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  • 50 Things In 50 Years

    February 3, 2010

    I turned 50 a while back. Or maybe I’m going to be 50 soon. I forget which. I like to be coy. Nonetheless, I jotted down a random list of 50 things I’ve learned or observed in 50 years. These things may not be universally true, but they are true for me.

    * * * * *

    1. If you want to be really really good at something, you will probably have to forsake something else in your life. The pursuit of excellence in any given field is not conducive to moderation or balance.  Either balance is overrated or excellence is — I’m not sure which, but you can’t really have both.

    2. Being average is not a bad thing – there’s a lot of good company in the middle of the pack.

    3. In most matters, done is better than perfect. But done right is better than done fast, except for housework.  Then good enough is good enough.

    4. Never say “It can’t get worse.” It can get worse. It can definitely get worse.

    5. It’s better to be content than rich. Riches are easier to come by than contentment.

    6. You can disagree with someone and still like them.

    7. You can dislike someone and still be kind to them.

    8. Education is as much about enlightenment as employment. Education is never a waste.

    9. You’ll never know how much your parents love you until you have your own child.

    10. You’ll never know how much you hurt your parents until you have your own child.

    11. No one will remember what shoes or earrings you wore to the party.

    12. Getting drunk is extremely uncool.  Always has been.

    13. Honor your father and mother so that it might go well with you.

    14. There are three things you can do to make your life very very difficult – making babies too young and without commitment, using drugs, and getting involved in credit card debt. I only know of one first hand; the other two I managed to avoid by the grace of God.

    15. Teachers and nurses are two of the few vocations where you can really make a difference in the life of another human being. The rest of us are just pushing paper.

    16. Maintaining flexibility is the key to aging well. Stretch your mind and body a little each day.

    17. Life is a series of peaks and valleys. Like the weather, it’s always about to change.

    18. Nothing in the mall will make you happy. For very long.

    19. We can’t all be leaders.

    20. If you can’t be a good leader, be a good follower.

    21. Make sure the person you are following is taking you where you want to go.

    22. Nothing good comes of a secret.

    23. On the other hand, every thought does not need to be expressed.

    24. Anger poisons the soul. A grudge prisons the soul. Forgiveness purifies the soul. Forgive with haste.

    25. When you win an argument, you really lose.

    26. Concede whenever you can.

    27. Career is a fancy name for a job.

    28. No matter how bad you think you look right now, 10 years from now you will wish you looked as good.

    29. The only thing that makes me smarter than when I was 20 is that now I have an awareness of how little I really know.

    30. Whatever stylish thing you are wearing right now will look ridiculous in 10 years.

    31. Encourage more, criticize less.

    32. Use the guest towels.

    33. Television is anesthesia. Watch as little as possible.

    34. Life is short. But it could also be long – start saving when you are young.

    35. Quality Time is a big fat modern lie when it comes to your kid. Go for Quantity Time.

    36. Life is too short to spend time trying to get curly hair be straight or straight hair to be curly. Find a hairstyle that suits your hair.

    37. The only way to lose weight is to eat less and move more.

    38. Fashion magazines are designed to make you feel badly about yourself. Save your money.

    39. Speak less, listen more.

    40. Every day, no matter how cruddy, is a great day to be alive.

    41. Smoking is ugly, smelly, stupid and looks silly. Don’t smoke.

    42. Anyone who says they have no regrets is lying. We’ve all done and said regrettable things.

    43. If you haven’t done anything regrettable, you haven’t lived. Or at least not long enough.

    44. The perfect purse is worth every penny.

    45. Grocery store make up is just as good as department store make up, but if paying 3x as much makes you feel better, that probably makes it worth it.

    46. Say please and thank you to everyone, but especially to those who do the cruddy stuff no one else wants to do. Your kids are watching.

    47. Be quick to tell your kid you are sorry when (not if) you mess up. That in and of itself is a teaching moment.

    48. Don’t underestimate the power of silence to make a point.

    49. Let your children (and those you love) know every day that you delight in them, that they are a source of joy in your life; that you are glad they were born.

