Saturday, January 31, 2009
So, they bus the top 5 winners from our school over to the East side on Friday, and Em seemed to be more excited about getting away from routine and having pizza for lunch than she was about the Spelling Bee. She and Hannah were the only ones from her group competing, so they were kinda bummed about missing out on the giggles back at Hale, but they went. They represented. And they had tales when they returned.
"It's rigged" she says on the ride home. "It's soooo rigged that first place went to a Special Ed kid and second went to an Anger Management kid!" she unloads. I guess SpEd kid's word was "paper" and AngMan had "safari . Not such tough words to win on I guess, compared to Em's "synergism". I'm still not clear on why the different level of words based on your ranking in class, but apparently some knucklehead in the district office feels handicapping (no pun intended) the Spelling Bee somehow levels the playing field.
So, what becomes of these two "winners" now that they go on to compete at the next level? Many of the commentors on Part One asked that question. Okay, so you handicap these kids to let them win in our school district, but what happens when they are faced with honest-to-goodness talented spellers at Regional? Are you truly sparing these "special" kids from pain and humiliation? Nah. Maybe for today they feel good about themselves, but tomorrow I think you'd feel even more embarrassed in front of greater competition. Do they build these kids up for an even greater humiliation? Do you give them the sense that they are truly talented only to have them wiped out in the first round?
And what does that say for the District? Are they proud of who they are sending to represent us in front of other school districts? Are we so consumed with making sure the "underdogs" feel good about themselves that we are willing to sacrifice quality education for the dumbing down of America?
Yes, say School District 130 School Board, Superintendent, and administrators. It is all about catering. Catering to anyone that feels mistreated, ignored, discriminated against, or different. It's about cancelling the dresses and suits that had once been required for the 8th grade dinner dance--it's now "casual" because they don't want anyone to feel uncomfortable. It's about not updating a 20 year-old curriculum because that's the projects everyone "loves" to make year after year. It's about not bringing the lower level kids up to speed--it's more of a slowing the bright kids down so as to not embarrass the others. Sigh.
Em continues on laughingly and tells of the Assistant Superindent giving the "We're all okay" speech. Woodrow, in her Easy Spirit shoes and polyester suit, stands up and gives a big talk on how "we are ALL winners" and Em, being my daughter, proceeds to roll her eyes. When she's finished the kids are all cheering, except for Em, who's hooting out "rigged!" amongst the crowd. Hannah is horrified and starts hushing her.
Em turns to Hannah and says "So, if we are all winners, what does that make the losers?"
"Yeah. I never thought about that!" and the lightbulb of reality goes on in Hannah's head.
"The winners aren't really winners then, are they?" Em says with her 13 year old wisdom.
And so the two of them ride the bus home, giggling about the stupid plastic medal that they were all competing for, happy to be winner-losers, and full from all that pizza that they traveled all the way to the other side of the district for.
Friday, January 30, 2009
I lovingly refer to the town I live in as "Weirdville". There are weird street names, weird houses, really weird additions to said houses that couldn't have possibly passed an inspection of any kind, and WEIRD people. Lots of them. There are weird mayors, weird trustees, weird politicians, weird firemen, and WEIRD policemen--one lives next door. Everything about Weirdville is weird, but it is relatively easy to live here (financially), so my coping mechanism is to maintain my sense of humor. And to hide out in my fenced-in yard and write this blog.
One of the weirdest thing about homes in Weirdville are the weird yards. I love to walk around the neighborhood looking at the weird sh*t (sorry, that's the only word I can use here) that residents put in their yards. There are giant 3-foot butterflies on trees, flocks and flocks of fake geese, a conastoga wagon on a 50 x 100 lot, garden gnomes by the millions, herds of fake deer, and flying pig wind socks. There are some really creative uni-bush (you know, the 10 bushes that have grown into one big bush) arrangements, odd landscaping, lack of landscaping, and plenty of cars on blocks in the driveway. There are cars parked on lawns, vegatables growing by the front door, and old tire flower gardens. I think you understand where the name "Weirdville" comes from.
One particular favorite yard is at the end of my street. I probably wouldn't notice it beyond all of the other weird yards except that there is a stop sign there, and I am forced to actually stop and look in that direction whenever I leave the subdivision. You can't help but see the yard sh*t. It's like I can't avoid it--it's the eye-magnet of junk.
But there it is--a small garden, marked off with timbers in a 4 x 4 square on the corner. In the back is a metal wagon wheel sunk into the ground about 4 inches. To the right of the wheel, just a tad in front, stands a white plastic duck with it's neck outstretched, looking for a way out, I think. In front of all of this loveliness are miscellaneous plantings--spring flowers, fall mums, "wildflowers" (aka: weeds) and some sticker bushes grown to distorted beauty. It is four season loveliness, as the colors change on the weeds/plants throughout the year. I never knew sticker bushes could possibly grow so tall, but thanks to these botanical gardens, I am offered new insight on the grow pattern of such weeds.
My typical sarcastic self just has to comment on this sight often, pointing out the vision lovingly referred to as "Duck and Wheel". "Ooooh, Duck and Wheel is in full bloom this morning" or "Uh oh, Duck and Wheel needs some rain today" or "Fall is coming, Duck and Wheel is starting to change colors".
The kids start chiming in, usually Em more than Col, because she is just like Mom--but sometimes better. "Wow. Look at Duck and Wheel in the snow, Mom!" she blurts out in passing. "Hey! You can hardly see Duck today, he's camouflaged by the weeds!" --it goes on and on.
One particular day, Em and I are driving by and she lets out an audible gasp. "Mom! It's PERFECT!" She's screaming now. A long piece of string had apparently been blowing around the 'hood and got wrapped around the wagon wheel. There it was, blowing in the wind--a perfect vision of yard sh*t heaven. It could not have looked worse, but there it was. From then on, that corner display was referred to "Duck and Wheel With String".
But what does that have to do with this blog, you ask? Why on earth would you use such a long-winded wacky name for your blog when you have to type that in a cabillion places in a single day? Well, other than the fact that I was told to pick something that nobody else would use (check), I think this blog is sorta like that garden. It's a place where anything can show up. It might be lovely, it might be icky, it might be ugly--who knows. Whatever is blowing by is fair game. Yeah, there might be weeds, but you know what, if you look close enough, there might be a couple of pretty flowers there too. I am, but the duck, standing proud amongst the junk--the queen of the little garden plot known as "the blog". It is a conglomeration of whatever happens to be that day, and like the corner "garden", beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder.
No, I don't have a photo of Duck and Wheel With String, but it's not for the lack of trying. I did try to snap a photo or two driving by, but I always felt guilty about it. What if they saw me and thought I was some weirdo (like there aren't enough of those around here)? I couldn't possibly walk down there with my camera--that would be just too obvious. I wouldn't want to hurt their feelings, I would rather just snicker behind their backs.
