Jobs And Cancer Monday, Oct 17 2011 


It’s been two and a half weeks since my last post. I have been BUSY! For the first time in more than ten years, I found myself wading through the job pool and actually interviewing for full-time positions. I am a single mom now with the added responsibility of paying my own bills and covering my own health insurance. The last couple of weeks have brought to mind scenes from Working Girl and 9-5. I’ve referred to myself more than a few times here as the real-life Snow White with my bunnies and birds and little animal friends, so how could I NOT be reminded of that scene where Violet, dressed as Snow White, poisons the boss’s coffee and catapults him out the window while she and her co-workers giggle at theoretical ways to get rid of the “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.”

http://youtu.be/L19GOqAeT6Q

I interviewed for two very different positions. The first was the MONEY job which would have come complete with a shiny new laptop, cell phone and expense account. It was in outside sales in the hospitality industry and while I’m sure this would have afforded me the opportunity to get a sharp new wardrobe, the stress levels probably balanced out the pay scale. This was one of those positions that in order to even score an interview, I had to complete a 30-minute online “personality survey” that asked my opinion about various workplace issues:

  • Drugs in the workplace –  “I think people who use drugs should all be locked away in jail.” True or False
  • Sexual harrassment – “It’s OK to tell someone they’re hot and give back rubs at work.” True or False
  • Anger management – “I find it hard while at work to keep from punching someone’s lights out.” True or False
  • Company theft – “It’s OK to take things from the office because it makes up for my teeny tiny paycheck” True or False

The day of the second phone interview with the VP of Sales/Marketing, my children were home from school due to a teacher in-service, and I prepared them with strict instructions to stay in a bedroom with the door closed and not bother me unless there was a bloody emergency. I’m not British either so the emergency would require ACTUAL blood for me to be interrupted. The call came an hour ahead of schedule since the interviewer and I were in different time zones, so I quickly ushered the kids into a bedroom and LOCKED myself into my own room with my laptop and cell phone. I did my very best to sound professional while still wearing my pajamas, and when the first knock at my door came, I shut myself into my closet and sat atop a pile of dirty clothes while describing how I often work best under pressure. The conversation flowed well and while opportunity was knocking professionally speaking, the literal knocking at my bedroom grew exceedingly louder… and then stopped. Ms. VP was busy explaining to me a typical day and the ins and outs of the industry in which she felt I could be very successful when she finally stopped and addressed the commotion that had resumed outside of BOTH closed doors. I finally came clean about sitting atop the dirty garments in my not-so-sound-proof closet and emerged to find THIS!

The ever-so-clever kindergartener had shown his resourcefulness by retrieving a screw driver (the mechanical kind – not a drink for me which I undoubtedly needed at this point) and simply removed my doorknob – the first obstacle between him and a solution to his pressing problem. The emergency at hand? He needed to get to the store and buy a birthday present for his friend. At that moment, while I processed the facts that I had mixed up days thereby missing the party AND was living through what I thought must be the interview from HELL, Ms. VP busted out laughing and confirmed that I INDEED worked well under pressure. She admitted that she had been home-based for years and that while her kids were now grown, she had NEVER had an experience where a child had removed a doorknob to break into a room. I guess it endeared me to her, and she then explained the process of hiring and that she was lining up the third, fourth and fifth interviews in rapid succession for the next week.

While the morning’s events re-played through my mind, I re-grouped, re-focused and changed gears for my second interview of the day. The second position couldn’t have been more different from the first. While it involved a lot of responsibility with what was expected to be very little pay, the advantages were abundant. As this was my second interview for the position, I was hoping for an offer. I dropped the kids off at my grandmother’s house just blocks from the job location and set off with the self-talk that if this didn’t work out, then surely something else would come along that would be just as perfect of a match. A minute into the interview, “Mr. Heart” (as opposed to the evil Mr. Hart played by Dabney Coleman in 9-5) was offering me the position and explaining why he thought I was right for the job. He couldn’t offer the kind of money that most other companies could so he had been hoping for someone with the right qualifications that could see also the intrinsic benefits available to anyone with a personal interest in the position. As it turns out, I had both the qualifications and a personal interest in the position. Allow me to back-track for a  minute and explain…

Five months ago, my life changed. While driving down the road and listening to an Adele CD (yeah, I know, I’m THAT person that still buys ACTUAL CD’s!) a song hit me. Maybe the music and the lyrics that accompanied it actually exploded over me. There hasn’t been a way that I can accurately describe what happened to me that day other than to say I woke up. Instantaneously something hit me and I knew, FELT and could actually SEE that my marriage was over. I couldn’t see through the tears enough to drive though so I pulled into the first parking lot available. That parking lot “happened” somehow to be the parking lot of the church where I grew up attending mass every Sunday, where I went to school for eight years, where I still attend fairly regularly and now send my kids to school. The image that popped into my head was one of a picture a friend had given me several years ago.

This picture was taken the day after Hurricane Rita passed through the area and left destruction and devastation in her wake. It is a statue that stands on the church grounds and has symbolized for me such a feeling a peace and calm when chaos is present. Years later, as my world seemed to be in such total chaos and the remnants of my marriage lay around me like the broken limbs of the beautiful trees that had once stood and seemed so strong, I had found myself sitting in my car all alone at the scene of my favorite photograph. It meant something to me that I know another person will never fully be able to comprehend. That’s OK though. What hit me in the parking lot was that while I have been about to embark on a new solo journey, I was not entirely alone. There’s just no way that I ended up in THAT parking lot at THAT time on THAT day by coincidence. It was the middle of the day on a Thursday afternoon and the parking lot was packed while I sat along the perimeter with my engine running (both literally and figuratively) and crying. I saw people I knew that day walking out to their cars and hid under the dash-board so I wouldn’t look like a crazy cuckoo bird should someone spy me crying and feel the need to check on me. All I could think – though I never actually checked it out – was that someone must have died. Perhaps there was a funeral going on inside while someone else had just come to life in the parking lot. I thought about the picture and what had become of my marriage but KNEW that peace would come eventually and somehow I would be able to take care of myself and kids.

Flash forward five months to present day. That second job that offered little money yet countless intangible benefits opened HERE on THIS campus. I’ve only worked part-time for the last ten years and only while the kids are in school. They’ve never had to go to after-school care because I’ve always been the one to drop them off, pick them up, offer the snacks and complete the homework yet there just wasn’t an option for me to receive the healthcare benefits I was going to need without going full-time. I was offered the position and allowed time to consider the offer and respond within a few days. I didn’t need a few days. I accepted the offer and kinda shook my head at how surprising life can be. In just five months, my life both fell apart and came together in that parking lot. In just one week I’ll be earning what I need to pay my bills and have the necessary health insurance while my children learn and grow on these same grounds where my sisters and I attended both church and school. Life is cyclical and can be awe-inspiring when you look across at how far you’ve come. My days will get busier in the weeks to come but also more rewarding. I may not be the most pious of all the congregation and haven’t spent every morning or even every Sunday kneeling in the pews like perhaps others think I should. My church is all around me though and once again God has provided me with what I need. It’ll be even funnier now though to leave my office at the church and relax with a nice hot bubble bath and wear my red shower cap with the devil horns while locked in a bathroom with the tool-box to keep the kids from removing the door knob. I know better now, and when you know better you DO better.