    50. The person who most needs your kindness is likely the last person to whom you want to be kind.

    Random Christmas Stuff About Me You Weren’t Really Itching To Know

    December 17, 2008

    I’ve never owned a Christmas sweater. I’ve always felt like maybe I should have one. On several occasions I’ve even carried one around the store.  But I just can’t seem to take the plunge.  Just seems like too big of a commitment.

    As well, I’ve never owned a pair of Christmas earrings, little dangling bulbs or ornaments or whatever.  I guess I’m not all about festive after all.

    The red turtleneck is my standard holiday party outfit.

    I’ve always wanted some nice Christmas china but never wanted to spend the big bucks on it or spend a lifetime collecting it.  Since it’s unlikely that I would inherit or win a set in a raffle, about 10 years ago I bought four boxes of $20/box  Christmas “china” and I love it.  We use it all through December. It makes every meal of the season a little brighter and the best part? I worry not one bit about breaking it.


    See how festive a reindeer pancake can look on cheap Christmas china – does that not just scream Joyeux Noel y’all? It does, you know it does.

    The best thing I ever did was buy a 6ft pre-lit tree for $30 at Target for Sean when he was three. It’s his tree. He’s got a box of soft and unbreakable ornaments and he can decorate and undecorated it to his heart’s content all season long.  He can put all the ornaments on one branch and I will not twitch nor will I flinch.  He can even pull it over on himself and no harm done. This $30 tree has ratcheted down the freak out level around here substantially.

    I hate wrapping gifts. I have not bought wrapping paper in 15 years.  I love the gift bag – the bag that keeps on giving gifts.  Economic, easy, re-useable and no tape.

    However, I love ribbon and can’t seem to stop myself from buying it.

    I took four years of piano lessons in my early 30s just so that I could play Christmas songs. I’m not very good, but I enjoy it immensely, even if no one else does.

    I don’t like to sing, but I love to sing Christmas songs.  I enjoy it immensely, even if no one else does.

    I do not like Christmas shopping.  Truthfully, I don’t like the gifts part of Christmas.  The only time gift giving is not awkward to me is when it is spontaneous and not reciprocal.

    My favorite memory of Christmas from when I was a child was going to Midnight Mass with my Godparents and coming home to drink hot chocolate and eat pizelles.

    Three things always on my Christmas list:  inexpensive earrings, a tree ornament, books (art/photography books, poetry, cookbooks are my favorites).

    The first year we were married, I warned AD to never buy me anything for Christmas that plugs in. Over the years, my stance on appliances has changed. I wouldn’t mind having a power washer.

    When I was about five, I got a red velvet dress and a white rabbit fur muff for Christmas.  I only remember one or two other Christmas gifts which confirms my theory that sweating over finding the perfect gift is a waste of energy. Chances are you don’t even remember what you got for Christmas by the next day, let alone the year before.

    On December 26th, I will be itching to box it all up and get back to routine. On January 2nd AD and I will have our annual fight about when the boxing up should occur.  He will lobby for a day in March.  On January 3rd, he will concede.

    Sean was due on Christmas day. He is by far the best gift of my entire life, because indeed, every good and perfect gift is from above.


    * * * *

    If you’ve made it this far, tell me some random holiday factoid about yourself.

    So Very Meme-ingful

    September 13, 2008

    Dawn tagged me with this lengthy meme and so here it is, thus filling my meme quota for the remainder of the year, perhaps even the decade. If this is just entirely too long to read, and I understand if it is, then scroll down to question 8 before moving along. That’s all you really need to know about me and this here blog.

    * * * * *

    1. How long have you been blogging?

    I started in July of 2005. Sean was around 18-months old and I needed a creative outlet that I could do in 15 minute increments, in between laundry and more laundry. We were in a church-search phase at the time and I went on-line to check service times at a church we were planning to visit and I saw one of those orange Blogger buttons on their site. I clicked on it and five minutes later I had a blog. Five minutes before that I had no idea what a blog was.

    2. What are the good things blogging has brought to your life?

    Friends! People I would have never met otherwise. Also some fun opportunities and a reason to sharpen my writing skills.

    3. What would you consider the pitfalls?

    Pitfalls can be managed. The good far outweighs the bad for me most of the time.

    4. Tell us about your blog name. Ever think of changing it? If so, to what? Why?

    I explain my blog name here, my first ever post. I never think of changing it, although people ask me that quite often which makes me wonder….

