Tuesday, November 9, 2010


My daughter Olivia has an imaginary friend. His name is Tup. He has been her imaginary friend for years, and the whole family has grown to like him quite a bit.

I have always thought it would be fun to write a story about Tup, so I started one awhile ago. I didn't get very far into the story because I realized that it was very possible that at the end of my story, Tup would no longer be needed and would 'disappear'. I don't like sad endings, but couldn't figure out how to make it anything but a cliched end...

Tup will now probably be the only imaginary friend on the planet whose creator (Olivia) is kept alive forever because of his creator's mother (me).

Every November 23rd (Tup's "birthday") I will probably remind Olivia about her friend Tup and how we used to make "Tup-cakes" to celebrate his happy day. (true story)

Sad how I like her friend so much. Can't decide yet if it is creepy-sad, or just get-a-life sad...


Here is part of the story I wrote about Tup. It isn't long at all, and ends short, but now you can know more about him and maybe hope he doesn't 'disappear' someday too. :)


In the way back corner of the mind of a child, something sparkled. It grew and took shape. It changed, it laughed, it danced. It came to be.

The life of an imaginary friend is not always a long one. Sometimes the life is fleeting. A life that is there for only a matter of days, until the child whose imagination created it moves on to other objects of fascination. Usually objects that have actual physical substance. Objects that can be held and touched, like a teddy bear or a blanket.

And sometimes the life of an imaginary friend, while still not long in terms of human life, will last for a few short years. An invisible being who is allowed to enjoy the ups and downs and all around chaos that rules in the everyday life of a child.

Occasionally an imaginary friend will be lucky enough to be created in the mind of a child who always believes. Always remembers. Those imaginary friends are around the child for a lifetime, from its creation until both the child and the friend pass together from mortality. Bonded together by love and comfort that no one outside their circle really understands.

One such imaginary friend burst into its version of reality in the mind of a small girl named Olivia. Olivia had a very vivid imagination, for which the new friend was happy, and she quickly decided that her friend was a boy named Tup.

In four-year-old Olivia's mind, Tup is the ideal boyfriend. He brings flowers and always says kind things to her. He is there whenever she needs him, and he doesn't mind when she gets distracted and doesn't think about him for awhile. After all, a four-year-old is constantly growing and moving and changing. It is hard work growing up, and sometimes things that are important to them are put aside for a moment until they remember to slow down a little and not forget those who they love.

Tup had no complaints. He knew that Olivia was special and that he was very lucky indeed to have been created in such a child. He felt honored to be classed as a member of the family, and was equally grateful that her parents and siblings encouraged her imagination--even going so far as to making him a real birthday cake on the date that Olivia declared was his birthday.

Tup sat quietly in the corner of Olivia's room and watched as she colored on the bright paper with crayons. He smiled as he watched her draw a picture of herself, ponytails and pink ribbons and a triangle shaped body. A warm fuzzy feeling grew in his heart as he watched her draw him standing next to her. His eyes in her drawing were two very different sizes. He had color and substance in the drawing instead of the vague impressions of his reality.

Olivia suddenly looked up and turned toward him.

"Tup, what color do you want your shirt?"

"What color would look best?" Tup's eyes sparkled with good humor.

"I think today you would look your very best in blue." Olivia turned back to her crayons and started to reach for the cornflower blue. She paused. "No, I think maybe green." She grabbed the dark green from the box and frowned in concentration as she colored the square shape that was his shirt.

"Green is a good choice, Olivia." Tup walked over to stand beside Olivia.

"Thank you Tup." Olivia smiled, but didn't look up from her paper.

After a few more minutes of coloring, Olivia tilted her head and scrutinized her drawing. Her eyes squinted in concentration and then she finally held the drawing up towards Tup and looked at him questioningly.

"I'm done now. Do you like it?"

Tup leaned over her shoulder and looked at the picture. He tilted his head and pretended to study it deeply, his arms crossed and his finger tapping his chin.

