Reward if Found

I didn't know it was missing, until I realized it was gone. Has anyone seen my sense of humor?

Just another theory

Kathy Fowler of WJLA TV - ABC News 7 here in DC reported on a new disorder yesterday named, "Sleep Eating."

These people go to bed with a refrigerator full of food, only to wake up and discover they've eaten a frozen turkey while they were sleeping.

"Frantic, uncontrolled eating in the middle of the night, while you're still sleeping. Millions of Americans sleep eat. A person can have several episodes in one night and not remember a thing."

What's up with this? Is this just another excuse for over-eating? Do any of you suffer from an as-yet-undiagnosed eating disorder?

I'm addicted to mini-M&M's. I just can't. say. NO! What would I call that? What would you call that?

The twilight zone

The alarm rang at 5:45 a.m. I hit snooze, dozed for 15 minutes, and the clock went off again at 6:00 a.m. Very routine - this scene occurs every weekday morning.

So imagine my surprise, when I rolled on my mattress to look at the time, aware that the room was bright and toasty warm, to see the numbers 9:24 flash before my eyes. (INSERT HERE: The scene from Home Alone when Macauley Culkin splashes after shave on his face).

I woke up convinced it was Saturday and arrived to work 3 hours late. I've never done that before.

It's just going to be one of those days!


The master and the apprentice

I commiserate with Luke Skywalker.

In 1st grade, I was terrified to string a series of original words together. I preferred to copy out of a book or to use my parents' suggestions. By the 4th grade, I dreaded the creative writing class that occurred once a week, replacing reading comprehension lessons.

I was fearless in the face of many assignments - make me diagram a phrase on the chalkboard in front of 30 classmates (no sweat), ask me to identify the theme of a short story (piece of cake), assign ten pages to copy as a penmanship exercise (a snap).

But invite me to create a scene that's all my own - to create a character and put him or her or them in a setting of my choosing and then make them do something? It was so overwhelming, the choices, the decisions, the assignment was daunting. I would agonize over how to start, how to end, where to go, what to name. It was too much!

I'd slide low in my seat, praying- begging- negotiating with God that I'd do ANYTHING if Mrs. Squawker would pick the student in front of me, beside me, or behind me instead.

This dread feeling stayed with me through elementary school (I can't write), through junior high (when there's always the one girl in class who steps up and claims the title "writer" for herself - surely there can be only one), through high school (my aunt would harass me to stop filling my journals with nonsense and encourage me to write for the school paper or the church newsletter or an award-winning first novel) and into college.

Until a work-study job had me mail tear-sheets of the student newspaper to advertisers. I read the drivel the student writers published day-in-day-out and spent my 3 work-study hours criticizing every article on every page. My supervisor bet me that I couldn't do better. Never one to back down from a challenge, I accepted (well.... I was a poor college student and it was easy money in my eyes).

I wrote. I was published. I was proud. I was in awe that I'd wasted so much time worrying about how I'd ever string together the right words to create something someone else could read and understand. Now don't get me wrong - it wasn't Pulitzer Prize winning material, it wasn't great, hell- it wasn't even very good. But it was a start.

Now, almost 14 years later, I spend most of my waking hours writing. I fill the blank pages of journals, the virtual page of the internet, and meet deadlines for work everyday.

This is where Obi Wan comes in - my brilliant editor. Every time I feel a little high and mighty, like I've reached that mythical point where there's nothing left to edit, she swings, she hits and I fall back down where I belong. It's a humbling experience. But I learn more from her than I ever did from classes or the writing books that line the reference section of Barnes and Noble.

I hope you all find a wise Jedi knight to guide your way. The person who reminds you of your strengths, while pointing out your faults. May the force be with you!

And then I read someone like the brilliant Jules and hope that someday I'll come up with something half as good.


Clearing the fog

Last night I watched Donnie Darko for the first time. It wasn't what I expected at all. I enjoyed it - a lot - though I hadn't the foggiest idea what the film was about. Was the rabbit a figment of his imagination or a person? Did he really travel through time or was it all a dream? What was the point of Drew Barrymore's character?

I reacted this same way to one other film - 2001: A Space Odyssey. I've seen this movie so many times and always come away feeling like there's a towel over my head. The cinematography is fantastic, the score is wonderful, but I still have no idea what it's about. Who is the baby at the end of the film?

Does anyone want to shed some light on my confusion? Do any of you have any theories or ideas about the meaning of these films? Am I being dense?


What is happiness?

What makes you happy? What would make you happy? How do you know when you're happy?

How do you define happiness?


Hap' pi ness noun 1. favored by circumstances; lucky; fortunate 2. having, showing, or causing a feeling of great pleasure, contentment, joy, etc.; pleased 3. exactly appropriate to the occasion, suitable and clever; apt; gratification; felicitous.

Last night, the phone rang as I tossed and turned in bed, trying to fall asleep. For all of 5 seconds, I considered letting the caller go to voicemail, but then thought "I can't sleep anyway so I may as well see who it is." Phone calls after midnight were once a common occurrence. But not anymore. Not lately.

It was an old college friend of mine. He'd been out with clients, gallivanting in NYC causing all sorts of mayhem, and decided a late-night-dialie would be the best way to end the evening.

We spent an hour talking about ... happiness. Was I happy? Was he happy? Did our work make us happy? What was happy? He reminded me that I was so far removed from where I thought I'd be today. So far.

I remember climbing the three flights of stairs to the top apartment of a townhouse I shared with my best friend. Well, climbing is the neat and tidy version... crawling is probably more accurate. I'd enter the railroad apartment, turn right into the spacious living room and collapse on the ratty blue loveseat. Four hours later the sunlight streaming through the bay window would pierce my eyelids. I'd become aware of a dull ache that would soon turn into a jackhammer throbbing headache.

By 9:00 a.m. I'd be seated in front of a computer monitor, reading an email detailing the evening's upcoming activities, popping Advil like candy and drinking from a super tall paper cup filled with steaming hot coffee. I'd think that there had to be more to life than going out to bars with friends, party hopping, then showing up at work each morning to do "nothing important" only to collect a pay check that I'd spend on rent, student loans and going out with friends. I enjoyed going out, getting calls, being a serial dater, labeled the social director, but I'd be really happy when I finally got the opportunity to do meaningful work.

Now I do meaningful work. I work a lot - no more 9 - 5 (10 - 4) hours. I paid my dues and now love what I do. But last night I was thinking, gee I want to shake things up. Enter the vortex of chaos again. I'd be really happy if I could get the crew together again and go out on the town the way we used to. We had so much FUN! I was so happy back then.

And then he reminded me that I hadn't been. I kept longing for the routine life I have now.

Is happiness real or a figment? Do we have vague impressions of what happiness is? Or is it just me? Will I ever be satisfied?

Which brings me back to - what is happiness? Maybe it's just a moment. A moment of clarity... a moment of sharing... a moment of being loved unconditionally... a moment of feeling the wind whip your hair back, your stomach drop, the speed of the ride you're on turn your body this way and that. Maybe it's not a state of mind, or a life condition.

Maybe I need to settle for the moment that pops up every now and then, instead of the state of being I've been striving towards. Or maybe some people just aren't capable of being happy. Ever.