    5. Knowing what you know now, was starting a blog a good thing for you? Why or why not?

    Yes, I love writing and I love having people read what I write and I love the feedback. It’s also helped me record the little bits and pieces of my life with Sean that would otherwise be lost to the ages. If I stop writing today, I will have a substantial record of my motherhood up to this point for Sean that I hope he and his children will someday appreciate. If life takes a wrong turn for me and I’m not around into Sean’s adulthood, then I want him to be able to read about my life from my own hand and know me as the flawed but sincere human that I am separate from the sainted idealized view of me as his mother that he may have at this age.

    6. How do you think blogging, bloggers, or the blogosphere has changed since you started?

    There are a lot more people blogging these days. There also seems to be a lot more opportunities for all bloggers and blogging is seen more and more as a legitimate “voice” as is evidenced by the way the bloggers are affecting political opinion and how companies are courting the mommy blogging community.

    8. Ultimately, what would you like your blog to accomplish for you or others?

    I hope people who come to read Antique Mommy are edified in some way.

    Who are you? Really?

    1. Name something or a few things that bug you and expound. We want your unfettered opinion(s). Shouldn’t be blog related.

    Not too much bugs me really. I have a low tolerance for bad manners, disrespect and snobbery but beyond that I’m kind of a go-along-get-along kind of gal. Not that I don’t complain about life’s minor annoyances and injustices because I do, as we all do.

    2. Tell us about one of your best childhood memories.

    My mom was really a lot of fun and was never bothered about messes or mistakes. She was good about playing with us and riding bikes with us and that kind of thing. There were a lot of kids in my neighborhood and the moms would all sit out on the front steps and drink tea and talk while the kids rode bikes in the street or turned cartwheels on the front lawn. It was a simple time, sweet and secure.

    3. Describe your perfect day.

    Coffee, some play time with my little boyfriend, some playtime with my big boyfriend and some alone time for me, finish up with a nice glass of Merlot and a hunk of sharp cheddar, early to bed with with my sweetie for some pillow talk and maybe a little Sig.

    4. Do you have a hobby that you love?

    Other than blogging? I love creating art, painting, design and photography. I love to cook, I love to give dinner parties. I love going to school – I look forward to getting back into school some day.

    5. Tell us the best and the worst thing about being you.

    Well, I’m just so darn pretty and smart that everyone hates me (snort). That covers both the best and the worst. Just kidding. Not everyone hates me. My mom sorta likes me. Sometimes.

    6. What’s the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you? We want all the details.

    Choose any post from this categorythis one was a doozy and this one was bad too. One time Sean threw a fit in McDonalds and I carried him out under my arm, thrashing and wailing. When I got out to the parking lot, I discovered he had unsnapped my shirt and I had apparently flashed everyone in the drive-thru. My life is one long series of embarrassing events.

    7. What blog related thing bugs you? Trolls, vile comment spam, meanies.

    Personal stuff:

    How old are you? 48
    Married? Yes
    Children? 1
    If so, homeschool, private, or public? Private
    Favorite season? Any season where I can wear sandals.
    Favorite pass time? Right now, photography and writing

    Favorite color? I’m an artist, I can’t possibly pick just one. Tangerine is a happy color that I wear a lot.

    Favorite movie? Wizard of Oz
    Favorite song? Hard to pick just one. Who can pick just one?

    Mac or PC? PC but I would love to have a Mac too.
    Dog or Cat? I’m stupid crazy about dogs. I don’t have one now and that makes me very sad.
    Salt or Pepper? Salt, definitely salt.

    Vanilla or Chocolate? Vanilla ice cream, High quality dark chocolate uncontaminated with caramel, nuts, luscious nougat (whatever that is) or any other silliness.

    Diet Coke, Sweet Tea or Evian? None of those. Unsweetened tea is good. I don’t eat or drink diet anything. Life is too short for that nonsense.

    Steak, Chicken or Shrimp? Seafood is my favorite, but I’m not a picky eater, I’ll eat just about anything.

    And now? I am officially sick of myself.

