Carpe Diem Y’all by Michele Bernard

Writer, Texan, Semi-interested Sports Fan

New Summer Hours

bus.jpg  School’s Out for summer – Alice Cooper

It wasn’t that many years ago that I was tasked by my employer to run fetch refreshments for an unexpected morning meeting with a very important client.  And she meant pronto.  I knew this not only from her terse tone of voice, but also because she screeched the word, “Pronto!” as she crushed a wad of bills into my hand. 

I drove like a mad woman to the neighborhood bagle shop where I found myself standing in line behind a large group of women, all around my age, all wearing tennis whites, full make-up and sun-kissed tans. 

“Tomorrow’s the last day of school can you believe it?” asked one to the other.

“I know, I hate it,”  replied the other, “I can’t stand it when the kids are home.  I can’t do anything or get anything done, and no matter what we do, it’s just plain boring after a few days.”

“I know it,” sang the chorus, breaking into a cacophony, singing variations on the theme:  school’s out for summer.

I stood listening (panicking).   Each passing minute of this conversation was delaying my return to the office where I would no doubt receive a heated lecture (ass-chewing) on the true meaning of the word pronto.  I felt uncomfortable feelings and judgements rising inside me.  Impatience?  Dread?  Pity?  Jealousy? 

I too was well aware that the next day signaled the end of another school year, the beginning of another summer.  And I too felt dread.  As a single mom rearing three sons, the last school bell sounded more like the bang of the starter’s pistol marking the beginning of a full-tilt sprint across a minefield of unstructured time littered with obstacles too high for me to hurdle, what with working full-time, carrying one kid, dragging another, and pushing the third in a stroller. 

In that moment, standing there with someone else’s sweaty money in my hand, listening to these women go on and on about their difficulties, how I longed to trade places with them for just one day.  How I wished they could understand what it felt like to want to spend time with your children but not be able to, how it felt to want to be bored, but not have time to.  How I longed for the luxury of drinking latte and complaining about my children with girlfriends after a morning of playing tennis.  Nevermind that I didn’t drink latte, play tennis, or have ill-mannered children I couldn’t stand to be around. 

As it turned out, when I returned to the office, the very important meeting with the very important client had been cancelled, due to the very important client having something more important to do.  My boss took her change and ignored me for the rest of the day, which gave me time to begin the process of re-thinking the way I was spending my time.  Within a year, I figured out how to combine two kid-friendly, part-time jobs (one even offered benefits!) that fit within the fabric of my  lifestyle, which included, spending summer time with my children. 

At this writing, only one child remains in the nest, but we still do summer, enjoying rituals and traditions established over the past few years.  Doing summer is a paradox of moving faster and slower at the same time, a blend of swinging baseball bats, golf clubs, splashing water, and lazy time curled up with a book or sitting in a darkened, cool movie theater enjoying a summer action flick.  Doing summer equals working less and being more.  

This morning, I went to coffee with my friend who drinks latte.  And we complained about our kids.  Because as they get older, unfortunately, they have less time to do summer with us.   

Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele 


May 31, 2007 Posted by | Family, Michele's Musings, Motherhood, Parenting | 4 Comments

To The or Not to The

question-mark.jpg That is the question I have after receiving two separate critiques from two separate sources on the same ten pages of my manuscript in progress.

Critique number one:  “I am tripping over your little words (a, an, the).  Please remove.”   Okay.  Done.

Second critique: “The largest mistake you made was not using all the articles you needed to in sentences.  It was unfortunate.”   No kidding.

Embracing the writer’s life, Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele

Curiosity is a willing, a proud, an eager confession of ignorance.  ~S. Leonard Rubinstein, Writing: A Habit of Mind

May 29, 2007 Posted by | Michele's Musings | 2 Comments

Carpe Spring-Cleanum

The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.  ~Agatha Christie

It’s that time of year in my world; time to spring-clean the homefront from top to bottom, inside and out.  I’ll be taking a working holiday this week, to prepare my home for the summer months and to purge closets for merchandise for my kid’s baseball team’s fund-raising garage sale.

