“Good Vibrations”

As a teacher of writing, I caution my students against using cliches in their writing. Cliches are hackneyed and trite and require no thought on the part of the writer. For example, I point out to my young charges, the phrases it was raining cats and dogs and I was up at the crack of dawn are empty and hollow–they are dead to me. Please, I beseech my tuition-paying pupils, don’t use the phrase sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll in your essay entitled “The Meaning of College Life.” If you must use a cute little phrase, try reworking the cliche a bit, to freshen it up; give me, at the very least, free love, Yellow Submarines, and Janis Joplin. Go for some gusto, O College Writers of the World!

In the face of my exhortations, they yawn a lot, send a few text messages, and then start zipping and unzipping their backpacks loudly.

Clearly, the cliche battle is mine alone to wage, and, therefore, I do my best to uphold my No Cliches, Especially on Sundays, policy. So I trot through life, whistling to myself: to convey a sentiment with precision in writing, the last thing a writer should use is a worn-out, overused cliche.

But you know what? Right now I need one. Because? The weather this week, here in Minnesota? There’s only one way to tell you: it’s not the heat; it’s the humidity.

It’s so humid, friends, that our toilet is literally wrapped in a bath towel right now; it’s sweating so much condensation that the bathroom floor was becoming slick with toilet sweat puddles. So we wrapped it.

It’s so humid that, during yoga class the other day, I was dripping with sweat to the point that, when I lowered myself from a Downward Dog into a Child’s Pose, my dripping legs failed to actually stop when they made contact with the mat, and I slid right through, off the mat, thereby losing my, um, connection with the center of the earth and, er, all my chakras went out of alignment. And I said a bad word, too.

It’s so humid that, I kid you not, I washed my hair before bed the other night, and 18 hours later it was still wet. YES, I’ve heard of the modern invention called hair dryer, but the idea of willfully and purposefully applying heat–even a dry heat–to any part of this body when temperatures are almost 90 degrees is anathema. Thus, my follicles remain moist. (How’s that for a pick-up line?)

Suffice it to say, this week is not breezing by for me. In fact, my naturally-buoyant spirits have felt oppressed, suppressed, by the thick air and the ongoing sensation that I’m breathing through a wet washcloth. Even staying up until 2 a.m. each night, reading the new Harry Potter, hasn’t gotten my mojo rising (but nice job, Ms. Rowling! I can’t believe you killed off the entire cast of characters on the last page like that!!).

So what, gentle readers, can do the trick for me during this challenging week?

Fortunately, I can answer that question thanks to Jazz , who tagged me some time ago with just the meme I need: to list five things that raise my vibrations. Thinking of these things has provided exactly the counterpoint that my soggy spirit needs:


1. The nightly date with my beau. Quite unconsciously, we fell, a few years ago, into the pattern of tucking in kidlets, having a drink, and plugging the DVD of our tv-show-of-the-moment into the player, which we watch, rapt, while we eat a delicious dinner (tonight: cold sesame noodles with chicken and sugar snap peas). While our days consist of the chaos that can accompany parenting young children, my groom and I have a protected hour or two each night, a time of focus and shared experience, that keeps us, if not on the same page, at least on the same episode. Result? The the love remains in its groove.

2. Speaking of food, there is one meal in particular that is guaranteed to turn my frown, how you say, upside down: a fried egg sandwich. The sheer simple elegance of this dish gives me a big ole case of The Happies. There is butter, egg, toasted bread; toss on some salt and pepper, and I suddenly feel nestled to the bosom of a loving world. Yes, steak rocks. Sure, chocolate saves. But the fried egg sandwich is my ultimate comfort food.
3. My Teva flip-flops. Last weekend, I attended a farewell party for a good friend. While I was grateful for the chance to pay tribute to how much I like this guy, I was put off by the invitation, which asked guests to bring an appetizer (no problem) and their own drinks (what the hell? This is something I’ve experienced several times now in Minnesota, and it just peeves me. I mean, are you hosting the party or not? If you are, howzabout you put out some food and, if you can’t do that, at least provide some drinks? If you don’t want to do that, howzabout you go to a movie that afternoon instead of pretending at some kind of faux hospitality? I was glad, however, that guests weren’t also asked in the invite to come over the day before the party and clean the host’s house. Hmmmmm. As it turns out, I am digressing. None of this has anything to do with my flip-flops, really. Gotcha!). Okay, so at this party, we were asked to leave our shoes by the door, so as to not track Nature into the house. Then we were lead out the back door of the house to a patio. After standing, barefoot, on that patio for a couple hours, it was pure, rabid bliss to get home and slip my aching dogs into my soft, accommodating, saucy little Teva flip-flops. Even if the blood of small hamsters is the highly-guarded secret of Teva’s manufacturing design, I don’t care. These things are that good. Power to the bloodsuckers!

