Sicky McSickerson

No, I don't have swine flu, but thanks for asking (everyone does).
I've been sick for a few days, which has been a lovely haze of steamy hot tea, pseudophedrine (Sudafed, I love you! You make me feel like a superhero!), and randomly timed naps.

When I'm sick I think I live life like most people do; meaning, I live a life completely different from my own daily existence. I allow myself some leeway.

On a regular day I'm up by 6, usually on my way to the gym. When I'm sick, I roll out of bed whenever feels right, usually closer to 10:30.

On a regular day I answer all work emails as they come in. When I'm sick, I answer what I have the energy for.

On a regular day, I watch zero tv. Zero. When I'm sick, tv is my nanny. I save up all year to watch Oprah when I'm sick. And this week was really a jackpot- I had the double-whammy of the "tell-all" Whitney Houston interview (everyone loves a comeback story) and yesterday the Mackenzie Phillips' "consensual incest with my father" drama. I was too tired and worn down to get up and change the channel (and by "get up" I mean "lift my arm and press a button"); but I wasn't too tired to raise eyebrows, ping-ponging back and forth on whether I thought Oprah was being too judgmental. (I mean, she introduced her guest, then made her tell the room what she'd done, like a mean, dispassionate teacher. I expect more from you, Oprah!)

On a regular day, I work out. When I'm sick, I email my friends and tell them I feel crappy and wait for a reasonable number of responses to come in excusing me from physical activity. Yes, I really do wait for validation from people before releasing myself from my workout duties.

On a regular day, I nag about needing to work out. When I'm sick I daydream about major physical feats I will accomplish when I get better- perhaps another half marathon or, just not eating crap. I make very cute, very forgettable promises to myself.

On a regular day, I pick up the phone. When I'm sick, I'm so knocked out on my Nyquil-Sudafed binges that I don't hear the phone next to my ear ring. It's like being a junkie for two days!

On a regular day, I read piles of contracts, emails, marketing plans. When I'm sick, I read the Carrie Fisher biography Wishful Drinking. And I laugh, because her jokes are funnier when I know I waited the extra 5 minutes in line to get the Sudafed "With the real stuff" in it!

On a regular day, I worry about my budget. When I'm sick, I order myself a rush copy of Kathy Griffin's trashy biography, because "it's what I need in my time of illness".

On a regular day, I check Facebook pretty constantly. When I'm sick I realize that's a really dumb way to spend my time on earth.

I wish I had more to say, but you see, I've been busy.

Every Woman Should Have Answers.

I was cleaning out my inbox today (things you do when jury duty frees you up!) and found this poem a friend had forwarded me by the great Maya Angelou. I wanted to check myself against her little list.

What Every Woman Should Have and Know
By Maya Angelou
With Unsolicited Commentary by Moi

enough money within her control to move out (yeah, not so much)
and rent a place of her own (ok, I'm 1 for 2- place of my own! hoorah!)
even if she never wants to or needs to…

something perfect to wear
if the employer or date of her dreams
wants to see her in an hour… (my closet is full, so i'd like to think i've got some of this. the problem is not the date outfit, people!!)

a youth she’s content to leave behind…. (Zimas in the park? yeah, i'm ok with moving on)

a past juicy enough
that she’s looking forward to retelling it in her old age…. (i have a few good stories in the ole artillery. am trying to add to the collection)

a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, (a drill? seriously? i can't staple without major injury)
and a black lace bra… (agreed. and check)

one friend who always makes her laugh… (got a few of those)
and one who lets her cry…(a few of those too. i even have some who make me cry! kidding)

a good piece of furniture (the comfy couches!)
not previously owned by anyone else in her family…

eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems, (thanks mom!)
and a recipe for a meal that will make her guests feel honored… (honored? hm. how about "full"?)

a feeling of control over her destiny… (yeah, not so much)

how to fall in love without losing herself.. (how to what???)





when to try harder… (set the bar low, perform higher. and try harder only when someone else points it out ;)

and WHEN TO WALK AWAY… (i know a variation on this: i know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em)

that she can’t change the length of her calves, (WHAT?! news to me)
the width of her hips, (WHAT????)
or the nature of her parents.. (i think i realized this maybe a year ago. took me long enough!)

