I don’t know.

Well, hello.

I hope whatever timezone from where you’re reading this, life is serving you up equal parts beauty and beast.

This post is going to be about writing; it’s also about life. It’s about writing and life. If either of these interest you, please, do read on.

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Beach Cities Challenge!!! . . and the Superbowl

Oh my, I haven’t quite woken up yet. Have you? I’m steadfastly raising the rim of the coffee mug toward my lips and swallowing its sumptuous liquid, but I’m afraid nothing’s happening. It tastes good, though. And that’s enough when you’re as close as my mug and me are. We’re best friends. No, really, we are. Look.

coffee

 

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Kid President

It’s a slow day. I’m not so much writing as I am looking at the clock above my document and wondering if it might be in everyone’s best interest if I close down for the day. Perhaps it’s the weather. Perhaps it’s the hairy black spider I found on my husband’s side of the bed this morning; the little beast scared me half to death before I’d even a chance to sit down for a proper pee. Probably, though, it’s just the weather. I am sensitive like this. I look out my window and see a nimbus laden sky talking some big talk but has yet to deliver. I hope for rain. We had a bit last night, and when I woke up everything was wet and rinsed and even the lawn sparkled in its own way, an aristocratic ambivalence.

The weekend should be lovely. My husband runs his third marathon this year on Sunday. I am astoundingly proud of him. Me, I will avoid running at all cost; even running behind, if I can. It takes a certain sort of masochistic lunacy, albeit a determined lunacy, to tell yourself “Okay, body, we’re going to do this now. Yep, 26.2 miles. Okay, here goes” and then choose not to veer off the path when no one’s looking. I would cheat. I would hail a cab or find the short cut or . . . you know, I probably just wouldn’t sign up in the first place. I love exercising. I go to the gym almost every day, and I find my serenity is waiting for me the moment I slip those earbuds in and wrap my fingers around the cold metal barbell. I go away. I go in. And I go out. But wherever I go, I am always better for having went. I am a happier woman, a better wife, and a funnier friend when I’ve had my daily allotment of endorphins. But there’s this thing. Maybe it’s just me, or maybe other people feel this way. Sometimes I will remember that I am a modest woman and no, you probably won’t ever see me wearing a shirt that bears my midriff or a skirt any higher than the middle of my thighs. So why, I ask myself, why do I push myself to such extremes. And I do – push myself to extremes. I work out like Mozart plays piano. Dun dun dun dun. Dun-dun-dun-DUNNNNN. What I’m saying is, I put much effort into keeping my shape firm and lean, and really the only person seeing it is me. There’s my husband of course, and yes he appreciates it all, but he is not a vain main, you see, and I am not lying when I say that truly he would still think me beautiful even if I had mashed-potato butt. No, really, he would. Scout’s honor. (Not an actual scout, however I abide by the code. Live long and prosper.) So, no, my career isn’t contingent on the number on my tailbone. It’s a 9, just in case you were curious. (I carry my weight below my bum, like little airplane pillows for it to rest on.) ANYWAY, exercise is good, but I could probably scale back some and it would be all right.

Oh dear  . . .

How did we get here? Truly I don’t know. I only meant to say hello, then suddenly my fingers were running amuck. I do actually have something very cool to share with you. Have you met Kid President? Oh, he’s very possibly the most precious boy I’ve never met. And smart. And a great dancer. You’ll see what I mean in a minute.

Enjoy the video, then pass it on to everyone you know. It will make them smile knowing there are people like this in our world.

Happy Weekend, Friends!

Royally Radical

Although there continues to be much debate over who said it first, you will probably, at least once in your lifetime, hear the words:

“With great power, comes great responsibility.”

I agree with this statement one hundred percent. I believe those inaugurated to a place of honor and power are not there simply to reap the glory of an elevated status, but have been given the privilege to serve a greater purpose than themselves. And now, if I am being completely honest, I am not so certain I would want to be one of them, or have great power thrust upon me.

In theory it sounds quite nice — I picture fur-lined slippers ready at the door (animal friendly, of course; I’ll eat them, but I don’t wear them); my favorite foods arriving on silver platters; there’s always an extra side of Ranch Dressing, and I never have to ask someone to refill my Cherry-Pepsi. The bath water is salted, hot, the way I like it — but not scalding. My hair, my make-up, my toes and fingernails, always look perfect — not an overgrown cuticle or hangnail to be sighted. But beyond these trifles and the lap of luxury, I imagine there is a good amount of work involved in the position meriting such fussing over: Big decisions to be made. Endless meetings. A constant influx of paper-work to sort though. Yikes!

