Let’s just sit back and unwind? No.

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Who says resolutions are only for the New Year? For many people, summer is when you really come alive and inspiration is abundant. Why not monopolize on this energy and make some goals for yourself?

Here’s what you do.

Choose 5 realistic goals for yourself. It helps if they’re measurable as this makes you more accountable for following through. You’ll notice I didn’t do this at all, but I really didn’t know how to make most of what’s up there measurable without tiptoeing into serious OCD land. So, for my sanity (and that of my loved ones), I didn’t.

Choose goals of things you love or once loved. You’ll stick to them this way. It’ll make your summer memorable regardless of how far your success goes. Fun is fun. I’ve chosen things like bike riding because nothing defines summer nostalgia better. Take good-for-you goals like exercise and eating better and spin them so that your stomach gets butterflies and not the willies.

Use asterisks only when necessary. I can’t have dairy, but I have an ice cream maker. I asterisked the ice cream goal because I will likely make most of this stuff for other people. You lucky, lucky people in my life. I will experiment with coconut and rice milk frozen treats, but only to a certain extent because you will notice the running/biking goals would kind of be at odds with massive ice cream consumption.

Fun it up. I found a fun pin up girl on a bike because she is the spirit I’m going for this summer. Please, though, coax me off my bike gently, sit me down and talk to me if I’m sporting a garter about town like that.

Post your resolutions somewhere. Blog it, Facebook it, tweet it, Instagram it, print it out and stick it somewhere. Look at it all the time. Once your people know about it, too, it’s out there and it’s real.

I invite you to create your summer resolutions! What’s been nagging at you that you want to deal with finally? Let’s do it!

A note on my resolutions (the full disclosure addendum to this go-get-em-tiger post):

1. I’ve fallen behind in my reading. And I’m a librarian. I’m in big trouble with myself if I can’t do this one. For this exercise, let’s say “summer” starts now and ends August 31.

2. We’ve discussed this. It’s going to be amazing.

3. I say “again” rather loosely. When I was little, I could be found to run across a playground at times. That was once. Now is again. See?

4. Breakfast and lunch have been vegetarian lately. I feel better. Life is good.

5. I want that bike, damn it.

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Memoirs of an Imperfect Arranger

Me and Mariah go together like babies and pacifiers.

I have no patience for people that don’t like Mariah Carey. The reason I can so assertively say this is because most people that don’t like Mariah Carey (musical tastes notwithstanding) often don’t like her because they think she’s a whore. That’s interesting, since that’s how most of Hollywood works and quite honestly, there’s no real proof that she is any more of a whore than anyone else. Do you know anything of her history? What you’re upset at is her boobs. Just say it. I think Mariah Carey sucks because of her boobs. Good. Now that that’s out of the way…

Mariah Carey is one of my moms. I (dramatically) have a few famous “moms” that I say helped raised me since my real mom (who’s totally in my life and was back then) lived in another city when I was growing up. Without Mariah in my life, I would not have had anything to play at my tenth birthday pool party but horrid kids’ music and thank my lucky stars I didn’t have to go down that route. Even an elementary school teacher my sister and me both had once told us she had a dream about us dancing with Mariah in her “Dreamlover” video. She pictured us out in the fields, with tied-up plaid shirts and 90’s-tastic shorts. That’s intense.

Mariah Carey is an amazing singer and she’s a bit of a cartoon. She is practically imperfect in every way. This makes her precious and tragic and, to me, loveable. I love her older music more than her new music. I love her incessant use of adverbs. I love the fact that, because I sang it a hundred times a day in my formative singing years (before school choirs usurped my confidence) I can sing “Vanishing” a hundred times better than I can sing “Happy Birthday.”

This concert was probably only the third time I’ve seen her live, but I kind of think it was the fourth time. My sister will correct me on this one. She is the Memory Woman.

