Carpe Diem Y’all by Michele Bernard

Writer, Texan, Semi-interested Sports Fan

Do Yo Thang Honey….except not in front of the children


A Teen’s Plea to Parents: 

Song lyrics Mom and/or Dad are not allowed to sing no matter how catchy the tune or how pulsing the beat.  As a matter of fact, no pulsing.  Or gyrating.  Or any attempt to mimic the belly dancing, booty slapping antics seen on today’s music videos.  And if Mom and/or Dad insist and choose to sing out loud, pulse, gyrate, belly dance and/or booty slap in front of the teenagers, they will be held responsible for any resulting therapy bills incurred by said teenagers:

  •  Any song referring ‘my goodies’
  • Any song referring to ‘my hump’ and/or ‘my lumps’
  • Any song referring to the shaking of the money-maker
  • Any song referring to being ‘freaky like that’
  • Any corruption of your name and the word ‘delicious’
  • The words ‘hit’ and ‘that’ can never be uttered together under any circumstances including but not limited to as an exclamation and/or a question
  • Ditto words ‘smack’ and ‘that’
  • Any reference to dairy products being used to gather male neighbors to one central location for fun and recreation
  • Any song referring to ‘bouncing’
  • When referring to ‘riding dirty’, please for the love of God be talking about the family car
  • When referring to ‘your grill’, outdoor cooking location references only

For the sake of the children, these are guidelines I can live with.  But when kids aren’t watching or listening, in the words of the oh so limber Christina Aguilera, ‘do yo thang honey!’

Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele


October 26, 2006 Posted by | Blogroll, Humor, Michele's Musings | 6 Comments

Carpe Diem Moments

They’re everywhere, yet I forget, until I see one that takes my breath away and reminds me, Carpe Diem, Sieze the Day.  This past week there were many, notably:

  • My mother-in-law’s face as she lifted it to the sun after literally not seeing it since she was admitted into the hospital on July 10th.
  • The smile playing with the corner of her lips as she spied her little dog Sadie walking across the lawn of the long-term acute-care hospital where she continues to fight to heal from the devastating life-threatening illness she battles.
  • Watching my young teen-aged son play football, then the excited, exhausted play-by-play he likes to engage in on the way home from the game
  • My son and my husband spinning madly above me while riding a stomach-churning thrill ride at the State Fair of Texas
  • Sitting in a gondola atop the Texas Star ferris wheel, the largest in the western hemisphere, high above Dallas Fair Park, talking Cowboys football, and swapping Vegas stories with the man in the cowboy hat placed in the gondola with us
  • Hearing my soldier son’s voice on voice mail saying, “Hi mom, I’m safe.  Talk to you later.  Love you.”
  • Watching my youth minister son in action
  • Listening to the steady beat of rain rustling the leaves of the big magnolia tree outside my bedroom window

Carpe Diem y’all, Michele

October 17, 2006 Posted by | Blogroll, Inspiration, Michele's Musings | 3 Comments

Paradise Rocks

And my soldier son stationed there is fine.  Hawaii was hit by a 6.6 magnitude earthquake yesterday, and they’re still rocking and rolling.  My son slept right through it.  This mother is not surprised.  While waiting for Hawaii to restore power, I took to the internet to research, for I don’t know much about earthquakes, tornadoes being the natural disaster of choice in this neck of the woods.  

According to the Earthquake Center website  there were 609 earthquakes in the United States in the past seven days.  Did I miss something?  I’m pretty sure the only news I’ve heard in the past seven days had to do with World Series Baseball, and Sarah Evans leaving Dancing with the Stars to hang her dirty laundry on the line.

This website is fascinating.  Anything and more you’ve ever wanted to know about earthquakes including the disturbing link:  Earthquakes for Kids, featuring puzzles and games such as: Snell’s Law ‘see the effect of media velocity on reflection and refraction of seismic waves!’ and Home Hazard Wordsearch.  Wee ones can also print off  Earthquake Crosswords and FEMA’s Drop, Cover and Hold coloring sheets for hours of earthquake fun.

