Sunday, January 13, 2013


Moderation. Seems like a ... moderate word, eh? But after a long-term, well-after-New-ears Eve, hog-heaven holiday bender, it seems time to focus on the word, the meaning, the ... moderation.

Now, if only we could get our congress people to aim their sites toward the middle, which seems kinda like what moderation means. Then again, perhaps I should look the word up, make sure I'm even talking about what I'd like to be thinking about.

         (Google pause)

Yep, I'm spot on. Here ya go, according to


[mod-uh-rey-shuh n] Show IPA
the quality of being moderate; restraint; avoidance of extremes or excesses; temperance.
the act of moderating.
A few of things I'm thinking about moderating with myself, so that I can become more moderate:
  • food
  • temper
  • opinions
  • rest of leftover box of gift chocolate (above brand, "Nuts, chewy and crisp centers" blend--FAVORITE!)
  • how long I sit
  • food
  • thoughts
  • yelling at the tv, especially when they're talking about congress (refer to temper)
  • emotional eating (refer to food, temper, congress and yelling at TV)
Perhaps later this week I'll talk about LAVISHNESS. But right now, it doesn't seem like a good fit with MODERATION. It just seems more fun. Know what I mean? As in "the lavishness of the rest of the box of the chocolate gift". Which, as you noticed, is my favorite blend.
I think I shall become moderate about moderating tomorrow, my dear, after the last tongue-yumming melted goodness is swallowed. And I am even fatter and more miserable.
Determined again! Seriously determined!
In summation, if you were a betting person, where would you put your money?


Monday, September 3, 2012

Iced Tea Drinkers UNITE!

Coffee and Thee--And Them

The poetic story of one tea-drinking woman and 
three coffee houses.
copyright Charlene Ann Baumbich, September 2012


She invited me
for a cup.
Coffee, of course.
I said yes.
It’s just easier that way.

When I placed
my order,
I asked for a large,
lots of ice please.
Tea, of course.
I don’t like coffee.
No need to explain.
To anyone.

Then began
the spew
of senseless
wordy questions.
Foreign language,
I presume.
To which I replied,
I     want     a     large.


“Coffee” shop
Attached to a bookstore.
Books suck every ounce
of moisture
out of one’s mouth.
I ordered an
iced tea.

Sorry, she said.
We don’t have
iced tea.
It’s out of season.

Do you serve
iced coffee?

Yes, they did.
But that was

That, I responded,
was prejudice.


Take one,
the small sign
near the
coffee punch cards said.
Loyalty program.

I assume
you punch
for iced tea too.

but no.

My iced tea
costs more
than coffee.
I am a
I explained.

It’s just
the rule.

  • Iced tea drinkers unite: REBEL against this irrational prejudice.
  • Share the link to this poem. 
  • Print the verses and meditate upon the injustice. 
  • Let this ridiculousness embolden you to get what you deserve: equal rights for tea drinkers.
  • Coffee drinkers: support your fellow sippers!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Everything Old is New Again

Today, as I think about an upcoming event, I'm pondering the truth in the old saying, EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN. From my dress to my handbag, my slip to my jewelry--all old--everything old does feel new again because of the way "the outfit" all came together, and the reason I'm wearing it.

Before I share the details, let me make this clear: I don't care much for dressing up; I like shopping even less. There is comfort in worn jeans and softened sweatshirts. I like socks and my Keenes. I wear things, especially fancy things, until they utterly fall apart, because as much as I dislike shopping and dressing up, I find the idea of maintaining someone else's idea of what's fashionable even more distasteful. Who are they to tell me how I should look any given season, especially when many of the most popular colors make me yawn?

So it was with great trepidation that I started pondering what I "should" wear to this upcoming shindig, an event filled with much joy--and picture taking. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that my main goal wasn't to be perfectly gussied, but to feel good. The event was too important to spend a second of it wishing I had on a more comfortable outfit, or jewelry that didn't catch on my skirt, or a color, that although photogenic, made me feel pasty. So off to my closet I went, to my favorite tried-and-true default outfit, the two-piece one with an elastic waistband, comfy fabric and vibrancy.

I called the girlfriend who was with me when I bought it, at least twenty years ago. The fabric is a washable rayon. I told her that although the garment was somewhat thin by now, it still looked nice. And this is why I love her. She didn't give me the ol', What? No new dress for this? "Just wear a good slip," she said. And I have one. As old as the outfit, but still in good shape.

I mentioned to her that I'd also drug out another blue-gray two-piece outfit from that same era. It had a funky uneven hemline, and guess what? Those are back IN! (I don't really care, but this sure struck me funny.) Since I'd recently lost about twenty pounds, it fit me too (and has an elastic waste). I haven't worn it for at least fifteen years. Either one would do. YAY and game on, because then it became about the jewelry, shoes and handbag. 

The bad news: the shoes I used to wear with the vibrant outfit were trashed, and the newer black pumps I owned looked too dressy with the blue-gray outfit for the less-than-formal occasion. Okay, so I had to buy shoes. But once I did (found a nice pair discounted at Steinmart!), off to the Goodwill store I went to find a handbag. SCORE! $3.99, minus senior discount, and all mine!

Last decision: jewelry. No problem-o. I have much lively costume stuff from which to choose, ranging from old to older.

Now, as I prepare to make my decision--as I look at these two fully accessorized old outfits in the mirror--they look brand new to me. But no matter which I select, to be honest, nobody's gonna care what I'm wearing anyway. They'll all be watching the beautiful bride, her handsome groom next to her. 

Her groom. My 47-year-old son. I'll be watching through happy tears, glad I'm comfortable in my clothes and myself. Glad that witnessing sweet new love commit to a lifetime of growing old together never grows old.