Duck and Wheel With String is gone now. It has been replaced by "Flower Bed", which is a metal headboard and footboard sunk over Wheel. There are dried up old mums in the middle to form the "bed" portion. Peeps are going literal now with their yard art. Duck has been moved over by the cement stairs next to "Duck With Flowers in the Hole in it's Back". I'm hoping for ducklings in the spring.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Joe and the Coffeemaker:
--Joe has a Type B personality. Thank God. I am a very Type A and we balance each other most of the time. He is so Type B, that I think he is almost a B minus. Joe was the youngest of five kids in his family. He is the master of fitting in, the king of mellow, and the picture of passive-aggressive. He is usually quiet, pretty easy going, and tolerant of my latest escapades. When I’m yelling and screaming, he stands there waiting until I’m finished. I take charge, he takes orders. I’m a go-getter, he’s a let’s –think-about-it-for-awhile. He has earned the name “Poor Joe” because it appears that he just follows the Lin Bandwagon, which isn’t true, but it appears that way to onlookers. Poor Joe gets his way sometimes, but quietly, he just doesn’t make a whole lot of noise about his rebellion. Tonight was no exception.
--As we sat down at the table, Joe admitted that he had put all 6 tickets into the cup for a coffeemaker. We didn’t need a coffeemaker and I said so. I was about to give him crap about how silly that was when I realized that his eyes were sparkling with that stick-it-to-Lin kind of look. Worse yet, the other men at the table were all smiling and secretly envying his audacity. They too, must have had their raffle tickets reined in by the little woman, and were waiting to see Joe’s demise or perhaps, a victory. One guy actually admitted that he snuck in tickets for the neon palm tree.
--Finally, Joe spoke up--loudly, I might add.
--“The cup only had a couple of tickets in it. I figured I had a good chance to win.” He was so damn proud of himself I couldn’t say anything more. “It’s not about a coffeemaker—it’s about winning.” He started to look like the dad in “A Christmas Story” when he got the letter saying he’s won “a major award”. The similarity was scary.
--Yeah, but you’re winning a coffeemaker. I gave up. I knew that once again, Poor Joe was setting me up to be the bad guy and I looked like the fool. Let him have his coffeemaker. Or not. He didn’t win it yet. I still had a chance if they didn’t draw his ticket.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Every summer we get just one or two of these guys and it is a big hit with the kids. If you sit out in the chair at just the right time of day, you are pretty much guaranteed some butterfly action. Cheap fun, easy to entertain, I know--but it really is incredible to see and experience.
This is my cousin Heather's little guy, Jack, and he couldn't have been more proud of his visitor. He would sit and sit, just waiting patiently for his turn with his wee friend. It returned over and over again to Jack's little red head, much to the delight of the rest of our party goers.
I have two friends going through some really difficult times right now. I don't know how to help them, and for the most part I cannot. One had her husband diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and is just beginning to plan for the treatments. A heavy smoker, they could have all but told the man he would die from the sticks, but he continues, still, even with his grim prognosis. With all honesty, I don't see him wanting to fight and I don't give him long to live. As bad as I feel about that, I cannot help him, I cannot make it better. I guess all that I can do is make things better for my friend. We cry, we talk, we worry, we discuss at length. I feel helpless, but I can only be a friend.
My other friend if facing foreclosure on her home. She has small children and worries about their future if the unthinkable happens. I do not know of her personal finances or history, I just know that she is scared and beating herself up for not being able to win in this economy. I can't help this friend, either. Even if I had the money to clear the debt, it would only be a band-aid, a temporary fix for a long-term problem. But it breaks my heart and I wish I could make this better for her too. We live very far apart and I can't even offer to take them in if they were to be evicted from their home. I think of her often and feel helpless and empty of solutions.
About all that I can do for either of my friends is to be a friend, to be there with encouraging words, to pray that they have the strength to carry on in such circumstances. I think of them often, and I send them positive thoughts and pray for peace in their worried minds. I pray that God's grace comes and sits on their shoulder, much like the little butterfly in the warm sunshine. I pray they find the courage to wait calmly, trust that there will be joy again, and maybe happiness will flutter it's wings in their direction.
A simple comment like "That's a nice monkey ya got there" when he's holding the cat toy, sends the kids running. I guess maybe I egg them on--offering to do a little "extra shave" when I'm trimming Joe's hair. He giggles and then I giggle, and that makes them run for cover. Maybe it's me mouthing the Def Leppard classic "Put some sugar on me" all dirty-like under the map light in the minivan. Maybe it's Joe saying "Woo! You got a big hole there, Lin" when I'm digging in the garden. I don't know--I don't think it's all that dirty, but somehow the teens do.
It's fun, all of this driving them nuts. It's the big get-even for all of those years of them embarrassing me. Em tells of being with her friends on Saturday and she was sharing with them the wacky stuff Joe and I do to drive them crazy. Apparently she didn't find our "Up With People" duet of "Up, Up, and Away" to her liking. "Losers" she mumbles, not fully appreciating the fact that we do this for their entertainment.
"I dunno," Caroline defends us, "I think your parents are funny" she says. Thanks, Caroline. That's one.
Monday, January 26, 2009
I'm back to work today and grumpy about the whole thing. How can part-time girl be so darned important that she needs to be called at home and expected to work on projects in Vicadin-induced nausea? Can she possibly be needed that much? Sigh.
Have I mentioned that I am going to FLORIDA in 3 1/2 weeks? With the girls? And lots of cocktails, shopping, and laughing 'til my tummy hurts? Yep. It's funny what we cling to in times of too much snow and cold--just the thought of green and colors other than white. I think it will shock the eyeballs when I get off that plane in warm 'ol Orlando, but I'm willing to take the risk.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
I've posted my frog pallies' photo just because that's what helps me mentally in a too long winter. I can't wait for a warm day when the ice melts on the pond's surface and a little dark green face pops up to greet me. I'm hoping there are at least 2 or 3 faces that show because that's how many frogs were out there last fall. Last year I lost 5 frogs because they went into the skimmer to "vacation" in frozen slumber and we found out it doesn't work so well. I blocked off the skimmer this winter, so I'm hoping we don't have the mass suicide to deal with come spring. Thank God for Henry who stood by my side while I dredged ickiness after ickiness. It was ugly.
I looked out today--the pond is frozen beyond belief and I guess I didn't expect much else. There is a tiny ring of water on the surface thanks to the heater. Birds stop by for a fresh water drink and how they know it is there is beyond me. I sigh and turn away.
January is almost gone, but we still have February and March to contend with. C'mon Spring.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
It approaches me like a tsunami--quietly, quickly, rushing forward from the depths of the sea of blankets, sheets, and comforters. He doesn't make much sound, other than that damn incessant purring. His whiskery face bumps mine, which to a cat, is the highest of compliments. Thanks, Hobbes, but perhaps just a snuggle will do.