As soon as the lights come back on in Hawaii, I’m emailing the coloring sheets, so he’ll know what to do in case he’s awake the next time around.  Carpe Diem y’all, Michele

October 16, 2006 Posted by | Blogroll, Humor, Michele's Musings | Leave a comment

Scoreboard and Snap

While I’m disappointed that our beloved Dallas Cowboys let us down while visiting the City of Brotherly Love, I’m happy to report the following:

Once again, going into Monday night, I lead my all male, sport’s loving family in NFL football picks for the week.  Me:  11-1; Hubby: 10-2; Son: 8-4; Son: 6-6…to which I say:





….because they laugh at the way I make my picks. I think they make it way harder than it has to be.  They study stats, discuss injury reports, breakdown film, consult Mike and Mike, and every other sporty sport late breaking news report i.e. “This just in……in the world of Ladies Golf, let’s check in to see what the girls have to say about T.O.…..”

  Meanwhile I keep it simple.  Feel free to use this tried and true strategy:

  • Always  pickDallas (or insert your home team here)
  • never  pick Philly (or insert your home team’s nemesis here)
  • never pick Washington (ditto the nemesis thing)
  • rarely pick Pittsburg (double ditto)
  • rarely pick Oakland (triple ditto)
  • rarely pick San Francisco (unless they’re playing Oakland)
  • Say yes to good-looking quarterbacks (speaks well of offensive line’s ability to protect his pretty face)
  • Never  pick the team with the really old or really young quarterback (unless last name Manning)
  • Pick Denver at home (other team won’t be able to breathe in high altitude, much less play football)
  • If the team wears red, white and/or blue, strongly consider picking them
  • Say yes to really cool mascots and/or crazy fans (with the exception of ….insert your home team’s nemesis here) 

We interrupt this story for this late breaking sporty sport news report:  This just in….in the world of play-off baseball…. the Yankees, finished their play-off bid just in time to watch T.O. today….. 

Carpe diem ya’ll, Michele

October 9, 2006 Posted by | Blogroll, Humor, Michele's Musings, Sports Stuff | Leave a comment

Thank you For Using The Fast Lane


“I need to go get a gift certificate really quick,” I said, “Want to go with me?  I’ll just be in and out.


“Sure,” said Kaye consulting her watch.  “There’s something I need to grab really quick at that store too.  I’ll drive.  It’ll save time.”

“Great,” I said.

My Thursday morning coffee buddy and I loaded up and headed toward the mega furniture/home décor store located just west of town.

Upon arrival, a kind man greeted us at the door.  As he handed us a tri-fold map, he directed us to the escalator behind him.

“I just need to get a gift certificate,” I said, “It’ll be really quick.”

“You might want to have some breakfast first,” he smiled.

“We just had coffee,” said Kaye.

Smiling and pointing, he directed us to go up.

By the time we found our way to the stairs to take us back down, I was dragging a too heavy to carry on my shoulder mesh bag full of stuff and Kay was struggling with two thin boxes, longer than she is tall, precariously perched on her hip.

While stopping to catch our breath, Kaye consulted the crumpled, well worn map the kind gentleman handed us oh so many hours ago.

“Where’s the ladies room?” she asked

Mopping my brow, I pointed to the overhead sign and showed her how it correlated with the arrows painted on the floor.

“That way,” I wheezed, “by the check-out.”

As it turns out, the arrows painted on the floor, do not in fact correlate at all with the overhead sign or our crumpled, well worn map, as twenty minutes later found us standing back in the same spot studying all three with a new, suspicious eye.

This time, Kaye took the lead, winding us along a circuitous path finding both the ladies room and the only check out available, the self-check out. 

I noticed the angry mob building behind us as we fumbled our way through the self-check out process.  Anxiously I tried to hurry, fumbling even more till finally the female computerized voice said, “Thank you for using the fast lane, Goodbye.” The angry mob burst into laughter.

“I’m hungry,” I said, “Want to grab some breakfast while we’re here?”

Kaye consulted her watch, “No, I’m too tired to eat.  Besides, it’s time for lunch.”

“Oh,” I said, “Thanks for driving and coming with me to run my really quick errand.”

“Don’t mention it,” she said, “I had to do a really quick errand too.”  Carpe diem ya’ll, Michele

October 6, 2006 Posted by | Blogroll, Michele's Musings | Leave a comment

Pondering Point of View


I’m fascinated with the television series LOST.  We tune in for what, three years in a row now to watch the same exact story being told over and over again, yet we experience it as different each week and we’re thrilled.


Perhaps I’m more tuned into point of view this year as I’m studying and experimenting with writing from various points of view.  Perhaps point of view is heavy on my mind for my work today includes writing an action scene between two characters and I need to make a decision as to whose point of view I’ll be using.