Glad about how very much new love makes everything old feel new again.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


According to, the word FOCUS means exactly what I thought it did, especially in the context in which I cannot seem to apply it for the last few days.

1. "a central point, as of attraction, attention, or activity: The need to prevent a nuclear war became the focus of all diplomatic efforts."

And wow! Isn't that some sample sentence to at least momentarily FOCUS your attention on disaster?! I wonder what's happening in the news RIGHT THIS MINUTE, especially with all that nuclear testing threat stuff going on in North Korea. Maybe I oughta turn on the TV for a moment.

See what I mean?

Sure, I've had a lot on my plate lately, what with the new book release. But even on days when Google Calendar tells me I have no appointments scheduled, I can't seem to FOCUS on the project I set as my goal.

For instance, I absolutely need to tackle all the piles of whatever they are strewn and stacked around my house. Every day I say to myself, TODAY I SHALL TACKLE THESE PILES! Yet I seem incapable of making a dent in them. Which caused me to zing back to to look up the word LAZY.


  [ley-zee]  Show IPA adjective, la·zi·er,la·zi·est, verb, la·zied, la·zy·ing.
averse or disinclined to work, activity, or exertion; indolent.
causing idleness or indolence: a hot, lazy afternoon.
slow-moving; sluggish: a lazy stream.
(of a livestock brand) placed on its side instead of upright.

So, I start reading the definitions and think, Yes. Perhaps laziness is my issue--until I get to #4. And I have no idea what they're talking about. Although my brain does feel a little on its side lately rather than upright (like on TILT), so I guess that fits too.


Well you can see what happened next! Since I pasted in the definitions, I can't get the left-hand margin of this post set back to to where it belongs. I have no idea why. I've poked around and wasted another five minutes fretting about that rather than FOCUSING on a single one of my piles. But how could I ignore this distasteful formatting issue?

I'm pretty concerned about being lazy when it comes to my piles, but my efforts to fix this margin were so diligent that perhaps I'm not lazy, but rather just PROCRASTINATING with those piles, another word I want to look up so I can discern the root of the problem that's keeping me from FOCUSING. But it's time to start dinner, which I'm going to do right after I check in one more time with the Eagles

American Idol is on tonight.

Tomorrow is another day, hopefully with another word, like ACHIEVEMENT.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good and Evil

I was reading a recent copy of Literary License, association publication for the Society of Midland Authors, when today's words, Good and Evil, jumped off the page and gave me goosebumps. I'll tell you why in a moment. First let me give you the context.

Robert Loerzel wrote that Marilyn Robinson, author of Gilead, a book I truly loved (I'm going to blog about that experience on my new GoodReads blog one of these days), recently "took part in a March 3 discussion on 'Literature and Evil'. The larger event, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference (strangely, I can't find 2012 info, which perhaps just isn't recapped yet?), was held in Chicago. Ten thousand people attended, Loerzel said. Somehow I missed the ginormous sold out conference was even taking place in my back yard until after it was over.

Yep, that's the way this author sometimes rolls. Oh, well ...

Loerzel said that the title of Robinson's event [Literature and Evil] "seemed to make her uneasy. What is evil? 'The greatest peril is in thinking that you know what it is,' Robinson said. 

'Too easily arrived-at definitions of good and evil do the work of the devil.'"

Whoa. Let me read that again!

I not only read it again, underlined it, put a star in the margin, and repeated it here, but I'm cutting it out and pasting it on the upper right-hand corner of my computer monitor. I might even photocopy the provocative line and put a copy in my wallet. I believe that is one of the deepest most profound and convicting truths I've read lately, especially when applied to ... just about any walk of life, and especially in this political climate.

I shall be holding my feet to the fire of that poignancy every time I make a snap decision, especially when I'm about to spout off on the good or evil of it--or him, or her, or "those people."

Think, Charlene. THINK! Maybe you are wrong.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Love Is All You Need

I attended a wedding this past weekend. The reception took place in the gymnasium of an old combo church and school turned art museum,  transformed into celebration perfection.

As we flooded into the vintage venue--complete with tables, table clothes, candles, wedding favors and snacks all lined up and waiting for us--glorious sunlight (thank you, Mother Nature!) streamed through the partially clad windows and began to celebrate and play right along with us.

Before this portion of the par-tay began (Crank up the music! Pour the drinks! Turn on the disco lights!), we'd been blessed by the ceremony held in an intimate room with colorful paintings on the walls. We received a word from the man referred to as the "Internet pastor" (he did a terrific job!) and the couple read their personally created vows (tender and tear-inducing). Then, the kiss. A GOOD kiss, and you know what I'm talking about. There was even a short follow-up dessert kiss.

As the couple turned to face us, All You Need is Love blasted into the room. Mr. Internet Pastor closed his eyes, held out his arms benediction style, threw back his head and saaaaaaaang right along with the lyrics as the new Mr. and Mrs. high-beamed their way down the aisle.

I can't stop thinking about that electric moment in time when I had no doubt it's absolutely true: all we need is love. If we loved with our whole hearts, minds and wallets, how much better would the world be?! (Hello, starving people! Hello crazed dictators! Hello lost and forgotten! Hello forgiveness!) I will forever carry that bright spot in an easily accessible corner of my heart.

After dinner, toasts, dancing and making merry, the sun began to wane. As natural light faded, the mellowness of fairy lights, candles and dance-floor illumination settled the room with an ambient glow--just perfect for yet MORE dancing and merriment.

When it was time for us older folk to depart, the bounty of love and love light continued to spread its radiance far beyond the festivities.

And the entire world felt just a little bit LOVE-lier.