Judy's MIRTH & MEANING BLOG
I’m always on the lookout for clichés. When I find them slipping into my own writing, I excise them out. Spotting them in my clients’ writing, I suggest alternatives. Too many cliches make for unimaginative writing, but some cliches are so wise and pithy we just cannot do without them. One of them, “Today is a new day,” recently saved my friend Anna from getting dragged back into an old dispute.
President Obama isn’t much of a church-goer, having dropped that practice after moving from Chicago, but he does take time to publicly commemorate various religious holidays in the White House. Mr. Obama has koshered the White House kitchen for Hanukkah celebrations and hosts annual Passover seders, complete with gefilte fish and matzo ball soup. He hosts Iftar dinners in the State Room for Ramadan. Naturally, he and the First Lady light the White House Christmas tree and host the Easter Egg Roll.
I once asked a friend of mine, a therapist, what the biggest problem she encountered with her patients was. She answered swiftly. “They stay stuck. They get to a certain point of self-awareness but then cannot move forward.”
This summer’s vacation yielded a delightful surprise: My husband and I realized that we were capable of taking some remarkably good photographs, especially if we aimed straight and steady at some of God’s most luxuriant scenery. My iPhone 5 camera and my husband’s old but trusty Nikon produced so many wonderful shots that I have a new problem. Having spent many, many hours organizing a slideshow on my Macbook, and even a physical book of our best photos, I’m having a tough time making friends and relatives sit still while I force-feed them our photographic handiwork. This is what you get in the age when attention spans barely exceed that of a 140-character tweet.
Standing at my kitchen sink, I look at the clock and realize I have slavishly devoted an hour and a half to cleaning ten heads of lettuce that grew in my tiny organic garden. After all my effort, I am bugged to discover a few white insects that look exactly like little white flowers. How dare they try to trick me like that! Bugs are in no way kosher, so I had to scrupulously keep checking my home-grown produce to ensure I wouldn’t serve or swallow a little creepy crawly thing. I also spy a caterpillar, slyly camouflaged in the exact pale green as the leaves. I bet it’s easier to de-bug the Kremlin than a head of organic green leaf lettuce. Beginning one last rinse, this time with an extra drop of vinegar, I think, Maybe pesticides aren’t so bad after all.
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