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December 29, 2008

Guatemalan Worry People

This is List Week at The Lipstick Chronicles. At least, that’s the memo I got, but Margie’s on a ChristmasHannukahFestivusKwanzaaNewYear party binge, so it remains unconfirmed.

Guatemalan Worry People

by Harley 

Those of you who recall my family’s holiday incident, “The Death of Santa,” earlier this month will not be surprised to learn of its domino effect. Last week my 8-year old daughter found an old note from the Tooth Fairy.

“Mommy,” she said, studying it, “this printing looks like yours.”

I said nothing. My daughter looked up at me.

“It’s you!” she yelled. “Again! Every fairy is you, every Claus is you – is God you?”

“No, no,” I said quickly. “I’m not God.”

I mean, I am God, in an eastern philosophy “you are the Buddha” sort of way. But I like the idea of gigantic guardian angels, goddesses, guys walking on water and St. Joseph of the Realtors. In that context, I’m definitely not God, I’m not even a demigod. My only aliases are the usual triumvirate: Santa, Tooth Fairy, and Easter Bunny. No phony passports or special skills involved, just the planting of toys, money, and jellybeans in the dead of night.

Which brings us to another interesting life form that is not me. Like the Tooth Fairy, this species operates within bed linens. I refer to the Guatemalan Worry People.

My friend Margaret gave them to me for Christmas. They are one inch tall, of indeterminate gender, dressed in perky little outfits. They come in a tiny box with instructions no larger than a fortune cookie fortune, which read:

Guatemalan Worry People

There is a story that when the Maya Indians of Guatemala have worries, they tell them to worry people and then put them under their pillows at night. By morning, the worry people have taken their worries away.

I figure the Mayans, with their advanced system of hieroglyphics, their own calendar, and history of human sacrifice, know from stress. If this cure works for the Mayans, that’s good enough for me.

And you! Since the Guatemalan Worry People come six to a box, I’d like to share the effects. It’s one of the many services we at TLC provide. Give me your best worries and I’ll put them under my pillow this week along with the Guatemalan Worry People. We will then report our findings to the N.I.H.

Here are the ground rules: no global warming or mortgage crisis anxieties, please. No world hunger, North Korea, natural disasters. These are valid worries, but they are outside the scope of this blog. Let’s remember that the Guatemalan Worry People are the size of paper clips. Give me your tiny worries, the ones you can’t fix through legislation, volunteering at soup kitchens, or sleeping with dictators.

I’ll start.

1.     The worry that one day hair will grow in my ears.

2.     The worry that letting my children watch “I, Carly” and “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” will lead to diminished capacity in the prefrontal cortex.

3.     The worry that not flossing every day will give me a heart attack.

4.     The worry that they’ll never make the sequel to The Golden Compass and I’ll never find out what happens.

5.     The worry that, speaking of Blond Bond, they wore him out with too many stunts in Quantum of Solace, and not enough sex, and he won’t want to do the next one.

6.     The worry that Jen still pines for Brad, that Brangelina can't be getting enough sleep, producing new children every four months, that Britney will never get her act together, and that Madonna will never find happiness, despite the Kabala and truly amazing muscle tone.

Your turn!




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I worry that my house guests will come back.

And that I won't come up with a topic for a Top Ten List this week!

I worry that Jane Austen will suddenly become unpopular, because I've decided that my only way to fame and fortune is to write a book called "The Jane Austen Whisperer."

I worry that the packers/movers won't label the boxes and I won't be able to find any sheets for our first night in the new house.

I worry that my kid is going to shoot his eye out.

I worry that . . .

~I'll fall away from my good gym habits

~I'll have hot flashes forever

And in all seriousness, I'm really worried about my 19 year-old stepdaughter. That might need more than one of those little dolls.

I worry that gaining one pound a year will eventually add up to real numbers. Pumpkin pie, anyone?

I worry about my teeth. Crowns are coming at an alarming rate. Hoping root canals aren't next because after that comes false teeth. (Dental appointment to seat a crown this afternoon!)

Harley, I think the sequel to the Golden Compass is already available--in book form.

I'm bigger than a paper clip, but now I'm worried that I'm channeling Bobby McFerrin (Don't Worry, Be Happy).

