My Steel Magnolias Thursday, Jun 23 2011 


It’s been raining for a few days straight here, and as I sat on the balcony drinking coffee this morning I got to thinking about friends. And the term “fair weather” friends. This morning’s coffee comes courtesy of a Frosty mug. (Not like it’s spiked or anything since people usually think of beer being served in frosty mugs. Totally sober here. For real.) I won this mug at a bunko game back when we actually PLAYED bunko. Looking at Frosty, as I have now named him since he is a snowman and I am  clever, gives me a toasty, warm and fuzzy feeling because he makes me think about My Girls. Now we just get together at a restaurant. And rest. And rant. Usually we talk about what’s going on with who and laugh over cocktails. Bunko has kind of become like the game Marco Polo because there isn’t really any rhyme or reason to when it gets called. Sometimes I call bunko when I can’t really “see” things right and want to reach out to my girls. Don’t look for a picture of the Bunko Girls yet. I doubt I’d get that many women to agree on one picture where everyone’s hair looks nice and nobody thinks they look fat. Check out Frosty below mugging for the camera though. He’s sitting there for me, with the dark clouds behind him and the communication tower of some kind just off in the distance. Don’t correct me if I’m wrong about that big thing either. Because then I’ll look stupid and the rest of this won’t make sense so just go with me here.

Even on rainy days when the sun isn’t so bright, I can send out a signal to some girlfriends and see who’s up for a game. I don’t always hear back from all of them, but that doesn’t mean I should assume they are fair weather friends. They just may not be able to communicate what they’re thinking when the clouds are blocking the signals. Some people may actually be those fair weather friends, I guess, and don’t want to get out in the storm lest their hair frizz. I get that too. I know I don’t always want to walk around with frizzy hair either. Occasionally, most of us do put on our hats and stylish rain boots though and just prepare for a bad hair day. Donning that rubbery soled footwear and choosing to brave the storms to help out a friend can be good for the soul. I’m speaking in metaphors here, but sometimes girlfriends can just appreciate a really great pair of shoes too, and it’s as simple as that!

“I promise that my personal tragedy will not interfere with my ability to do good hair.”

– Steel Magnolias

I could go on and on and onandonandonandon with the Steel Magnolia quotes since it’s one of my total faves, but Annelle says that to Truvy in the beauty shop when she’s trying to explain some of the gossip around town regarding her past. It’s really none of their business. The girl wants a job and wants to prove she can be professional. I love it!  I think I may be looking for a job myself with this writing gig, but I also see it as a shout out to my girls to let them know that I’ll be there for them even if I have other things going on myself.  And all of us will always have good hair! You know, I went to high school in the same town that Steel Magnolias was filmed. From what I’ve heard, that scene from the beauty shop was filmed at the home of a school employee. I went to a school for the “gifted and talented.” Some girls, that SOMEHOW I never managed to talk to at that high school, have become GREAT friends now and encouraged me to share my “gift” and “talent.” They’ve been a gift for ME for sure. Perhaps they saw my knack for writing and forecasted the rainy days to come in the present. We connected through Facebook, and I have gotten to know some of them really well. Lovely ladies – all of them gifted. You don’t have to attend a school like that however to discover your own gifts. We all have them. My writing didn’t start until one week ago. That gift sat in a box I guess, like moving boxes often do, and I just now dusted it off and unpacked it. Maybe I didn’t see it because this particular box wasn’t wrapped up in the sparkly kind of paper I love. There wasn’t even a ribbon. (more…)

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Down With O.P.P.ossum Wednesday, Jun 22 2011 


This morning you’ll never guess what I was doing. Sitting on the balcony drinking coffee!! (You saw that one coming, didn’t ya?) And you know what I saw?… An OPOSSUM!!! Now I KNOW you didn’t see that one coming! And you know what else I did? That’s RIGHT!!! I got a video, of course. And in it, you can see the beast moving around scavenging. (or whatever opossums do) While I was shooting, (NOT Ellie Mae Clampett-style mind you. I was shooting with my iPhone, OK?) I heard the sirens in the background from a police car and that got me going on the whole Law & Order thing from yesterday. (The show AND God’s natural law and order of things) Let me present my case here:

I guess if the video isn’t working here, you can check back if you’re DYING to see what this creature looks like walking around. Someone’s going to have to explain to me why this video thing takes so long to process :-/