He is like a wave of love, softly stirring, watching for the slighest of movement from his faux mom. Soft kitten paws marching up towards the head of the bed, to make his crushing ascent onto my chest to bestow love all over my face. Head bumps, body slams, juicy purry maows that whisper of his absolute joy that I am awake. The dark, lonely, petless night is over and his relief comes in the form of motorboat purrs. Who can resist such affection? Well, not me--even if it is 6:00 AM and it is a sleep-in Saturday morning.
It is hard to be mad at the little guy, who isn't so little anymore. He has finally outgrown doing this every two hours all night long, thank goodness, so I guess I can't snub his stripey advances. Most cat owners agree--these moments of snuggle time are usually few and far between and we grab them when we can. Hobbes is a different mold from the others though, he can't wait for the next cuddle. He would never consider nipping the hand from overstimulating the fur.
His favorite three words are "Where's the kitty?" and if you say them just the right way, he comes running. If you suspect he's in the darkened living room, a mere utter of those words brings a silly "maow" from under the ottoman. He just cannot resist the temptation to rat himself out--just in case someone is even thinking of smooching him. He is a whore for human affection.
Unlike the stuffed tiger he's named after, Hobbes is soft and gentle. He is purrs and maows. He is whiskers in your face and cuddles on your lap. Hobbes is pure love.
Friday, January 23, 2009
I've officially declared this spot one of my favorites to visit. No, it is not on the Top 100 List of Places to Visit Before You Die, but I'm glad it is not. I don't want anyone else coming here to spoil the quiet.
This is my dear friend Kenny's place. He built it himself--really. When he was younger, married, and raising a family, he had the property--but no house. He and Lori started out in a trailer and saved for the day when they could build the log cabin. Somehow I think it just sounds more romantic than it was, but I didn't have to see all the struggling they had to do, and now we just reap the rewards of visiting the small chunk of heaven.
The drive back seems like forever--bending roads, lovely views, breathtaking quiet, and peace everywhere. We reach the drive named after him, and turn to find an open field of horses, dogs, and a front porch beckoning. The silence here hurts your ears and the beauty blinds your eyes. You can actually hear buzzing insects and frogs croaking at the pond nearby. There's an old dog barking at us from a distance, and Kenny laughs saying it's not even his dog, he just hangs out there. There isn't a neighbor anywhere and you feel like you are alone in all of this splendor. The group of us ooh and ahh. We tell Kenny how lucky he is to own such loveliness. We all swing and sigh away the afternoon.
I think of Kenny's place often when city life starts smothering me. I dream of the day when Joe and I can own some property like this. I want a wooden porch in which to swing, a piece of heaven in which to breathe, and fresh air just outside my door. Tammy asked Kenny if he knew what he had here, "Oh, yeah" he laughs and tells of the too many offers to take it off his hands.
Smart man, that Kenny. He's rich beyond measure and lucky beyond words.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Em's heading off to school this morning when she drops the bomb that she's in the spelling bee today. "Do you want me to be there?" I ask, sort of knowing the answer already. "Hannah's terrified her dad will show up with the camcorder again." she says flatly. I guess "no" was her answer--I'm getting better on teen-speak and deciphering what she is really saying beyond the words she utters. So, I wish her luck, share a chuckle about the spelling bee, and send her on her way.
I hate Em's school. It just seems to get more and more pathetic as time rolls on, and I am literally counting the days until she is out. I'm disgusted at the level of education and the catering to certain ethnic groups. "Celebrate Diversity" the sign says over the gym, which like the teen-speak jargon really means "Celebrate Only Certain Diversities". I keep heckling/suggesting to the Superintendent that we really need to have a Baltic States Heritage Celebration, but he just rolls his eyes.
The spelling bee is no exception to the catering. Emma and her friend, Hannah, are excellent students--tied for number one in the class. I'm not bragging, it is not my accomplishment--it just makes a point for the story.
Every year, the teachers dredge up some long-forsaken souls to "win" the spelling bee, and it is never the kids who are truly talented. Names appear on the winner's list that I have never heard of before, and I'm not exaggerating when I tell you I think a kid from special ed took the crown last year. It is more about being ethnically aware and pushing some kids to the top that otherwise would never see such glory otherwise. I'm okay with that--every award cannot be won by just the two top girls, they need to spread out the accolades so as to not "discourage" the rest of the student population. Why they don't actually teach the rest of the kids to excel is another question, but I think it might be asking a little much of everyone involved.
Anywho, Em comes home to give the full report, and I wait to give her the speech about "letting some other kids win for a change". She starts out with her placing (fifth), and Hannah's placing (third), and goes on to name the winners. Poor second-place kid's mom shows up at the middle school to cheer him on and now is officially on the social suicide top 10 list. "Stephen got words like 'it' and 'the', " she says, "while Hannah and I were given 'existentialism' or 'perihelion'!" She's miffed "It was sooo rigged," she continues, "no wonder the idiots win! It's a complete set-up!" Yeah, she understands completely for only being thirteen and eight months. She's empathetic and kind, and Em doesn't mind the loss--it's the ridiculousness of the whole charade that she cannot tolerate.
Back in the classroom, her English teacher continues to have her own spelling/language bee to include everyone--you know, so nobody feels excluded. Hands were shooting up left and right, eager to answer and beat out the group of smart girls who usually win all of the time. One particular knucklehead keeps his arm half up, sorta like he's scratching his back so that when the teacher finishes the question, he's got a milli-second edge on anyone else to get his arm in the air. He's killing and his score sails.
"Ha! Ha!" he's laughing like a fool, "It's like the 'ol turtle race and I'm the rabbit!" he's boasting. The rest of the class roars in confident arrogance.
Leave it to Caroline, she quietly replies "The rabbit loses, you idiot".
Somehow I think rigging the spelling bee isn't helping anyone.
It was funny when Joe announced his leaving at his old job how many people were not so encouraging. Initially, everyone was like "Wow! Good for you!" but it quickly turned into quiet whispers of "Are you sure you should be doing this now?" . He was told that the "grass is always greener...." a few too many times, but he just wrote it off as I-wish-it-were-me's and smiled. Oh yeah, there were a ton of those too, but it seemed they were frozen, too afraid of what might be to even dip their foot into the pool of what could be.
I understand that Joe getting a job so quickly in this stinky economy was "lucky", but I'm with Danny Thorton when I choose to remain positive in spite everything we hear that's negative in the media. Joe is a good man, a hard worker, one that earned his respect at a job of 17 years. He was also very marketable and brave. He saw (and sort of lead) to thinking that switching jobs may be the wisest move and perhaps it could work out favorably. It did. He is very happy with the new company and cannot believe that it could have ended so well.