I worry every time my son takes my car (or my wife's car) out. I worry that he will never get his head together and will never go to college. I worry that someone will give me a drug test that I will fail on a false positive. I worry that if I were ever convicted of something and imprisoned, I would end up in jail without my prescription medications. I worry that my daughter will "inherit" an unhealthy body image and end up cutting, or worse. I worry that my wife and I are teaching our children bad behaviors, such as, well, lots of things. I worry that this month's gas/electric bill will be higher than last month's $798. I worry about my wife.

Shit, I worry alot.

I worry that my daughter won't be able to make it through college (NOT good grades this semester).

I worry that if she does, I won't be able to come up with the money, since her dad has decided not to participate.

Maybe we should just dedicate one worry person for "kids".

I worry that my husband seems really distant and there's something wrong with us.

I worry that I will become too comfortable with these pounds I've picked up the last several months, and not work hard enough to get rid of them.

I worry about Josh.

I worry that people will quit buying books and I'll have to get a real job.

Josh, your gas bills alone give me pause. Wow, you guys are good. I can't believe I slept through all this. Actually, I didn't. All night I kept waking up thinking, what ARE these little wood chip things under my pillow?

Okay, keep them coming. The Worry People can handle it.

Too true. Children/grandchildren anxiety is a whole separate category.

Elaine, I have been in three book stores in the last two weeks. Judging by the lines of happy people with stacks in their hands, you are safe in not having to live on the "dead end jobs."

I worry about my children. That they will learn to eat their vegetables and not survive on bagels and cream cheese.

I worry about my job. How many little dolls do I need for my resume to float to the top of the stack and no one else "blow their socks off" in the interview.

I worry about my mom and mother in law. Both are living on their investments. Mom's broker (also known as her brother) worked for one of the investment houses that failed this year.

I worry that I'll never find all the important papers I hid during my pre-Christmas/pre-Festivus cleaning binge.

I worry that my children's fish and rabbit will die while they're traveling with their dad. I mean, I feed them, but I don't spend quality time with them.

Harley, at first I thought you meant that the fish and rabbit were on vacation with the kids' dad. The sudden thought of a fishbowl and a rabbit cage en route to the beach cracked me up.

Karen, you have now cracked me up too. Sorry. Ambiguous writing. Not enough coffee.

I worry that people know what a cheap gift I gave Harley.

"Not enough coffee"--eek, ack, now there's something to worry about.

Also, I worry that the folks who collect my recycling will do the math and add up all the wine bottles we contribute each week (like that one scene from Desperate Housewives when all of Bree's empties were lined up and waiting for her) and somehow I'll get banned from the wine aisle at my local grocery.

I worry there will not be enough coffee. Our favorite coffee house closed abruptly last night; our writers' group used to meet there.

And I worry about durn near everything else.

When we were in Guatemala a long time ago, we got a hatband with eight little wooden people attached. I didn't understand the story the seller was trying to tell me about them.

Maybe they're A Big Bunch of Worry People. Guess I'll be the only guy in Irvine wearing a baseball hat with a hatband.

Well, shit. Now I'm worried about my kids and college. Assuming they have both eyes at that point.

Okay, I also worry - every damn day - that I am not going to be able to keep my temper in check, someone will die, and I will end up in jail. Note that I do not worry about the theoretically dead person. He or she undoubtedly deserved it. Unfortunately, that defense does not usually hold up in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Josh - don't end up in jail. Jail is bad. I tell myself that every day. But, you know, as a precaution, maybe you should get one of those bracelets that say what meds you're on. I asked my Doc if I could get one for Bicardi and he said no.

Judy, you will not be banned from the wine aisle. You will be hailed as a hero for keeping the economy going.

BTW, does anyone know, are we supposed to be spending more, saving more or investing more? I'm confused on what constitutes patriotism these days.

I'm worried that my 2 strands of prosperity hens will never work to get my lotto tickets to be winners.

Judy, don't worry too much about your 19yo stepdaughter. She will grow up & make it ok. My stepdaughter is now 35, married, two kids and at the age of 18: had not graduated from high school (still hasn't...the one point of contention between us), had the police after her, was fired from 3 jobs in 1 month, and forged her mother's signature on the savings account. And she is now a great wife & mother.

