Archive for December, 2008
yet eloquent nonetheless in their sincerity. There were the candlelit dinners, our dancing in the dark, and the times he’d gently lift up my hair and kiss me tenderly on the neck… But there were bad times, too, lots of them, heartbreaking times when all the good intentions in the world couldn’t make things right again. It’s funny, when we broke up, one of the last things he said to me was, “You’ll never find anyone who loves you as much as I do.” That was a laugh! But then, maybe the laugh was on me – because, in fact, after all these years,
I never have.
Is there such a thing as being too polite? Too nice? Too thoughtful? I’ve come to the sorry conclusion that there is…and I’m guilty of all of the above. I can’t really take all the blame, though. That was the way I was brought up. My dad had this old-fashioned idea that he wanted well-behaved kids, the kind who say “please,” thank you,” and “may I?” We were taught to respect others, to be considerate of the neighbors and to try to consider the feelings of others. Well, I’ve always tried to be the kind of person he wanted me to be, but I’m fast learning that I’m in the minority. I go around, trying to be nice, and, where does it get me? I’ll tell you! People steamroller right over me!!! Or at least they did, up to today.
Okay, so maybe you’re asking yourself, “What flipped her switch?” Well, I think that switch has been working its way up for a long time. Like every time I hold the door open for someone and they don’t even acknowledge it with a smile, much less a thanks. Like every time I let someone in line ahead of me in the car and they just speed right in, like it was their right all along. Little things like that.
When I moved in to my present house, I had a quiet, but nice single woman named Marcia on one side, and my soon-to-be dear friend, Iris on the other. I never heard much from Marcia, which was fine. And Iris was the ideal neighbor because she had been raised like me, to be considerate of others. She and I would lend a hand and help each other out all we could. Things were peaceful. Then Iris moved, and the new boisterous people moved in to the left of me with their banging, loud voices and dog. The first thing they did to establish themselves in the neighborhood was to take their dog daily to poop right behind my house – not their house, MY house. Now that’s something I would never do, due to my curse of being all considerate and everything. But that’s what they do, and they couldn’t care less about me.
But, yesterday was the icing on the cake. Marcia apparently had a lot of people over for Christmas – six cars worth. I was sitting at my dining room table when I heard what sounded like a diesel truck come up my driveway. I went out on the balcony and, sure enough, a guy in a truck had pulled into the middle of my driveway, right up to the garage door, and was getting out of his truck. He started heading toward Marcia’s when I yelled “Hey!” He stopped and looked up. I said, “You’re in MY driveway!” He shrugged his shoulders like I was crazy while I continued to stare at him. Then he said, very sarcastically, “Well, can I park there?” I said, “WHO are you?” He said “I’m going over to Marcia’s. I’ll only be there a couple of hours.” Everything in me wanted to say, “Hell, no, you can’t park there!” But this damned old programming whispered inside me saying, “Come on. It’s Christmas Day.” So I sighed and said, “Okay.” But, that was not all, my friends. No, that was not all…
A couple of hours later, I heard the loud motor of his truck start up and seemed to be running a long time. I went out again, and saw a huge man in overalls, who was in all likelihood called “Jim-Bob,” lumbering to his car which was parked at the curb. He had to back up so that the rude truck-guy could get out. He did and the truck guy took off. Then that heifer Jim-Bob pulled his van into my driveway up to the garage door and parked! I glared down at him and he saw me, but just kept on moving. Honestly! I had a notion that maybe I should go down and see if there was a sign over my garage that said, “FREE PARKING!” Now understand, Marcia and I are just kind of “waving acquaintances.” We’re not buddies or anything. I am more or less a stranger to her. But, even given that, if she had called and ASKED if her guests could use my driveway I would have graciously said yes. It’s the idea that nobody even bothered to ask me. Like I am a non-person. Like I am just a ghost living in this house.
Well, NO MORE! I am tired of being pushed around and I’m not going to take it anymore! Do you hear me? Starting in the new year I’m going to start giving as good as I get! These people wouldn’t know good manners if they tripped over them! I am putting on my Warrior Persona and they had better not mess with me any more! If they try that stunt on the next holiday, WARRIOR STAR will call the police and have their sorry trucks and cars towed away! Oh yes she will!
There comes a time when “nice” just doesn’t cut it anymore. And for me, that time is NOW.
We’ve all had it happen. You’ll be standing in line and happen to glance at the person next to you and unconsciously cringe. Maybe the person is standing there, all innocent and everything, unaware that they have a big booger hanging out of their nose! Or, (and this one always gets me,) the person has a huge mole on their face, out of which is sprouting a monster black hair about an inch long! When I see that, I always wonder, “Doesn’t this person ever look in the mirror? Don’t they own a pair of tweezers?” And then I think, “Why didn’t someone mention that to them?”
Some of my friends and I don’t hesitate to – as I see it, nurture each other this way. It isn’t uncommon for us to say, “you have a piece of spinach in your teeth,” or “there’s a blob of ranch dressing on your top lip,” or, as I’m often told, “you just dripped mustard on your top.” But, what do you do about strangers? In this day and age you have to be careful, because you could say something to the wrong person and they’d whip out their AK-47 and blow you away!
