Thursday, November 30, 2017


Epicenter Dover Delaware (about 1 1/2 hours away)

This afternoon at 4:48 I was just putting the finishing touches on my second to last skit (of this batch) for the company I’ve been working with (providing funny, grace-filled skits for progressive churches). I was due for a break (my back was bothering me), and I was planning to transition to Blog Post #3, when all heck broke loose. The house definitely shook. My scented candle skedoodled across the desk, and I could feel the intense rumble from attic to basement. For an instant I doubted the stability of our house, and pictured it in rubble. But then, in a flash, it was over—no harm done chez Seyfried. 

I was once again reminded of our geographical good fortune. Earthquakes (or “earthshakes” as my little ones used to say) are quite rare in the Philadelphia area, as are tornadoes and  hurricanes. We don’t even get that much snow! How did we get so lucky? Some might say that our status as the long-ignored sibling of behemoths NYC and DC has been punishment enough. But in reality, it’s just been random good fortune, and I don’t expect it to continue forever.

Among the (many) questions I have for the Almighty someday are those related to natural disasters, and their disturbing frequency in countries that can least afford to recover. I mean seriously, how much more can Bangladesh take? And, in this hemisphere, there is our ever-struggling sister Haiti. In the last few years, Haiti has been hit by hurricanes and floods and a significant earthquake. That on top of being the poorest nation in this part of the world. Even when all is meteorologically calm, summer temps soar past 100 degrees, with humidity to match. People live there still, and work, and raise their families, but under a never-lifting cloud of strife. When Haiti was colonized, their beautiful mahogany trees were cut down all along their mountain ranges, and sold. As a result, now, when the torrential rains come, there is nothing in place to stop the mudslides.

Why was I born in the US instead of in Haiti? Talk about your accidents! But here I am, and I have a responsibility, a sacred duty. I cannot turn a blind eye to my relatives (and we are all relatives) in peril. There are incredible organizations (Food for the Poor among them) that are dedicated to improving life there, but there is such a long way to go. I need to do my part.
Meanwhile, I sit in my intact, sturdily built house, rocked by a mere tremor. I picture a house in the developing world, crumbling to dust, the inhabitants trapped within. And I pray for a fair deal, for everyone. May we ALL survive our “earthshakes”, together, united when disaster strikes. The world, often a pretty scary place, is much less scary when we aren’t alone. Pray for Haiti, and Bangladesh, and everywhere Mother Nature shows her cruel streak. And then, let’s see what we can do to help.

Wish List

Christmas!! Yippee!!

Dear Santa,

I have been, on the whole, a relatively good girl this year (relatively as in, I’ve been better than most of the outrageously misbehaving people in public life these days). I know you have your sleigh full of treats for little tots so I won’t overburden you. Aside from a few tangible items, most of my “hearts desire” things take up no space at all. Here we go!

I would like a dentist who will congratulate me for brushing and not demonize me for not flossing.

I would like a doctor who doesn’t point out the date of my last checkup (always at least five years ago) and make a big deal of it.

Please bring me a self-driving car (or, failing that, a chauffeur-either would be fine). I just received “night vision” glasses I had ordered online in hopes I can drive at night again. Haven’t tested them out on the road yet, but they make me look like The Fly, so there’s that.

I would love a Fitbit variation that credits me for breaths, not steps, taken each day. Imagine the thrill of those high numbers! And if it’s getting late and you’re short of your goal, you can always just pant!

While we’re at it, how about clothes that wash themselves? Kind of like taking things to the dry cleaners, but in this case I’d just dump everything into a laundry basket in the hall and find it magically spotless the next morning. And there’d be no one to pay! Mind you, we wouldn’t get those flimsy complimentary hangers, but I’m good.

Along those lines, a self-cleaning kitchen would be swell. Right now my kitchen is cleaned by whoever isn’t cooking (which means I am usually off the hook, but I feel for the dear ones who wash the insane number of pans and spatulas I require for the simplest meal). I would love a dishwasher that wheels itself out to the table, scoops all the plates up and scurries away with them. And a floor that scrubs itself on command also! Don’t stop me now, I’m on a Jetsons roll!

I’d adore a lifetime supply of hugs from my grandsons, against the future day when hugging me will be much too embarrassing.

May I please have sunny summer afternoons on the beach on constant repeat? Preferably with my gang, but also quite content with a book, and feet in the sand.

Santa, blog post ideas ALWAYS welcome! I’m sure you have your stories to share!

While you’re at it, throw in some general peace, love and harmony for this crazy mixed up world. If enough of us have it, maybe together we can fix things.

Guess that’s all. Oh, I’m almost out of lipstick, so please toss one into your bag o’ gifts. That really is it. Thank you. Wait. Just remembered a few other small items…I’ll text you.

As Aiden’s favorite veddy British cartoon character Peppa Pig would say:  Happy Christmas! Cheerio!


Down to the Wire

Oh, dear, oh dear. Where did November go?

It’s the last day of the month, and the final day of my 30 blog post challenge. Somehow I managed to get two posts behind, which means I need to write three today. I also need to finish my latest batch of skits for Clergy Stuff—and I just had a piece accepted by Modern Loss, but there are edits I need to deal with today as well. Luckily, it’s my day off from church, so it theory it can all happen. I can end November guilt-free, a great big pile o’ words testifying to my industriousness. Just have to concentrate!

The ONLY thing I have accomplished by now (9:30 AM) is my shower (oh, and a thorough perusal of the internet’s top stories…did you know that Royalty-to-Be Meghan Markle at age 11 got Proctor and Gamble to change an ad for Ivory dish soap? She did! The preteen Markle was irked by her male classmates’ response to a TV commercial stating “Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans!” The boys said that women belonged in the kitchen. She wrote to the company, prompting their adjustment to “People all over America, etc.” Yay Meghan! Prince Harry chose well!) But I digress…

9:38 AM Yaj and Peter are home from the dentist and grocery shopping! I have to stop everything and hear every detail about little Mr. Pearly Whites’ first dental visit! Plus there are groceries to help put away! Writing commences at 10 AM, sharp!!

Aren't those the cutest teeth you've ever seen?

 I really need to move upstairs to the desk in the spare bedroom. It’s quieter up there, plus the internet connection is terrible, so no more tempting distractions! Laptop in hand, I am on my way to success!

Short detour!

 But first I need to check online for the opening date of the Erma Bombeck Humor Writers’ Competition. Have I missed it? My chances of victory in this very popular contest are about zilch, but you have to enter to win, right? Plus Dave Barry is one of the judges (yes, THE Dave Barry!) and who knows? He may react to my scribblings the way I do to his (hysterical laughter). Btw: December 4th is the opening date.

Halfway up the stairs with my computer when I realize: I HAVE to answer three time-sensitive work emails. Back down I go!

9:47 Still on track for a 10 AM start! Gathering supplies for the marathon: refilled coffee mug, notebooks, a pen, and a scented candle (weird but effective- the aroma of honeysuckle somehow triggers literary output). OK, got everything!

9:56 Forgot matches! Three minutes to go!

9:57 Hey, wait a second!! I am almost finished with this blog post!!! That means my writing day is well underway, and it isn’t even 10 AM yet! I think I will reward myself with a little break!  

If you’ll excuse me, I have some serious woolgathering (I mean, brainstorming) to do for the next hour (or so). Back at 11!