    * * * * *

    I tag anyone who has never been tagged for a meme, is hard up for blog ideas or just wants to do it. Here are your marching orders:

    1. Write about 5 specific ways blogging has affected you, either positively or negatively.
    2. link back to the person who tagged you
    3. link back to this parent post
    4. tag a few friends or five, or none at all
    5. post these rules— or just have fun breaking them

    For the complete list of questions, or to see an example of how to do this meme properly, go visit Dawn. If you do the meme, come back here and leave a comment with a link so I can read all about you.

    I Never Met A Spotlight I Didn’t Like

    July 16, 2008

    That’s not entirely true, there have been a few spotlights I didn’t care for.  Like the time in first or second grade when Sister Edwina made me stand up in front of the entire class and read a note I was trying to slip to Natalie that detailed how cute I thought Brain Murphy was. (He was cute). His name is actually Brian, but the note said Brain.

    Anyway!  I’m in the 5 Minutes For Mom Spotlight today. If you have nothing else to do, you can go over there and read it.

    It’s All True, Except That One Part

    April 8, 2008

    Apparently, some of y’all think I’m a blunt-brained blonde with no pedigree and big feet. It’s not true.  My feet aren’t big.


    And now, I must come clean and confess: 


    True – I AM a member of the DAR. Thanks to my mother and her wicked research skills.  John Upton, an ancestor on my mother’s side, came to America from England in the early 1700s. He had thirteen children.  Another ancestor, Hans Michael Goodnight, came to America also in the early 1700s from the Alsace-Lorraine area along the French and German border. Hans had 24 children altogether.  He wore out one wife and then got him another.  Apparently, I did not inherit the fertility gene that makes our family tree so leafy. Either that or as I have suspected all along, I’m adopted.


    True  – I DID sit on the lap of Chet Atkins.  As someone pointed out, who would make something like that up? Back in the mid-90s, I was the editor of a little college newspaper and  “Mr. Guitar” performed at the school.  I interviewed him and in doing so, he playfully pulled me onto his lap like a slightly overly-friendly grandpa and someone snapped a picture which I can no longer locate. My mother was there and she will vouch for my brush with fame/minor molestation.  Mr. Atkins has since passed away, but that man could play guitar like no other, Clapton included, and it was just an astonishing thing to witness him work that guitar.


    an old woman lived in a size 6 shoeTrue – I DO wear a size 6 shoe, sometimes a 6.5, depending upon the shoe and how much pizza I’ve eaten lately.  Some of y’all said you were under the impression that I am tall.  Do I write tall?  I am 5’4 which makes me inconveniently too tall to wear petite-size pants and too short to wear regular pants without 3-inch heels.  I know. Are you weeping for my suffering? Here’s a picture of me sleeping in my itty bitty shoe. Aren’t my camera and I amusing?


    False – If you guessed #4, you were right.  I am NOT related to Laura Bush as far as I know, but wouldn’t mind if I were. I think she is lovely.  I admire and am fascinated by all the first ladies, no matter their political affiliation.  I AM however a distant relative of Harry S. Truman.  I am not related to any of the current presidential candidates, including Ralph Nader.


    grad girlTrue – I DID graduate from college summa cum laude and I only bring this up because there are so few opportunities to do so. It turns out that no one really cares.  And what did I get in exchange for all my hard work?  This medal and a piece of paper, on the bottom of which is printed in teeny tiny nearly transparent letters:  summa cum laude  But just for the record, I don’t blame you for doubting my GPA.  Based on the kind of stuff I write about here, I wouldn’t have believed me either.  In spite of being educated and an above average speller I sometimes spell words wrong not on purpose.  Thank goodness I have the world wide web to point it out.  


    True – I DID have dinner with Ralph Nader once.  Mr. Nader came to speak at the school I was attending.  I had a pre-speech meal with him along with a few others and then I had the privilege of introducing him to the audience.  He is exactly in person as he is in public — the kind of guy who wears a Timex and gets his hair cut at Super Cuts.  I believe that unlike many other politicians, he thinks nothing of himself or the things of this world, but genuinely has a heart for the welfare of the American public.  But I probably still won’t vote for him.  Sorry Ralph.


    And the Sean-selected winner among those who did not doubt my shoe size, GPA, celebrity encounters or DAR status is Quirky who writes Quirky Is A Compliment! Yay Quirky!


    Quirky, my people will be in touch with your people about your “prize”. 