My job search over the past couple of weeks happened to coincide with the death of Steve Jobs and the dying struggle an old friend of mine is having from cancer as well. It’s heart wrenching to hear updates from the family of a 39-year-old man and his last days as he struggles with fear and pain but mostly the unknown. He will leave behind a daughter nearly the same age as mine, so I am especially grateful that this new chapter for me keeps her close. I’m appreciative of all the time I have with my children and sometimes when you have less time, you make that time more valuable. Acceptance and peace eventually comes for most but as humans, I think the unknown future may be often the toughest thing to accept. I know this though: my last few weeks have focused on jobs and cancer. It’s only fitting to close with the words of a man named Steve Jobs who left this world after having fought cancer himself.

Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me. – Wikiquote, as quoted in The Wall Street Journal (Summer 1993).

We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it. – Fortune

Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. – Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Address

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Address

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Oh, The Places I’ll Go! Friday, Sep 30 2011 


This week has been one for change. Change isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for someone like me, it can be a little anxiety ridden. One of my favorite books of all time is, Oh! The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Suess. It’s one of his books that wasn’t published until after his death and that I didn’t read until I was an adult, but perhaps I wouldn’t have related to the text anyway had I read it along with Hop On Pop and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. I love the video with John Lithgow reading the story, and I have it saved on my phone in the Youtube favorites so that whenever I’m feeling like I’m at some sort of crossroads in my life, the guy from 3rd Rock From The Sun can counsel me.

http://youtu.be/IQRWeZy-S8Q

While sitting on the balcony Monday night reviewing the day and thinking about what was to come the following day, I thought about Dr. Suess’s advice and reminded myself that we all go through phases in our lives and that some of those phases are unpleasant. After 12 years of marriage, I would finally be going to court the next morning to stipulate for the record that my marriage had dissolved and that we would be doing our best to divide “things” appropriately and amicably without having to request the court do that for us.

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.
And you know what you know.
And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.

For the first time in a long time, I am as independent as I can be. I realize that none of us exist in a vacuum, so everything I do affects others including all of my decisions, actions, and inactions. I’ve always known that being independent can be fun and exhilarating but also anxiety inducing when you actually HAVE to be independent. I can make ANYTHING anxiety ridden and I don’t even have to try. I’m getting much better, but I can What-If things to death if I allow myself the time to do so. The biggest curse to anyone with anxiety issues is creativity and I have an overabundance of both. I can imagine a thousand possible scenarios while waiting for a train to go or a bus to come or a plane to go or the mail to come. I could tell you what’ll happen if the rain doesn’t go or the phone doesn’t ring or the snow doesn’t snow, or even how my life could be ruined if my hair doesn’t grow. And THEN I remember,

If things start to happen,
don’t worry, don’t stew
Just go right along
Y
ou’ll start happening too.

And so I do. And you can too. And it’s all a matter of taking your cue. When I start to hit the point of no return, I simply turn down the meter lest suffer a burn. (OK, sorry! I got carried away.) I’m getting SO much better at recognizing when I’m starting to be irrational and it helps to remove myself from situations where people around me feed the fire and throw out their own whatifs. I think, “Take look at THOSE silly loons! I’ll just throw on my headphones and listen to tunes!” And so Monday night while listening to tunes and pondering Suess, I saw a shooting star and was instantly reminded of that song Airplanes by B.O.B featuring Eminem and Hayley Williams.

Can we pretend that airplanes
In the night sky
Are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now (wish right now, wish right now)

MAN, could I use a wish right now! How easy would things be if we were all simply granted our wishes and had things handed to us on a silver platter? I’m a grown adult and STILL have friends that don’t work for much and are handed whatever they want. I hate to say it, but while they are given material things, they are sometimes seriously lacking in character which is NOT to say that all of us aren’t at some time or another. I just think we appreciate things more when then aren’t always handed to us and that’s what I’ve tried to teach my kids. I live near an airport so planes are constantly landing and taking off near me, and I’d be living the dream if I could wish upon every one like a shooting star. I don’t know though… Don’t we as a culture find ANY excuse to make a wish?? I do it all the time; when an eyelash falls, when the clock hits 1:11 or 5:55 or 3:33…, when I blow the fluffy dandelions or birthday candles. It seems like the specific occasions to make wishes are supposed to be few and far between, but aren’t there so many TYPES of wish granting occasions now that we may possibly be taking them for granted? I haven’t really made a true wish in a long time and certainly wouldn’t just sit around WAITING for it to come true like in the pointless waiting room that Suess describes. I do look for signs though and perhaps that shooting star was a sign.

Guess what I caught myself doing… GOOGLING! Yep! I saw the star, caught my breath and then googled the meaning and symbolism of shooting stars. It only dawned on me a few minutes later that what I was doing was looking for someone else to tell me what the significance of THAT star (meteoroid, whatever) at THAT time in THAT place meant for ME. Forget it! I’m in a new place where I decide what has meaning to me and the significance (if any) to my current path in life. I know that I’ve seen them in the past after someone I know has died so maybe I’ll look at that as some sort of honor or recognition for the marriage that has passed on. I know for sure though, that just as shooting stars last but just a fleeting second, so too will this transitional phase of my life. Maybe the sign in the sky was just God’s way of saying, “Hey! I’m here!” Wishes are great, but hard work pays off in the end and noticing my blessings along the way can only make the road more interesting. When I headed off to bed at EXACTLY midnight and began to curse myself for staying up so late AGAIN when I had such an important day ahead, Bob Marley chimed in with HIS heavenly voice through my Pandora station and said,

Don’t worry about a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all
right.
Singin’: Don’t worry about a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right!

Rise up this mornin’,
Smiled with the risin’sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin’, This is my message to you-ou-ou

How about that? There you go! Both God AND Bob spoke to me in one night while pondering the rhymes of Dr. Suess and Eminem. I couldn’t have dreamed of a better panel of experts if I’d tried so I headed off to bed with a smile on my face and a comfortable feeling that every little thing was gonna be alright. I know it will.