that her childhood may not have been perfect… (but my bangs were!)
but it’s over… (except when i throw tantrums)

what she would and wouldn’t do for love or more… (i will do anything for love, but i won't do that)

how to live alone… (i get to play my music as loud as i want. what's to learn?)
even if she doesn’t like it…

whom she can trust, whom she can’t, (i'd love to tell you whom i can trust and whom i can't, but i'm just so excited about the use of "whom" here!)
and why she shouldn’t take it personally… (um hello, i'm a girl. free space!)

where to go…
be it to her best friend’s kitchen table…
or a charming inn in the woods…
when her soul needs soothing… (does the refrigerator count?)

what she can and can’t accomplish in a day… (lately: not accomplishing much beyond checking my facebook account)
a month… (apparently more than one blog post)
and a year… (will let you know)

The Little Things.

Sometimes you connect with a classic, sometimes you don't.
I am proud to announce that I've finally finished LITTLE WOMEN, something I never thought would happen. I genuinely worried that the year would close and I wouldn't know if Laurie won Jo over, or if Beth got better, or if they ever stopped calling their mom Marmee.

I mean, this book is a monster. Everyone said it was soooo good, so I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt. I realize now that the many people who told me it was "soooo good" read it when they were 14 or under, i.e. had nothing better to do with their time. "Make a lanyard or... Little Women?"
So yeah, this is a long book, and I"m sensitive to that. Only certain books should get to be long. Was she paid by the word like Dickens? I'll have to look that up. Anyhow, I kept joking that Little Women needed a Little Editor.

The fact that I got to check this off my reading list makes me proud enough to post about it.
It's always interesting to read a classic and see what you can still relate to and what you can't. At first, this was a hard sell for me. Look, I love my sister too, but the family March was a bit MUCH. I suppose that's the charm of the book- a completely functional family, free of discord, a domestic mutual admiration society. Back when the book came out it made it a page-turner. But in 2009 I found it hard to read because I was rolling my eyes so much. I know that's sad, trust me.

After I put the book down, I thought maybe I should rewrite this book more realistically, say, using my own family.

(Scene Opens: Family is sitting by fireplace which is not on because dad thinks it's a waste)

Sister: Lilly dearest, would you give me a hand with this knitting?

Lilly: I already told you where you can put that knitting.

Sister: Well then, will you tell me a story, kind sister?

Lilly: Sure, I'll tell you a story. It's about someone annoying the $#!? out of another person who is trying to read her book.

Sister: Well, shall we go pick flowers in the field and sketch by the river bank?

Lilly: Um, no.

Sister: Why don't we cozy around the fireplace and sing songs!

Brother: Why that sounds truly delightful! I do wish to hear your sweet voices sisters. If only I might hear them every moment of every day in song. Perhaps for now we can sing songs about the castle in the sky? Gather 'round the piano.

Lilly: Whatever are you smoking, dear siblings?


Sister: Marmee has prepared a 5 course feast for us! What joy!

Dad: I don't want to eat. I had a hot dog. Susie, you want a hot dog?

Sister: I have been a vegetarian for 16 years dad, no thanks.

I spent much of my reading being amazed at the lifestyle. I mean, the BIGGEST thing they had to do on a given day was go in search of lavender ribbon or set a table -- oh wait, they had a servant to do that. Makes you think we might have the big gyp living in the modern day. At one point, little sister Amy goes to live abroad. And it's for THREE years. She just galavants around with wealthy relatives. I mean, where can a girl sign up for that? Because

I'm happy to report that some social factors stayed consistent through time. People gossip. Parents worry about their kids. Girls play hard to get but the secretly kiss when their chaperones aren't looking. Ok, and I laughed at the chapter about neglecting one's husband after having kids.

That said, the last 150 pages of the book picked up the pace and helped me understand why this is a classic. I found myself completely enraptured in the blossoming love of Jo and Fritz. I don't remember the last time I found literary romances the slight bit engrossing, but all of those in this book ultimately felt real and natural (possibly because they developed in real-time, as it took me months to read...)
Through huge life changes the family sticks together and love is found in the most unlikely of places. The final couplings aren't who you'd think they'd be, but they work. And Jo is an incredibly modern character; one that readers a zillion years later can still relate to (read: me) I will confess that I openly wondered, ever a victim of the TV generation, if she was the basis for Jo on the Facts of Life, but that's neither here nor there.

What can I say? It left a good taste in my mouth. Maybe saccharine isn't always a bad thing.