Just speaking frankly here  . . . as much as I love trifles, in this case I really don’t think there is enough of them in the world to soften the lead-footed load of Greater Responsibility. No, Sir, no thank you. I’ll take the dress and the shoes (both purchased at TJMAXX), and pass on the title and the crown; those things look terribly heavy, anyway. What I am saying is that I would not choose to be Royal.

If you live in The United States, you know that a child born of a U.S. president is not bequeathed a title at birth, nor are they expected to carry on their father’s legacy. There are several differences between our country and that of those residing across the oceans, but I won’t pretend to be versed in any of them. My knowledge begins and ends with what my husband imparts on me, and moreover, what actually sticks.

The one difference, however, which stands out to me is the one I mentioned above. In America we “run” for office, and then, upon winning the election, move into that wicked-awesome white house, the, ahem, White House. But in England, you are simply entitled to the trappings of wealth by heritage and birthright. One might assume the former would endow in the person a sense of gratefulness and humility; how wonderful it must feel to know you were picked, chosen among all the rest. Who doesn’t like to be chosen, right? I love being chosen. And above all, it’s an honor you asked for.

But, in the latter, I wonder if there is this feeling of resentment, this air of “Well, I didn’t have any say in the matter, so you can’t expect anything of me.” Doesn’t seem all that un-fair minded; not when you really think about it. If someone were to knock on my door, place in my right hand the keys to my new Rolls and tricked-out Mansion, then place in my other hand a six-inch manual outlining my responsibilities from there on out, well . . . I think I would probably give my patron a toothy smile, shut the door slowly, then turn out all the lights and hide in the shower.

I’ll cream my own bagel, me thanks you kindly.

This morning there appeared in my news-feed a story about the Royal Couple, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and the Duchess Catherine. I don’t keep tabs on these two, or any celebrities for that that matter. I don’t know – I’ll admit I glance at the tabloids when I’m checking out at the grocery store, but I never buy them. It doesn’t seem right to spy on their lives when they haven’t the same opportunity. And thank GOD for that, because I’ll tell ya, I’ve committed some doozies. An-nee-way . . . a month ago Kate gave birth to a beautiful boy. It made the headlines, of course, and the couple proudly showed off their progeny, but eschewed all gifts — save for one: A painting from a 43 year-old woman with Down Syndrome. It’s gorgeous, check it out.

Royal painting

The couple’s decision to accept this gift stirred up quite a spectacle. Here’s why:

“In England, there always has been a stigma attached to (Down syndrome), and now that is washed away by the fact that the Duke and Duchess have accepted that painting,’’ Moffat told TODAY. “For this to happen, it’s kind of turned that negativity around.”

Wow . . . now that’s some Royally Radical character. *high-fives the Duke and Duchess*

Will and Kate – Hi, my name is Cara, and I’m available for tea, anytime. Call me, you know, if you want to, but please do, okay bye.

Kate and will

Lighting it up,

~ Cara

Related articles:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/12/will-kate-painting-gift_n_3915196.html?ir=Parents

FYI (if you’re a teenage girl)

Cara Olsen:

I am not big on re-blogging. There’s nothing wrong with it, of course; I just don’t do it very often, because usually if I am sharing something that’s inspired me, I have thoughts of my own to add. But in this case I don’t believe there’s anything of further value I might contribute.

Mommas and Daddys of tweens and teens, this post is mostly for you. But if you have babies, no babies, or your babies are long since grown, still, this is for you. Read it, then share it.

Lighting it up,
~ C

Originally posted on Given Breath:

*Readers, two days ago I wrote this post for my normal audience, which is usually very small. That said, I included recent pictures of my kids at the beach, and many new readers found that to be a lack of discernment, considering the topic.  I agree, and have replaced them with different photos than the original post. Thank you for your counsel.

Dear girls,

I have some information that might interest you. Last night, as we sometimes do, our family sat around the dining-room table and looked through the summer’s social media photos.

IMG_9274

We have teenage sons, and so naturally there are quite a few pictures of you lovely ladies to wade through. Wow – you sure took a bunch of selfies in your skimpy pj’s this summer!  Your bedrooms are so cute! Our eight-year-old daughter brought this to our attention, because with three older brothers who have rooms that smell…

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