The Tales of Mother (and the) Goose Wednesday, Sep 21 2011 


I often think, speak, and write in analogies. It’s just the way I am, and it helps me to make sense of things around me especially when life gets a little chaotic. The other morning while sipping coffee on the balcony, a tiny little hummingbird flew up to me, hovered about five feet in front of me for about 15 seconds and then flew away. We looked at each other and for once I did not attempt to take a picture for fear of scaring off the little creature. I was Quick Draw McGraw on the symbolism according to Google however and posted my discovery on Facebook to share:

A hummingbird just flew up to me on the balcony & stared at me for about 15 seconds so I googled symbolism: timeless joy and the Nectar of Life. It’s a symbol for accomplishing that which seems impossible and will teach you how to find the miracle of joyful living from your own life circumstances. Right On!! Today is MY day, suckas!!

I’ve never seen hummingbirds near my new little castle, and it’s not like I was wearing a big red hummingbird feeder costume to entice some new little creature into my blogging realm. As I continued my research and delved into all things hummingbird related, I also discovered that the sprite little creatures also represent perseverance. Have you ever realized that unlike other birds who can just glide and coast through the air, the hummingbird must constantly beat its little wings to stay aloft? That’s like people too, isn’t it? For some people, at certain times, things just seem to come easy to them allowing them to coast through life while others must swiftly and continuously flutter their wings to keep from falling. Somewhere in my reading, I found some theories that spoke to me that morning and talked about savoring the Nectar of Life. These tiny birds are constantly beating their wings, but they are also capable of hovering in place in order to take their time and savor their nectar. Their ability to fly backwards can show us how we may all be able to look back on our past in order to learn from it yet not hover and dwell on it forever. I’ve never seen a hummingbird ONLY fly backwards! I want to be like a hummingbird!! And if I were ever to get a tattoo, it would be a hummingbird. (But I won’t. Because I don’t like needles. Or permanent body art that could sag and morph with an aging body. And because I’d be embarrassed if 30 years from now someone looked at my sweet little misshapen bird and mistook it for a vulture once everything stretched out and spread.) That hummingbird was a MESSENGER bird and my Google app said so!!

I carried on with my day and headed into The Shop with an extra spring in my step despite the dreary weather and Monday blahs that float about and seem to hover over so many people. I call our store, “The Shop” because that’s simply what we’ve called the beauty and cosmetic business for 50 years now, but I like to think of it as The Family Dynasty and since I run a lot of the daily business that makes me The Empress. All the women on Mama’s side of the family have worked there at one time or another – my grandmother, mother, aunt, cousins, sisters – and drama is the norm as in the televsion version of Dynasty. As I was covering some of the menial duties that should really fall onto servants and perhaps some day will, Mama scurried into the store with her OWN bird tale from that morning. She was visibly shaken and her feathers were all in a ruffle as she recounted what had happened to her while walking along the seawall that morning.

It seems somewhere along her route, Mama encountered a flock of geese. Assuming they were harmless and that she herself appeared friendly and non-threatening to all of God’s creatures, she continued along the walking path and approached their ground. THAT’S when all hell broke loose. According to Mama, the birds began squawking and the flock of furious feathered fowl chased her! Mama got flustered and sped up to no avail. Apparently there was a ringleader in the bunch and as it closed the gap between the group and Mama, she quickly responded like any modern-day woman would and threatened it with the pepper spray attached to her key chain. By threaten, I mean she screamed because it was doubtful that the goose would have been worldly enough to simply catch a glimpse of her unsnapping the spray and been all like, “WHOA!!! We picked the WRONG mama to screw with! This wild-eyed crazy bitch is armed with SPRAY! And that’ll burn my eyes and throat sumpin’ FIERCE! This goose is COOKED!” No. Uh-uh. Holding out the menacing mace in a threatening manner and screaming at it to move did NOT work on the flock, and unfortunately Mama couldn’t get the little twisty nozzle to twist open. God help her because the curious fisherman watching the spectacle most certainly did NOT. She did her best to racewalk like an Olympian with full on hip swinging and arm pumping and managed to escape the menacing bunch and seek shelter in her car with the doors LOCKED I’m sure for added protection. This is the point in the story that Mama came to the conclusion that the foul ringleader was RABID. She watched it fly out onto the lake after the group retreated and feels pretty confident that its feathers were all astray like a MAD goose’s feathers would be. “Oh. Dear. God,” thought Mama when she next realized what was happening; the other geese had TURNED on the ringleader and were trying to peck it to death. There is no way Mama could be wrong about this either because she saw it happen with her own two eyes and surmised that the other geese had realized the rabid nature of their leader and turned on it. “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” thought Mama and smugly watched its evil demise as she rounded the corner to retreat to her own side of the lake.

I relayed the account of the attack to my friends on Facebook and even posted a couple of pictures of Mama telling her bird tale as a follow-up post to MY morning encounter with MY bird. The whole bit was ridiculous really and had turned into a farce of sorts as people made their suggestions as to what they thought was the significance of our separate encounters. One friend pondered that perhaps my messenger bird had been sent to warn me of Mom’s impending attack. Maybe. Could be. Who knows. I didn’t throw out all the crumbs of information to my own flock of Facebook followers at the time though.

What many people don’t know is that my mother is an amputee. Just a few years after my father died suddenly, Mama was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive form of cancer. In layman’s terms, a cancer of the sweat gland in the heel of her foot caused her to lose a portion of her leg below the knee. She rarely limps, never opted for any handicapped type parking permit, and people who meet her or even see her walk have no idea that she has this disability. She wears pants and long skirts and boasts a collection of cute little Mary Jane shoes that work for her and keep her in step with the fashion forward set for the most part. What she cannot do – and really has no desire to do – is run… EXCEPT when she’s been chased by a rabid goose. When she was telling us about her real life re-enactment of The Birds, she said that when her pepper spray failed to flip open, she quickly had to think of another option should she not be able to out pace the flock. Never one to just simply sit back and take things as they come, Mama devised a plan whereby if 1 or more geese were to get within brain or eye pecking distance, she would use what the good Lord had given her…. and beat hell out of the birds using her artificial leg as a club. Better not mess with THIS Mother, Goose!!!! I wonder what the by standing fisherman would have done if THAT scenario had actually played out?!

Mama left the store shortly after her tale and returned with a brand new purple can of mace. She was a little disheartened to learn from the clerk at the police supply store that the spray may not turn a goose into a quivering heap like it would for a HUMAN attacker since geese are not capable of inhaling the fumes in quite the same way that a boogeyman would. That’s OK. Mom is up to the challenge. She will aim directly at the offenders eyes taking especially careful aim if a predator is of the non-human variety. I will not be surprised if I pull around to the back of the house and find her practicing her shot in the wood pile while properly choreographing her ninja-like moves and KAY-YA noises in preparation for her next encounter. She will NOT stop walking the seawall because of geese nor will she let the mockingbird types keep her down.

