Saturday, November 24, 2007

Book Signing Monday November 26th

On Monday November 26th from noon until 1p.m.
I will be signing Wish Club at Books-A-Million
144 S. Clark St.
Chicago, IL

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ironic Quest

I’ve begun to notice a disturbing and increasing trend in ironic behavior lately. This leads me to postulate an old philosophy that I just made up: We all have our own Personal Ironies, we just don't know what they are. But now I’m on a quest to find mine.

My husband and I talked about this at dinner the other night. He seems to think that, once you know your own Personal Irony, then the irony is lost. But I disagree. I think the irony can still be there until you take the steps necessary to clear it up. “What is a Personal Irony,” you may ask? (Or perhaps, more accurately, “Kim, what the heck are you talking about?”)

Here are several examples of what I would call Personal Ironies: The chatterbox who hates people that talk too much. Someone who starts a war to end violence. And here’s a personal favorite: Once, I was invited to the home of someone I didn’t know very well. A rather violent painting hung in the front hall. She saw me staring and told me the painting was a protest of the deforestation of the Brazilian Rain Forest, then proceeded to point out all the mahogany and Brazilian cherry features of her home. It’s a good thing she hadn’t offered me a drink, or its contents would have found their way out through my nose.

I’m sure you’ve seen other examples of Personal Ironies. For example, the party guest who leans in to you and nods at another person in the room, “I can’t believe he’s such a gossip.” My husband is an avid alternative energy fanatic, totally trying to save the environment, insisting on replacing every bulb with compact fluorescents, but do you think he could walk a soda can over to the recycling bin—what with the regular garbage can so close? I think my kids are a little young to have developed their own Personal Ironies yet, but apparently they’re working on it, if you count how often they scream at each other to shut up.

I think we’re all great at pointing out the Personal Ironies of others, but when it comes to our own—not so much. All this finger pointing has me wondering: certainly I can’t be immune to this trend. So I brainstorm a bit. I’m a pretty competitive person. Maybe my Personal Irony is the fact that I’ve been known, and I’m not proud of this, to do competitive Yoga. I know, I know. Kind of defeats the whole purpose. But I don’t think it’s me that actually starts this (hear my husband sniggering here.) I merely feel the competitive energy of others around me and respond.

But somehow, as a writer, I believe my Personal Irony ought to be bigger. Maybe it’s that I think I’m a funny writer and I’m not. Or maybe it’s that I don’t like mean people, and somehow I’m actually really mean. I don’t know, but I’m certain there are countless friends and family members out there that would gladly point out my Personal Irony to me. I think sometimes—No, scratch that. I think always our points of contention with other people reflect the traits we fear most in ourselves. I hate people that don’t hear me when I speak. But could this be because I need to work on my listening?

Whatever my own Personal Irony is, I’m hoping I’m not the mom who takes the kids to Medieval Times for a birthday party and then gets mad at me for buying junior a sword. And until the day I discover what my Personal Irony is, if you ever try to best me at Standing Head to Knee Pose, I’ll crush you.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Ploys of Running

When I go for a run, I often imagine writing about my experience as I make my way along the Chicago lakefront. I always come to the same conclusion, however. Anything I write about the joy of running, will be just as God-awful boring as anything I’ve ever read about the joy of running.

So instead of pontificating on my “rave run” or espousing the virtues of fartleks, (which I never do in polite company.) (Hey, you should never get too old for a good fart joke!) I’d like to talk about my children as the motivating factors in my workout regime. No, they don’t motivate me because I don’t want them to be able to catch me, but because they truly motivate me.

My morning routine when school is session begins with me crawling out of bed after the alarm goes off, usually for the third time. Without my kids, I wouldn’t have to get out of bed at all. See how already they’re motivating me to action?—And they’re not even awake! As I contemplate my morning, I have to decide if I should jump in the shower and start my day—or sleep for another seven minutes, then throw on my running clothes. I usually opt for instant gratification. Seven more minutes of sleep.

After I drop the kids at school, I park the car, and the dog and I take off for a run along the lake. It’s an incredibly time-efficient drill: by 9:30 a.m. I’m home, I’ve worked-out and so has the dog. And I get to run the lakefront, which I normally wouldn’t get to do much of, it being a fair distance from our house.

My boys are always interested in how many miles I go. For years I ran a loop that was just shy of three miles. (I’m slow, so this took me about thirty minutes.) Why don’t you go four miles? Four miles? What, are you goofy? That would take me until lunchtime! Their math is sadly (sadly?) very quick and they promptly inform me it would only take me forty minutes. Hard to argue with logic like that. So, in the fall of last year, my loop increased to four miles. Until Ethan said, Why not make it five?

Why not start saving now for my knee replacement surgery? But I think, well maybe five. Then soon, Why not five? These old knees feel okay and besides, I would be doing it for him.

As a city mom, I worry my boys don’t get enough outdoor exercise. At least not like we used to as kids, roaming free throughout the neighborhoods. I don’t know any city moms who let their ten year-olds play outside without supervision, and we don’t live on one of those blocks where all the kids run up and down while their parents sit on porches. It’s like pulling teeth to get them out most days, even just to the backyard, which they don’t like because they might see an actual bee. Their fear of bugs cracks me up. Makes me want to taunt them with a cry of “City boys!” (But secretly I’m proud they’re such city boys.)

While I can’t make my kids want to run up and down the block, I can lead by example. I really do love running and they know this. As a kid, it was hard for me to imagine anyone ever enjoying exercise, especially one as grueling as running—just look at all those unhappy faces on all those runners.

But my face is always smiling as I complete my run along the lake, my dog by my side, a breathtaking view of the city and water that motivates me almost as much as my sons—for six breathtaking miles.