I Believe

Polar Express is coming soon, reminding us all to believe. Believe in Santa, the power of giving. Believe in God, the power of love. Believe in a power greater than ourselves.

We want to believe. Otherwise things are just too hard. There’s no hope for change without belief.

I believe in believing in yourself. Believe you can. Believe the person you want to be is inside waiting to . . .

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It wasn’t a romantic proposal. It wasn’t a marriage proposal. It was a “let’s use each other for sex” proposal.

This was actually all I wanted, but I didn’t want to admit it. Needing sex was so embarrassing: I wanted to disguise it behind something more acceptable. I wanted him to pretend he loved me, just for a while, so that I would feel justified in what I was about to do.

“I’m not that kind of a girl,” I lied. He grinned, damn him. He knew I was lying . . .



Okay, I usually make stuff up, but this is true. I posted a photo of my grandchild’s feet on Flickr the other day. It almost immediately had over 40 views. What’s up with that? Have foot fetishists taken over the internet while I wasn’t watching?

Stuff I’ve had up there for months doesn’t have that many views. We’ve been counting those ten little piggies for quite a while now, and they are meant for innocent purposes only.

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No longer a safe haven for animals, the barn teetered on its base. It was filled with baled hay, even though bits and pieces of it sloughed off regularly, creating patterns of dusty light. You could almost see straight through from one side to the other if you picked the right hole in its skin.

The extraordinary wood planks that remained were weathered to perfection. Cars regularly turned down the lane; people knocked on the house door, wanting to tear down the barn and take the perfect weathered wood away for art works and frames. I always said no to these scavengers, but . . .

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Helen wanted to write our pain and fear on little slips of paper. Then we would either burn the papers, or put them in helium balloons and let them drift away. I wanted something bigger, more spectacular. I wanted to actually burn my baggage in the form of a huge bonfire where I could toss an entire suitcase full of slips of paper. Maybe I’d include my diary and that first novel with all the self-serving vomit that cleansed my system of my marriage.

I guess Helen’s baggage wasn’t as extensive as mine, or maybe she thought we’d get arrested if we built a big fire, but she wouldn’t agree to my . . .

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American Rituals

Black Friday is an interesting American ritual. As soon as we recover from the coma of all that turkey, we run the gauntlet of shopping. Succeeding at shopping on Black Friday is like a pioneer surviving a tornado in a covered wagon in the middle of Kansas. It shows you’ve got what it takes to make it as an American–you’re tough, you’re clever, you’re adaptable, you can take stress and overcome obstacles. The traffic may be so horrible that extra cops are needed, the store may be so crowded that you stand at the register an hour waiting to pay, but when you’re finished, you’re a champ. You earned the prize, found the bargain, got the perfect gift; you’re an American superwoman. . .

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Best of Show

Sylvia brushed Mac’s white silky hair, all the while watching the other dog owners groom and prepare their dogs. Her terrier, a West Highland White, was sure to be Best of Show. She felt it in her bones. The other dogs might as well leave the building right now.

Fredrick Jamison, that colossal bore, came by with his dog at his side, the two of them prancing along with identical gaits. He smirked in her direction and Sylvia almost said, “You’re losing this year, Freddy boy,” aloud, only restraining herself at the last minute. No sense antagonizing the most vindictive trainer on the circuit before she had her trophy in hand. . .

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In black jeans and a black sweater, Annie perched in the darkest shadow on her wide front porch and waited, gun beside her. By 3 a.m. she was drowsy, barely awake, when she heard him brushing aside branches and stomping on twigs. She caught her breath and picked up the gun, her heart flipping wildly. Wait, she thought, wait until he was close enough.

Her hands shook. She propped her elbows on the chair arms to steady them. Moonlight glinted off an aluminum baseball bat in his hand, the one he used on her. The sight of it steadied her grip. She waited. . .

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Please be rude

There’s a new restaurant where you have to be rude to the waitstaff to get attention. If you are polite they ignore you. It’s a gimmick, of course, and people love to go there so they can be rude in a socially acceptable setting.

I think the whole idea stinks. Making rudeness a game just creates a less polite society on the whole. We need more consideration and less division in this divided and polarized world of ours. Taking your children to a place where they are encouraged to be rude . . .

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Stop Light

It was magical. At a long stop light, we waited to turn left and cross above the highway—fluttering all around us were butterflies. A migration in progress right here by the overpass. Miniscule butterflies, buffeted by wind from the cars and the updraft from the traffic below, struggled to reach the other side of this overwhelming obstacle in their path. We cheered them on, amazed to be witnesses to this tiny drama, and . . .

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