Miguel and I

Posted by Cecilia Leger on 6:55 PM
In my defense.... it's raining.



Posted by Cecilia Leger on 10:24 PM

Love them or hate them, most of us have to live with deadlines. Considering that the word's origin refers to the line beyond which prisoners were not allowed to cross on pain of being shot dead, I can completely understand why most people consider deadlines negative inspiration at best and a noose around their neck at worst.

Personally, I find that nothing focuses the mind better than panic, so I find that a looming deadline (meaning one that is only hours from now) is the only thing that can almost keep my attention trained on only one topic. This means that I can spend my time actually doing the work at hand instead of running after my thoughts like a child chasing dandelion seeds on a summer afternoon (this being my most natural state of mind!).

So, my new favorite quote comes from a blog I came across while reading about the reforms on banking that the Obama White House seeks to establish. The blogger was addressing the concern that the executive wants Congress to pass legislation on new regulations within a few months, which many believe to be an impossible deadline.

And so the blogger quotes this perfect line: "A deadline is optimism in its most kick-ass form."

Isn't that awesome?!

PS I found this article as I was researching early education for a grant I'm trying to write. What? Early eaducation, banking reform .... you don't see the connection? Huh. Oh, look, something shiny, gotta go!


Modesty Forbids Me Nothing .... She Knows Her Place

Posted by Cecilia Leger on 11:01 PM
(Just in case someone who doesn't know me actually ends up reading this: please know that it is meant as satire.)

Speaking as a writer, I'm in a unique position to tell you that….

Well, something that we writers have always known is …..

Oh, I understand now…. You’re not a writer, are you?

Don’t interrupt. I’m practicing condescending lines to use at parties and other social gatherings. Puritans, romantics, and my mother have warned me for years about the perils of putting others down or acting like a snob. But did they ever stop to consider my feelings on the matter, I ask you! I’ll also answer you (because I can tell from the way your shirt’s on inside out that you’re not the sharpest knife in the drawer): No, as a matter of fact, no one stopped to consider my needs or feed my delusions of grandeur.

I’m surprised Child Protective Services didn’t get involved, for there was little Cecilia, superior to her peers in every imaginable way and yet forced (yes, forced!) to blend in so others wouldn’t be quite so keenly aware of their own mediocrity. Oh, the horror.

Well, no more of that!

I'm using every once of determination and self-discipline to finally become the megalomaniac I was meant to be. Because I’m better than everyone else, and smarter than all of you idiots, and doggone it, who cares if people don’t like me!

Beginning today I’ll follow a carefully designed training regimen:

10 reps of “Disdainful Eyebrow Raises”
5 barely concealed yawns to be used when others are speaking
45 minutes of deep breathing so I won’t have to stop to take a breath while speaking
Humming lessons (to protect myself from people who will insist on talking to me)

You see, now that I’ve written a whole four pages (double spaced, two-inch margins all around) of a novel, I know for certain that I’m the only one with anything important to say. Isn't that what being a writer is all about?


No Shoes, No Shirt, No Helium Balloons

Posted by Cecilia Leger on 3:23 PM
So it wasn’t a fluke.

Last March (I think) when I went on my spur of the moment pilgrimage to the Outer Banks I had dinner by myself at a restaurant in Kitty Hawk, and –much to my surprise—I enjoyed the experience. The food was excellent, which really helped, but I mean that for the first time I didn’t feel awkward or self conscious or on display while dining alone. I’ll have to check my blog from that day because now I can’t remember, but I don’t think I even opened the book I took along with me as my date.

(Isn’t it funny how memory works: I can’t remember if I read the book while being in the restaurant, but I can clearly remember that the book was … uh…. the one about how robotics are changing the way we fight wars – the title had the word “war” in it, I’m sure of it! You know, it was written by that guy that was interviewed on The Daily Show and who works in some think thank here in DC. He’s the one who was the first to write a book on the use of child soldiers and another on the use of mercenary armies. Yeah, that guy!)

Anyway, I was very pleased with myself because this meant that I could now go to that jazz bar in the top floor of the Kennedy Center and have dinner there even if none of my friends wanted to join me (not that I’ve gone yet, of course).

I was worried. I worried that my Kitty Hawk experience had been a one-off and that I’d panic the moment I had to tell some over-friendly twelve year old hostess that, yes, I needed a table for one. What if when I sat at the table and she started to take away the other place setting, the last flimsy string that attaches me to some semblance of sanity suddenly snapped? I’d float away like a dollar-store helium balloon, leaving behind my mental health and a slightly bewildered pale, brunette (“don’t you want to hear tonight’s specials?).

See? Perfectly reasonable concerns.

But last night I went to see The Importance of Being Ernest at the Center Stage in Baltimore; before the show I had dinner by myself at the overpriced café in the theatre. (Green salad, re-heated veggie lasagna, piece of stale bread, and pumpkin and curry soup. Boy you people are nosy!) The café hummed with the sound of conversations and laughter from fellow theatre-goers. My heart was full of anticipation for the evening ahead.

I sat down at my table for one, and I didn’t float away once.


There's No Such Thing an Accident

Posted by Cecilia Leger on 11:08 PM

I’ve only ever had one car accident. By my count. Which means I’m not counting the time I skidded on ice at the intersection of Shady Grove Road and 355. I don’t think it counts as an accident because all I did was slide off the road a bit. And slam into the median. Hard enough that my car did a 180. And the axel broke. But it’s not like I hit anybody!

Not that hitting another car is the ultimate way I’m defining a car accident, since I’m also not counting the time I rear ended the Suburban with my Toyota Tercel. I figure that one shouldn’t count because my Tercel was only slightly bigger than a matchbox and it glided right under the Suburban in front of me. Besides, if he had just turned right like he should have, the whole unfortunate episode would never have happened. At least my car wasn’t damaged.

Not that damaging my car is the ultimate way I’m defining a car accident, since I’m also not counting the time I got my car stuck on the curb right outside the car wash near my house. I’d just gotten a used Eclipse and I was feeling very sporty and hip as I drove to the car wash. I gassed up, turned up the radio while going through the automatic wash, and got ready to take my baby out on the open road. I made a right as soon as I was free of the brushes. Why would anyone put a curb right there? I never even felt the tire going up on it; my first clue that I was in trouble was when I was no longer moving forward. When I got out to see why not, I saw the car perched securely on top of a cement block that divided the car wash exit from the rest of the parking lot. The passenger side front tire had climbed over the cement block and was free and undamaged.

Not that a damaged front tire is the ultimate way I’m defining a car accident, since I’m also not counting the time my front tire exploded when I hit a curb as I was trying to turn into the gas station (different gas station from the one with the car wash, you’ll be happy to know). That instance doesn’t count against me because, clearly, the fault lies only with the tire manufacturers for making something so flimsy that it falls apart just because it hit an object while going 50 miles per hour.

So, like I said, I’ve only ever had one car accident.

But it was about ten years ago and it happened before I knew I needed glasses to drive and before I had openly acknowledged that my night vision was quite so bad. So maybe that one shouldn’t count either…


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