I have some of those worry dolls, but I didn't know they were supposed to go under the pillow. Maybe that's why my worries keep coming back? Please can I add selling the condo to the list. Two homes is one too many.
Karen's right about _Golden Compass_ Pullman's books are (of course) even better than the movies, and the ending is wonderful (and very transcendental). There's even a lovely little afterward book _Lyra's Oxford_ with maps. (A no-longer friend introduced me to the series with a don't-go-to-this-movie-or-you'll-go-to-hell mass e-mail. She cut me out of her life with I wrote back that I would read/see and think for myself -- said that was very judgmental of me. I'm not adding her to the list of worries, though, because Jill assured me she couldn't have been a real friend anyway because real friend talk out their disagreements).
Josh, I'm worried about your gas bills, too, but they do put mine in perspective . . .

My worries stem more for Dear Hubby & my kids/grandkidlets.

I worry about:

my grandaughter's epilepsy. It is managed well, but still a worry.

grandson's being left behind because of sister's illness.

my daughter's ability to get a job when she completes her master's program in May.

my daughter giving up her asperations for "her man".

Dear Hubby's inability to take care of himself and his "downer" attitude.

my parent's health and ability to stay independant. At 77 & 83, it is starting to become an issue.

Dear Hubby's mother. SIL & BIL live out of town so guess who will have to take care of the woman? Yep, me. Oh, the stories I could tell about our relationship.


That should be aspirations...geez, no coffee this morning.

Can we also add worries over all the cumulative aches and pains? I know they build character and all, but what if we run out of exercises and coping strategies? I've started using my book stand from Levenger to hold Inkdeath, which is fairly heavy. I looked on their site to find one like it and couldn't. This is the closest I could get HTTP://www.levenger.com/PAGETEMPLATES/PRODUCT/Product.asp?Params=Category=17-148|Level=2-3|pageid=2020

Rita, what's a prosperity hen?

Check out http://www.grannysu.blogspot.com/
Time for the New Year's Bonfire and Burning Our Troubles

I worry that I will not be able to deal with my constant worry. I would list more, but I don't want to worry the worry dolls with too much. Another day?

Also, "The Golden Compass" is part of a trilogy by Philip Pullman that has been around for quite sometime. I believe the trilogy is called "His Dark Materials". He has his own website, just google his name. As usual, the books are much better than the movie version.

Opps, forgot one other thought. About that rascally tooth fairy. Although the tooth fairy may not exist, I am reading a fascinating book called "The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries." In the early part of the 20th century, oral evidence was collected by Evans-Wentz in various celtic lands concerning the belief and visitations of the faery folk. This is not a new age kind of book. Anyway, at least according to many celtic folk, faeries may indeed exist.

Pam, bless you, bless you, bless you (but I do wonder how my step-daughter knew what yours did 17 years ago). You've given me hope.

Thanks, Harley, for the dispensation. Yes, I am doing my little part to keep the economy healthy (and, can I add that we drink domestic wines. Buy American!).

worry dolls
rosary beads
I worry that Troy Palomalu's prayers won't snap Ben out of it.....but I digress.....and I worry about kids, health, air quality, economy......merry everything

I worry that all these worries are making us all grey(er) before our time!

I worry that I've been procrastinating all day, and not getting this pile of end-of-the-year bookkeeping done, and that we will miss taking some much-needed deduction. Why do I wait this late, every year? Couldn't Christmas get moved just a week sooner? That would help a lot.

I worry that one of the stones in my one-and-only diamond ring will loosen and fall out. But I can't really afford right now to get it fixed, and I'm too attached to it to stop wearing it, even while gardening. How silly, eh?

Judy, a high school friend and I have become reacquainted, and we both realized that we are 180-degrees different from how we were 40 years ago. People do grow up, even though they sometimes worry their parents in the meantime.

I want some of those prosperity hens. In fact, maybe we should stock them at TLC and ship them out each month to contest winners. I'm always on the lookout for a new cottage industry.

Of course, it will fall to Margie to feed the hens. And come up with the contests.