    Six Unimportant Things About Meme

    April 5, 2008

    Pammer from Outside Voice, one of the first people ever to comment on my blog, tagged me for this Six Unimportant Things About Me meme. 


    Coming up with six important things about moi would be a challenge, because I’m not sure there are any important things about me — but six UNimportant things?  Piece o’ cake, that list is a long one. So then, here ya go, my annual meme:


    Six Unimportant Things About Me


    1.  I am a member of the DAR.

    2.  I once sat on Chet Atkins lap.

    3.  My shoe size is 6.

    4.  I am a distant relative of Laura Bush.

    5.  I graduated from college Suma Cum Laude.

    6.  I once had dinner with Ralph Nader.


    One of these is not true. But which one?  You have until midnight Monday (4/7) to leave your guess in comments.  And be prepared to defend your answer. No not really. 


    I will randomly pick a winner from the correct entries and for the prize, I will write a guest post for your blog! I know! That is one sorry prize! But! Maybe if I use enough exclamation points it will not seem so hokey!!  It was either that or an autographed copy of my Olan Mills picture from 1979, the one where I’m leaning casually on a fence post out on the prairie as I often did in those days. In my spare time. 


    So then, here’s where I tag six more people, which I always hate to do for the same reason I hate to call people on the phone — I feel like I’m bothering them.  So, sorry to bother you then (wince) but um, tag you’re it.


    Fraulein at Virginia’s Purple Ink 

    Damsel at Damsel and Family

    DeeDee at It Coulda Been Worse 

    Blog Antagonist (or BA as I affectionately call her) at Blogs Are Stupid 

    Tom at Being Michael’s Daddy

    Heidi at Minnisota Mom


    In case you were wondering, my tagging technique is highly scientific. I scrolled through my comments from yesterday’s post and randomly chose people I thought were not home. I rang their doorbell and then ran away.


    Have a loverly weekend y’all.

    Y’all Are So Creative

    February 26, 2008

    Well that was fun!  Shall we do that again sometime? I loved reading your answers. You made me laugh. 

    Here is the shot in it’s original form, but turned upright. 

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    As you can see, it’s a cake! A half-eaten grocery-store birthday cake.  It took me longer to figure that out than it did you.

    So then, the randomly chosen winner is Sarah!  Miss Sarah, here is your fabulous prize-like prize package (insert applause and Vanna-like gesture here).

    Photo Temporarily Unavailable

    – Two 5.3oz Lindt Petits Desserts chocolate bars, retail value $2.99 each. Now that’s my idea of dessert!

    – A slightly used Twinkie Cook Book from Half Price Books, valued at $5.98! According to the cover, inside you will find “an inventive and unexpected recipie collection”.  Learn how to make Twinkie Grasshoppers and Twinkie Ka-bobs! Yummo!

     But wait! There’s more! 

    – Valued at $9.29, you will also receive a 10oz package of Starbucks “Limited Reserve” coffee.  They ain’t selling the limited stuff to just anybody ya’ know.  Well, actually they are, but it says it’s rare and exquisite right on the package and who am I to argue with Starbucks.  

    A $25 Target gift card valued at $25.

    And finally, a one-of-a-kind watercolor by up and coming artist Sean, bringing your prize package up to a grand total of $2,046.25!

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    Obviously this is a picture of a cake.

    Congratulations Sarah! Email me and let me know where to send this stuff!  Y’all, Sarah teaches kindergarten. She needs the chocolate.

    * * * 

    So then, yes, I had a birthday a while back, hence the cake.  Had I been feeling well, there would not have been a half-eaten cake to photograph.

    I love to celebrate my birthday and do not understand those who do not.  I always celebrate my birthday because I want to make sure God knows how much I like and appreciate his gift of another year of life, no matter how many new lines it has brought to my face.  Having said that, today I offer a gentle reminder to my young readers who are not yet familiar with the business end of a pair of tweezers to look in the mirror and know that no matter how bad you think you look, ten years from now you will wish you looked as good. Trust me.

    Here now, my life flashed before your eyes.

    Photos Temporarily Unavailable

    And finally, I leave you with another shot Sean took recently, this one of me with Wivian and Papa Ed, the people who spawned me.  It kind of captures something about who we are and I really like it.  It makes me happy.

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