"I do believe it is your best work yet, Olivia." He announced, and felt a warm tingle as he was rewarded by her brilliant smile.

"Thank you, Tup." Olivia jumped up and walked out of her room, fully expecting Tup to follow. "I am going to hang this on the fridge so everyone will see."

"That is a very good idea." Tup watched as Olivia stretched up on her tiptoes to reach the poodle shaped magnet she would need to stick her drawing to the fridge.....

Friday, November 5, 2010


When you go on a trip and are driving across country, past towns you've never heard of or cities that you would usually not consider visiting, do you ever look at the homes and wonder what the lives of the people who live there are like? What they do for a living? What struggles they have? If they like living in the middle of nowhere?

Maybe it's just me.

I'll see people out in their yards and wonder if we would be friends if I knew them. Or I wonder what it would be like to change places with them for just a moment--not the "Freaky Friday" way, but just enough to get an insight on what someone else is going through.

I will drive through Idaho and past small farming communities during the Christmas holiday season and wonder what the people in that little farmhouse that you can see from the freeway will be doing on Christmas morning.

That would be my ideal "fly-on-the-wall" situation...to just be able to observe strangers in their homes with their families. To get insight on their joys and their struggles. To see if they are as crazy as the general populace, or if they are unique.

Of course, I wonder about people as I pass them on the freeway just driving around town too.

I realized today that although I might be driving my husband to the airport at 6 a.m., most people in the cars around me are headed for work. But they probably think that is where my husband and I are going too. They don't know we are airport bound.

Or when I was being driven to the hospital for my cancer surgery I remember watching the cars pass and thinking that no one knew I had breast cancer and was going in for a mastectomy. They have their own lives and probably don't give two thoughts to the people they are driving by.

Have you ever thought about this kind of stuff?

If you had your choice of three people to go and be a 'fly-on-their-wall', who would you choose? Would you choose a celebrity, a mentor, a homeless person? How do you think it would change your perspective on life in general if you could have that moment of complete understanding of someone else's life? Would it change you?

Hmm. Interesting.

I would choose someone who gives all the appearance of having a fabulous life first. Perfectly behaved kids, sweet husband, etc. No one can be that fabulous behind their own doors all the time, can they? I would be hoping to either see her secret for this fabulous life so I could emulate some of it, or I would be hoping to see a bit of a meltdown so that I would know that she is as normal as the rest of us but hides it better.

Next I would choose one of those random farmhouses in Idaho. Mainly to ease my curiosity and imagination. I wouldn't expect any great revelation except to see that they are normal people with a house that happens to be seen easily by I-84 traffic.

And last, hmm. I am not sure. A homeless person would give me more empathy. A celebrity would probably do the same thing, but I could turn around and help a homeless person. I don't think a celebrity would be that interested in 'help' from someone who has an Average Joe lifestyle.

I will have to think on that last one. Maybe your ideas will give me a better idea of who to use that 3rd fly on. So post comments and let me know. Pretty please. :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Jane Austen Thoughts

I am going to just start typing and see where it takes me. If it doesn't make sense to you don't worry. It isn't making sense to me either. Even in my head. And usually the blog in my head is fantastic. :)

All blog thought started this week when I started thinking about Jane Austen....

As you can tell by the graphic on my blog, I am a Jane Austen fan. (Well, more specifically a Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy Pride & Prejudice fan...but I like all things Austen too..)

Jane Austen has brought women all over the world--from all walks of life, all ages, etc. etc.--together with the shared love of a good story, a brooding hero and a spunky heroine.

I have a friend who is probably the biggest Colin Firth fan around. She and I were just acquaintances until the Sunday she taught a lesson and managed to throw out an obscure Pride & Prejudice quote. I am fairly certain I was the only one in the room who caught the line, and after class I talked with her about it and we have been good friends ever since.