In the mean-time, Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele 

My second favorite household chore is ironing.  My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.  ~Erma Bombeck

May 14, 2007 Posted by | Michele's Musings | Leave a comment

Best Lines When Raining

images2.jpgLet the rain kiss you.  Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.  Let the rain sing you a lullaby.  ~Langston Hughes

Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele

May 10, 2007 Posted by | Best Lines, Carpe Diem Quotes, Inspiration, Michele's Musings, Writerly Stuff | Leave a comment

Best Lines After Spinning Wheels

telephone.jpgNo yesterdays are ever wasted for those who give themselves to today.  ~Brendan Francis 

Even though it felt as if I chased my tail yesterday, because I did most of yesterday on hold with the telephone company,  at the end of business I achieved the following:

  • Details added to storyboard
  • 3/4 scene written
  • Blog updated
  • Found cool quotes to comfort me re: being on hold with the telephone company

Finish each day and be done with it.  You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can.  Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele

May 9, 2007 Posted by | Best Lines, Carpe Diem Quotes, Humor, Michele's Musings, Novel Writing, Writing | Leave a comment

Happy Feet

dancing%20with%20the%20stars2.jpg Dancing is like dreaming with your feet!  ~Constanze

I wish I could find the fun facts and statistics I once read explaining why the popularity of dance increases in our society during times of war.  If I could, this would be a much smarter essay.  And it might explain why each Monday night I forget for one hour to worry about the state of the union, the safety of my son the soldier, or the unstable spring weather outside.  Instead, I stop down and smile the kind of smile that hurts my face while watching ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.  Even the men in my family hover around the edges of the den to check it out, though they say they’re just passing through to the kitchen. 

And each Tuesday morning I wake up with new worries.  Will Apolo and Laila make it to the next round?  I certainly hope so.  Then I smile, sashay across the room, and freak out my fourteen year old son with the threat of making him dance with me.  Good times. 

So dancing for stress reduction:  I highly recommend it!  Unless of course you’re my fourteen year old, then I guess dance could be considered stress inducing.  Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele

We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.  ~Japanese Proverb

May 8, 2007 Posted by | Best Lines, Blogroll, Carpe Diem Quotes, Dance, Dance Quotes, Michele's Musings | Leave a comment

Baseball Ready

ryan.jpgWaiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite.  Or waiting around for Friday night or waiting perhaps for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil or a better break or a string of pearls or a pair of pants or a wig with curls or another chance.  Everyone is just waiting.  ~Dr. Seuss

One hour is a long time when you’re six and the ball won’t come to you and it’s not your turn to bat yet.  How does this young Derek-Jeter-in-training handle the extra time on his hands?  Cartwheels. 

If MLB would take a few pointers from my nephew’s league, imagine how much more efficient, not to mention entertaining our baseball watching would be.  I’m sure the players would be less stressed, and have more fun as well.  And, the time would pass so quickly, we could do away with the seventh inning stretch. 

So, MLB, take it from the mighty six year old Panthers and make the following exceptions: 

  • Four swings only at the ball
  • Allow Coach to pitch to players
  • Five runs only per inning
  • All players must yell “Baseball Ready!”  in chorus between each pitch
  • Cartwheels in the infield ok
  • Filling baseball caps with infield dirt ok
  • Drawing in dirt behind home plate, or any base for that matter, with un-gloved hand ok
  • Digging for worms in mud beneath dugout bench ok
  • Climbing dugout fence like a colony of ants ok
  • After Game Snack Time A-OK

When they start the game, they don’t yell “work ball, ” they say, “play ball” – Willie Stargell, 1981

Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele

May 7, 2007 Posted by | baseball, Best Lines, Blogroll, Carpe Diem Quotes, Family, Humor, Michele's Musings, Notes from the Cheap Seats, Parenting, Sports Stuff | 3 Comments

A Novel Thought

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!” – Dr. Seuss

Best line read today while working on novel.  Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele

May 4, 2007 Posted by | Best Lines, Michele's Musings, Novel Writing, Writerly Stuff, Writing | Leave a comment

Carpe Thursday

townelake1.jpgEnjoy yourself.  It’s later than you think.  ~Chinese Proverb

Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele

May 3, 2007 Posted by | Best Lines, Carpe Diem Quotes, Family | Leave a comment

Wednesday Already

5faaf-hurrying.gifI still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read and all the friends I want to see.  ~John Burroughs

The hurry-er I go, the less time I have.  Pretty sure I’m not the only one with this struggle.  There are  as many books about time management as there are about weight-loss.  I know.  I have shelves dedicated to both, yet I still have much to do,  much I want to do, not to mention lbs. to shed.  But there is hope for me yet.  Best line I’ve read recently about time management comes from David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done:  “If it takes less than two minutes to do it, do it.” 

Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele

May 2, 2007 Posted by | Best Lines, Blogroll, Books, Carpe Diem Quotes, Freelance Writing, Michele's Musings, Writing | 3 Comments