Monday, January 27, 2014

Only six dollars



Today when I was at the Grocery I was standing in the aisle and pulled my phone out of my pocket to look at a recipe. I gathered up some of the things I needed and as I looked down in my basket something on the floor caught my eye. It was some money rolled up. Not very much money but when I picked it up I looked around to see if anyone was standing nearby that could have dropped it.

Immediately a vision of John Quinones with that show "What would you do?" flashed into my head and I almost laughed looking around for him.

 Now it could have fallen out of my pocket because I had worn these jeans the other day AND I roll my money like that AND I had just pulled my phone out. But I didn't know for sure.

So I just stood there for a minute and thought of all the times I had lost money.

When I was in 6th grade I lived with my Mom and my six year old brother in some apartments right next door to a strip mall. It had a TG&Y and a Grocery  and a Otasco store.

 I would go shopping for my mom to get things she needed sometimes. This day she took her last six dollars out of her purse and sent me to buy milk, cereal, eggs, and bread. I also got to have apple as a treat.  I put on my coat and walked to the grocery store the money all wadded in my sweaty little hand.

I got a basket and walked over to the dairy and I spotted the apples and went over and tried to pick the biggest one I could find since I knew I would have to share it with my brother. All those beautiful red apples I looked through the pile til I found the biggest one there. I went and got all the other groceries and when I got to the cashier I reached my hand in my pocket for the money and it was GONE.

 I checked all my pockets,  I turned them inside out,  I looked all around. I left my basket and in a panic I retraced my steps all the way back to the apples. Now most kids could have just gone home and said "Sorry Mama I lost the money" and get scolded and then Mom would have probably just gone to the store herself. But I couldn't do that. I knew my mom would be so upset she'd probably cry. And our cupboards were pretty much bare not to mention those groceries were breakfast for the next week.

I sat down on the floor feeling my hot cheeks  and a lump the size of New York in my throat , barely able to hold back the tears threatening to flood, and dreading facing my mom. Someone cleared their throat nearby and I looked up to see Miguel who worked there.

 I had a crush on him and would talk to him while he stocked the shelves he was SO NICE.

I hoped he couldn't see that I had been about to cry. He stood there in his red apron and jeans with his hands on his hips and asked, "Hey what are you doing on the floor?"

"I was looking for six dollars I lost."

"Want me to help you?"

"Yes Please."

We looked and looked but it didn't turn up.

He said," Wait right here I'll be back." Then he walked into Customer Service and shut the door. I could see a lady there inside who looked at me several times. I was so embarrassed. Then Miguel came out and motioned for me to come over to the window. The counter came up to my chest.

"Miguel says you lost some money today."

"Yes it was six dollars."

"Well someone turned it in its right here, be more careful OK?"

She handed me the money and I said "Thank you so much, thank you thank you! I hugged Miguel and he patted me and said "Better hurry home before you get in trouble."

I did get those groceries and hurry home. My Mom scolded me for Lolly gagging I had actually been at the store for over an hour.

I often wondered later if anyone had really turned that money in or if Miguel had given it to her to give to me. Back then min. wage was only three dollars an hour and he might have made a little extra carrying out groceries but not much. So if it was his money it was a sacrifice he would have felt.

 I headed up to the front I stopped at the desk and asked the customer service lady if anyone had lost some money. She said "No Ma am, you should just keep it because if you turn it in it goes to corporate." I left my number in case anyone did ask about it. I figure nobody will because people don't think much about one dollar bills.

But it made all the difference to eleven year old me.

 So thanks Miguel wherever you are...














Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Don't be a turtle


 

"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope."

Martin Luther King Jr.




For the last couple of weeks I have had several conversations with people where I have heard how

disappointed they are.

Disappointed because:

they didn't get what they wanted for Christmas

they didn't get a raise

something they planned fell through.

But the number one reason I hear is SOMEONE disappointed me.

