I’m just Mindy. It’s not short for anything. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s me. So, what else would I choose?
Well, you know I have to go to my Disney sisters first. Belle, Ariel and Aurora all have meaningful monikers, but they sound a little too prissy-Mc-princess pants for me. Esmeralda is lovely, especially for a hopeless wanderer, but the name is kind of a fluffy-bunny mouthful, right?
I could almost be on board with Merida, especially the way her mother says it.
But it’s not quite right. So, let’s go to literature. Desdemona, Isolde and Cressida promise epic beauty and drama that is so not real life. Elizabeth Bennet has always been one of my best loved characters and I’m drawn to Beth (for short). Short is apropos. And doesn’t Beth sound like a sweet, rock-steady soul?
I’ve also always loved Cara, Irish for “friend”, and Cora. Then there’s Eva, “life” in German. Or Teagan; this gem means “little poet” in Australia. Who wouldn’t want to be called that?
I’ll stick with Mindy/Mommy/Mo-om! for now. What about you? Is there another name you’d choose for you? Have you ever gifted a name with winsome meaning?
I. Dance. In this house, we all dance. It’s a law.
When the kids are mopey or grumpy gills, I tell them to shake out all of their ya yas. We dance in the grocery store. We dance in the car (Sit-dancing is an art. We should make it an Olympic sport.). Even Jeff’s shoulders will shimmy & shrug when the sillies strike.
When I dance, I feel like this:
And I probably look like this:
You can dance & laugh, dance & smooch, dance & happy cry. But you can’t dance & stress or dance & snarl or dance & argue.
Happy magnets flood your muscles, pushing and pulling joy on through.
What do you think? What do you do when you’re down?
My teensy Thanksgiving chair is in serious need of a warm up. I can’t remember the last time I sat still in gratitude. So, today’s the day. I’m settling in my chair, thankful for all of the friends who keep my heart cozy.
My husband Jeff wasn’t a runner when he registered for a marathon. I’m thankful for the friend who bet him to do it–and then coached him through the training and doubt and nipple stickers.
I’m thankful for my friend who followed Jeff’s race progress from across the country, grounded me in goodness and then video-chatted with a Texas-sized toast after he crossed the finish line.
I’m grateful for the friends who believe in starting bus sing-a-longs, post-midnight pajama dance parties and sangria breakfasts.
And what about the friends who notice things and, in a single snapshot, capture the best bits of your kiddos? Your favorite little pieces of life: boy fingernails, fresh freckles, untamed hair, airborne feet.
There are friends who are fountains, not drains. Friends who put your furniture in their truck and drive all the way out to the burbs for you. Friends who know what to say and when to pray. I’m so grateful for them today.
Any Needtobreathe tune. These gritty Southern ditties will feed your brain and rock your soul.
Boyz II Men’s Water Runs Dry. I know the step-snap choreography by heart and I’m not scared to use it.
The Nutcracker score has always put a twinkle in my toes, especially the haunting arches of The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. And a 2016 holiday remix of the piece composed a new magic that left me starstruck.
ANY Disney melody is an instant transport to my happy place. From movies to parades to attractions, they all make me cheese and wish for great big beautiful tomorrows.
The Harry Potter theme song illuminates all the fun our family has had getting sorted and launching our patronus charms into the universe.
But the songs that make me the happiest are the lullabies Tucker makes up for his little brother, when he thinks no one else is listening. The just off-key, just-right compositions that lull a busy little mind to sleep. Le sigh.
Of course I’d like to weigh less, stress less and screw up less. But, I’m kinda done with counting pounds like counting coins, done with the bitter way guilt ruins my favorite chocolate, done with equating everyone else’s triumphs to personal failures.
Instead, in 2017, I will eat more bacon. I’m already off to a brilliant start. And, sure, I’m going to run a little, too.
I want to be a difference maker (who doesn’t?) so, since Jan. 1, I’ve made my bed every. single. day. Game changer.
I’m going to write more. Even if it means posting a Table Topic Tuesday on a Wednesday.
I want to hug more. Some of you may crave personal dance space, but hugging is my love language. And there’s not much a hug can’t solve or soften. I’ve read to never unfold from a hug first; you never know how much the other person needs it. What a beautiful thing to practice.
In 2017, there’s a promise for more magic.
And I’m praying to be a better partner: at work, by my sister’s side and for my husband.
More than anything this year, I want to shift into first. Stay tuned for more on that.
My friend Natalie has 2017 goals, too:
For reals for reals…I want to stick with my blog. (Suprise! It’s the goal of every writer who has ever started a blog.) At least one post a week. Must write something other than ads.
I may cry tomorrow. Who am I kidding? I’m crying right now.
Tomorrow means another new school year. And this year, both of you will wear official uniforms.
It’s not your fault I’m crying. It’s those collared shirts, dagnabbit. Because they make you look so sure and ready and grown. And that makes me proud and tickled and teary.
We’ll need routine tomorrow and I don’t wear routine well. I’ll be down to minutes, rushing me, rushing you, sighing and apologizing for it. And Tucker—you’ll just smile and say, “That’s okay, Mommy.” And Case—I’ll do one small something, inside-out your socks for you, and you’ll say, “You’re the best Mommy ever.”
We’ll drop you off tomorrow, with fresh supplies and the shiny smiles of a new start. We’ll chat with your teachers and hug you and hug you again. We’ll walk away from the classroom door and…
Which *other* culture would I choose to be born into?
I’m 1/4th Italian which makes me a maestro in the culture, right? Magari!
First, there’s the language. It’s the love language. The language of the Renaissance and revival. If wine is bottled poetry, Italian is that wine uncorked. Each voluptuous sentence seems to promise love or music or the best pasta you’ve ever put in your mouth.
