Blog Quest: Today Makes 1 Month

It’s my BLOGIVERSARY! One month ago to this exact date I finally overcame my fear of the unknown and started a wordpress account as a tool to help me become more consistent with writing and to share funny, inspirational, or guiding moments of life.

Thank you to the people who inspired and motivated me to start, thank you to those that email or check on me face to face to make sure I’m staying consistent, thank you to all my followers who read, like, comment and also motivate me to keep sharing and to keep getting better and better. Especially those of you who are enjoying the Mom Moments. I’m grateful that I’ve been given the opportunity to get to know her as I never have before (I’ll write more about the whys and hows of all that eventually). She’s is a beautiful woman with a huge heart who says the most hilarious things ❤️.

One Way to Teach a Kid About Karma

My foster mom used to put a sign-up list on the refrigerator each day of chores that needed to be done. She always had 5 or 10 things on the list so that we could sign up evenly for 1 to 2 chores.

The rule was that none of us got to play or do anything we wanted to do until the dinner chores were done (chores where in addition to clean up that was required after every meal: clearing table/washing drying dishes/sweeping/mopping if needed) and then our chores list was completed.  As I became older, I couldn’t even leave to go on a date unless my chores were completed.

Having us sign up for chores was like tossing a pork chop to a pack of hungry dogs.

As soon as the school bus turned onto our street each girl would be packed up, we would make eye contact that said, “you’re going down today!”, our legs would be in the aisle ready to jump up and run down the narrow path with no care to anyone who might get bumped along the way as we raced to be first out of the gate—I mean bus doors.

I don’t remember, but I’m sure a few of us pushed or tripped a sister out of the way now and then to ensure being first across the finish line—I mean to the refrigerator. 

First one to the list meant first to sign up for the easiest chores, first one finished with chores, and first to go play.

We usually worked well as a team to get dinner dishes done so we could hurry and start our list.  But then a new girl moved in, let’s call her Fancy Nails.  She was an okay girl except when doing dishes, and somehow she always seemed to end up with the washing assignment and man SHE WAS SLOOOOOW.

Fancy Nails had half inch to inch long natural nails, and she always worried about breaking or chipping them. She would pinch a dish or utensil with two fingers of one hand and pinch the dish rag with two fingers of the other hand and slowly wash each dish that way taking over an hour to get it all done. 

Most girls can relate to concern over the fingernails, but Fancy Nails lived with 4 tomboys who found outdoor play time more important than fretting over nails.

The more she cut into our play time, the more we resented Fancy Nails. Something had to be done. 

Fancy Nails was a deep sleeper so one night I clipped her nails. 

I know, that’s not nice, and that’s exactly what my foster dad said when he noticed the bedroom light on after we all should have been long asleep and decided to check on us. He found me hovering over Fancy Nails in her sleep, trying to clip each nail without waking her.

“What are you doing?” he asked from the door way.

“I’m tired of her taking up all our free time because she doesn’t want to break a nail,” I whispered still trying not to wake her.

“Is that smart?” He asked. I was surprised that he wasn’t scolding me or grounding me.

“She needs to speed up. We are all tired of her,” I justified, “I’m just the only one who will do something about it.”

“What do you think she will do when she sees her nails have been cut?” Great question Daddy. I knew she would be mad, but hadn’t thought much more beyond that. 

He added something like, “She hasn’t lived with us long and we don’t know much about her. What if she’s violent? What if she gets so angry she tries to hurt you while you sleep? We haven’t had her long enough to know how she will handle it. I would be hiding anything that could be used to hurt me if I were you.”

My clever feeling was instantly replaced by “Oh, CRAP.” I abandoned the mission and got in bed leaving Fancy Nails with 2 long nails.
Daddy turned the light out and I tried to sleep but I couldn’t. I was no longer worried about play time, but about all the ways she might hurt me.

The next day, Fancy Nails got up, went to school, came home,and did dishes a little bit faster, but she never mentioned her clipped nails. I’d expected her to be angry and or to tattle.

“I think she’s okay with it,” I told my foster dad. “She’s acting like nothing happened. Maybe she doesn’t care.”

“I don’t know,” he said. “She really took care of those nails. I can’t believe she doesn’t care. What if she’s one of those people who stay quiet until they get revenge?”

I’m older so now I know what Daddy did here. No punishment could teach me a lesson like the paranoia he put in my head wondering what Fancy Nails would do to exact her revenge. 

Sharing a room with Fancy Nails, I don’t think I slept well for 2 or 3 weeks. Anytime she moved in her sleep, I startled awake thinking she was coming for me. Anytime she helped set the table for dinner, I worried that she put something in my drink or food. When I helped her with dishes and saw her working on the sharp object I put distance between us.

To this day, I don’t know if Fancy Nails ever said anything about the clipping. Sometimes I wonder if she knew how paranoid my foster dad made me and played along. I know I was much nicer to her and eventually I started sleeping better. I don’t think I completely dropped my guard though until she moved on to live with her family again.

Waiting For Inspiration?

At first look this quote by Chuck Close, a very talented and revered artist of our time, is a put off.

It definitely made quite a few of my optimistic, full of life, and motivating Facebook friends march full force on my page, RIDE OR DIE,  to prove the case for inspiration and how EVERYBODY needs it.

I get that. At first look, I want to resist this quote too, but that’s not what this is about. It’s not saying inspiration is bad. It’s not saying people don’t benefit from inspiration. It’s more about showing up and doing the work.