I started thinking about how that happens. Its usually when we expect a certain behavior from

somebody, right?

We BELIEVE they will do a certain thing.

Maybe they even say they will do it.

And then they don't.

And we EXPECT a different outcome and EACH time they disappoint us.

And with that disappointment comes feelings of hurt, sadness, anger, and shame.

So what do you do? Its tempting to just give up.

Just give up on everything and everyone, because if you do that then you won't get hurt.

If you expect the least then at the least your not surprised right?

But I have found when I do that choose that, I wake up in the morning with no hope.

No gladness in a new day, no joy at what surprises may come, only me wrapped in the rock hard

turtle shell
of self preservation. And when you wrap yourself up like that nothing bad can get in. But

nothing can get out either. You cannot let go of all those negative feelings because they are all piled up

on top of each other getting heavier and heavier and all that mess of disappointment...

Its really unforgiveness.

Because when you don't forgive those people who have hurt you they are not the one suffering under

the burden YOU ARE.

And when you are all wrapped up in that mess of disappointment and unforgiveness guess what else...

Nothing good can get in either.

Sometimes you have to let it go every day. Sometimes you have to say to yourself everyday "I forgive

this person for what they did."

I'm not saying let them hurt you over and over I'm saying acknowledge the hurt, the disappointment

forgive and let it go.

Because in the end don't you REALLY want to have that hope in good, in kindness, in truth, in love?

Because in the end all we really have in this world is that's sustaining is hope.

Listen to that  little voice at the beginning of the day that says "Today I will believe in the good and

look for it, I will seek out and reflect on the goodness in my day and cast aside the disappointment as a

lesson learned."

Peace to you and HOPE as well...





Saturday, January 11, 2014

Girls and Boots

Girls and boots


I saw this photo in a cabin in Round Top Texas that was built in the 1700's. As I looked at these fresh faced flowers of the west I wondered about what they were like. Clearly they were a fashionable western attired bunch with the big hats and girlish clothes but just dusty enough and they all had hat hair so they weren't just walking around with hats to be cute. You could tell they were all at some sort of event together.

I like to think they were all best friends. Especially the little one in the middle. Sort of a Wild West Show team. They all look happy well except for the one in the vest. Maybe her feet were hurting and she was ready for a beer.

 When I was little I always loved horses and boots and hats and wanted to be Dale Evans and ride around on a Palomino with fancy saddles and sing songs with Roy Rogers. That's what I thought being a cowgirl was. But you know what I think this is a little closer to the truth.  A bunch of girls at the end of the day who love horses, love to ride and are ready to go whoop it up around a table with a pitcher of beer and some fried chicken...

YEEHAW!

*If anyone knows the story behind this picture I'd love to hear it...

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Strike while the iron is hot


Just found out today that Conor has a Orchestra concert tomorrow night.

 So he comes up from the basement and brings me a white cotton dress  shirt.

Conor:  "Mama I know you said don't wait til the last minute to ask you but I didn't know til today can

you iron my "Orkystra" ( he sounds like such a little Okie sometimes) shirt we are having the

Christmas Concert tomorrow night since we didn't get to have it because of the ice storm please could

you?"

Me:  "Sure honey I'll do it right now."


Some people would have been annoyed or downright mad. Some people HATE to iron.

Not me. I have always liked to iron. Well as long as its not hot I don't mind.

I love the smell of the hot steam and starch and cotton. The way the wrinkles magically disappear. The

way the fabric looks so crisp and nice afterwards.


When I iron I'm hyper focused on what I'm doing.

 Its calming to just concentrate on pulling the fabric, setting the pleat, pressing the collar and sleeves.


Instant Gratification.