People congratulated him, but then the whispers started--Ohhh, you have to take the train? Ohhh, I never heard of that company. Ohhh, you have to travel outside of the office? Hmmmm. There were a lot of concerned faces. Why? Change. Not driving your car to the office. Not knowing of a company that unless you were involved in that field would you know of them. Visiting accounts or people in person, like the good 'ol days, hands-on, seems foreign. But why would that discourage you from accepting that position? Why does that scare you? I commend Joe for keeping an open mind when it could have been easier to just grin and bear it like the others at the old place.
Joe loves taking the train and actually, it is either the same or cheaper than driving out to the western suburbs each day--especially when gas was $4 a gallon. He likes relaxing for those 20 minutes and not having to stand in traffic. He loves the city and going to restaurants he otherwise wouldn't have gotten to visit. He's starting to know the ins and outs of downtown, finding some really cool places to see. He likes getting out of the office as he finds it's better for your relations with your co-workers. And he gets to know some really nice people. He found none of the things people warned him about--he is uplifted, positive, and refreshed by the job change.
Yesterday, after returning to his office after being in the field, he was met by the CEO and the office news that their receptionist won the Bright Star Award. Presented to someone who goes above and beyond for their job, Receptionist Dude (yes, dude) won the award. Joe says he's this young rocker dude that can't be beat as a receptionist--just the thought of it gives the place a thumb's up in my book.
Joe went over, congratulated the guy, and asked to see his "award". Dude pulls out a wad of cash out of his pocket and flashes a huge grin. "THAT'S the award!" he says and Joe stands there shocked. He learns later that that CEO had a major presentation, gathering everyone in the office, and proceeds to acknowledge this young man. He then whips out a wad of cash out of his pocket and starts counting. Rocker Dude wins $750 dollars (!!!!) as the CEO counts each $20 bill out loud and ends with the remaining $10. "That's mad money," he tells Dude "spend it on something fun.". Sigh.
Change isn't so bad after all. Embrace it, I say. No guts, no glory.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
1) I squaredance. Yes, honest-to-goodness squaredancing, you know, with a caller and all. Okay, it's Fain who does the calling and she's usually all liquored up on Vodka and Mountain Dew, but it only makes it harder. You cannot understand a word that woman is saying, and then add the liquor.....sheesh. I get points for that. No, I do not wear one of those goofy skirts with the white shoes. Cardiogirl--stop laughing.
2) I swear like a truck driver. And well. My kids won't be learning the bad words on the school bus or on the street because their mother has used them all. No, I am not proud of it, but it is what it is. And I'm a creative curser too. Never have you heard the F word used in so many contexts as when something goes wrong. I want to blame my years in the traffic department at previous jobs, but I think it started sooner than that. My mother won't admit it today, but I think she taught me early on.
3) I hand-quilt. This is the closest I will ever be to Laura Ingalls Wilder and that whole Little House on the Prairie thing. (Did you know that she hated to sew?) Anyway, someday I will take photos of my quilts and post them. I have some doozies that I am proud of. For the quilters out there--I machine-piece, hand-applique, and hand-quilt my quilts. If you aren't a quilter--no, I do not sell them.
4) My first really serious boyfriend in high school was a jockey. Yeah, he was short--but not that short. It was fun to go to the track and see him race.
5) My dad died when I was 7 and that has formed who I am. Dr. Phil says we have life altering events--that was mine. I think a lot about losing a loved one and it bothers me deeply when a child loses a parent at a young age. It is scary how little you truly remember when you are that young. I always wonder how my children will remember me.
6) I wear make-up ALL of the time, even at the pool. It may just be lipstick, but that counts, I think. I find this drives people NUTS, although I don't know why. I didn't do this when I was young, but now I have age spots and stuff that are really sensitive to the sun--it is more for protection than it is for beauty, but people don't believe me when I say that. It really is not a vanity thing. Really.
7) I always wanted to be a veterinarian when I was young, but people discouraged me from actually doing it. Maybe that's why I am so into helping animals now--I try to "save" them. I am a sucker for little furry guys like hamsters and mice--but I can't have them as pets because their lives are too short and it makes me cry when they die. Oh, and they never die an "easy" death--they linger and look all icky and stuff before they croak weeks later.
8) I still have my Partridge Family albums from when I was in the second grade. Yes, I have a turntable on which to play them, but sadly, never do. It's just the thought that they are there that makes me happy. I just loved that David Cassidy. Sigh.
Okay, I've got to name a few folks in which to participate (I always hate that part) and I'm running out of time, so I'd love it if you just play along willingly. Please join in and let me know if you did so I can go and read yours and laugh at you too.
My family is full of some really colorful folks, and I am definitely one of them. We have opinions and express them freely. We have been known to make some folks angry, stand up for what we think, and yes, even drop the F-bomb at Thanksgiving dinner at those who don't agree with us. But, it's all good--we love each other in the end and respect what each person has to say. Okay, so maybe we trash you later, but at the end of the day, we're there for you. So, being raised in that atmosphere, I love opinions. I love debates. I am frustrated when I go to Joe's side and all we discuss is the weather and sport scores. Where's the passion? Where's the feeling? Where's the conversation that encourages a point of view? Ugh. It's all pushed down and hidden somewhere under the sofa cushions.
So, whether or not you agree with me, I'm not joining in on the sainthood of Barack Obama. Yes, I like the man and his wife. Yes, I think he's intelligent. Yes, I am hopeful for the future. Do I think he is THE end all? No. Do I think he is some god who is going to change the world? No. Do I think he is Abraham Lincoln reincarnated? No. I say, let's take a breather here folks. Let's be realistic.
If you read nothing else today, read John Kass in the Chicago Tribune. He says all that I am feeling and thinking without pissing (sorry) anyone off. He writes that the country is on "Hopium" and is making this man something he isn't. He is human, he says, first and foremost. Let's give him a chance to do something before we canonize him. I love where he writes "I can't hear what you are saying because what you're doing is talking so loud". Thank you. Barack speaks so lovely, but does anyone really know how many times he actually voted for anything in the Senate? I'm with Kass--I think Obama is realistic, it is the media and the country who wants more and is willing to saint this guy in hopes that he is the answer. I say, let's wait and see before we start labeling him and referring to other presidents before him who did great things. I love the "Hopium" reference--how true.
I don't mind contrary comments, really. I don't, however, want to hear your silliness on how I am racist and right wing. That is easy to say when I don't share your opinion. Accusing me of being racist isn't a debate--it is a copout and a pathetic one at that. Calling me Rush Limbaugh is lame and isn't accurate. I don't think I've ever really talked about my political beliefs to anyone, so I'm not sure why I would qualify for "Right Wing" just because I say I'm waiting to see what Obama can do.
I heard that Uncle Jerry is joining me in tuning to something other than 5000 channels of inauguration coverage, I could have guessed it. He and I may be alone, but geesh, give us points for creative channel surfing today. I'm hoping for a little "Celebrity Rehab" with Dr. Drew or maybe some repeats of "Flipping Out" with Jeff Lewis. Yes, a little mindless, but I'm sure the media will keep me inundated with every step, every gesture of the Obamas over and over again until I cannot watch anymore.