Calabria, Napoli. Gelato. Every Italian word tastes so good. Roll them between your cheeks. Just look at all of these vowels!
And I love that Italian is not just the words that fall out of their lips. Italians feel each syllable all the way to their clenched, shaking fists. No matter what they’re saying (and unless it’s “cannoli” or “vino” I have no idea what they’re saying) it all sounds like kiss, kiss, hug, hug, let’s all go have dinner, have a smooch and have a nap. And that’s one happy serenade.
Speaking of happy, look at the paper scraps of passion blanketing the Wall of Love in Verona. Here, lovers leave letters a la Romeo & Juliet.
Shakespeare. Sentiment. Si.
And Italy is a coastal country, too. I’m a Pisces, so the sea sings to me. This particular pink beach, on the shore of Sardinia, is crooning my name (in Italian).
Can you smell that briny-thick breeze? I imagine Italy smells like love, the sun-soaked Mediterranean mingles with whole plump garlic cloves bathing in hot golden oil, interlaced with almond, bergamot, cedar wood and vanilla. Plus pizza.
It’s just a yummy culture. But nothing is more lovely than this little nugget. An Italian mantra. Delicious idleness. Sweet doing nothing.
What a magical old expression.
Now you need to hear from my friends.
If I could be born into another culture it would have to be in ancient Rome during its prime. You know, when Rome was referred to as an empire. This is how dinner party conversation would go:
“Where are you from? Oh, Wikachichi Florida you say… How interesting. I hear about that city often where I’m from. Where is that you ask? Oh. I was born in an empire. Yup. An empire. Just across the pond. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it. The Roman Empire. You have heard of it! How splendid. It’s pretty great as far as empires go. If you’ve never visited an empire before, you must… They are deviiiiine.”
Then I’d take a long sip of my wine from my goblet as I touch their cheek gently with the back side of my hand, and walk away.
Other examples of dinner party quotables include:
“I have heard Wrigley Field is wonderful. Is it anything like the Colosseum or the Circus Maximus? You know, I saw a man riding a lion fight a bear there.”
“How was your Bar class this am? What! The AC was out!? Ooooh sounds rough. Well, I have Gladiator Training School this evening so I better get going!”
“This meal looks delicious… But I typically don’t dine at the table. I prefer to eat all my meals lying down on a couch.”
But best of all, the Romans made wearing a bed sheet out in public totally ok. These guys could get out of bed, wrap the sheet around them that they just slept in, throw on some flip flops and hit the town. The toga is like the elegant snuggie of yore. Plus, you can insta-nap everywhere. You’re wearing half a bed already.
Do you understand how many discussions I’d have to have with HR if I showed up to work in a bed sheet? Let alone the discussion about why I have a branch wrapped around my head like I’m king of the wood elves.
Which other culture would you choose to be born into?
I could say I’d like to be born into royalty. I’ve always liked laying around and doing nothing and imagine a staff of subjects, including a Court Jester, would be pretty baller. But, there would be no Netflix; the Court Jester would be my Netflix. (*Ponders writing a pilot about a Court Jester thrown into today’s culture. *Is immediately distracted by 37 episodes of 30 Rock.) Netflix is better than a Court Jester. Next.
I could say I’d like to be born into whatever culture it was that Shakespeare was doing his thing in. Seeing a Shakespeare performance with Billy in the audience would be like seeing Kendrick Lamar at SXSW in 2009 or something. I also just made a Shakespeare-Kendrick comparison and I think I should be commended for that. But, there are probably 4 or 5 really good Shakespeare options on Netflix and I wouldn’t have to wear a funny hat and pantaloons; I could wear basketball shorts and decided whether or not to change underwear that day. Netflix is better than Shakespeare.
I could say I’d like to be born into that culture Wood Allen captured in Midnight in Paris… the imaginary culture Owen Wilson traveled to, not like the ‘trying to sell a screenplay’ culture he actually lived in. It’d be dope to get first edition copies of Hemingway and Fitz’s books and go around to jazz clubs wearing busboy hats. I think I could do well in that culture… I look really good in those hats. But, Midnight In Paris will probably be on Netflix at some point… or at least HBOGo. Netflix is better than Paris.
Do you realized how amazing Netflix is? For like $10 you can watch ANYTHING. Ok, ok, the movies aren’t great, but at the push of an Apple TV button you can watch thousands of episodes of TV about ANY CULTURE EVER and you don’t have to be around people, you can eat food in your boxers, WHATEVER FOOD YOU WANT FROM ANY CULTURE.
I choose the Netflix culture. That is my culture of choice.
French Culture, and here’s (mainly) why:
1) French food. And I’m not just talking about expensive French restaurant faire; I mean just legit, amazing food. Have you ever had peaches from France in the summer? Amazing. Fresh baguettes and brie for lunch? Awesome. And let’s not forget the out-of-this-world pastries. But overall, the French culture has a different relationship with food. They don’t consume to be satiated; they consume with a love of the process and a passion for using fresh and homemade ingredients to create the finished product. In turn, they don’t have to worry about “eating healthy” because it just happens.
2) Urge to Explore. I think this is true for a lot more European countries vs the US, but there seems to be a stronger drive to travel and experience cultures different from your own. I was working with a young French producer one time and one of her goals was to move to China in the next year because she wanted to live somewhere where she didn’t speak the language. I thought that was pretty cool, and something I can’t imagine my friends here saying.
3) Quality of Life. Maybe it’s the all the wine, but the French seem to just have a more relaxed culture. Less worrying, more sitting at tables well after a meal is finished just to talk and connect. Sure, they still have stress with their jobs, families and have money issues just like the rest of us, but the French culture seems to operate with more of a “glass half full” mentality—maybe because it’s half full of champagne.