Domestic wines--remember that Zinfandel (red, not the nasty "white", which is really pink), is our national wine. Like Chianti to Italy, and Shiraz to Australia, and Malbec to Argentina, Zinfandel is our all-American wine, and it's wonderful.

Then I think we owe it to our country to go out today and buy a bottle of Zinfandel.

Mandatory Zinfandel.

I was going to say that Italian Primitivo is like American Zin but way cheaper, if crunchier (can wine be crunchy?), but then I worried that was unpatriotic.

I did my share for the world wine economy last week, and I did less worrying. Now I'm going to do my part for my bank account and my waistline, but I'm worried I'll worry more.

I worry that I've become addicted to holiday eating so most of the holiday stuff is out of the house.
I also worry that I spend too much time worrying about stuff I can't control and therefore tire myself out.
Mostly, I just worry...it's genetic.
Now I have to go back to straightening the house and hope I get it done before my massage therapist arrives!

I have a wonderful little son, a nice man on my side, a job - well paid, we are all healthy, a few great friends - but i am so dissatisfied with my life. Maybe it is my boring job - from monday to friday, same time, mostly i get sheets of paper and feed data into the pc. I worry, that i am unable to change things in my life. Maybe i need a little bit more self-confidence, maybe i am ingrate...
Sorry for my English...

I'll raise a glass of Zin (which will go great with the Italian Sausage soup in my crockpot right now!) to all of us . . . and may our worries all drift away!

Amanda, your work needs to fill your soul. If the current job does not, then it is not ungrateful of you to recognize that lack. I have seen many articles recently on just that subject, and on exploring other paths while doing the work that pays today's bills. Good luck to you in finding a field in which you can blossom.

Boy, what a relief. I'm not the only one worrying. You've covered most of mine, and now I'm also worrying about Josh's utility bills. At least I'm not worry about my own utility bills now!

(Josh, seriously, maybe it's time for more insulation in the attic, new windows, new furnace, something???)

Harley, please give this one to your dolls: I worry that my ex wasn't just the wrong person, but really my-one-and-only and we screwed it up.

Boy, I've never admitted that. Maybe just admitting something is the real power here?

1. I worry that the Adventurers Club in
Downtown Disney in Orlando is forever

2. I worry that "Tron 2" will not cast
Cindy Morgan.

3. I worry that I will not get to cover the
red carpet screening of "The Red Queen."

4. I worry that all books will be replaced
by computers and then terrorists will
systematically unplug all the
electricity in the world.

Those Mayas better listen to me!

Amanda, I'm sorry for your dull job, but your English is charming. Where are you from?

Thank you storyteller Mary.
Hi Harley - I am from Germany and i love it to read your articles. Happy New Year and please: Dont stop writing articles and books...

I worry that this cold is going to stay forever. I had an easier time recovering from full-blown surgery. Geez.

I worry that I forget all of the important stuff I'm supposed to be worrying about. I'm brainstorming a story. I have no spare cells left for worrying. Or, apparently, recovering from a cold.

I worry that my boys will get carpal tunnel syndrome from playing their Nintendo DS's too much.
I worry that they will get scurvy from lack of vegetables, or turn orange from only eating carrots.
I worry that my 1 year old daughter will never have enough hair to "do" like I want to.
I worry that my husband will die of boredom at his well-paying job that he's just not that fond of.
I worry that the line between my eyebrows will get so deep that I'll lose a child in it before I can afford Botox.

Wow, I feel better already!

Harley, you're great to get this log rolling--we really need to burn all this worry off before the New Year!
I worry that if I voice my worries about family members and loved ones, I'll set the problems rolling . . . so I try to keep to the 'worry is negative prayer' side of the aisle and think of all my loved ones being safe, healthy, happy and secure.
I worry that my darned lemon of a car will never pass the smog test and I'll be stuck with it for two more years or expensive repairs . . . nope--change that--it will pass the smog test on the next try and I'll sell it to a thrilled buyer before a single other thing can go wrong--I'm sure it's my kharma and not the car . . . .
I worry that the AMA will always control medicine in the U.S. of A. and prevent the public from finding out what a terrific gift Chinese medicine (including acupuncture) really is . . . it is phenomenal for aches, pains, aging and chronic stuff, too!!
Storyteller Mary: have you made a list of 100 characteristics of the perfect buyers for your extra house?? Who are they, what are they like, why do they want it, how will they buy it (Cash, loans, help from family, lottery winnings?), do they have kids, pets, hobbies, home business, religious fetishes, etc.? Honest. Do it. I'm envisioning the place sold, and soon!!
Happy New Year, folks.
Harley, I sort of thought for a second you said you fed your kids but didn't spend quality time with them . . . we all know that's not true, but it was a funny thought for a moment. Happy, healthy new year to you and them, Ms. All-Occasions-But-God-Ones Fairy.

