Aug 202009

Hi everybody.

Can you do me a favor? If you like this blog, if you read it often, would you register as a follower?

As far as I can tell, there is absolutely no benefit to you for doing so. But there are a few benefits for me.

First, I’m a little insecure. When I see all of your teeny faces in the corner of my blog, it gives me confidence.

Second, I have been waiting my whole life to have followers.

Third, and most importantly, new followers allow for moments like this at home…

When I launched this blog a week ago, I began a ritual of running to the computer every ten minutes to see if I had any new followers. I do this all day and evening. Even during dinner. Yes, I do.

Last night, during one of my checks, I yelled down to Craig:







Aug 202009

If you have a moment, I’d like to introduce you to my friend, Gena. Today is her birthday.

Sometimes I tell people that Gena is my best friend. This is ridiculous, because Gena has legions of closer friends who see her every day, remember her kids’ birthdays, RSVP to her parties, call her on the phone, and do all sorts of friend-type things that are much too hard for me. I mostly just think about her a lot, and send her emails. So maybe it’s more truthful that Gena is my favorite friend.

I bet a lot of people fraudulently call Gena their best friend, though. She’s blonde and beautiful and fiercely stylish and bubbly and classy, like champagne. She’s the type that had already made the high school cheerleading squad before trying out. Like when she was five. She has a big, fancy home that is always full of beautiful people and food that looks like it was really hard to make. Her family worships the ground that her perfectly pedicured feet walk upon. People with this sort of charmed existence are supposed to be shallow and mean, just out of general fairness. I kind of thought this was the deal.

Gena has ruined this theory for me.

If you don’t mind, I’d like to share a few things about Gena that she’ll never tell you herself. Not even by fake accident.

Gena’s the sun… and those she loves revolve around her and soak her up. She’s her daddy’s girl, her husband’s rock, her childrens’ everything, and her friends’ favorite.

She helped create a volunteer group that matches local kids with community service projects. They cheer at the Special Olympics, decorate the Ronald McDonald House for holidays, and throw parties at homeless shelters.

She is in a wedding every weekend.

The neighborhood girls show up giggling on her doorstep and she drops everything to help them prepare for cheerleading tryouts.

She takes really good care of her grandparents.

Her son is some sort of anomaly. He’s kind, gentle, and strong, with more than a touch of intellectual and athletic genius.

Her priest visits her frequently for dinner. Everyone visits her frequently for dinner.

She has unshakeable faith and audacious courage. But she’s vulnerable, too

There’s so much more, but I know you’re busy. I’ll just end with this suggestion: If you see Gena today, don’t be intimidated by her fancy shoes. Go say Happy Birthday. She’ll take off her sunglasses, cock her head to one side and hang open her mouth slightly…and even though she’ll have a baby on her hip and another tugging on her shirt, she’ll smile, and make time for you. She’ll LOVE you. And a few minutes later, you’ll want to call her your favorite friend, like I do.

Because you’ll learn that Angels Wear Prada, too.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Gena.

Aug 182009

A lot of things about life confuse me. Marion Barry, The Girls Next Door, and ovens- to name a few. This section of my blog, “I’m just saying”…is dedicated to my general and specific confusion.

A while ago I watched CNN Heroes, an awards show that honors people who are saving the world.

The first Hero honored was Maria Ruiz, a Texas woman who works the night shift, then comes home every morning to feed her five children breakfast and walk them to school. Then, instead of sleeping, she packs up her van with food and drives to the Mexican border. She waits at the border for three hours each way, to deliver food to the hungry children of Juarez, Mexico. Every day.

The second Hero was Yohannes Gebregeorgis, who established “Ethiopia Reads,” which provides public libraries and literacy programs to impoverished Ethiopian children.

Next was Carolyn LeCroy from Norfolk Virginia, who started the “Messages Project,” helping children stay in touch with incarcerated parents through video messages.

Next came Viola Vaughn. She moved from Detroit to Senegal to retire, but when a group of kids asked her for help with their classes, she began a program that has helped hundreds of Sengali girls graduate from school and start successful businesses.

After each Hero’s story was told, he or she would accept a trophy and give a speech. The audience, made up of celebrities and regular Joes, clapped earnestly in their seats and wiped stray tears here and there.

And then Christina Aguilera came on stage and sang the song “Beautiful.”

And as soon as she was done singing, the entire audience rose to their feet to offer a three minute standing ovationFOR THE FIRST TIME ALL EVENING.

I sat stunned on my couch, hoping that maybe I’d missed the announcement that Ms. Aguilera had just cured cancer.

Nope. She just sang really, really well. Heroically well.

This, my friends, confuses me.

I’m not saying…I’m just saying.