Oh--FYI--One of my favorite movies of all time will be on tonight. "Guess who's coming to dinner" is on TCM and I think it important for everyone to see this movie. Racism smack-dab-in-your-face addressed in an impeccable manner. My favorite scene? When Sidney Poitier confronts his father and says "You see yourself as a colored man. I see myself as a man." I guess that just sums it up for me--Obama to me is a man. Just that--a man.
Monday, January 19, 2009
We are deep into the throws of teething with the big guy--his pink gums tender and red from the impending chompers busting through. He's a little too willing to mouth your arm, hoping to either relieve the pain or lose the useless offenders. A tinge of blood on your sleeve announces the release of a baby tooth and the whole family runs over to see his latest achievement. I am not kidding when I tell you that we have a whole collection of his baby teeth on the cannister on the counter. What I'm saving them for, I don't know--but just in case the tooth fairy pops in, we've got 'em. Of course, it's not as weird as my sister-in-law who saved her kids' dried up embilical cord, but it is something hard to admit.
Poor Hobbes has a lot to learn--like winter is not a time to make the dash for outdoors. He runs like a fool, thinking he's escaping our evil clutches, only to return seconds later because it is just too freakin' freezing to make his big escape. How far can you really get when you don't like snow on your paws?
He chases Grace endlessly, only to be met with a terrific hissssss and a swat of five sharpened-on-the-back-of-my-couch claws to the nose. He takes it in stride, not really aware that he probably should leave her alone, and waits for the opportunity to get her on her way back. He pushes to be first with the kitty treats, disgusting the alpha-cat who is appalled at such audacity. He takes over our bed in spite of Grace's evil glare, and innocently closes his sweet eyes in total trust that he won't be killed over comforter space. He doesn't bow to Grace's authority, he just sort of tests it with a kitten's innocence.
Joy comes in the form of the milk ring--the little pink thing that you pry off when you freshly open a gallon of milk. Big fun for the kitten who carries it up to the fish tank to show his fish pallies. Happiness is lying in the soon-to-be warm sunshine watching the birdies fight for survival in the bitter cold out by the feeder. Excitement when Bernice, Bernardo, and their new friend, Bert, fly in for a little snack--there is nothing like a pigeon to get a kitty going. Love is expressed first thing in the morning by standing on my tender incision, purring like a madman, happy that I'm just opening my eyes and will pet him. So little makes my Hobbes happy--we should all take note.
There is an old Irish saying that I think of.....
"Such joy in a wee ball 'o fur"
Sunday, January 18, 2009
But, I've gotten to thinking--which can be scary, I know--maybe this isn't so bad. Maybe this is what is natural, what we need, and normal. What?! I know you're thinking, okay she really isn't coming out of the anesthesia so well, is she? Hear me out--maybe living all warm and sunshiney in Florida or Hawaii isn't normal. Maybe we need this time of freezin' our hineys off and hunkering down in the cabin/cave/house.
I started to think of the Byrds tune "Turn, Turn, Turn". They used to sing that in church sometimes, which was weird to me, because you usually didn't hear top 40 kinda tunes being played by the guitar group in church. But when you start listening to the words and the meaning, you quickly realized that The Byrds were getting all Jesus-y on us and they were making a point. Wasn't so strange to hear in church afterall, actually it was better than some of the other tunes we sang too often.
I got that point yesterday as I sat by the fire, White Sox blankie on my legs, and a certain stripey kitten purring next to me. The family was all in the house doing their own thing, but we were home--together. There were no house or yard demands calling us to work--we were all relaxing and just hanging out. Joe and Colin worked on a physics project in the kitchen, Em was chatting on the phone and the computer simultaneously, and me and the kitties were bonding by the fireplace. It was nice. There were gentle sounds of family, dimmed lights, and warmth--figuratively and literally. It was nice.
Maybe we need these few months of hunkering down, doing nothing outside. Maybe the family needs time to be together and not running here and there. We find ourselves eating hearty dinners together, not going anywhere quickly, and staying home either with our friends or with each other. There doesn't seem to be the social pull as in other times of the year. Come Spring, everyone will be back doing their own thing again--us puttering in the yard, Em going here, Colin going there--nobody home for very long, everyone has somewhere to go, something to do. So, I guess I take this as a quiet time, a blessing sort of, where we are together for a couple months out of the year. Okay, they are driving me crazy, but in a way, it is nice too.
I like that the winter snow forces us indoors, escaping Weirdville and its inhabitants. I don't see or hear the weird neighbors--everyone is inside doing their own weird things. I don't smell the cigarettes over the fence, I don't hear Nicholas' Barney tunes cranked at 6:00 am Sunday morning, I don't see Mr. Grumpypants outside glaring at the neighborhood, and I can't hear the cars racing up and down the streets. It's a nice reprieve--one that I'm convinced that prevents the murder rate from escalating in our we-live-way-too-close neighborhood. It's kind of nice to not see the people who drive you nuts 9 months out of the year--I don't even think about them, actually. And for that, I am grateful to winter. Maybe God has a plan afterall.
My garden rests during the long winter, and so do I. I sit with garden catalogs on my lap, perusing the options, planning on what I'm going to move where, what plants I would like to buy. I think about the waterfall and how it needs to be straightened out this spring--although I may have to take a backseat after hernia surgery and all--maybe I can just point here and there, telling the boys where to move the rocks. My yard, pond, and garden require a lot of work--and if I'm out there, I'm pruning, puttering, dead-heading, watering, whatever. It is non-stop work, but work that I enjoy. So, I guess I relish the few months of just sitting--can't do much with a foot of snow covering everything. The garden is resting and so must I. Not so bad a thought, I guess.
I love that the kitties hang close in the cold months. Hobbes is permanently attached to my lap, which may change once the warm sunshine and clean smelling breeze tempts him outdoors. Henry was my big pally in the winter, but come Spring, he was nature's whore--never came too near for fear of the you're-going-inside grip. Grace sits by my side, but not too close. She likes to be with me, but nooooo smoochies for this gal--arm's distance is just near enough. So, I appreciate the cold when the two of them cop my body heat and allow a little pet here and there. Okay, it brinks on schmoozing, but I'll take it.
Maybe The Byrds were telling us something about winter with their song--to everything there is a season. Yeah, maybe we need this hibernation time called Winter. I, for one, need to hide out in the cave known as home, cuddle up with the loved ones, hide away from the haters, and avoid the harsh world for a few months. Let's sit by the fire and enjoy our own company, read a good book, eat hearty foods, and relax. Spring will come, it always does, and there will be plenty of time to cut grass, roll your eyes at the neighbors, and run like fools. I'm not going to trash the cold today--for once I'm going to embrace it....and the kitties.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Anyway, after Joe's guest posting yesterday and taking a break, I'm going to resort to a meme from Angie. She tagged me and I thought it fun to go along. Angie's blog is "Hot in Singapore" which sounds good to me. Singapore--far, far away from those driving me nuts. Hot--oh, even though I hate the thought of being too warm, it sure sounds nice right now. I know, she probably meant "hot" like "she's hot", but either way the word "hot" sounds too good to be true. Beats the heck out of freezing!