P.S. I worry about what happened to the post I just posted that just disappeared?!
Josh, now I'm worried about my utility bills--SM is not that far from Irvine, and I've run the heat a lot this week . . . . Toni, acupuncture and herbs--I'm serious--it helps!!
I worry that Typepad hates me for advocating Chinese medicine to you guys when that's how I make my living--conflict of blog interests??

100 characteristics -- that's a lot, but I'll start
Young and fit (upstairs condo -- my niece said, "Aunt Mary sure bought a lot of steps!")
No little children (those stairs would make shlepping kid stuff a chore)
Healthy down payment all saved up from steady job (good credit score for mortgage)
Pets -- that would be nice, after no pets for so long w/ my allergies -- maybe a couple of cats; I think dogs prefer having a yard.
BTW, it was warm outside, and the tree frog was sitting on the ledge at the top of the plastic bin, so I gave him a few minutes outside with the lid off and the sun shining, in case he wanted to go free -- Nope! he knows it's not spring yet.

No, no, LOVE that Chinese medicine stuff, although those dreadful weeds that they made me drink to get pregnant were horrible and smelled up the kitchen for weeks. They did result in lovely babies, but I must tell you, aLynneP, that while my youngest daughter did finally acquire hair (it took forever) it was 6 years before I could do anything interesting with it. Do not postpone your life while her hair grows.

Wow, this is like one big free-for-all therapy session! Wheeee!

I second what Harley says about baby hair. Once my daughter finally got some she wouldn't let anyone else touch it for at least six more years. Prickly little thing, even today at age 21, although she does now have lovely hair.

Yep, this is me, still procrastinating, although I've made some progress.

Laraine, I'm with you on the no-worry thing. Self-actualization is mo' better. As one of my favorite sayings goes, "Visualize Whirled Peas".

Wireless catalog offered a "Visualize Whirled Peas" t-shirt. I didn't actually get it until they added "Stop the Violins."

Oh Janet Lynn, earlier today during a moment of idle thought, I counted the windows in my house. Sixty. No, 63, including next to and above the front door. Fewer than half are less than 100 years old, and many are four or five feet high. Our ceilings are at least 12 feet on the first floor, 10 feet on the second floor (normal on the third floor). Insulation might be nice, or a smaller house. We may have fuel-efficient cars, but that house leaves a carbon footprint as big as Godzilla's.

I worry that there will be a Tron 2. Come on! Can't they find a better name? How about "Tron 2.0?"

Sixty four. I forgot the one on the back steps going up from the kitchen.

Wow, come late and have to read through 3 pages of comments! Way to go, people.

Josh - Heart attack at your gas bill.

My worries
- my husband will never get over the stomach flu and I'll have to continue catering to him!

- I'll never lose all the weight I need to

I'll leave it at those! Thanks for helping us out, Harley. Oh, and I read that note about your pets as if they were with your ex also. I snickered.

Hey Cinema Dave - who is Cindy Morgan and why should she be in TRON 2?

Cindy Morgan was Lacey Underall, the femme fatale in Caddyshack.

I didn't know that. I just Googled her.

And, I guess Dave would know this, she was in Tron.

Learn something everyday.

Geesh Josh, your heating bill would break us! My neighbors in bigger houses are being charged a little less than $550 per month this winter (and Annapolis is not far from you).

Luckily we bought a new heat pump about four years ago, and it has really helped keep our heating bills lower. It averages $289 on budget billing. (BTW, it's the homes with the older heat pumps that have the higher bills.)