Oh Dear God. That thing is U-G-L-Y.!!! And it ain’t got no alibi. I can tell this even though I was far away and two flights up. From my little castle balcony it didn’t bother me tremendously to focus on it, but I’m thinking that would not be the same up close and personal. You know how when you have to clean up vomit? (Someone elses. Not your own. Actually, I’ve never had to clean up my own so I guess I wouldn’t really know now would I? I’ve always just flushed it down. OK. FOCUS HERE!! Back to the story) Vomit. When you clean it up, you do so out of your peripheral vision so that the mere sight of it doesn’t induce vomiting yourself thereby setting off a chain reaction that would rival the big blueberry pie scene in Stand By Me. Imagine it! The smell alone could set things off, and I’m thinking that the varmint out in the grass stinks to high heaven too. Like barf. Well, nobody really likes to look their problems straight on either do they? Sometimes they are ugly, and we’re scared of what’s going to happen if we do. What kind of chain reaction could follow? So we sweep them up, and sometimes under the rug, quickly and without REALLY looking at them. (more…)

Our Little Miracle Monday, Jun 20 2011 


A month ago I started a new chapter in my life. And though I probably shocked some people, and maybe even myself, by finally opening this book to a fresh new page, I don’t feel the need to go back and re-read or re-live anything. I also don’t feel it necessary to cite all my sources and reasons for anything in order to justify my work to anyone anymore. My life is turning into a great NEW book. I like to read thrillers and inspirational books alike. Not often though do I come across one that is both. Who would’ve thought I’d be LIVING such a story?!?! My eyes have been open to everything around me lately, and “coincidences” often carry a deeper meaning for me now. A big “coincidence” was discovering the little Miracle next door.

I moved my kids into a little apartment hoping that they’d think this place was actually fancy. We lived in a nice big house with great neighbors in a Norman Rockwell-esque neighborhood where kids rode their bikes down to the swimming pool and tennis courts everyday. Dog walkers waved in the morning, and you could judge how late you were for the morning commute by where on the street some of them were. I swear, many of them would walk past a particular mailbox at the same exact time every morning. Gotta love ’em!

The day I signed the lease here, I didn’t tell anyone, much less my kids. My son, ever the observer, looked out the car window on our way back to the house from running errands and stared at an apartment complex which “happened” to be the sister complex to the one we are in now. He said, “WOW. I wonder how much it would cost to live in THERE?!? That’s FANCY!” We’d passed these particular apartments for the last several years and the little guy had said nothing before of the sort. “Boy, just hold your horses,” I thought. “Let’s see if you’re still carrying that tune a month from now.”

The day we arrived, we found a bunny on our walkway. Rabbits symbolize new life, and this one came with a little girl named Miracle next door. C’mon. What are the chances that her ACTUAL name would be Miracle?? She and Master P, as some of us like to call him, hit it off IMMEDIATELY. She, like P, is 5 but with the mind and mouth of a 25 year old. Her birthday is just the day after mine, so I’ll celebrate Miracle when I open my gifts. She’s been a gift indeed and helped me to recognize gifts of my own that have perhaps been with me all along. Maybe they’ve traveled with me from move to move like those boxes we never get around to unpacking. On our 2nd day here, I overheard them on the steps eating popsicles as I sat on the balcony. The conversation went like this:

P: Did you know that you wanted to be my best friend when you met me?
M: Uh-Huh.
P: Why didn’t you just say something then?
M: You crazy, boy!
P: Why??
M: ‘Cause I dittent want to yet.
P: Dittent?? What’s that mean.
M: Dittent. DITTENT! Whatcha mean what’s that mean? I just dittent want to.
{Sigh and Eyeroll}
You wanna go to Prom with me?
P: Sure. When we’re older. You want something to drink?
M: Sure! Thanks!
{and P ran in to ask me if he could bring Miracle a snack and drink.
Over a Strawberry Little Debbie and Cherry Koolaid, their conversation continued.}
M: Mmm! That’s good!
P: Yeah.
{Then came the awkward silence as P searched for something to say. THIS is what he came out with…}
P: So… Um… You know… That’s not really BLOOD in those things.
They just look like it cause the cake and Koolaid are red.
{And he SMILED. And she FROWNED. I figure he has plenty of time to work on his skills with the ladies, right???}