Have you ever met a painter that can only paint when inspired? A writer who can only write in the perfect setting-a perfect desk, in a specific room under a certain light with specific music. To hit a bit closer to home, what about a blogger than can only post new content under specific conditions?

Most of us can think of someone. Right now, as far as blogging, think of me. I’m a bit inconsistent since I started a month ago, but I’m working on getting better.

Since starting this blog, I’ve watched a lot of ‘How to’ videos paying  most attention to the people with huge followings like Michael Hyatt. In his video about growing a following, his advice made me think of Chuck Close’s quote. Actually, in most of the videos one tip is recurring–Consistency and process. Showing up and creating–No matter what.

Michael talks about how even after years of blogging he sometimes feels that he has run out of ideas or things to write about, but when he just starts writing. . . about anything, he eventually finds his topic. That is not inspiration, it’s process. Michael is finding his inspiration through the process of showing up and doing the work.

That is essentially what Chuck Close means when he says “Inspiration is for amateurs–The rest of us just show up and get to work.”

He goes on to talk about artists he’s known who spend years planning and building the perfect studio to create in, but then what often happens is they start planning and building another newer, bigger studio. So much time is spent planning the perfect setting to create in, but not much is getting created.  Check out this article  for more information about Chuck Close and his take on creating.

This quote and interview has rooted in my mind since hearing it on NPR last month because I see how it applies to all aspects of life, whatever we have chosen to do or to create. What if a surgeon only did surgeries, or did his best work when he felt inspired? Think about it, if you are the one under that knife, that surgeon is expected to show up and do their best work no matter what’s going on in life.

This quote has begun to echo in my mind daily. When I’m at work and I feel myself dragging because I feel tired, sick, frustrated or uninspired I’ve started to tell myself “Inspiration is for amateurs–Just get it done.”

When I’m home and I’m avoiding sitting down to write because I can’t figure out how I want to approach a topic. “Inspiration is for amateurs–Just start writing.”

When I’m not in the mood, let’s face it–I’m not perfect and sometimes I’m just tired or want to do my own thing, but my stepsons need my help with a project or just want to talk. “Inspiration is for amateurs–Just be there.”

I hope that by reminding myself regularly, I become more consistent in all that I chose to do.

What do you think?


Mom’s Obsession With 3-D Glasses

My mom is easy to make happy. Brunch, dinner, shopping (window shopping), a movie or  a new plant will usually make her day. Every now and then we make time some of this and have a mother/daughter date.

Her favorite thing to do is watch a good movie. You can count on her to go watch a movie with you when no one else wants to go. Especially if it’s 3-D. She loves everything 3-D so much that  she is always planning for the day that we get a 3-D television.

By planning, I mean she hoards the movie theater glasses. I cannot for the life of me get her to put those glasses in the recycle bin. Her first argument is that we paid for them so we need to keep them. Her next argument is, “Mí híja! We need them for when we get a 3-D TV!”

“But mom, if we buy a 3-D TV, it will come with glasses.” I try to reason, “They don’t all work the same, just put them in the recycle bin.”

Mom gets angry every time I try to get her to give up those glasses. She bought them and she’s keeping them.

Now if I were to tell my friend Kaye Kaye about the 3-D glasses issue, she’d say, “Come on Sylvia, if it makes her happy, what’s wrong with letting her keep the glasses.”

Kaye Kaye always makes good sense and it’s the advice she gave when mom wanted to fill the house and yard with fake plants a few years ago. I gave in on that one, and surprisingly she got tired of the fake plants and learned to care of real ones. So maybe 3-D glasses won’t be a problem, right?

One day, we headed out for one of our mother/daughter outings. As soon as we left the driveway, our usual conversation began.

“What are we doing mom?”

She drives and shrugs, “I don’t know, mí híja, what do you want to do?”

I decide, “Let’s eat first. What do you want to eat?”

Another shrug, “What do YOU want to eat?”

If you’ve ever been on a date you know this conversation. It’s not one I expect to have with mom, but maybe this conversation is not limited to just boyfriends and girlfriends.

This time the conversation was different, though, because mom kept getting distracted from the normal script with complaints about her eyes.

“I think I need to see a doctor mí híja. My eyes are hurting me today.”

I ask “How so?” As I stare out the passenger window looking for a restaurant that might appeal to our different tastes.

“Everything looks different. Do you see something you want to eat?”

Not yet.

“What about a buffet?” She asks. Mom loves an all you can eat buffet. She’s 4.9 inches tall. A little tiny woman, but a buffet is like a challenge to her. She’ll put down 3 or 4 plates in less than an hour, and somehow still stay tiny. It may be that she grew up so soon after our country was recovering from the great depression, but mom was raised to get her money’s worth out of everything. At a buffet, that means you get your value by eating way more than what they expect you to.

“No, I don’t want to eat that much right now.” I say and then I listen to another complaint her eyes.

I’m not sure if it was the third or forth complaint about her eyes that finally made me look at her, but when I finally turned to really look at her… I yelled.


“WHAT?!? What? What’s wrong?” She yells.

“Mom, these aren’t sunglasses! They are 3-D glasses!”

So fixing mom’s vision was pretty easy. We just had to take the 3-D glasses off. We still go on mother/daughter outings, and I still can’t get her to recycle 3-D glasses. I don’t even argue anymore, I just make sure I’m driving, and if she’s about to drive somewhere alone we just double check those glasses.  Hopefully, she doesn’t confuse them for shades again, but if you ever find yourself driving around in the Georgia/Florida area—Be careful. She’s out there.