Have you thought about buying some insulating curtains? Country Curtains has a really nice selection, and the total cost per window might be less than your whole winter's heating bills.

Please, Harley, add my worry for Josh's heating bill to your Worry People list.

Also my worries that:
- I won't finish my first-ever short story in time to submit it to an anthology my local SinC chapter is planning
- My son will use the wrong reasoning to select which college he'll attend out of the four (so far) that have accepted him
- I will continue to get overwhelmed when I try to purge my house of what I really don't need (which is probably more than 2/3 of what's wasting space in my house now)
- I won't have enough money to help my son get through college (I counter with - I see lots of cash flowing to me...I am easily able to pay for my son's college education)
- I won't like the iTouch I'm going to buy to replace my PDA
- The squirrels in my yard won't live through the winter because the trees didn't produce ANY acorns this year (my husband and I are scattering walnuts, chestnuts & peanuts...still in their shells...around our yard - but not in the same places and not every day)

Thanks for the release, Harley! I hope those Worry People have lots of mojo to get rid of all of our worries...

Becky, why don't you pack up all your excess stuff and send it to Josh, who can use it to insulate his house?

Thanks A.K.!

Josh got it right,
Cindy Morgan was in both "Tron" and "Caddyshack." She lives in my neck of the woods and is a fan of Elaine Viets :)

Oh yea - Harley was just on TCM!

TCM was interviewing Ron Howard and he talked about "Parenthood." Harley was seen in some scenes and Ron Howard said that this was one of his most personal films.

I’ve got a lot of worries, such as the country going into a depression, but after reading the comments today I’ve gained a whole new set new worries.

I’m now worried about:

-Josh and his heating bills. Painful!

-Lack of coffee, no wait, I always worry about this.

-How to break Kathy out of jail because Pennsylvania doesn’t have a He/She needed killin’ Law on the books when it’s clearly needed.

-Rita’s prosperity hens are busted and there’s no way to confirm this fact.

-Toni’s lack of remembering her worries, which is bothering her and completely baffles me. Bliss would be the word I would use if I could forget everything I should and do spend time on with the worry.

Lately, my two biggest worries are the amount of stress my job has heaped upon my life without me realizing this fact until recently, and the realization I’ve maxed out the meter in the “stuff” zone and it has reached critical levels throughout the house, which is in danger of imploding.

GUYS! There IS a Tron 2.0 already.
Note: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0604563/
Now we can all worry that there will be a sequel to the sequel.

Wait, Tron 2.0 is a VG, a video game. Does that count as a sequel?
(I don't think of it as one.)
I worry about my worrying.
I think I worry too much.

I worry that I won't find a job by the time my college reunion happens in June.

Okay, after this I'm only going to worry about my own talentless socks:

And I may worry about why Carol herself never appears in the video.

Yes. Definitely. We need to know. What the hell happened to Carol? Doesn't anybody care?????

I worry about all of you people worrying about everything here...

Maybe we should recommend the a line for his inaugural speech...there is nothing to worry about except worry itself...

I meant to put Obama's inaugural speech...sheesh. It is entirely too late to make any sense.

And that is another thing I worry about...lack of sleep.

Fortunately, Pam, we all know who you meant, because there's only one Inauguration Address worth worrying about.

Okay, I want to go to bed now, but I'm worried that I have no idea how to deal with all these worries. I think I'll print them out, put them under my pillow and let the Guatemalans do their thing.

Expect all your worries to be gone in the morning.

Last one at the party...
I worry about DH's MS it is definitely progressing.
I worry about the bills all the time.
I worry that I'll never get my books finished and to my agent.
I'm worried about the hematoma that our male dog has in his ear.

I worry about lust, and whether little blue pills will keep me up and running.

Richard, no one at The Lipstick Chronicles considers lust a cause for concern. We feel it's an important component of any meaningful existence.

My son's 4th grade class is studying Guatemala, so today when I work in his classroom, I will take my Guatemalan hat with it's worry people hat band for show and tell. Right now I am worried that 30 9-year-olds are going to laugh at me in my "silly" hat. Some insecurities stay with you for life.

I worry that my son will never decide to "work to his potential" and my middle school daughter will never find that all-important best friend.

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