While pondering point of view, I’m starting to understand some of the things that have baffled me over the past year.  I now understand why when my oldest son calls home to excitedly tell us about his latest harrowing and/or sky-diving adventures, why we have differing points of view.  From his point of view it’s the most “amazingly awesome” thing he’s done of late.  From his younger brothers’ points of view it’s cool.  From my husband’s point of view it’s envious.  From my point of view it’s insane.  After all, it was my job to teach him to NOT run with scissors and in this area I’m quite positive I’ve failed miserably.  From Uncle Sam’s point of view, it’s just another day at the office.  The one point of view we all agree on is we are all so proud of him and proud of the work he does that from this mom’s point of view, is terribly dangerous.  And from his employer’s point of view, running with scissors, not a problem.  Carpe diem ya’ll, Michele

October 5, 2006 Posted by | Blogroll, Michele's Musings, Novel Writing, Writerly Stuff | Leave a comment

Captain Clutch my Heart

It’s finally October and even though the temperature is dropping, I’m feeling all warm and tingly inside.  I’m not sure when I started loving  play-off baseball, but since that day, my love affair with the great game continues to dance across my heart.  It looks a lot like Derek Jeter leading a conga line of not so much a bunch of beautiful models, but more like me through an American Express commercial.


I’m so glad my sports loving husband and baseball-playing sons forced me to sit and watch play-off baseball with them because now, most years it’s usually my favorite sporting event of the year. 

Play-off baseball means take your breath away blue eyes (or are they green?), that dimply I know what you’re thinking smile, scruffy good morning to-ya razor stubly cheeks, really tight pin-striped pants that look like I need to brush them off because he just gets so doggone dirty, dirty, dirty.  Not to mention going five for freaking five at the plate yesterday, with two doubles and one homerun to tie the postseason record for hits.

I need a moment.

God I love play-off baseball.


Carpe diem ya’ll, Michele

October 4, 2006 Posted by | baseball, Derek Jeter, Michele's Musings, Notes from the Cheap Seats, Sports Stuff | 1 Comment

Writer in Training defines Success

“What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight – it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Dwight D. Eisenhower……so says the brochure the sweet loan officer handed me as I left the bank this morning.

Today, a business person, a banker no less, recognized me as a writer.

After quizzing my husband about his occupation, income, etc., the banker turned her smile to me.

“And what do you do?” she asked.

“I’m a writer,” I beamed.

The banker continued tapping away on her keyboard.  No abrupt halt in action, no giggling.  She appeared to believe me.  I felt encouraged.

“So who do you work for?” she asked.

“I work for myself,” I replied, sitting a little straighter.

“How much do you make?” she asked.

Proudly, I rattled off the number emblazoned in my memory bank.  I’d blown way past my 2006 writing goal:  publish two articles and enter one contest.  I was ready to brag.  “And I think I might even have to pay taxes this year,” I added with a flourish.

Tapping ceased with an abrupt halt.  Quickly, she looked at me then back to my husband for confirmation, then back at me again.  She bit her lip and appeared to become quite engrossed in the numbers dancing across her computer screen.

“So why is that all you made this year?” she asked with genuine concern, “Did you market your business?” 

“It might help you to know I made that money 75.00 at a time,” I countered weakly.

I stared at her staring at me until she finally broke away from my gaze.  One finger at a time she tapped in my 2006 earnings.  Tap.  Tap.  Tap.

She studied her screen.  She tapped some more.  She looked up and smiled. 

Upon completion of our business, the banker handed me a brochure advertising the Small Business Development Center located at our local college.  “They offer free advise, low cost workshops and seminars to people such as yourself,” she said, “They can help you make your business successful.” 

This month marks the one year anniversary of my decision to finally only write for a living.  It has been challenging, scary, and absolutely thrilling.  I’m having a blast.  The first time I introduced myself as a writer was at the Writer’s at UT Club event hosted by the Writer’s League of Texas.  Even though I held an award in my lap proclaiming me a finalist in their memoir writing contest, as I listened to the other writers reading from their latest books, I kept waiting for someone to jump out of the shadows and bust me for impersonating one of them.  The first time I opened a magazine and saw my name in print above an article,  then saw my picture at the end of it with the caption about the author, I teared up.  “It must be true,” I thought, “I am a professional writer.  It says so right there.”

And today, a business person, a banker no less, recognized me as not just professional writer, but as a starving artist to boot, and she offered a helping hand.  How cool is that?  Carpe diem ya’ll, Michele 

October 3, 2006 Posted by | Blogroll, Inspiration, Michele's Musings, Writerly Stuff | 2 Comments