I warned the kids that night to stay away from Mimi’s new purple can and that it will burn their eyes like fire if they even get anywhere near it which means that I have also relayed the two vastly different bird encounters of that day to them as well. Sometimes, kids say things that really help you to see things in a whole new light and shock you with their simplistic wisdom. As we talked about what I had Googled relating to hummingbirds and Mama’s big adventure, my daughter made a pretty insightful analogy. She recently auditioned for the lead roles in The Little Mermaid and drew a couple of parallels. She won’t be playing her dream role of Ariel, but she WILL get to play a mermaid and isn’t that like the “miracle of joyful living from your own life circumstances” as I had copied to my Facebook status that morning?? And HEY!! What about how the three of us installed our very own wireless modem and wireless printer ALL BY OURSELVES without calling anyone to help us?!! That is a HUGE accomplishment and people would never have thought we’d be able to do THAT if they’d seen the two-hour long drama that preceded it.

Really, it wasn’t until late that night while sitting on the balcony and listening to the frogs that I was able to recall the events of the day and put them into perspective. Tons of analogies flew straight into my brain while I pondered what I’d observed and learned from the day. I think I’m fortunate. In fact, I think I’m incredibly fortunate, and I’m also very grateful. I think life’s circumstances can vary so much from year to year but your outlook on life is what can make or break you. Sometimes that outlook is learned from the families we were born into or the people we choose to fly with. I think we can even learn valuable lessons from people with whom we choose NOT to associate. The geese in Mama’s story were the aggressors, and I know plenty of those types, but I also remember what my dad used to tell me about geese that relates to how we are as a family. Daddy taught me that geese fly in V formation. The lead bird at the point of the formation has a tough position. His job is tiring while the geese that follow benefit from the upwash of his position allowing them to reduce air resistance and better glide. The birds take turns leading the formation to reduce fatigue, and I guess that’s also how the birds in this family flock fly as well. We stick together, keep each other in our sights, and take over the tough exhausting positions when it’s our turn. We’ll squawk and honk at you too if you hang back and try to coast on our efforts for too long though so everyone has to toe the line.

Birds of a feather flock together.

There’s always more to every story, and there’s more to mine that not everyone knows as well. Just as Mama had a very rare type of cancer, I too was diagnosed and overcame cancer. Mine was an extremely rare cancer of the eye that was diagnosed when I was 6 and resulted in me losing my left eye. Not all mother-daughter-duos battle the odds and get brand-spankin’-new body parts custom-made for them either do they? It’s another way that we are unique. Mom’s cancer and recovery occurred while she was an adult so she had to adjust to new ways of doing every-day things and living while mine is just something that I grew up adjusting to so I can’t tell you that I’ve ever known anything different. I suppose people could look at both situations and make their own determination about which situation would be worse, but again I think it’s all about perspective. I sat through a law class one time in college when the professor used an example to illustrate personal damages in a way that stunned me. He was a wonderful teacher who had NO CLUE about my personal circumstances and neither did the rest of the class. He proposed a scenario whereby we had just gotten into a class fight and someone lost an eye from a hurled piece of chalk and the class was challenged to discuss all the damages and reparations that could possibly result from being left with a life long disability. Assumptions were thrown out and even tasteless jokes only because they had NO idea that I lived with the “disability” they were describing. At nineteen, with my whole life ahead of me, I silently sat and listened to people describe what my life SHOULD have been like; freakish looking, would never be found attractive therefore limited ability to date, marry and have kids. One guy actually suggested that he would rather die and no amount of damages could be awarded to appease him. Certainly anyone without any depth perception could never compete in sports and some of these kids did and would have a limited set of skills that would hinder future jobs and earning potential. It was pretty grim and the jokes weren’t really funny, but after Dad did his best to console me that afternoon my perception changed and more depth was added to my character. I decided that I was pretty lucky to have the positive outlook and family support with which I had been blessed. Those poor little shits must not have come from a family that teaches you that when rabid geese attack, don’t lay down and die just because you can’t run!! Pull off your custom-made state-of-the-art artificial leg and BEAT THE FIRE OUT OF ‘EM!!!

I think that hummingbird WAS a messenger. It’s appearance set the tone for that Monday – a day that is sometimes easy to just coast mindlessly through while wishing for the far off weekend. I started my day actively looking for what it was that God must have meant for me to see. I have no way of knowing what I was supposed to have learned, but maybe I didn’t even HAVE to learn anything. Maybe the point was just to recognize the joy in the little things in my life right now. They are everywhere and most anything can bring on an appreciative grin or even belly busting laugh if I look at it right. I know that philosophy isn’t always easily maintained, so I’m going to do my best to be like the hummingbird and persevere while savoring the nectar. There’s ALWAYS some there and I just have to remember to look for it.

Something To Talk About Tuesday, Jul 19 2011 


Seven weeks ago I left my little “perfect” life that I had created and set out to do things on my own and in my own way. I left with an extra set of clothes for myself and the kids. The only other things I brought (other than makeup and a toothbrush of course) were my ancient laptop and my cute little monogrammed bag that held all of my tabbed and organized binders for my various volunteer committees. It was on my mind that in exactly one week I had a huge volunteer leadership retreat to pull off for some very talented women, and this was the first big event of the year for all of our committee chairs and board members to come together and plan. I had spent time and effort planning this with some really great gals and did not want to disappoint them, or more importantly myself, by dropping the ball. I had a Camping theme for the big event and had coordinated other people to present their ideas and activities around it. When I planned the theme and activities months before however, I hadn’t ACTUALLY planned on camping out at other people’s houses when this all went down. HA! Maybe they would just all think I was some sort of method actor who had to get into character by camping out with my kids for inspiration. Geez! Who was going to know about my recent hike from home and start fishing for answers. I was nervous, but I kept this old movie in my mind the whole time.

Does anyone remember that movie, Something to Talk About? The fabulously neurotic, Grace has a marriage which is falling apart, volunteer commitments and a family business to run and hilariously struggles to keep all of the balls she is juggling in the air.

I have a cookbook to put out, and a daughter to raise, and the God damn winter Grand Prix. And I just don’t have time for the nervous breakdown I deserve, so please, don’t ask me to stop and think! -Grace

Whoa! I didn’t have the whole cookbook thing since I’m not on THAT committee this year, but I was trying to pull together my big retreat for the year, manage the family business and raise my kids while being a little bit center stage as my marriage fell apart. When I left, I didn’t even tell my best friends, much less the glorious group of women that I would be facing exactly one week after my surprise flight. What if they all stared at me and actually knew everything already through the grapevine and were actually WAITING for me to fall apart as if EVERYONE would do that like they don’t have their own lives to lead and struggles to face?!?! Awesome!!!!! Just a few minutes into indulging that fantasy I had just proved myself to be conceited too by thinking anyone would CARE. Ohmygod! What if I lost my mind and stood up in front of everyone and had a super-massive-stress-induced-temporary-loss-of-sanity like Grace does and started pointing out flaws in everyone else’s marriages?!?! That would most CERTAINLY not be graceful. Or, maybe, what if, I dunno, I vomited in front of everyone when words tried to come out?? Even worse, what if I cried. Hard to believe I guess for most people, but crying in front of everyone would have been the worst case scenario for me. It would have shown some vulnerability that I was struggling to keep at arm’s length. Isn’t that CRAZY!?! I WOULD HAVE CHOSEN TO VOMIT PUBLICLY!!! I didn’t barf, though that would’ve been funny, and I think the event was a success thanks to a lot of great people. The parallels with the movie have continued though.