A&E's version of Pride & Prejudice has made it so anyone who has seen it multiple times will immediately know the scene if someone simply says, "On foot?" But anyone who can pull off throwing Austen-speak into a Sunday school lesson...well, that is something special. :)

This friend of mine had a birthday a while ago, and to celebrate she and a bunch of other women in our neighborhood got together to watch the new British version of Emma. It was good. It was a bit disconcerting for me to watch though, because partway through the movie my head started comparing Austen characters to real-life people and I distracted myself.

So here is where my brain wants to work through this really well. It is trying. I hope this comes out coherently...

I've decided that for the most part, a lot of women who read Jane Austen or watch movies based on her novels have chosen favorite characters and wish that their life would imitate her art. At least a little.

Most women who are Austen fans wish their significant other had a little bit of Darcy's presence. Maybe a little bit of Bingley's charm. Perhaps some of Mr. Knightly's common sense. And we really, really hope that he has no resemblance whatsoever to Mr. Collins. :)

Most women who are Austen fans probably wish they were a little more like Elizabeth (witty, bold, and thought to be one of the prettiest girls in the county), and perhaps a little less like Emma (although pretty, she tends to be more like the rest of us--speaking before thinking, accidentally hurting other's feelings, being a little bit flighty and self-centered)

I guess that is what a good writer hopes to accomplish. Having the reader be able to put themselves into the heroine/hero part without thinking about it. Being able to relate to some, if not all of the story and characters.

I know I have a 'Mrs. Bennett' in my acquaintance.

I know women who have characteristics of Jane Bennett. Elizabeth is a bit more of an enigma, but some of her traits can be seen in some of my friends.

I DO know men like Mr. Collins. Happily, my husband isn't one of them.

My mom doesn't like Jane Austen books. She knows they are British and reads them as haughty. I think she would like the humor if she would 86 the accent. :)

Anyway. That's my rambling on Jane and her characters for today. I hope that if I ponder on this any longer, that I will pinpoint some of the character qualities that I wish I had personally and try to work on them.

Or maybe I will just start speaking in a bad British accent...that might be easier.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Just a conversation to share :)

Here is how the mind works in the children of this family...follow along with their conversation they had with me while driving home from some random activity this past summer:

Kady(age 17): "Mom, I have no clothes. They are all too small or not good for summer. We need to go shopping."

Victoria (age 12): "Yeah. What she said."

Kady: "See? We all need clothes. You can take Victoria and me shopping. Otherwise we will have no clothes at all and will have to go to school naked."

Victoria: "Yeah."

JD (age 10--popping off from the backseat of the car): "If they had 'Naked Day' at school, I don't think I would like it very much."

Kady: "JD!"

Victoria: "There are definitely some kids who wouldn't look good naked."

JD: "I was thinking that it would be bad to see the naked teachers."

Me (age old): "Maybe 'Naked Day' would actually be a good thing to help with obesity in children. We'd hear them say "Dang, 'Naked Day' is coming up in just a couple of months..I'd better go work out and stop hitting the vending machines instead of eating lunch."

Husband: "Maybe we should stop talking about 'Naked Day'."

Party pooper. ;)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Voting Day

Today is Election Day. I have already done my civic duty and voted this morning. Some Republican, some Democrat.

One thing always sticks out for me when I vote... I never study the judges enough to have a clue as to whether I think they should stay in or be voted out. I tell myself every year when I leave the polling booth that "next time you will read those over better and go in with an idea of who shouldn't be there anymore."

I don't ever, ever listen to myself.

All I remember is that most of them seemed to have pretty high ratings.

And I feel a bit silly hearing the beep of the voting station as I just hurry through and click 'yes' on all of the judges. It seems to shout out that I am not very informed and am just having a really good time pushing the screen button.

Another thing I re-learn at election time is that I wish I had a better head for politics. I have a few convictions. I am not good at voicing political opinions I have. I wonder if I practice that if I would get better, or if I would still know that somewhere back in my brain I have a fantastic rebuttal to something someone has just said...but I can't for the life of me remember exactly what that rebuttal would be. I have a tendency to mix metaphors and juxtapose stories so that instead of two really good points, I make one half-baked crazy sauce point.