1. Have you ever been on TV?-- Yeah, I've been man-on-the-street interviewed a couple of times, although no major air time. No features on the evening news like "Woman kills her family for not letting her recover from surgery" or "Leave her alone already" or anything like that.....yet.
2. Have you ever sung in public?-- Oh yeah, although it's not pretty. Ask Pat and Tammy--I was singing BIG TIME on the trolley downtown. Christmas tunes--full voice. I actually got "shushed", can you believe it?!!! Yes, I used to sing in the choir at church too. Does that count? I love to sing-----loud!
3. Have you ever dyed your hair blond?-- Nah. No need to. I like me the way I am.
4. Have you ever eaten frogs' legs?-- What?!!! It would be like me eating one of the kids!!! Poor things! If you know me, you know the answer. Me? Lover of little froggy friends? Tadpole raiser and froglet saver?!! Sheesh.
5. Have you ever received a present that you really hated?-- Yes. Who hasn't? I usually make a big fuss and return it all disgusted-like. You see, you'd have to be an idiot not to get me what I want--I am very vocal about what I want, and really I'm not all that hard to please--that's why I get mad when I get something stupid like the gift card to T.J. Disasters. I hate that store.
6. Have you ever walked into a lamp post?-- No, but I have bumped into other things--sober and drunk.
7. Have you ever cooked a meal by yourself for more than 15 people?--No. I don't usually have that many people over--I don't like crowds. If I am having a party, I cater. I stress out too much about the candles, balloons, decorations, and stuff like that. And I hate to cook.
8. Have you ever fallen or stumbled in front of others?--Angie must think I'm a boozer with all of these falling questions! Yes, I have slipped and fallen in front of others, a lot. One of the biggest was the time I was on the kids' scooter. You know, those things are FAST.... and they stop even FASTER! I wiped out my whole arm on the thing! And it wasn't that long ago--maybe a year or so. That's what I get for being silly.
9. Have you ever done volunteer work?-- Years and years. My favorite was being a Reading Coach at the grade school. I would crack up with the kids and they would just kinda sit there and look at me really weird. I don't think the kids ever saw an adult being silly or just talking to them--it took them awhile to get my humor. Then they were my big pallies. I really miss just talking to the kids--so many parents don't just talk to their kids. They are missing out, big time. I still help out at school and for the band. There are two words that I will do anything for and Mr. P is the one person who understands their power............"thank you".
Sheesh. Is that all? I'm ready for another 10 or so! Hee! Hee! Okay, I'll tag a few peeps to do the same--that's part of the fun, isn't it?!
1. Diane--I'll give you a day or two because I know you are busy at Inaugural balls having a blast!
2. Patricia--because I've just learned you are in Chicago freezing just like me AND you like "Love Actually" which is my favorite movie of all time!
3. blueviolet--I just love your blue violet picture! So, colorful in such a dreary time of year.
4. Sherri-- C'mon share in the fun, girl! Glad you are a new bloggy pal!
Friday, January 16, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
And the whole lying on the couch, alone, reading books is out too. Mom came to spend the day with me yesterday (ugh), Em's home today with a snow day (double ugh), and both kids have Monday off (triple ugh). Seems there won't be much alone time, and my eyes are still kinda googly from the anesthesia. I tossed out the Vicadin, as it was making me more sick than I was in the first place and am just suffering it out with Advil. My books and the cat are just staring at me, wishing me to just plop on the couch to recouperate. Geesh, I can't catch a break with surgery either.
Petula taps me on the blog shoulder with this meme, which I sort of volunteered for today. The idea is to open the 6th folder on your photo file, open the 6th photo and post. Then you have to write about the photo and tap a few of your friends to do the same. Okay, so I'm a little rusty from posting and post-op, so I take the challenge.
How appropriate! It's my frog choking down a sparrow for lunch! Sheesh, that's exactly how I felt the last two days from all that anesthesia. Except I didn't have feathers in my mouth--it just felt that way. And I kinda looked like that sparrow too--with my hair sticking up all over the place and wanting to die and all that. How fitting a photo.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I don't think there is anyone more prepared for disaster/drama than Mom. She readies her warm chicken casserole like a soldier cleans his gun. If someone needs something--she's there. She anticipates round-the-clock action like a private hunkering down in a fox hole. Sleep? Who needs sleep when something might pop up at a second's notice? She doesn't dare close her eyes, for the enemy is out there and she needs to be ready. Ok, if she does fall asleep, a nuclear bomb next to her head couldn't wake her up, but she's ready. Just ask her.
Mom retired a couple of years ago and is pretty much just kind of doing her own thing around her house. She visits with friends, hangs with the kitties, and goes downtown--a lot. She talks to strangers and relays her third-party conversations like they were the headlines on the 5 o'clock news. She goes to her sister's house to hang out there, takes a tumble every now and then, and enjoys a nice visit with her doctors. It's when she gets a whiff of trouble in the air that the woman is downright excited. She is needed. She readies her Momly self and steps right in. She is a trooper, you see, seasoned by some dramatic happenings in her life, and she wallows in the moments of drama. She doesn't wish them on you--no--but she does relish when something is up.
She could work for the Army, maybe as a Lietenant or General or something high up in the chain of command, because she likes to take control. "You! Take the garbage out!", "You! Don't bother your mother!" she throws out commands like an seasoned commander. She doesn't yell as much as she just kinda tells everyone what to do and then gets all huffy if you disagree. There is no punishment for the troops worse than the digusted suck of the teeth or silent treatment from Grandma.
She could be the Communications Expert because those phone lines light up when there is news to be had. If something is going on with someone in the family, it is she that relays the information to everyone--whether or not you want her to. She has the Batphone to the relatives, that woman. Drama? Got 'cha covered. Surgery? She's the command center--before and after. Gossip? Well, she won't admit to that, but she's got such loose lips, she's the CIA's worst enemy. And code talking? Mastered! The Navajo have nothing on Mom.
"There were no surprises" translates to "No cancer, thank God!"
"Well, I had a little something yesterday..." translates to "Wait until you hear THIS!"
"Oh well, it doesn't have anything to do with me..." translates to "Can you belive it?!!"
God forbid I don't get the care I need at the hospital--she is ready for attack in a moment's notice. Okay, she doesn't pull a Shirley Maclaine in Terms of Endearment--but she does make sure the doctors and nurses know what I need. I cannot imagine them ignoring her for long, there is no wrath like that of my mom angry--she gets very quiet and very scary. So, maybe she'd be good at negotiations in the War Room. I think she'd get what she felt was best for the troops.