Master P and Miracle have been best buddies ever since. They’ve danced to Lady Gaga on the landing between our apartments, and she’s been pretty good about not taking off to play without P since he’s not allowed to wander as far away as she is. When she does leave our little courtyard area, my little guy patiently (as patiently as a 5 yr old boy can) just sits and waits for his little Miracle. There ya go! I took a leap of faith and discovered a miracle on the landing for all 3 of us. (more…)

My Cinderella Story Saturday, Jun 18 2011 


The symbolism lately has been all around me. Maybe my eyes are just open to it now, or maybe people, places and things are put into your life at a certain time and place for a reason. In my case, right now, I think it’s a little of both. I moved out on my own, flew the coop so to speak, and discovered a little neighbor named Miracle next door and a little yard full of frogs, turtles, rabbits and birds. I often jokingly refer to myself as a princess, but for real ya’ll!! I’m getting dangerously close to becoming the real life Snow White or Cinderella with all my weird little creature friends. They aren’t actually talking to me though or sewing my dresses, YET. And I’m SMACK DAB in the middle of the city here – NOT on some country retreat. I TOTALLY have my own castle here!

The morning my movers were set to arrive, I came by the apartment to turn on the A/C for the guys. Well, maybe I came by to turn it on for me… less sweaty guys = less odiferous guys. When I arrived, a little brown rabbit was sitting on the walkway below the stairs to my apartment. For those who know me, you will NOT be surprised to hear that my first reaction was OOOH!! Photo Opp for facebook!! The rabbit let me walk right up to it and snap its picture while it simply looked at me. By the time I got upstairs it HIT me, and I Googled it to be certain… Rabbits symbolize rebirth, new life & new beginnings. And here was mine. Validation through a bunny.

As the week went on, I sat on my balcony drinking coffee every morning and would just watch my bunny. Sometimes he was inside the fence. Other times he was out just beyond it. But he was always there. The kids got to know & watch him at dusk a few times and named him Thumper. I would’ve preferred Roger and tried to entice them with a demonstration of the dance, but the moves I busted failed to win them over. Thumper it is then. One morning with my coffee, I saw a group of birds swooping at Thumper and tormenting him. He simply paid no mind to their annoyance and carried on with his business. “Bob & weave, little bunny… There ya go!!!” That’s when it dawned on me; some people are like the birds. And those annoying birds are just doing what mockingbirds naturally do – mock and tease. I consciously made the decision to be like the bunny. But I’m going to be like Roger and carry on with my own Hip Hop dance when the birds start to swoop in on ME. Maybe I’ll even vamp it up from time to time and throw a little Jessica Rabbit in there as well. A girl’s gotta live and all.

As luck would have it, and to my friends’ amusement, this is the point in the story where The Birds gathered, re-grouped and focused their attention on me. YES, ME. Who would’ve thought that my new peaceful morning ritual could take such a treacherous turn. Much to my amazement the ring leader bird swooped down onto my balcony railing and squeezed his oily looking feathered self into a little cubby of bars and simply GLARED while his brother Daryl and his other brother Daryl took backup positions from the gutter. Swear to God his eyes were red. Maybe. Or blood shot like he and his band of brothers were still shaking off the effects of a wild bender from the night before. I don’t know, but that’s how I’m picturing him now with his feathers all a ruffle. My first instinct was to close my eyes. After all, perhaps I simply had not had enough caffeine to shock my system into gear yet, and I was simply hallucinating, right?? WRONG. So I did what any other normal person would do. First I snapped a quick picture for facebook, THEN I attempted to shoo him away. My exit was compromised as it was THEN that the foul fowl decided to take up perch between me and the door… on my sweet little thumbprint stamped flower pots that my children made for me!! What was left to do? Nothing I could think of but to document and video the assault as I made a mad dash to the door eventually shutting and LOCKING it behind me for good measure should the bird have THUMBS and be able to actually turn a knob. I escaped, but the bird got the last laugh when he CRAPPED on my railing as my kids watched me cower and run for cover. I then became the BUTT of jokes for the day as I had posted about my escapades on facebook for everyone to see. That’s OK. It was funny, and I’m left with video clips as evidence of the assault.

(more…)