Boy, haven’t you noticed the gleaming in my eye? Because of you I’m a little hypnotized

I was exhausted. My baby boy doesn’t like sleeping anymore. I mean, he’s sooo over it. I was worried about making it through the day and staying awake during the concert without the help of commercially-sold stimulants (I have a concert-sleeping track record that is, quite frankly, embarrassing). However, I made it and it was beautiful out. “Beautiful” in Arizona standards means it was chilly and rainy. Yippee!!!

So I packed up my Louis Vuitton, jumped in your ride and took off

If only. The ill-timed downpour at the workday’s end caused me to make a gametime decision that surprised me. The exodus of librarians contained smart folk who all huddled under their various coats and umbrellas and one silly librarian who took off her sweater, draped it over her LV purse, and proceeded to run zig-zags through people, carrying her bag like a newborn football baby. I faced the elements in my tissue-thin blouse and I lost. I’m sure I got looks. Eh.

Needless to say, I had taken many a backstep from the level of glam I wanted to present for such a divalicious affair. My good friend was in town for the concert and I was meeting other Mariah girls at my house. I had no time to fix what the rain took away! Lucky for me, my sister is crafty and had differently-colored butterfly headbands and charmbracelets waiting for us. I could no longer be dowdy, even if I tried.

Seein’ right through you like you’re bathing in Windex.

With the Usual Mariah Suspects in tow, I headed out, into the rain. I promised the girls food and the growl of my stomach reminded me that, nope, I had not eaten at home as I’d vowed. I heard Ms. Carey was venturing out onto the stage later and later each night of her tour, so this meant no food till approximately midnight for Kristl. So…

Up we drove to Zoë’s Kitchen, much to the chagrin of the girl behind the register. Thanks to her sullen reminder, our ability to read and common knowledge, we knew they closed in twenty minutes.  I’m sorry. I love your restaurant and I had no concert-day foresight. I know I suck.

So… I broke my Lenten promise but I’m sure my food had been spit in, if that makes it any better.

‘Cause they be all up in my business like a Wendy interview

At the Dodge, we arrived in time to use the ladies’ and get to our row with enough time to hear three Michael Jackson songs as played by the DJ and see Her Mariahsty enter.

I do have to say that the restroom would very easily perpetuate any misconceptions that Mariah is whorish because of some of her fans. They’re not all librarians, secretaries, teachers and bankers. Most of them look like they got sprayed down with four letter words and contraceptives. That’s as nicely as I could say that.

So, I thought it was very lovely when one of them complimented our headbands. This created a wave of praise in the sea of girls jockeying for prime mirror real estate. And it perpetuated my notion that these girls secretly want to be Martha Stewart at the end of the day.

Through yellow lights, I’m ignoring every sign of caution that they provide

After the shifting aside of the inevitable seat-stealers, we realize we have serious ticket matching issues. Four-fifths of us are in one row and one of us is… closer?

My first reaction (as always) was defensive. “NO! When I bought these, they were all together!!!”

My second reaction was sadness. “Noo… I’m so sorry…”

My third reaction was, “Where is she going?!” My friend, who, I’m sure was upset we couldn’t sit together either, was gone. Ticket taken and off to her seat closer to the stage.

I spent the remainder of the night:

  • Worried she secretly hated me for not reading the Ticketmaster info more carefully.
  • Singing much louder than I should have been singing.
  • Mentally turning all Mariah’s costumes into paper doll outfits.
  • Distracted that my favorite dancer looked like Bradley Cooper and wondering how well Bradley Cooper dances. Could he sing? Which could he do better? Does he know that his last name means someone that makes barrels?
  • Much like Mlle. Amélie Poulain, I liked looking back in the theater seeing people’s faces during sad songs and parts with great lyrics. I also like seeing old people dance.
  • Realizing from afar that my friend’s blue butterfly was bopping happily along and my initial ticket arranging mistake was sort of meant to happen.

Je ne sais pas mais c’est la vie!

Eat Fresh

I knew who I was today.

I awoke with amazing hair, reminiscent of Courteney Cox as Monica on Friends. How does it stay so shiny and straight through all her neurosis? I don’t know, ask my luscious locks.

