Today in Pop Culture History...

August 31, 1949: Richard Gere, the star of such films as An Officer and a Gentleman, Pretty Woman and Chicago, is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Thursday, January 28

Childhood Secrets

So I was at a coffee shop this morning (after spending 45 minutes at a lottery getting my daughter into preschool--PRESCHOOL!!!), and a painting caught my eye.  It depicts a little girl lounging on the grass outside a house.  Something about the angle of the home, the way it wraps around the girl, makes me think she is tucked away in a favorite spot of hers.  Perhaps she is hiding or in a place she goes to pretend.  With her in the painting is a golden retriever and the girl has her left arm lazily thrown over the dog's coat.  The childs knees are tucked up to her chest and in her right hand she clutches a candy bar.  Did she steal it from her mother's secret stash?  Did she run away to this sacred spot to devour it in solitude?  And why doesn't the dog snatch it away, you wonder?  Because the dogs mouth is full as well!  Hanging from its jaws is a bra!  Yes, a bra.  These two creatures, child and pet, are both partners in an unholy alliance.  They are both thieves.  They are both on the lam.  They are both content, even happy.

What does this picture say to you?  It speaks volumes in memory to me.  I remember the so-called secret spots of my childhood homes.  I remember the things I thought I was sneaking.  And those memories are as beautiful to me today as the action was at the time.

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Wednesday, January 27

If she can do it, so can I!

So Jenny from the block looks dewy and beautiful on this cover.  And inside are all her makeup artist's secrets!  If a makeup artist can do it, if a girl with a Hindman booty (Hindman is my maiden name) can do it, then so can I!  A little makup, a few brush strokes and I, too, can look glamorous.  Or at least flawless, right?

Maybe not, but I'm still excited about picking up a few tips from this read.  I've had it up to my Hindman booty with throwing away money on makeup that doesn't live up to expectations.  I'd rather take advice from a pro and get what I'm paying for.

I'll let you know how the book turns out, and how I turn out. : P
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Wednesday, January 20

Project for Booklovers and Parents

I am a reader.  I LOVE BOOKS.  I love them so much I am writing my own.  In fact, that is how I got into the blogging thing.  My first blog (my main blog) is Southern City Mysteries.  It wasn't until I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and needed a place to bleed and emote that I began this one.  Luckily, it has turned into more of a happy place than a drown your sorrows type of cesspool.

But back to the point of this post...My father's birthday was January 9th and he is an avid reader as well.  He reads mostly mass-market paperbacks and doesn't hesitate to break their spines or dog-ear their pages, but I thought a nice accessory would be a good gift.  Enter the bookmark.

I have children.  My son loves to draw and my daughter loves stickers.  But you can't just cut a bookmark out of regular notebook or construction paper - too flimsy.  So resourceful me grabbed an old birthday card and cut it into strips.  Because of the card's design, I was actually able to make five bookmarks.  Some superhero/Scooby Doo stickers and several shades of ink later--voila!  Homemade bookmarks!  The kids loved it, the grandfather will love it and I appear the creative mom for a day.

Just thought I would share.  Do you have any creative ideas to share?  I'm always looking for new projects to do with my children, and I am sure other readers are as well.

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Tuesday, January 19

Fun Quizzes

I had a fun weekend.  Yesterday I was playing 'dress up the Disney princess' on The Official Princess Website with my daughter (my son also loves this game, but it happened to be my daughter this time), when I noticed some other Disney links to click...And I found some fun quizzes!  So here they are for your time-wasting pleasure...

1. Which Pixar character are you?
I am...
"Lightning McQueen"

Self-confident, adventurous, and competitive, you're also a bit of a show-off. And why not? You pride yourself in your appearance and rarely leave the house without being fully buffed and polished. You enjoy long bubble baths, regularly scheduled maintenance, and cruising around town with your sweetie.

My husband and I are...
"Jada Pinkett-Smith & Will Smith"

You're friendly, easy-going and accessible, superstars among friends and strangers alike. Were you to choose your own careers in Hollywood, you'd likely be wildly popular among all four movie-going quadrants -- male, female, young, old. Wherever you go, people love you. You may not be saving the planet any time soon, but you're great parents and a rock solid couple -- and you've got your own set of fans counting on you to make it all look easy.

