in there--and suddenly, I couldn't find the damn thing. Gone! My tooth was gone! I checked every pocket of my shiny green purse. Then I checked every pocket one more time. Then I turned the shiny green purse upside down and dumped everything out.

Still no tooth.

OK, ok, ok. Calm down. Think. I put in in my purse, right? I know I did. I checked the lost purse again, but it was still empty.

Aha! I know! When my tooth fell out, M. Peevie asked me, "Mom, can I put your tooth under my pillow tonight, and see if the Tooth Fairy gives me money for it?" I'll bet that little stinker took it out of my purse and put it under her pillow! I raced upstairs and checked her bed. Nothing. I checked under A. Peevie's pillow for good measure. Nothing.

Think. Think. Aha! I remember! I took it out and showed it to C. Peevie when I was in the kitchen! I ran downstairs and rifled through the three-foot pile of crap on the kitchen counter. Nothing! I checked in the office: Nothing. The bathroom: Nothing.

I called the dentist and cancelled my appointment, and then I started looking again. I called Mr. Peevie, who said he saw the zip-lock bag on the bed the night before--so I ran upstairs and started tearing apart the bed. Nothing. Under the bed? Nothing. (Well, nothing, if by "nothing" you mean two-and-a-half pairs of shoes, three socks, lots of used dryer sheets, and a coffee-table-size book of Bruegel prints and commentary in German, published in 1932. But no tooth.)

Frustrated to point of Resorting to Colorful Language, I jammed my hands into my pockets. Lo and behold--there was my tooth! Right in the zip-lock baggie and stuffed down into the linty bottom of my pocket where I had put it THAT VERY MORNING.

I'm an idiot.

So then I called the dentist back, and she still had time to re-attach my crown.

"At least you didn't swallow it," she said.

"What then?" I asked, joking, "I'd have to wait until I pooped it out?"

"Yes," she said--and she WAS NOT JOKING. Apparently this is a not-uncommon occurrence in the disgusting world of dentistry.

But now my tooth is back where she belongs, and all is well again with the world.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Resolutions 2010

It's hard for me to come up with a bunch of resolutions with a half-empty pitcher of white Russians sitting on the window sill next to me. But I realize that my loyal Green Room readers are waiting with bated breath for a New Year's post, so here goes.

My resolutions for 2010:

1. Listen to new music. One really great way to stay in touch with my kids is through music--but probably not through Dan Fogelberg and Boz Scaggs. I'm just sayin'. My kids have already introduced me to some enjoyable music that I would otherwise never have encountered, like Human, by The Killers.

2. Work out on Wii Fit two or three times per week. That might sound lame to you marathoners and extreme fitness freaks--but for those of use who enjoy the sedentary lifestyle, it's huge. I may alternate with a bit of drumming on Rock Band II, however. I'm sure that'll burn the calories just as much as a lunging lemur or whatever the heck the yoga pose is called.

I've already created my Mii, and the stupid game has informed me that I am obese. I prefer to think of myself as Rubenesque, or pulchritudinous, or zaftig. However, I do realize that my bones and muscles and internal organs could stand for me to be a wii bit more active. (See how I did that with the "wii"?)

3. Write my book. I don't know if I'm a writer--a real writer--or not. But I have to give it a shot. I'm heading up to Grand Rapids for a writers' conference (maybe I'll see you there?), at which I hope to find inspiration and a publisher.

Here's the thing. I'm terrified. I know I can tell a story with a modicum of appeal. I know I can sustain interest for 800 words or so. But 40,000 words? For a wanna-be-writer with undiagnosed ADD, mood swings, mild depression, and a teensy case of OCD (I swear this is true, even though my therapist insists that you can't actually have a "teensy case of OCD"), it's like a guy with no arms and no legs looking up at Mt. Everest with the summit in his heart.

4. Yesterday Reverend Moses Butcher reminded us that "Resolutions don't have the power to change you." This could be problematic in a post about resolutions -- except Rev. Moses Butcher was talking about sin, of course, not about things like using music to connect with your kids, using an insulting electronic toy to have a slightly healthier lifestyle, and putting words down on paper because some part of me believes that another part of me has something worthwhile to say.

Sin is something I know a little bit about. (If "sin" is not in your vocabulary, you can think of this as personal responsibility.) I often fall short, far short, of the person I want to be. I'm far too sarcastic with my children. I'm irritable, impatient, and self-centered, and self-righteous. I frequently put my own needs and desires ahead of the needs and desires of other people.

I don't want to be this way--but I see these behaviors in myself over and over again. So instead of resolving to behave better, to sin less, to be more Jesusy--which will only lead to failure and despair--I will instead resolve to take those sins and carry them, like Pilgrim in John Bunyan's beautiful allegory (a Christian classic, which, if you haven't read it, I recommend that you resolve to do so this year), to the cross, and dump them out there, over and over again.

This is the gospel; this is what has the power to change me.

What are your resolutions?