I dressed to my mood. Watercolor-splashed blouse of a different color, cobalt cardigan and red lipstick, I was the picture of the artist as mommy. She can do it all.

He's got the right idea by already being in the laundry basket.

Picking up the boy, I learned from his grandfather that he’d just had some rice cereal and a bath and was now a magical, feathery-haired and smiley wonder. Instead of making dinner, I opted that this mom of many skillz should rest tonight and use the BOGO Subway coupon that was burning a hole in her wallet. Oh, yes, I do coupons now.

“Beni!” Mommy said. “Let’s take you out of your carrier, big boy, and we’ll learn about the glory that is Subway.” Even if it was the first time I was taking him out of his carrier and into a public place, the plan was totally infallible.

Inside, the sweet smell of bread bewitched me while the rotating ceiling fans and colorful ingredients bewitched my son.

Look at me. Ruling the world. Baby on my  hip, ordering identical subs, heavy on the jalapeños. I’m even planning on getting a drink. Thirty-two ounces. That’s right.

In walked Gangster McGee and his friend, Thugalicious O’Reilly. I held my baby and my purse closer and my mind suddenly recalled a horrendous Subway shooting of years past. I’d turned into my paranoid grandmother. I breathed a sigh of relief as I realized my silliness.

“Excuse me,” said a young voice behind me. It’s the gangster. Paranoia returned and I was sure he had a gun.

“Your baby is vomiting,” the voice said.

Unfortunately for everyone involved, the first thing that entered my mind was “Your baby is vomiting,” but I knew that comment, while strangely gratifying, would get me nowhere.

Instead I said, “Really?” Not much better.

Yes, I know. Babies spit up. Totally normal. What’s the big deal? The big deal is this was not spit up. This was bona fide vomit. The would-be-young-criminal was correct in his analysis of bodily fluids.

It was as if the baby food had been squeeeeezed out of him. Ohhh

After securing the Fort Knox Subway napkins, I wiped my boy and myself of well-meant rice cereal. Goodbye perfect hair, gorgeous sweater, and precious, clean as a whistle baby boy. I paid, and went on to get the now ridiculously-sized drink.

I was horrified, I was laughing so hard inside. I remembered an old family story of my husband’s which started with him and his mom at Circle K and ended with him puking on a Doritos display and the two running out of there like your regular convenience store fugitives. I thought how, already, I’d handled this so much better, lack of chip collection ruin notwithstanding.

And then I saw it.

The four-month-old in my tight (ohh… the squeezing!) grasp had managed to create a significant mini-puddle of rice-drool concoction on the floor of the Subway. The two teen boys stood frozen, staring at it, me.

I grabbed my straw and ran out.

Oh, the things you learn about yourself when bodily fluids are involved.

My Shelf of Good Intentions

I am a superfantastic organizer. I am a librarian. We like things in order for easy access. We can get you the best macaroni and cheese recipe Ina Garten ever concocted in as much time as we can locate the ASCAP information for “Ice, Ice Baby.” We honestly make dreams come true.

Now, onto my dreams. Where did I put them again? When it comes to the passionate spurts of adrenaline that power the genesis of any of my crazy ideas, I have learned, quite repeatedly, that my Type A personality really and truly does nothing for my creative life.  I begin things and package them away into tiny little compartments that are meant to preserve their original luster, but really starve them of their will to live.

Here lie the bodies of thirty-six begun books (and many more purchased or borrowed without so much as a title page having been breached), seven sketched paintings, four notebooks of song lyrics to half-songs, and three-hundred-and-eighteen pieces of things I lovingly labeled “Cosas de Arte” and decorated with a torn magazine clipping of a Renaissance beauty. I am not, by any means, a hoarder. Except when it comes to my best intentions.

There they are, on a shelf. Staring at me. Unorganizable and, seemingly, unloved. But they are loved. They are loved so much. As a matter of fact, I fantasize about getting back together with them all the time.

Here’s to rekindling old flames and lighting up new ones. Because artistic promiscuity is okay, as long as you have good intentions.