Somewhere in the movie, Grace’s mother tells her to stop making a spectacle of herself and to just accept how things commonly are. Return to life as normal and don’t set her expectations too high. Don’t cause any waves, right? Don’t make anyone else feel uncomfortable or God forbid awkward around her when they see her. She should DEFINITELY not question her place in life lest someone else feel inspired to do the same.

You’re telling me that if I just eat shit politely with a knife and fork and learn to swallow the handfuls of bullshit I’m served, then everything will be A-Okay? – Grace

Guess what I think? Eating SHIT makes you fat. It’s true! I should know. It works in two ways. First, listening to everyone around you tell you what you should want and should believe and should allow starts to get a little mind numbing. After a while, you quit being numb when life just doesn’t work that way for you and you get sad. Numb is easier than sad any day, so wine and another late night lonely dinner work to numb some people. Then you just start to feel like shit yourself and take the easy route… right through the drive through when everyone is hungry because it’s easier than listening to the kids complain about your culinary capabilities. Billy’s mom must actually feed her kids nuggets and jelly beans for every meal because the way I get looked at with my SOUP can NOT be normal, and THAT lady never looks tired. Before you know it, everyone is eating crap – both from the “truths” we’re fed by other people AND the fast and fried food that takes less effort – and we’re all FAT.

Let me tell you what I won’t do anymore; eat the shit that I’m served from other people around me even if it’s sugar-coated. A glass of wine to wash down the taste isn’t going make it any tastier either, and I’m pretty sure about that now. That’s the worst kind of crap to take, isn’t it? I mean, it’s all cleverly disguised, but it still stinks to high Heaven no matter what fancy china you choose! If you invite me over to a sugar-coated turd, bringing out the china just ends up making feel awkward and inferior anyway like I’m going to mess up and use the wrong fork if I even pretend to taste your delicacy. Please don’t get me wrong though. It really isn’t my place to stop YOU from eating the unpalatable. I will mind my manners and let you eat without saying a cross word, but someone please tell me how in the world am I supposed to trust you and your ideas about what is good and healthy when you’ve just eaten a turd the size of Texas and gone back for more! Now you are LITERALLY full of it! And your breath stinks too. And when you start to get all gassy and full of hot air by telling me everything you know to be true, I’m going to see it for what it is: a shitty burp. Go away and come back another day because lucky for me, my mama taught me that the only time it’s acceptable to eat excrement is when you’ve been in an earthquake and have to lay in the rubble waiting for rescuers. She meant that literally too, so your “perfect” marriage and “perfect” world crumbling down around you don’t count.

People are always going to find something to talk about, and the Bird People never run out of things to say. Something else will come along though, and I KNOW it’s gotta be more scandalous than me. I’m just a girl in a new little castle with bunnies and birds and a couple of dwarfs to entertain me. Here’s hoping that if this fairy tale ever hits the big screen, Julia Roberts herself will play me because SOMEHOW her movies keep ending up in my blog! Someone should call her. 🙂

Miracles & Luck Tuesday, Jul 12 2011 


It’s been about six weeks now since we moved into our little castle – long enough for us to get acclimated and learn to stand on our own feet. We passed a couple of milestones just the last couple of days. I’m not big on numbers. As a matter of fact I HATE numbers, and I am the very last person on the planet you would ever want balancing your checkbook. I’m not a big gambler either, though I live in an area where a lot is tied to the gaming industry. From what I know, there are certain combinations of numbers that are considered lucky. 7 and 11 are usually lucky numbers while 13 has always been considered unlucky. There is a wealth of information for anyone interested in the whole superstition, but the actual term for the phobia or fear of Friday the 13th is friggatriskaidekaphobia. I don’t believe in lucky or unlucky numbers but then again I’ve never won the jackpot either. I do know this though, anyone who trusts their life to dumb luck or a crap shoot is a friggan idiot. I don’t believe in luck, but I do believe in signs. And I believe in Miracles as well, ESPECIALLY when Miracles can serve as a sign. When I left six weekes ago, I really had no idea where this journey would take me, but someone once told me that life is about the journey not the destination. If I’d have known where I was going I might not have seen the signs along the way.

Anyone who was following the blog a few weeks ago will probably remember Our Little Miracle. She doesn’t know it, but I learned a lot from watching and speaking with Miracle. She was my little cheerleader, literally. I moved out on my own uncertain of what the future would bring, but I found a little Miracle next door. More than once, she brought out a pom-pom or doll to show me and never just talked about herself. She asked a LOT of questions and freely gave her own answers and advice whether we asked for it or not. One day when she and my son were having popsicles outside, the boy complained about how hot it was and that his popsicle was dripping everywhere. The girl responded matter-of-factly, “Suck it up!” He literally sucked up the melting juice, but I think she meant for him to quit his whining or take his pity party somewhere else.

On her balcony cheering me on...

Miracle told me that her favorite doll is Tiana from The Princess and The Frog. Of course it is! All the little girls, and even the boys around here love that movie. The film is set in New Orleans and just down the bayou where the characters talk like we do, though not all of us practice voodoo. The story is different from most fairy tales though, and that is exactly why I think it is so great. Fairy tales evolve over time and change their cultural relevance, and the Disney version of the tale is the one that holds the strongest meaning to me. Unlike the early versions where a princess kisses a frog who then turns into her prince and they live happily ever after, the Disney animated version shows a hard-working Tiana in control of her own destiny. It was when Tiana chose to try the easy route to fulfill her dreams by kissing the frog that she found herself lost in the swamp. I think I know a lot of girls around here my age who could relate to that! And guess what – I wouldn’t want to be the poor prince responsible for fulfilling someone else’s dreams either. That’s the kind of pressure that bubbles up and pops on the surface of a seemingly stagnant swamp. You’ve got problems and troubles like the rest of us? Well as Miracle would say, “Suck it up.” We make our own choices, and we live by the consequences. When we make a bad decision, life’s not over. Paddle yourself out of the swamp. You’re welcome to just sit there on your lily pad sulking and waiting for someone to come along and pull you out too, but I’m willing to bet my own lily white you-know-what that you’ll be waiting for a while. There are no guarantees that what comes along will be a prince, and if he is who’s to say he’ll want to carry you. Our little Miracle moved away this weekend, but miracles always come and go don’t they? I think I’m strong enough to navigate the swamps and bayous around here on my own now anyway.