4. My afternoon coffee. Before the age of 35, I had only ever had one cup of coffee in my life (at Mardi Gras in 1991, when I hadn’t slept for some days). But when I hit 35, Groom took a job as a barrista, and I learned the beauties of showing up at opportune times to kipe his free “shift drink,” so long as it was sweet and frothy and basically a dessert in a cup. All of this occurred when I’d just had Kid #2, so once again coffee was used to get me over the hump of not having slept for some days…or some months. Now, even when relatively well rested, I rely upon my 3 p.m. mocha or latte to get me through the mid-afternoon dozies. I also am very good at making the case that a mocha is nothing–nothing!–without a little biscotti sidecar.

5. Exercise. It’s the best of all addictions, this need to raise my heart rate every day. And, like coffee, my devotion to exercise only started in my 30’s. And, like coffee, exercise has been essential to making me a better parent. When I go for an hour run every day, I actually think, reflect, and plan. If I didn’t run, we’d never have a shopping list or take a trip or enroll the kids in camp. I needs me thinkin’ time, and I love seeing the world by foot, up close and smelly. And on those days when I hit the gym instead of the trails, I love reading my celebrity gossip while ticking the minutes by on the treadmill. And at the end of my exercise, I’m all sweaty, which is…
…em…just what humidity does to me, too. So now I’m back where I started. I was feeling better there for my first four vibration raisers, but now I’m just back to sweaty. Dag. What to do?

The good news is that that blogging, as well, inflates my spiritual balloons. And right now, today, my ballooons are blowing in the breeze for my fellow blogger, Diesel, who, as you read, is hosting a little party over at his crib. His Media Office has sent out this press release:

Diesel, the twisted genius behind the humor blog MattressPolice.com, has announced the publication date for his first book! Antisocial Commentary: From the Secret Files of the Mattress Police, is a hilarious excursion through the mind of Diesel. From topics as varied as James Blunt and the Incredible Hulk to global politics and perpetual motion machines, Antisocial Commentary is a tour de force of satire, sarcasm, and just plain silliness. Savor such essays as “The Force is Middling in this One,” which answers the question “What happens to someone in the Star Wars universe who isn’t quite Jedi material?” and “Harry Potter and the Inevitable Slide into Satanism,” which explores the nefarious connection between the works of J.K. Rowling and the minions of the Devil.

Diesel’s book will be published on August 15, but for a limited time we fellow bloggers can pre-order a signed copy at a discounted price, so if you’re a fan of Diesel’s and have ten bucks burning a hole in your birkin, head on over to MattressPolice.com and give him a big ole virtual (and financial) hug. The book is guaranteed to raise your vibrations.


Comments

— 30 Comments

  1. I am in wisconsin and I daresay that we are experiences the same level of humdity as you are in our sister state.
    It was so humid the other day that when I crossed my bare legs under my skirt, they wouldn’t stay crossed- they just slipped to the ground! GROSS!! And I wasn’t doing anything physically exhausting to be sweating that much- just sitting on a park bench (literally- yes, I know it’s a song lyric).

    Cliches (however the heck you spell it) are here to stay. Without them, we’d have to get creative with our language and who’d want to go and do something like that? ha.

    Fun post- I enjoyed it.

  2. Thanks, Jocelyn! The book is a roller-coaster ride of thrills, and it’s flying off the shelves. Really, it’s the best thing since sliced bread.

  3. Oh, for the leathery, dessicated days of moisturizer needing Colorado, eh?
    Here it’s just plain hot – no sweating toilets to slide around on.
    Come back soon and let’s go for a run!

  4. Out here in Cali, “It’s a dry heat”. I really hate it when people say that…
    At least Diesel’s party didn’t require any of us to bring drinks.

  5. Oh how I wish it was in the 90s here in Athens. It was somewhat cooler today at 104 but I am melting!

    I wouldn’t dare say “it’s as hot as hell” though…

    … it is definitely no cooler than the devil’s abode.

  6. Its been very humid here as well. Though I don’t think right now as bad as you are describing, or maybe I’m just used to it.

    I love me some fried egg sandwiches too! Hmm I wonder if I have any eggs at home????

    Darn it now I’m hungery!

    Ah love the post…. I always get a kick out of you…..oh wait is that another cliche?

  7. I remember when I lived in Minnesota, and it was astonishing how hot and humid it was in July. By August, it started to get cool enough that you needed a light sweater at night.