While I ironed I thought about when I was a bitty girl maybe 4 years old, watching my 13 year old

Aunt Sherrie when she would iron. She would get out the wooden ironing board and the pop bottle

with the metal sprinkler on top and fill it with starch water. Then plug in this massive steel iron with a

big thick fabric cord, sprinkle whatever she was ironing with the bottle and just zip along  it would be

finished in minutes. Onto the hanger and onto the next piece. She would sing along with the radio and

sometimes stop to wipe her forehead off using those heavy irons created allot of heat. If it was Saturday

she would have rollers in her hair ( Saturday was hair wash day)  and her little Bermuda shorts on with

her keds, and American Bandstand on the TV at noon, Saturday was usually when there would be a

big stack of laundry, my Grampa's work shirts and pants, my Grandma's cotton blouses, my little

clothes. So she'd get to one of my little dresses and when she was done she'd pop it out and say "Here's

the Suzies!" and smile at me, I always thought that was how she said "I love you."

I have it much easier with my modern little steam iron and lightwieght ironing board and canned spray

starch.  But every time I iron, as I smooth those wrinkles I think of my Aunt Sherrie and remember

that's how you say "I love you."


Monday, January 6, 2014

The Best Part



Our heater quit at 6:30 PM yesterday. Of course a Sunday night is when it decides to do it.
When a Artic Front is coming and its colder than its been in 30 years.
 The heater guy comes out and says "Yep your motor seized up gonna have to put one in but can't do it til tomorrow when I can get the new one."

Rats. So we did what Okies are used to doing and hunkered down.
Now don't get me wrong lots of good people offered us shelter from the cold. But this had happened to us before about three years ago before we had the new system put  in the house when we first moved in and we were without heat for almost 3 weeks. So we knew what to do and figured we could handle it for one night.

We lit the gas fireplace.

I put 3 blankets down for each dog.

We put four quilts on our bed and two blankets , a North Face sleeping bag and flannel PJs on Conor.

He looked like a cross between Jabba the Hut and a Caterpillar.

I was nice and warm all night under the four Quilts,  I could barely roll over but I was warm.

Six AM rolls around I get up and they robo call to let us know they canceled school. I'm up  so I go check Conor. He is a frozen frog. He had not crawled back in his sleeping bag at some point. So I get him  out of bed, stuff him in between me and Larry to get him to thaw and we all go back to sleep.

After Larry gets ready to go to work he hollers upstairs "Its 45 on the thermostat down here. "

Let me tell you it did not feel 45.

Probably because it was 2 degrees this AM outside.

I got up to let the dogs out and feed them and it was a meat locker. I went back upstairs put on two more long sleeved shirts, a sweatshirt, two pair of socks, a scarf and a hat.

I looked like the little kid from A Christmas story. I'm standing in front of the fireplace slowly rotating like a Wal-Mart chicken and I look over and my little Yorkie Robyn is sitting in a patch of sunshine shivering.

So I get him and shove him in my sweat shirt with only his head poking out.

Conor is on the couch in his sleeping bag with blankets piled on him.

I'm thinking to myself "I can't feel my feet, my fingers or my nose."

The heater guy comes and replaces the part and is done really quick. We turned that sucker up but we still went back upstairs and hunkered down under all those covers in all of our layers of clothes, and Conor in his sleeping bag,  and we didn't thaw out til about four.

But I'm not going to complain because there was a best part.

The good part was getting the heat back on.

The best part was watching the first Season of Downton Abbey with my son.
It was like a all day slumber party piled up under all those blankets watching our show.

It might have been a record cold day, but it was warm as Miami in my heart...



Saturday, January 4, 2014

Sparkle and Shine



Once upon a time I was invited to a Royal birthday party. It was a lovely affair where we all got to wear crowns and pay homage to the lovely Princess.  Every one of us got a crown.You know even when we grow up inside of us is still a little girl who likes to feel good and look pretty.

When I was little I would watch Disney every Sunday night so I could see the Disney Princesses.
I also never missed the Miss America pageant. Those sparkly dresses and those sparkly crowns.
And the Rodeo Princesses so fancy with their crown on their hat and those high prancing ponies.