Miracle with her Tiana doll from The Princess & The Frog

Yesterday was 7/11. Those are supposed to be lucky numbers, but 13 years ago on 7/11 my dad died. I wrote my first blog post, My Hail Mary, for Facebook in the wee hours of the morning of Friday the 13th, and it was good for me. Maybe the whole numbers/luck thing is backwards which would explain my backwards figures in the checkbook too where I am most certainly NOT lucky. Maybe even God forced my hand, and I’m finally taking charge of my own destiny. Either way you roll the dice, the only safe bet you have is to rely on yourself. How can anyone else count on you if you can’t even do it yourself. I hope my kids at least take that lesson from my fairy tale regardless of how it turns out, and I’ll take notes about my signs along the way for them to read and learn from later.

Walt Disney

Mama’s Hobo Handouts Sunday, Jul 10 2011 


I’ve been thinking this morning over coffee, and I think I may have come up with an idea that’s going to make me & Mama rich. I haven’t exactly worked out all of the kinks in the plan yet, but the wheels are turning and I think I may have stumbled onto something brilliant. Allow me to think out loud here.

When I was away at school my last two years of high school and the four years following for college, my mom used to send me makeup and money in care packages. If she had time, she’d even put a sticky note in there saying, “Love, Mama.” Never home-baked cookies or long drawn out letters or anything because Mama was busy. She looked out for her girls though and would sometimes cut articles out of the newspaper warning us of life’s dangers with headlines like, “Why Women Should Always Carry Mace,” or “Pitt Bull Mames and Scars Well-meaning Dog Lover at Festival,” and stuck to the article would be a sticky note that said, “SEE! That’s why you never go around petting OTHER PEOPLE’S dogs!!! Love, Mama.” One time when I was “studying” in Spain for a summer, I called Mama collect and told her I needed her to send me some deodorant STAT. I was running out and decided not to purchase a foreign tube because the same-looking packages must contain different chemical compositions since too many people had offended me with their B.O. She apparently understood the gravity of the situation and high tailed it to K&B and subsequently the post office. When my package arrived a week later, I excitedly opened it in front of my friends and the gravity hung my head in shame when my friends saw the contents. Not one but TWO sticks of deodorant and…. well, no “and.” That was it. No cookies and not even a note this time, but I knew she loved me anyway despite the barren box.

My mama is one of those people who has a very hard time saying no. She also has a very big heart, so the combination doesn’t always produce desirable consequences. Take the homeless people, street corner hobos and the panhandlers from The WalMarts. We really have no way of distinguishing who is truly in need of a hand up and who is simply a con artist and when you walk away. Whether you have donated or not, you leave feeling a little disheartened. Were you duped and therefore perpetuated a practice that the businesses in the area frown upon because it drives away customers? Did you say no and may have just left a needy person hungry? Did you refuse to give money and give someone a box of pop tarts you happened to have with you only to be scolded by your lack of generosity from the guy requesting? I’ve done all three. Mama’s done all three. Mama went so far in a restaurant one time to give a guy $20 for the part he needed to fix his car in the parking lot only to have the staff approach her later and tell her not to do that again since the same guy has been run out of the restaurant many times before always leaving with a wad of cash from his con. “But he looked so nice and honest. He was all nicely dressed and well spoken!,” declared Mama. “That’s why it works for him,” declared the manager. Maybe she feels bad when she sees someone drooling because their mama didn’t catch the Seal A Meal correlation early enough.

One of my friends posted a picture a while back of her little “Hobo Bags – The Halloween Edition.” This girl is the cutest, peppiest thing to walk the planet. She has more energy that the Energizer Bunny and she never slows down. She always manages to take care of the kids, husband, house, business AND herself and she looks great doing it too! She sat down with the kids and made Hobo Bags for the homeless filled with little travel size wet wipes, toiletries, snacks and water and I thought it was a FANTASTIC idea! Win-win! She kept the kids busy and also taught them how to be charitable at the same time while providing something that’s useful and I’m sure appreciated by those who receive the little bundles from the back of her car. If she can figure out how to monogram a Ziploc bag, I wouldn’t put it past her to do it too.

Hobo Bags - The Halloween Edition

Here’s where my mind is going now though.I know a whole helluvalotta people who simply don’t have the time or don’t THINK they have the time or don’t want to SPEND the time doing this. BING! Why couldn’t Mama and I mass produce these little bags of joy and then sell them at a small mark-up to the LAZY charitable people?? I think there’s a whole market there that hasn’t been tapped yet. I mean, we’ve all learned to give back through time, effort and money aimed at charitable causes, but we’re still stuck wincing and walking around people sometimes at The WalMarts and city street corners. What if we ALL had Hobo Bags in our cars – even the Lazy Givers? Mama and I could make an assembly line at the kitchen table with Kendall Jackson and churn out a bunch of these puppies that the LGs (Not lesbians and gays although I’m sure there are plenty of lazy giving lesbians and gays too because I know some) could then PURCHASE from US to keep in their cars!! The LGs would feel good about handing out their bags, the truly needy people would be appreciative, the con artists would be PISSED, and Mama and I would make a nice little profit. Everybody wins!!! And then we could put a nice little sticky note in there that said something like, “Love, Mama ♥” People would get all warm & fuzzy, and Mama could make up for all the “practical” care packages she sent me and my sisters in college that I’m sure she feels just terrible about, bless her heart.

Y’all get ready because I think this is gonna happen. I’m going to get my people on it (as soon as I get “people”) so be looking for them on the shelves at The WalMarts. I think I’ll call them Mama’s Hobo Handouts!

Beauty & The Bee Thursday, Jun 30 2011 


This summer my daughter attended a summer arts camp for budding young artists in the area, and an open house exhibit was held last night for all of the proud parents/paparazzi. I had been hearing all month about her creations, and her paint splattered clothes were evidence that she was truly and perhaps madly inspired. She is a fashionista and likes to design her own attire, so I am not going to lie. It crossed my mind a time or two that the clothes were splattered on purpose and when I arrived, I scoped out the exhibits and backdrops for very specific colors on the spectrum that I myself had scrubbed from her wardrobe. We just threw out the fabric SPRAY PAINT here since my walls have been shaded a nice Caribbean Blue by her talented apprentice/younger brother so this suspicion was not totally out of reach.