    I had assumed that since the winters were so bone chilling, the summers would be fairly moderate, but they were exactly as hot as the winters were cold.

    What kind of idiot demands that guests remove their shoes to stand on a patio?

  8. well this was more fun that a barrel of monkeys….dang, it’s late, my head is full of snot, i’m tired from wrassling kindergartners through VBS crafts (it’s like herding cats or pushing jello uphill) and that’s about the only cliche i can come up with.

    hey, maybe i just hit on a cure for your college students….send em to me next summer i’ll unleas the kindergarteners and allergens and deprive them of any opportunity for sleep. we’ll brainwash em into creativity.

  9. Wow, Jocelyn. That was the greatest post since sliced bread. It really made me feel happy as a clam. I can now sleep like a log.

  10. Humidity sucks, my sympathies on that. I got many giggled from the other things on the list.
    I generally try with all my might, to avoid cliched turns of phrase and hackneyed expressions. Oops
    :p

  11. The wonderful thing about your list of good vibes is that it is so accessible. May your balloons fly high. thanks for tipping us on Diesel’s book.

  12. I’m having problems with the concept of taking off your shoes in order to go to the outside deck… Were they afraid to dirty the deck?

    Plus, I think you wouldn’t like parties in Quebec so much. Unless it’s a potluck we provide the food, but usually everyone brings drinks. We’re cheap like that.

  13. Blogger hates me. I typed out a whole long response…where, or where did it go? And I’m certain it was amusing, too…something to do with big hair and humidity. Ah, well… Guess I’d better go buy a couple of loaves of sliced bread before the shelves are empty.

  14. Joceyln, your writing never ceases to amaze me. You do it so well…heck, you should teach it! Oh..wait…you do! How fortuitous.

    I understand your hatred of cliches, but perhaps you’ve started us on the road to a new one…something along the lines of…I was sweating like a toilet with sweat puddles.

    As for your five items
    - awesome about the time with your love. Gotta have that!
    - an excellent sandwich choice, though I do like to throw a big slice of tomato on mine
    - I’m lighting a candle for the hamsters
    - this may start me on a new addiction…thanks
    - I do it, but I don’t love it like you do

    One final thought, you could probably win me over by telling me your follicles were moist. ;)

  15. oh – I was just wishing for a little heat before the summer was over, just one day or so. It gets hot in other parts of Alaska but not on the coast. We’re still wearing our fleeces.

  16. I love fried egg sandwiches. With beer. Also, I have that very pair of Teva’s in black – I waer them all the time. There was a whole rack of Tevas and only one pair mysteriously on sale ($10!), in my size. Destiny.

    (But don’t speak to this Southern girl about heat and humidity. I say HA!)

  17. Ooh, coffee with biscotti. Awesome list! I love my Teva flip flops, too. The yoga thing had me giggling out loud.

    As some friends always used to say, “it’s not the heat; it’s the stupidity.” We’re not really sure what it meant, but at that temperature, nobody was thinking very deeply about much of anything.

  18. Sod mocha and biscotti. Earl Grey tea and macaroons are where it’s at. Or failing that, Snickerdoodle cookies and English Breakfast tea.

    Puss

  19. Oh no! I am wrought with guilt now. I had one of those potluck, BYOB parties this weekend. We did provide sloppy joe’s and soda and the hot air balloons. But in my defense, we have these once a month in the summer so it’s either potluck or go broke.

    I admire your writing skills. You are awesome!

  20. Ooo I think I fancy a life swap after all those pictures…….there again, I couldn’t see the condensation [bifocals] so maybe not.
    Cheers

  21. I am getting some good vibes here…yes, I do believe so. Good ones. :)

    BTW, Humidity is the new weather word out here, too, neighbor. Has been for the last week or so. Let’s make it a “HAS BEEN”.

  22. Heh, heh!

    Highly comical (although, obviously, not at the time).

    Enjoyed reading through your blog. I, too, look forward to my afternoon latte. Totally, totally addicted after having been off caffeine for more than five years. Oh, well!

  23. Okay, seriously. that better have been a joke about Harry Potter– says the girl 100 pages from the end.

    I had much more witty to say, but I’m now panicking about beloved character’s demises.

  24. jocelyn, you blogging stud!

    i just have to say that it irks me too when a so-called hostess asks guests to bring a dish and a drink. i have a friend who does this all the time, and then goes on and on about how much she loves hosting. bullshit. one time she even threw a shower for someone and she asked us to bring a dish and gifts. i usually decline these types of invitations.

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