And in Jr. High and High School when they would crown the various girls for Homecoming or the sport of the month and they would have on their long dress and crown. *sigh*

I always felt a little sad because I missed out on that I guessed it was only for the lucky few.

And as I got older I  just tucked all of those thoughts away inside of a cedar chest with a dried up corsage and a napkin from a fancy restaurant from when we went to the Jr. Prom which was a disaster, it poured and even though I had spent hours on my hair when you have naturally curly hair and its pouring well, lets just say I was Janis Joplin hair girl with mud on her dress and shoes. It was not the magic night I had imagined at all....

So many many years later I was out and about and one day at the thrift store I saw in the case in front of me a tiara. It had the pointed front and a little pearl dangling off of it. I picked it up and looked at it and smiled. Yes you guessed it I bought that Tiara.

And I wear it.

In fact I went out with my BFF'S from Jr. High one night and wore it. There we are in all of our sparkly glory.

Because you see inside of all of us is a a little girl who likes to dress up and feel pretty. And you just have to let her out every once in awhile...

Long may she run *sparkleandshine*

Friday, January 3, 2014

Ready Set GO


So I decided that this year I would only have 12 New Years Resolutions.

One for each month.

The first one is to say out loud every morning 5 things I'm grateful for.

I think for a little while before I say it.

Because when I think for awhile it makes me realize that I am so rich.

I have a home.

It has a little family consisting of a Daddy, a Mommy, a boy, two dogs, and a cat.

I have other family brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins....

I have food and water.

I have medicine if I need it.

I have a coat to keep the wind from my back and the cold from my neck.

I have a car that runs.

I have a job and bonus I love it.

I have all my 5 senses and I can walk and talk.

So because I have all those and I try never ever to take them for granted I  notice smaller things.

Today I'm thankful for the bright starburst of Gerber daisies my favorite.

and Orange

and old yellow stoneware pitchers that you get for a $1.00 at the thrift store

and little boys who buy flowers for thier Mom

and the husbands who take them to get them.

Amen




Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Claw


This post is dedicated to Brandi Barnett


The little kid in the red shirt? This was his birthday party.

The little kid in the overalls? That's my son Conor.

All the little kids were at the pizza place for a birthday party.

The little kid with the hood, Jonathon, is staring deep into the maw of the machine.

 These little boys could not resist its siren call.



Its sparkly geegaws, its fuzzy stuffed animals with bent whiskers, its trucker hats and fake tattoos and

right smack dangnabit in the middle a fancy teeny remote control car. And there hanging over it all like

some type of cross between a big silver spider and a little Crane proclaiming you the winner if you

could master it was "THE CLAW."


It was hypnotic like a swinging watch on a chain.


These were the generation of the movie "Toy Story."

They knew the power of "The Claw."

 If you held that lever in your hand and could press that button just right you were the champion who

flew the failing plane with seats full of little dollies into safety on the runway, the king who vanquished

the Dragon covered bumper stickers, the helicopter pilot flying over and grabbing the little brown teddy

bear named Foster out of harms way. If you could just do it...just right.... that PRIZE in the center was

yours. YOU WERE CAPTAIN AWESOME and you got that remote control toy.

Those were the fevered dreams of those tiny little boys who gazed into the Plexiglass front of that

machine. Oh how they begged for money to place into that slot and feed the beast. They pleaded,

cajoled, whined, batted eyelashes and used their very best "I'm a pitiful orphan" face on the adults. But

alas, not even the grandma who was always good for caving in to the whims of an almost three year

old, even she said "No it would be too hard you will never get your little hands to win anything."


But one little boy could not tear himself away from that view, smudged with nose smears, hand prints,

and other unsanitary shmutz at little kid level eyesight. Not even the call of cake and ice cream could

get his attention. Because in his little brain he was hatching "THE PLAN". He had given that machine

the once over and saw a way to get that toy without money. He would not even need that claw. He

would become one with the machine and become the claw his ownself.

