“One Shoe Can Change Your Life” – Cinderella Friday, Jun 24 2011 


After yesterday’s post, a few friends from my Fame-like high school responded to me in one way or another. One former classmate, now current friend, said she could only vaguely remembers me dancing and must’ve blocked my smooth moves from her memory. Gee, you think she’s jealous much? I don’t think she actually remembers anything at all because she was a year behind me following in MY footsteps at this junior and senior level school, and I don’t think I danced that year. By then, I had tippy-toed onto other things. She got me going on something here though, and I thought about the little plaque that hangs by my closet. It says, “One shoe can change your life.” I had this back at the old house, but it carries new significance with all of the changes and little creature friends now at this castle.

I grew up dancing – ballet, tap, jazz, modern. My first teacher was an inspiration and that inspiration came from her panties. Hear me out here. She was a BEAUTIFUL woman and as eccentric as she was beautiful. She used to complain about the humidity here messing with her hair and how she would probably have been better suited for a drier climate. When she wasn’t wearing flowers in her hair or a turban of some sort, she was actually known to wear a pair of panties on her head for rehearsals. She claimed that the inspiration went in one hole and the perspiration went out the other. I have GREAT hair, but I think I picked up a thing or two from her. My panties are worn in the proper place however, thankyouverymuch!

My sisters grew up dancing as well, and my mom spent hours a week on the road between the dance studio and the house since we were there every day of the week and usually weekends as well. One year we TOTALLY dominated the Christmas Rudolph performance. It was a Sister Act because from beginning to end, at least one of us was in every scene and surely as entertaining as Whoopi herself. My most memorable performance however was Cinderella. I got to perform a pas de deux as one of the Autumn Fairies with my friend. As only I would do, I found myself chatting it up backstage with one of the cute stage hands and missed my cue. What made me realize that I had missed my grand entrance you ask? Well, it was the giant THUD that came with the landing of Cinderella’s pumpkin. My partner was performing and tossed the big orange ball into the air blindly behind her expecting me to be there to catch it as rehearsed. Guess what. I was not. MORTIFIED, I galloped onto the stage and attempted to save the show. Remember the big Saturday Night Live performance when Ashley Simpson got cold busted lip syncing and did that bizarre little thumbs-out-wiggle attempting to save face and then blamed her BAND? I guess my scene unfolded a little like that. I flew in from the wings and faced the BACKDROP. And CRIED. But I still SMILED through the tears at NOBODY and MADE UP a bizarre little ditty like some comedic poltergeist had taken over my body while my teacher stared in total HORROR. I couldn’t even look at her. Eventually her voice broke through my fog, and I finished the second half of the dance as choreographed. God! It was like watching an awkward Ben Stiller movie, I’m sure. Picture him now in pink tights and a tutu and pointe shoes pirouetting. Not a pretty sight, but back to my point. Not a soul could cushion the fall from grace in those pink soles. I call that vivid memory, The Great Pumpkin Dance. And the first sounds of my teachers instructions were garbled like the Teacher from Charlie Brown. God, what a nightmare. Boy, I bet she misses me now, huh? If I have you on overload with my wordsmithing here, then tough. My brain works like that Bing! commercial and this is MY blog so you can keep up or step away. (more…)

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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…)

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…)

Learning to Fly Tuesday, Jun 21 2011 


“Well I started out down a dirty road
Started out all alone

And the sun went down as I crossed the hill
And the town lit up, the world got still

I’m learning to fly, but I aint got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing

Well the good old days may not return
And the rocks might melt, and the sea may burn

I’m learning to fly, but I aint got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing

Well some say life will beat you down
Break your heart, steal your crown
So I’ve started out for God knows where
I guess I’ll know when I get there

I’m learning to fly, around the clouds
But what goes up must come down

I’m learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing”

-Tom Petty

This is the song that came to mind yesterday over coffee on the balcony. I started to blog about it, but something else entirely came out. Now I see why. I have a lot more to say about it today while the PETTY things are trying to get in the way. I still have MY crown though. The clouds are around indeed today, and I’m doing my best to fly around them. A friend told me yesterday that it seems like this stuff is just pouring out of me. Well, when it rains it pours. Some of you probably checked the forecast and saw this coming, right? Well not me. I didn’t see it coming til it actually was right up on me. Story of my life. As God would have it, it’s actually raining outside this morning, and if I’m going to drink my coffee on the balcony like every other morning so far, then Imma be gettin’ WET (said in my best Will.I.Am voice) And Imma be puttin’ it on the blog. ‘Cause rockin’ like this is my job! (It’s a non-paying gig so far, but it’s still a job.) And Imma be takin’ them pics. And lookin’ all FLY. Imma be the FLYest chick, so FLY. Imma be spreadin’ my wangs. Imma be doin’ my thang. Get it, get it!!?? OK. No worries though. If Imma be gettin’ wet, I ain’t gonna melt. I’m not the witch in this fairy tale.

I haven’t seen my bunnies yet this morning. They probably take cover when it rains. NOT my birds though. I watched one on the fence in the rain like he was trying to make a decision about where to go. Stupid birds. The dark clouds come in, the wind blows, the sweet bunny friends hide, and the mockingbirds sit out just looking for someone to pick on. Do they not get that THEY are the ones getting WET? Yep. Alot like life and the people in it, don’t you think? Take note Bird People. Get out of the rain!!! Or get an umbrella, at least. But don’t ask to come onto my balcony. I can’t shelter you from life’s storms. You’re going to have to do that yourself, and I have no room for you here in my castle anyway especially when the THUNDER ROLLS. (Thanks, Garth.)

GUESS who I saw yesterday that got me going on the song??? The baby bird, Tweety!! And guess what he was doing. Yep! Learning to fly. How do you like that?! I was sitting on the balcony and he flew right up and landed on the gutter. And I took a pic, of course!!

When I first discovered him, I was, yes, sitting on the balcony again, and I watched a neighbor walk past and point out to his wife the little bird in the bush. They stopped a minute, checked out the bird, then went on their way. As they walked away I heard the guy say matter of factly, “It’ll probably be dead tomorrow. It’s sitting on the ground where anything can get it. It can’t even fly yet, and it’s probably hungry.” The guy was just making an observation and stating it matter-of-factly. Well, I jumped up, ran downstairs (with my phone of course) and sought out the baby bird. I’m a super steady photographer, so it’s your own fault if you choose to watch the clip and get dizzy as a result, OK? Oh, yeah. You’ll also have to LEAN SIDEWAYS because I don’t know how to turn the video either. I’m WINGING it here ya’ll! (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…)

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