At the end of the battle, Mom will be the one sitting there all proud like, pinning and sewing all those awards on my jacket. She'll be all smug-like, knowing it was her battle all along and I was just there for the ride. She'll tell her war stories to everyone and anyone who will listen, how she helped, how she took care of things, and how she is fine, thank you very much. She'll be on the parade float with the streamers coming down, but that's okay. I'll let her have her moment. Whatever. I've got my pain meds, remember?
Okay, so she'll sit quietly by my bedside at the hospital awaiting my every need, like Florence Nightingale, and she really is helpful. She just sorta knows what you need after surgery like a mom would. But I'm more of the old-dog-in-the-corner kinda gal and just wants to be left alone, so I hope she doesn't "help" too much.
Pray for me that I don't have to resort to "friendly fire".
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Hobbes has taken to interior design as his hobby lately. Our home has been transformed by this sweet kitten and his "touch" is everywhere. Okay, so that means sparkle balls, catnip mice, rope and strings of all lengths, stuffed toys, and anything else he bats around appears all over the house. There are toys in your drawers, slippers, behind the TV, under the bed, and god knows where else. We refer to it as "Hobbes is decorating again". The following is his process:
Hobbes makes an initial layout, carefully analyzing the room, it's measurements, size, and proportions. He views the room from various angles to get "just the right feel" for where he feels things belong. He then decides which objects of his personal collection should be displayed.
He then starts the "design" process, in which he thinks, really hard, about exactly how to decorate the room. This process can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours depending on how much thinking/planning he has to do. He is an "artiste" afterall.
Monday, January 12, 2009
The lump-be-gone hernia surgery is very minor but I have threatened Joe with going to the "light" should it appear. He's been doing his old guy routine--not remembering anything, not doing anything I ask, finishing the songs I'm singing with his Muszak version that includes whistling, and pretty much annoying the bajeepers out of me. Maybe it is cabin fever, but he seems extra weird these days. I think he gets nervous when I'm sick because I remind him all the time that he is screwed should something ever happen to me.
It's the best time of year to be doing this, as I want to be ready come spring to dig up perenials, move flagstone around the pond, and straighten the waterfall ledges. I can't wait to release the fish back out into the pond, watch for frogs, cut the grass, and put the patio set out. I started to tell the surgeon what I do out in the yard in the summer when he asked what could have possibly caused the hernia, and he just got kind of glassy-eyed. I think I lost him at "move flagstone". But then again, it could have just been a sneeze. I don't know. Whatever--just fix it.
I'm going to post ahead because I don't think it responsible of me to be posting while under pain meds and the care of my mother. (I'll be doubling up on the meds BECAUSE of my mom.) I'm sure the laptop won't be far, but I'm really thinking I'll be just catching up on my reading list. I'm actually looking forward to that part. I think maybe everyone ought to have 3-5 days on the couch for reading once a year. Maybe that can be my Mrs. America platform if the Bringing Back Cocktail Hour thing doesn't fly. Not as cutting edge, but it may guarantee a win.
So, come visit me on the blog, send me blog-flowers, and pray the scar isn't too large.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
I found this on my morning travels through the wormhole of a cazillion blogs. Cuteboo ran the Cupcake Test and had great results. "What's the Cupcake Test?" I asked myself. Surely I can come through with fabulous results and everyone will love me! It can't be that hard--it involves frosting of lovely colors, and sprinkles, and cake! I'm kinda like Martha Stewart with that kind of stuff--I can beat it! I can win! I can be successful! Bring on the cupcakes!!
So, here's my results: (drumroll)
* At parties, you tend to like to stick to your core group of friends. You don't venture out and meet new people. Well, only if I have to. I mean, I hate making conversation--it's so much work. Who wants to be exhausted at parties?
* You hardly have any restraint. You only hold yourself back when absolutely necessary. What fun is restraint?! I'd have to actually think before I speak and that isn't any fun. And besides, I'm going to make a really, really good crazy old lady. People will shake their heads, roll their eyes, and go "She's a nutty ol' broad, isn't she?". Did you ever notice old people get the mulligan when they say stuff? What age does that happen? I can't wait.
* The most important thing in your life is fun. Well, that and lemon drop martinis. Who doesn't love fun? I think this one was a "gimme". I think this test would have been much more accurate if it said that the most important thing in my life is complaining about stuff.
* You are dominant, vain, and a bit of a show off. To know you is to worship you. The Cupcake Test was all about me, wasn't it? I mean, who else has such a lovely cupcake, all purpley with a little flower on the top? Nobody!! Unless you saw my cupcake up there and then took the test and wanted to be like me so you picked the same stuff I did. (I'm just kidding here, I just wanted to sound like the dominant, vain, show-offy person they claim I am.) Sigh. Hey, where's the part where it says I'm all soft and mushy on the inside?! That I'm really insecure and try to be nice and stuff like that?! I don't like this test.
Go ahead, haters/non-haters--take the test. See if you do any better than me. Let me know what you get and if your cupcakey result is any better. (I wonder if there is a way to cheat?)
Saturday, January 10, 2009
I looked out today and could hardly see the pond for it is covered deep in snow and ice. I thought of my frogs and wondered if they are still slumbering. I hope they are not dead and we do not have a repeat of The Great Frog Disaster '08. They should be hibernating safely because we closed off the death-trap otherwise known as the skimmer. There are a few brave/idiot minnows that refused to come in for the winter and I will be curious if they can survive out there. The three that came in are doing fine with Aloysia and Sharkbait.
Aloysia, my orange and white fish, isn't doing so well--she has experienced severe swim bladder disease symptoms. She lies on the bottom of the tank most of her time now and her fin on one side is compromised. I call it her "lucky fin". She gets around okay come breakfast, and Sharkbait is sweet, sitting next to her on the bottom. He loves her. She can survive like this, although everyone who sees her says quietly "Uh, I think your fish is dead" to which we reply "Oh, no. She's just like that" and then I have to go on and explain all about swim bladder disease.
Swim bladder disease isn't a "disease" as much as it is a condition. Fish have little swim bladders which work like a ballast in submarines. They allow the fish to remain upright in the water and to dive and rise like submarines. Deep-bellied fish have extra-sensitive swim bladders and they are easily ruined by poor water quality, disease, and/or too cold water temperatures. It happens all too easily and the first sign is seeing your fish upside down every so often in the water. She'll survive like this, but she is susceptible to being eaten by prey or getting a more serious disease. She just looks silly and you feel sorry for her.
On a more positive note, Aloysia and Freddie both had babies this summer and there are 3 babies that are also in the house. Hobbes sees to it that they are fed each morning, so they are growing fast. I'm not sure what will happen next winter, as they will grow to almost 10 times this size in the pond during the summer and I won't know where to house them. It's like a freaking zoo in this place during the winter and it is crazy trying to keep up with them all.