The big piece I had been dying to see was a large chess piece sculpture created from a glass jug, paper mache, plastic plates, styrofoam balls, and of course paint. Someone drank A LOT of wine to have emptied those jugs, yet I had not even been called. I would have volunteered my services for such a worthy cause if only I’d been asked. The day she came home and described to me her theme for this series was a proud one. She envisioned a series of chess pieces created around insects. Her first inspiration was “To be… a bee” and it was not a question. A queen bee represented her personality well and would not be too difficult or time-consuming to create in the amount of studio time she had alloted. Her second idea? A spider as a king piece. Why? Because it might easily freak out her brother should she sneak it into his bedroom in the middle of the night. Her third and final vision was my favorite though admittedly would have been difficult to construct. This masterpiece was conceived around the bishop figure for her class’s game board, and when she asked me to guess what insect would represent this piece, she folded her hands together and bowed her head. A PRAYING MANTIS was to serve as the bishop. That’s MY girl!! Take a bow, Honey! You have come a long way from the little thumbprint butterflies you made for me and have left a print on my soul that is as unique and individual as your creations.

She attended classes in 3-D sculpture, 2-D sculpture, and Cartoons & Comics this summer and had art on display from all of them last night in the gymnasium. She had constructed a board game with a heavenly theme and little angel game pieces where the object was to get into the gates of Heaven. Too bad the corner broke off as she was running away with it from Brother today. The poor little devil. She sculpted a giant Tetris game piece constructed of tin foil and blue water colors that we have discovered STAIN and may induce my own “Blue Period” if I discover it on my walls next to last week’s Caribbean Blue fabric paint. My little Picasso hand painted a set of dice and a hot pink and orange set of game tiles that were displayed with her cute little age and name for all the other parents and family members to see. We took pictures of her last night in all her glory standing in front of her maze she had designed, colored and hung. We were struck by her refusal to follow suit with her deck of cards picture in that she chose to draw a princess “like her” instead of a queen and decorated all fours corners with green shamrocks for luck instead of traditional black clubs. It was a proud night for all of us as this summer has been one of change, but our little family and the pride we show has remained a constant even though we may have joined a different club in the statistics. (more…)

My Morning Glory Wednesday, Jun 29 2011 


I took a break from writing yesterday because I have something going on with my hands. It was a FIRE going on yesterday and water and ice wasn’t going to help. Remember that 80’s Hair Band, The Cult? They sang that song Fire Woman. In my mind, I have a little cult following of my own that checks out what I have to say on the blog, so I’ll charge ahead while I hum that God-awful-yet-super-catchy-flashback song in my head. I may have already listened to it on Youtube this morning too. Call me FIRE WOMAN now, OK?

These wrist guards seem to be helping the pain but not my self-esteem. They are for old people I think, yet the cute girl on the front of the box looks happy. And young. And she has nice skin. So I’m going to ignore the mirror sitting next to me on my vanity/writing desk and pretend that I look like THAT girl without frizzy hair and reading glasses in all my morning glory.

I think it’s ironic that my “birthday flower” is supposed to be a Morning Glory. Check this out that I found on www.babiesonline.com when I Googled the flower:

As its name insinuates, the Morning Glory is a flower that blooms in the morning hours. However, by the time the sun has fallen, the flower has died. Each morning will give birth to a brand new flower on the plant. Because they bloom in the morning, they are often pollinated by hummingbirds, bees, butterflies and other daytime birds and insects.

Many species of Morning Glory have seeds that contain LSA which is a drug that is up to 10% as potent as LSD. To discourage the growing of Morning Glory specifically for drugs, some cultivators are treating the seeds before they sell them with a chemical that can not be washed off and will cause vomiting and sickness if ingested.

In Japan the Morning Glory is known as asagao, asa “morning” and kao “face”. In China it has been used for medicinal purposes as a powerful laxative. During the Edo Period it because a popular decorative flower. It is often used next to walls as it will grow as a vine, blocking out some of the heat and lowering air conditioning bills in the summer.

Fun and interesting fact: By soaking the flowers from the Morning Glory in water for a couple of weeks you can create a mildly alcoholic wine with a good flavor and mild psychedelic effect. You can add herbs or honey to this to enhance the flavor.

OK, look. That description there talks about this beautiful flower and its “morning face.” It dies at night and you can use it to make wine. Total OPPOSITE of me. I was born three weeks early, so I’m not alot like my zodiac sign either, but I in fact come to LIFE at night sometimes with the HELP of wine. I am flat ugly in the morning too, so my face is not beautiful when I rise with the sun/son. My kids have asked me when I’ve had to go to school for meetings and such to NOT look how I look in the morning for drop off. Whatever. I threatened once to walk them to class HAND IN HAND smiling if they didn’t get things into gear and get out the door in time. The seeds of that plant can be CULTivated to make some sort of LSD type drug though. Maybe I AM like that flower and my kids are like my seeds and that explains why people think WE are on drugs occasionally. And what about that “laxative” part?? People have indeed told me that they “lose their $!!+” sometimes when I get going on something. Hmmmm…

So I did a little more research and here’s what Wikipedia said:

Most morning glory flowers perk up and harden during the early morning and are often fully erect, thus their name. The flowers usually start to fade a couple of hours before the “petals” start showing visible curling. They prefer full exposure throughout the day and mesic soils. Some morning glories, such as Ipomoea muricata, are night blooming flowers.

Get past that “erect” stuff and quit giggling because looky there! There is ACTUALLY a type of morning glory that blooms and comes to life at night just like me! Not all of the pretty flowers are the same. There are different varieties and mine is just not as common. Of course it’s not! I wear a set of HOT little reading glasses when I read/write because they are tiger-striped and make me look younger than bifocals which I actually think I need now, but I may just bedazzle these little wrist guards to guard against the aging effects I’m facing now. Brace yourselves people at The WalMarts! I’m coming out in all my glory! (more…)

Guys and Their Trucks Monday, Jun 27 2011 


I woke up this morning with BURNING PAIN in my hands. I think I’m going to have to face the fact that I have arthritis. There. I said it. And my first thought was, “How am I going to write today? I’ve gotten on a roll here, and doubt I can even sit down at the computer much less type out my thoughts on my iPhone which is primarily where I take notes.” Are you FREAKING KIDDING ME?! I just got going here, found a gift that I want to share, and have now gotten to where it HURTS to share it. I think if I were in a self-conscious or insecure stage right now, I’d take it as a sign, and y’all KNOW how big I am on signs now. I’ve gotten to where I don’t really force things anymore. I don’t look for the signs, because when I actually look for them, I miss what’s right in front of me. I guess, just thinking out loud here, that PERHAPS my sisters may be a little right about me being obsessed with my blog? Nah! Not me. Not ever. I just need to quit typing everything on a teeny tiny keyboard because it’s screwing up my mojo. I am not getting older either. This hand cramping thing is just a sign that drugs are good and I’m gonna get some. That’s all it is. Because I’m writing a book here, and the blog is just a teeny tiny portion of what I write every day. I’m living a dream, literally, and I’m documenting it as I go. And I’ll SIGN my book of SIGNS for the sisters when it gets published.