The adults were busily dishing out sweets and tending to the birthday boy and other little ones running

around creating a distraction which only aided this fellow in his plot. No one noticed as he popped

open the big flap on the front where all the goodies would come out, the mouth of the machine if you

will. He pushed it open and then proceeded to work arms and hands inside and up where he grabbed

the edge of the shaft and headed up to that pot of gold, rising to the opening it was just RIGHT

THERE as he got his head almost through...


Then all of a sudden someone said "Where is Conor?" "OH MY GOD!" someone cried as all they

could see were the bottom of his shoes getting ready to disappear into the flap. A quick grab of that little

ankle and a couple of gentle tugs and he was birthed out of disaster onto his butt in front of the

machine.


Oh he was in so much trouble!

 Oh the cries of

"You could have got stuck in the slot!"

"You would have smothered!"

"You could have got stuck all UP INSIDE OF THE BOX!"

"What if we had to call the fire department!"

*Oh darn thought all the single girls we might have to see some cute fireman.*

But the biggest and scariest thought of all was,

"Your Mother would have killed us."

All eyes turned to the Daddy man.

He knew they were all thinking of a conspiracy of silence.

But he didn't do it because he knew what would happen when he told me. I laughed and laughed at the

thought of Conor being pulled out of that machine by his foot and all the Ladies and Grandmas and

Aunties and kids looking on in shock and awe at the kid who almost conquered

 "The Claw."
















Wednesday, January 1, 2014

And then Somehow...


When I got my first apartment my roommate and I,  we had a huge blow out New Years  Eve party.
Being a bunch of  18 year old kids somehow we got beer,  and  somehow ended up wearing
McDonald's party hats and carrying my roommate around like she was a plank of wood, and somehow
having a Twinkie eating contest which my friend Brian won when he crammed 12 Twinkies  into his
mouth at once.

When I was in my twenties I was having a big ole  party and my then boyfriend Dirk somehow never
showed up and I had to act like it was no big deal ,when actually I was embarrassed and hurt and
wanted to punch him in the face but instead drank allot of red beer and somehow  took all my friends
across the street to crash my friends Clarence and Susan's party where they were dancing to James
Brown and playing the piano and dancing their asses off . Then when we went back to my place my
Best friend and her boyfriend somehow got in a fight and I made him leave the party because he was
being a racist ass. I chased him out of my door with a broom because he pushed her and then he pushed
me and then I somehow tried to punch him in the face so he finally left. Unfortunately he also took her
purse and we had to go to his house the next day and get it where he acted like a ass again and  kicked
my car as I drove out of the drive way and I somehow almost ran over him.

I spent the night at a friends apartment on the beach and all 20 of us watched the sun come up over the
water while we drank Champagne out of Crystal flutes and somehow we were all barefoot and glamerous standing in the surf  but still  wearing  our fancy party clothes with the the morning sunrise glinting off the water and our rhinestones...

In my thirties I spent most of my New Years with my then boyfriend who somehow then became my
husband. In the millennium New Years I was at my sisters party and 7 months pregnant and somehow
flashed the video camera my big ole preggo belly where I written Happy New Year in Red Lip Liner
and blue eye liner.

Then somehow I quit drinking very much on New Years Eve ( in fact didn't drink at all mostly)
probably because I hated waking up with a hangover and dealing with anxiety because I somehow
couldn't remember what I had done the night before because I have killed too many brain cells
SOMEHOW over the last 35 years.

One thing that has remained consistent ( with the exception of a New Years Day where the roads were
so icy I couldn't get out and ended up with chips and salsa) is that I somehow always end up eating
Mexican food in some form on New Years Day. Whether it was a great place or fast food it always
happens  with the Mexican food.

In my life now I somehow ended up with a chef who makes homemade tamales that are over the moon. 

And somehow as I take that first bite it fills me with a sense of spicy hope for the arrival of the new

year.

Peace out and Tamales for everybody...