We have a lonnngg winter ahead and I don't like to even think about it until March, but I look forward to spring. I wait to fire up the waterfall, watch for the frogs to pop their heads out of the water, and to see Hobbes fall in the pond for the first time. He is obsessed with the fish and I find him on his hind legs, peeking in on them, although he doesn't poke them--yet. I wonder if he'll make friends with the fish like our cat, Ruth, did.
Until then, I'll toast my cold bones by the fire and wait.
Friday, January 9, 2009
There were two friends, Mary and Sarah. Mary went to the University to study beauty parlor management and earned her degree. After college, Mary worked for a few years in her field, but then married, had children, and quit her job to be a mom. She liked it. But, now she is ready to go back to work and tells her friend that.
Sarah went to school for car repairs, earned a two-year certificate and went off looking for work. She found a job at the local beauty parlor, which wasn't her field, but it turned out okay. She worked for many years as a hair dresser and worked her way up into the position of manager. She likes her new job and is very proud, and she should be.
When Sarah learns that Mary would like to work again, she offers Mary a job cleaning up her station at work. She is very busy, you see, and she doesn't get around to cleaning the brushes and combs like she should. Yeah, it's probably not in the best interest of the beauty parlor to not have this done, but she is the manager, and she doesn't like doing that menial stuff anymore. Sarah thinks that Mary would be grateful for the work being that she went to school for something to do with beauty parlors. It would only be for a couple of times, until it got straightened out. Mary, looking for a couple of dollars, agrees to help out for those few times.
Well, that Mary rocked it. She cleaned the combs and the brushes. She swept the floor and scrubbed the chair. She sterilized the clippers and straightened the drawers. Sarah was pleased as punch! This was great! She could do her job and didn't have to be bothered with cleaning the mess she left behind. Sarah was happy. The customers were happy. Sarah's co-workers were happy. And most importantly--Sarah's boss (the parlor owner) was really, really happy. It was sooo clean! And Mary was happy that everyone else was so happy.
Owner lady stops to talk to Mary one day and comments on how she would like Mary to stay longer. She does such a fine job cleaning, maybe she could cut hair or do manicures instead. Maybe even do coloring. There are so many jobs that need to be done in a beauty parlor, you see. " We can use the help" she tells Mary.
Mary was very excited! She never expected to be kept on permanently--it seemed as though this could blossom into something more than what she expected. It might be fun to cut hair and do manicures. But the thing that excited Mary was the thought of coloring hair! That was always her favorite part of Beauty Management School, and here she was, offered that as a possible opportunity for her!
Sarah was excited too. Mary and Sarah would work together, eat lunch together, and chat about the customers together. Sarah was so excited for Mary that she offered to the other employees Mary's services of cleaning their combs and brushes too. "She loves doing that!" she would say. But Mary wasn't so excited about that. "No, I don't think so, Sarah" Mary would say to defend herself, but Sarah never heard her--she was too busy planning more work for Mary.
Time goes on and Mary and Sarah work around the beauty parlor together. Sarah does her hairstyling while Mary cuts a client's hair here and there. She does a manicure once in awhile too, but she is always dragged back to Sarah's station to clean her combs and brushes. Even if she is in the middle of a blow-dry, she has to stop what she is doing to clean up Sarah's station--so the owner thinks Sarah is doing a fine job. Mary is growing weary of the situation, but she holds out for the one chance to do the coloring. It is always promised, but it never seems to happen.
Mary is struggling with this. She wants to cut hair and do manicures--she likes it. She really, really wants to do the coloring, but is sick of having to go back and clean Sarah's mess each day. She has the education to be a manager, but wants no part of that--it's just so demeaning to keep cleaning the combs and brushes day after day when Sarah is capable to do it herself--Sarah just thinks she's above it and Mary isn't.
So, now the questions:
1) Should Mary keep cleaning Sarah's station and just be glad that she has a job?
2) Does she "owe" it to Sarah for getting her the job in the first place?
3) Should Mary quit and go work for another beauty parlor where she can cut hair and do manicures? Or someplace she has a real chance of doing coloring?
4) Do you think Mary should just pound away, do what's she's told, wait for someone to finally ask her to do the coloring and then sort of "forget" to clean Sarah's things?
Mary awaits your answers while sipping a cocktail and watches Bret Michaels' "Tour of Love" and feeling sorry for herself.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
I have a few loved ones that I swear I get messages from. Not whispers in my ear or scary white ghostly figures or anything like that. Just simple ones that John Edwards usually says are signs--like the smell of that person's perfume or a symbol that you associate with your loved one. These are our supposed signals that they are there and looking out for us.
Take my friend, Don, for example. I can hardly speak or write of him, for his death was probably the most difficult in my life. Doesn't even compare with the death of my dad at a very young age. Our friendship was deep and odd, as he was old enough to be my dad. He was a grumpy curmudgeon of a guy, weathered beyond his years, and I lovingly referred to him as "Fish"--you know the mean old guy from Barney Miller. Ok, I'm getting weepy just thinking about him, so I'll just wrap this up by telling you that he wore this hat, that nobody else wears anymore. They are so old, I don't think they will ever come back in fashion. So, when I spot an old guy wearing one of those, I am convinced it is Don sending me a sign from far away. It doesn't happen very often, let me tell you, and when it does, my heart lights up. "I see it, Don." I say out loud. "Thanks." and I smile. I'm sailing for the rest of the day.
It may be nothing. It may just be some old dude digging his old furry hat out of the closet because it is freezing. But you know what--I'll take it. It makes me remember my dear friend and the laughs we shared. For the moment, I remember him. And I like it. So, it may not be a sign at all, but it makes me feel good, so I believe.
Yesterday, I was zipping through a bunch of blogs. I'm finding all kinds of new ones--good, bad, and any in between. I got a warm feeling when I hit a blog that showed a lady and her cats. She wrote about her cat Henry, whose name was in the title of the post. I nearly freaked when I saw his name, because we just lost our dear sweet kitty, Henry, this past October. I scrolled down to see her friend, when my heart stopped.........he was an orange and white male cat! She showed pictures of him walking through the snow and he was almost identical to my kitty. I started to cry almost immediately and called for Em to come see. Even his coloring was almost identical to ours--it was weird.
I took it as a sign. "I see it, Hen" I said and Hobbes just looked at me like "Will you people quit calling me that name?" (Joe keeps referring to Hobbes as Henry and then we all say "Hen's dead" and then he corrects himself) So, there I was for the moment, remembering my Hen and all the cute things he used to do. I felt sad, but I also felt happy to be thinking of him again.
So, maybe that John Edwards is all full of phahooey, but I like his concept. Is it so bad to make people believe that we still have love, even after we leave this green earth? He never took my money or advantage of my feelings, so I cannot say he is a crook. All I know is that there are things that appear to me and I remember love. Is that all bad?