I am the...
"Accidental Adventurer"

So you don't exactly plan every detail ... you don't need to! Like Russell, adventure finds you! You're the kind of traveler who never gets lost: you always make discoveries to render even the most unintentional detour worthwhile. Your tireless optimism means you rarely see a downside to anything -- you can have a great time in the midst of a grand adventure, or an everyday activity. Every adventure crew needs one of you!

I am...

You're not only classy, you're a classic. Like so many fashion icons before you, you appreciate good fabrics, great cut, and fine tailoring. You read all the fashion magazines and keep up on the runways shows in Paris, Milan, and Manhattan -- if only on a fantasy level. Your favorite quote is from Coco Chanel: "Fashion fades, only style remains the same."

5. Which Disney Princess are you?
I am...

You are Ariel. You are beautiful but impaired. At times you are naive. Still, your innocence and good heart make you sought after and loved.
(Beautiful but "impaired?"  What does that even mean?  Should I be insulted?  I posted a similar quiz on my mystery writing blog, SouthernCityMysteries, a while back.  It said I was Belle: bookish but incredibly pretty.  I think I'll stick with that one! Click here for that post/quiz.)

Have fun!!

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Sunday, January 17


The comments section should now be working!  And that is a beautiful thing!

This weekend I have my longtime friend, Jenn, in town.  She and her husband always bring excitement and intellectual stimulation into our home.  Jenn works in D.C., but her office is the entire world!  She travels around promoting agricultural, economic and cultural improvement through projects in places like Sierra Leone, Tajikistan and Bosnia.  Her husband, Ryan, is a lawyer at the FERC court in Washington.  He is quite possibly one of the most intelligent, hilarious and interesting people I have ever met.

Needless to say, when they visit we are carried away into political and social worlds we rarely meet in Raleigh.  Our small, family-centric life seems so quiet (even with two children under five!) next to their globe-hopping schedule.  But Jenn is the kind of friend that never makes you feel insignificant.  And that is why we have been friends for so long.  I am blessed to have her in my life, whether she is 300 miles or entire oceans away.

Do you have a Jenn in your life?  Who is your go-to person when things get tough or when you have good news to share?  (In my case I am leaving my husband out of this question, but you may answer as you like!)

Happy Sunday.
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Friday, January 15

A Card for the Miles

A coffee shop.  A warm fire.  A picture window front.  Milk steamer sounds spiked with laughter.  Chairs scraping across the torn wood floor.  Papers crinkling and laptop keys tinkling.
Through the sights and sounds I see the glint of glitter.  A carousel of cards turns slowly as a patron peruses its holdings.  How beautiful most of them are.  Each has a bit of gleam to it - a small rhinestone here, a dash of colorful sparkle there.  One in particular catches my eye and before I know it I'm on my feet and the card is in my hand.  So is my credit card and the beautiful card with the beautiful woman is mine!  Her eyes are adorned with red rhinestone eyeshadow and ruby glitter glows across her dress.  Raven-colored hair sits perfectly on her head and she expertly sets her lipsticked lips in a fashionable smile.  I know I will do something beautiful with this card.

I have a good friend who lives in a cold place.  She and I used to do everything together.  We used to run wild and crazy and meet wild and crazy men in bars and take home phone numbers and compare how many we got in a night.  We used to talk every day or at every other day at least and use each other as excuses when our parents asked where we had been the night before.  But we grew up.  We got jobs and responsibilities.  We got married and I had children.  We moved thousands of miles apart and life threw even more emotional miles between us.

As I hold this card I don't hold any hope that is has healing power.  I don't believe that it will suddenly bring back the closeness that was or the life that pre-existed adulthood.  But I will use it to reach out.  I will use it because I am a writer and it is a beautiful thing.

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Wednesday, January 13

My children do beautiful things

I have good news.  The arthritis panel came back negative yesterday.  I cried.  I cried because for what seemed like the first time in so long things were going right.  What I have is manageable and my future is a positive one.