Before our big New Kids On The Block concert, we passed a giant truck just a few BLOCKS from my sister’s house. It said “Viva la Waffle.” I was SOOO wanting to jump out and take a picture in front of this cool truck/bus parked in the middle of a residential neighborhood, but my sisters wouldn’t let me because they thought I’d put it on my blog. There were cars behind us anyway. It stuck in my mind though. The BIG waffle truck. And it rolled right back through my mind later when my sister actually googled it and found that it is a new business that some guy is starting. Very cool, Man! I dig it! Viva la Waffle and viva the dream. I am going to live my dream too, and when I have my big book release party, YOU GUYS are gonna cater it for sure! I don’t know these guys from Adam – never met them. But I like their site and I’m pretty sure I’d like their story, too. Check ’em out.

http://vivalawaffle.com/

Yesterday when I was leaving my sister’s house in my dad’s truck, I was contemplating guys. And their trucks. And why they like them so much. Around here, I would say most guys drive trucks. Some are flashy, big, and expensive, and they serve as a sort of status symbol. Others are simply workhorses that aren’t really pretty to look at and may have lots of miles on them, but they get the job done. The trucks are often like the guys who drive them, huh? I remember one time in college going to a bar and dancing with a REAL cowboy. Here was his line, “You know that big white truck outside with the pink and blue pinstripes? Well, That’s mine.” And he grinned. “Um. OK,” I said. “Have fun with that,” I thought. And went back to my girlfriends. I think the line was supposed to impress me when his line dancing didn’t, and perhaps for some girls, it might. Not this chick though. Dude was BRAGGING about a pink and blue striped truck which sounded to me like something a hillbilly stork would use to deliver babies in some animated country bumpkin movie. Thanks anyway. NO babies, and NO guys with pink & blue trucks for me.

As I was stopped at a stoplight, still pondering GUYS and TRUCKS, you would not EVEN believe what passed by. (Maybe you would after hearing my bunny and Miracle stories though.) I was idling next to a funeral home and a guy walked into the street to stop traffic and THIS is what passed: (more…)

Sisters Hangin’ Tough Sunday, Jun 26 2011 


This weekend was a fun one and a big one for my sisters and me. I am the oldest of three girls, and about seven months ago my middle sister sent me an URGENT email. She was living in California at the time and hoping for a transfer back home. She must receive Ticketmaster updates to her phone or something and when one caught her eye, she took it as a sign. The New Kids On The Block were joining the Backstreet Boys on a new tour and it was hitting this area. She insisted on buying tickets and that the three of us would go together. She was living clear across the country at the time, but this MONUMENTAL tour was a sign, I guess. She went on faith and purchased the tickets somehow KNOWING she’d make it here in time. Step By Step, things fell into place. Summertime came, she got the transfer, and moved less than a month before the concert date. I’ll bet the girl thinks Jordan is her KNIGHT in shining armor and got this ball rolling for her. Whatever.

So Friday afternoon, I hit the road in my dad’s old pick up truck to stay with my sisters for the night and have some much needed girl time. Here I was rolling down the road in Daddy’s truck which neither suits my style nor my driving capabilities. It’s BIG. Bigger than what I’m used to for sure, but driving his truck is kind of like trying to walk in his shoes. Both are a little big to fill but will get me to where I’m going until I can find my own perfect fit. The rearview mirror was there and talk about time to reflect! It’s been thirteen years and it’s still humming, but on this trip down memory lane it was humming a New Kids song. There are dents in that truck that I put there myself. It was new when he died, but we kept it and used it to move all his girls into new apartments over the years. When the New Kids were indeed ACTUAL new kids on the music scene, Daddy’s girls were screaming, neon wearing, side-ponytail-sporting little girls and pre-teens. Here we are now, all grown up and still screaming decades later. The screaming just comes from OUR kids now and not as often from us. The grandkids are just like Daddy’s kids, really. How could they NOT be. They are loud and fun and smart and maybe a little dramatic, but it’s all entertaining.

As I pull into town, my phone starts exploding with texts and calls. I’m not about to wreck this big ol truck to check my phone, so I leave them be and try to send them my mind vibes: “I’ll be there shortly. Hold your horses.” I think it worked too. My phone quit blowing up, and I was able to quit thinking that I was perhaps missing out on something BIG – like nutty friends and sisters sneaking onto the tour bus BIG. “Keep on truckin’,” I think to myself as I roll off the interstate and check my messages at a stop light. Huh, Whaddayaknow. One of those messages is from my apartment manager and it seems there is a complex issue at hand. The apartment below me has discovered some sort of leak. The ceiling is dripping and buckling and it seems to be coming from MY apartment. Great. Last thing I remember before we scooted out the door to drop off the kids was hearing, “Hey, Sis! Come see what I made!” The call came from the bathroom, so I assumed something gross and never bothered to listen for a flush. I hadn’t bothered to check and see if last night’s waterfall creation had been resurrected or anything. CRAP! Buckle up, get your BUTT in gear, and hit the GAS, Baby! Maybe it’s just a leaky pipe or something. They’ll discover the source and fix the problem without me. One can only hope.

I arrived at my youngest sister, Little’s house and barely made it in the Nick of time. Backstreet’s Back, alright! We had our tickets in hand – actually Middle wanted to print them herself from my Ticketmaster account. She was so nervous I would forget or suffer a last-minute printer malfunction that she didn’t trust me. We headed to dinner and began our photo diary of the evening. The restaurant was packed! It was the ultimate cougar den. Chicks were dressed in 80’s garb and homemade t-shirts. Now I was HACKED. Little should have made us some like I asked. “Look how freakin’ boring we look,” I thought. Oh, well. We’ll make up for it.

My brother-in-law and niece had to drop us off at the concert. We were responsible grown ups and knew that we’d be drinking therefore needed a chauffeur. My poor little Baby Boo wanted to go with us but serenaded us with Gaga songs the entire ride to compensate. We start them young here musically speaking, so her chance will come soon enough. We arrived at the venue and pulled into the drop-off lane. HA! Never in my life have I seen so many husbands driving min-vans filled with kids in car seats and moms decked out in their finest. I think the best were the Pregos though, and there were lots of ’em. Cute little bellies were decorated with all sorts of NKOTBSB sayings and lyrics. It was totally cute, but I was also TOTALLY glad I was not one of them. I’m irritable pregnant, and my view of the scene would’ve described annoying squealy voiced thirty-something fatties all gathered to relive their teenage dream crushes while singing at the top of their lungs completely off-key to a group of guys they’ll never have a chance with. See? I’m much more pleasant without a bump and raging hormones. (more…)

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