I'd be really good at making points for the opposing team. Whichever team that may be at the moment.

I would love to be able to hold up my end of a political conversation. I would love to sound as informed as Glenn Beck--love him or hate him, the man knows his stuff and he loves his country.

Plus he disses Joy Behar which is fun to hear. [She is a bitter woman. How can she stand to be that unhappy all the time?]

Doug would like to be involved in politics. He would be fantastic at anything like that. When he mentions it, I try so very hard to keep it all about him and not swing it my direction..i.e. "I can't be a _____'s wife. People will ask me questions. I will have to have my brain working faster than my tongue--which has never happened in my entire life. I will have to look composed and "with it"...crap."

I guess I should just start my 2011 resolutions now...1. Study the issues and get an opinion set enough that you can vocalize it in a social situation, but not be so stuck on it that you can't understand both sides. (I didn't say agree with both sides--just understand them).

It is a darn good thing people are told to avoid talking religion and politics in social situations. Maybe I will be okay...

I also need to start listening to myself. If I don't, I might miss out on hearing myself say something really awesome in 2011. That would be sad.

Go vote.

God Bless America. :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hints and Clues...and NaNoWriMo

Here are some hints and clues I have learned or observed recently that might make your life easier to navigate. I wish I had paid more attention to the learned part before the learning had to take place. (Kind of a 'learn from my mistakes' thing):

1. If you start out a conversation with your husband "I did something today, but if it makes you mad I can fix it.", you probably realized at some point during the doing of the thing that your husband might not approve. Like getting sucked into a door-to-door salesman's pitch for the first time in years and then, yes, after having the conversation with your husband having to go and cancel agreements before the '3-day rule' expires. Basically, if you know you will probably have this conversation, tell the salesman "No". Saves time, hassle, and marital bliss.

2. You can wish and hope and pray, but in the end if you don't eat more healthy and be more active there will come a day when "sucking it in" is no longer an option. And with that, holding your breath while standing on a scale at the doctor's office will NOT make you lighter.

3. When keeping your appointments on a calendar, you must LOOK at the calendar to make sure you don't miss anything. Just writing it down does not automatically make you remember what you have going on...which is why you wrote it down in the first place. I could give too many examples of this, so instead I will just move on...

4. Things to not forget in order to feel like you are a decent parent: 1. Tooth Fairy, 2. Early-out days at school, 3. Tooth Fairy. (seems like such a small thing, but seriously...if you have ever been awakened by the sad face of a kid who thinks the tooth fairy forgot them...I'm just saying, don't forget that one. Trust me...)

5. Blogging only works if you publish what you write. I have about a dozen unfinished blogs all waiting patiently for me to either finish or delete. Since it has been since April that I have posted, I need to work harder on this one.

6. If you facebook, don't post profile photos that make you look unnaturally thinner than you look in real life. (key word: unnaturally) I have some fb friends who have done that and it is borderline creepy looking. If you are heavier, rejoice in the extra you. ;) That said, I haven't changed my profile photo for a long time because I don't have any "good" pictures of me. Which translated means "makes me look thinner". Guess I will have to actually lose weight to get that kind of photo. Dang it.

I really hope that is enough insight to give for now. I'm starting to depress myself. :)

On a side note, I've decided to join the NaNoWriMo this month. Which means I am going to start today from scratch and write for 30 days through this month of November to complete a 50,000 word novel. It won't be good. The point is to just write. No editing, etc. This is a "get 'er done" type challenge. If it ends up decent, December will be my go back and edit month. We'll see how it goes.

It might be that I'll come back and add a #7...Don't try to write 50,000 words when kids won't even let you use the bathroom without suddenly needing something and pounding on the door. Guess I might be having some late night write fests.

I'll let you know how it goes. :)