I also treated the diagnosis as postive, to be honest.  I have been on a cloud-skimming high since about last Thursday.  (It took me a couple days to fully swallow and digest living with Fibromyalgia.)  But TO KNOW!!  To be able to say, "This ache is the disease, I don't need physical therapy, I need to accept it and work through the pain" and "I am not crazy!  This pain is real and I can embrace it and be happy I can feel anything at all!" - those are the kind of emotions the diagnosis settled in my heart.

So today I share this good news.  And I share something beautiful done for me.

I had my first case of utter exhaustion to the point of inactivity last night (first non-child related, for all you parents out there!).  I wasn't able to go to my Junior League volunteer event.  I was barely able to fork spaghetti into my mouth and run to the pharmacy.  I collapsed into bed and fell asleep before my husband, which he will attest is about the fifth time this has happened in seven years of marriage.

This morning, my whole body ached.  My joints hurt with sharp, knifelike pain.  I felt feverish and worried that I was getting sick, but I really knew it was just the exhaustion and accompanying fibro symptoms.  (Read here for assurance that I know to separate what is and what isn't fibro-related.)  My mood, of course, went straight the farthest point south and I wasn't sure I would be able to function, let alone take care of my children.

And then we got in the car.  My son, Jake (4yo), made an absolutely ridiculous pose and said, "Look at me, Mom!" and my daughter, Natalaie (21mo), copied him and screamed, "Look at me!"  Immediately the negative reverie was broken and their precious voices began to sing out in my heart.  We turned on music and had a wonderful, stress-free (that's relative, as moms will know) ride to school.

So my children did something beautiful for me today.  And I am here, writing a positive post instead of the opposite because of it.

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Monday, January 11

To plan or not to plan

What shall I do today that is beautiful?

I think I will venture into historic downtown Apex, take in a little Gentle Yoga, walk along the shop fronts and enjoy the wares (who really says that anymore, anyway?).  And then perhaps a Latte at a refurbished coffeeshop, settling my stretched and aching bones upon a rather uncomfortable red, velvet sofa.  The Victorian angles of it are quite inviting, especially in contrast to the brick walls and shabby chic-ness attained during the reincarnation of this old building.

What can I do for someone else?

I don't have any particular plans.  I hope something falls my way.  What about you?  Do you plan to do beautiful things for others, or do they just happen?  Do you have to plan to do beautiful things for yourself, or do you just hope and pray they happen?

Saturday, January 9

Separate your Pain from your Pain

My first lesson, and one I've learned rather fast if I do say so myself, is as follows:
Not everything is attributable to your disease.
Every corner of my body aches with delicious pain.  Every muscle strains as I move with the reminder of how hard I worked at yoga yesterday.  Can Fibromyalgia take this away?  No.  The syndrome adds pain, certainly, but it is a hurting kind of pain, a pain that puts one on alert and makes ones teeth grind.  This is the pain of exercise.  And I must know how to differentiate.

Learning one has a disease or syndrome can be the ultimate excuse for hypochondria.  Everything instantly becomes a sign of The Spread or The Worsening.  And do not discount this fear.  The constant questions of what body part will hurt next? How will my life next be altered? - these stay with a fibro patient for life.

As someone who has only lived in pain for a year and with a diagnosis for less than a week, I am not the be all of Truth.  But I do think this is a lesson best learned early on: separate your pain from your pain.  And I thank the Lord that, in theory, I understand it (emphasis on 'in theory').

Friday, January 8

Today I do beautiful things

Healing is a loaded word. It is a not a process many of us ever complete.

We can go to our safe place or retreat into our minds. We can close up shop and observe the rest of humanity for a while or live vicariously through others.

Or we can choose to do beautiful things.

We can take yoga. We can observe humans and all their faults, and laugh. We can smell the scent of nature. We can watch our children. We can buy jewelry for ourselves. We can meet friends online and in the flesh. We can take baths, give kisses, read books, take photographs.

On Tuesday I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I called my sister and cried. My husband held me and I cried. When I explained it to my four-year-old son he asked, "Does this mean your are going to die?" (Not any sooner than normal is the answer, by the way.)

Today I begin this blog. Today I took my first post-diagnosis yoga class. Today I begin doing beautiful things with new vigor.
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