The reason I’m thinking about all this is because of something I just discovered about an hour ago. I’m trying to keep a temporary filling in my mouth until my dentist appointment in January. So, a little bit ago, I felt the need to check on it, which involves a flashlight, a dental mirror and the magnifying side of my makeup mirror. So there I was shining the flashlight in my mouth, and all was well with the filling. But, as I had my head tilted back, I got a good look at the inside of my nose…not something you do every day. And, horror of horrors! I discovered one renegade nose hair which had “made break for it,” and was curling outside my nose! How humiliating is that? I was mortified! How long had that little guy been there? Had anyone noticed? If I hadn’t had the flashlight, the magnifying mirror and my reading glasses on, would it have continued to curl its way out of there until it would have been long enough to wear a bow? Good grief!
I immediately got to work with the tweezers, and then grabbed the cuticle scissors and did a thorough trimming inside, in case any of those other little nose hair guys were getting ideas. But really, it gave me pause for thought. Will I ever get to the point where my eyesight is so bad that I’ll be walking around with a face full of boogers, whiskers and nose hairs and have no idea whatsoever? I’ll just be walking around, smiling and nodding at people just like I was a normal person instead of a living human hair farm and petri dish! If so, shoot me now!
Oh, I know, I know. I’m making too big a deal out of it. My friends would be the first to tell you that I spend far too much time looking in the mirror to ever let things reach that point. And they’re right…for now. And, if I do start “slipping,” well, there are always very effective disguises. I could wear something like this and no one would even look at me twice…RIGHT? And, if they do, I’ll just tell them…well, I’ll just tell them I’m YOU!
Okay, I feel much better now…
I began my Christmas morning by slipping out and taking these shots of the sunrise from my front porch.
And in the chilly stillness, where virtually “not a creature was stirring,” it was so easy to remember the real reason for the season – the birth of the blessed Christ child…
Happy Birthday, Jesus! May we one day truly be blessed with peace on earth…
BEST WISHES TO YOU ALL!
Sometimes it really is the “little” things that help make life bearable. You know what I mean? We get so much bad news from the media, that we don’t always stop and acknowledge the small, but important, things that make us feel a little better about everything, so that’s what I’ve decided to do here. Here are some of my recent “happy” things:
1) My Christmas cornflake wreath – Now this may not look all that appetizing to you, but, believe me, it tastes wonderful! I only make it at Christmas time because it’s so addictive that I have trouble not eating it all in one sitting! It’s made of cornflakes, melted marshmallows, vanilla, margarine, food coloring and has red hots for “berries.” The cornflakes keep it from being sickeningly sweet and it truly is yummy. The other reason I only make it once a year is that it’s impossible to make without getting your hands covered in melted marshmallows (at which time the phone invariably rings!) and it’s a pain cleaning up the sticky bowl and utensils afterward. But it is so worth it! I love pulling little pieces off, assuring myself that the cornflakes make it a health food! I mean, come on! Corn is a vegetable, right?
2) My new paper man – I’ve written several posts about my sporadic newspaper delivery and how much it annoys me. The previous guy would drive by my house at ninety miles an hour, fling the paper out the passenger window and, if it landed within four houses of mine, call it good. More than once he actually just dropped it in the street by the curb! So the last time I complained, I mentioned that I might as well cancel because I never knew whether or not I’d even get a paper! Well, miracle of miracles, a few days ago I got a call from the district manager telling me that she had fired that guy. Apparently, my complaints were not the only ones. She said she had hired a new guy who really was intent on doing a good job. The first couple of days, I glanced out my upstairs window, looking to see if I could spot the paper and felt dismayed when I couldn’t. But, when I opened the front door, there was the paper! Right on my front doorstep! No wonder I couldn’t see it! That has never happened before. What a luxury! And today I heard him throw it, then heard his car stop. I peeked out the window and he had actually gotten out of the car to throw it closer! I love this guy. I wonder if he’s married.
3) My new discovery – Every year at Christmas, one of the things my little sister used to get me as a treat, was a bag of chocolate truffles, which I love. But, since that won’t be happening this year, I decided to get some for myself under my new “Be-nice-to-Star” policy. However I couldn’t find the brand she usually gets.
So I bought these. They’re made by Lindt and they’re called “Lindor Truffles – 60% Extra Dark Chocolate Shell with a Smooth Filling.” I love dark chocolate, but was worried because I had never had this brand before. Well, I’ve done a taste test, (okay, two…or maybe three, to be scientific,) and I just have five words to describe them: BEST. CHOCOLATES. IN. THE. WORLD! I am so serious about this! That first taste, dare I say, your virgin taste of one of these truffles will send you into a state of ecstasy, so you’d better be sure you’re sitting down! I mean, oh my gosh! The earth moved, okay? To say they’re good is just simply inadequate. If everyone in the world could eat these truffles, there would be no war…enough said.
So, there you have it! Three small, but very happy things that have lately made my world a little nicer place to be. What three things have put a smile on your face lately? I’d be interested in your comments!
And meanwhile…I WISH YOU A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Just when I begin to think that I’m turning into a Scroogy old cynic, life turns around and surprises me…
Friday I had just gotten home from lunch with my friend, the Delightful Dee, when I noticed the answering machine blinking. The message was from a florist delivery service, saying they had tried to deliver flowers but I wasn’t home. They asked that I call, so I did, and was told they’d be right out. When I hung up the phone I was rather stunned. It has been quite a long time since someone has sent me flowers. I went through my mental Rolodex and could think of several people with that kind of capacity for kindness, but, which one was it?
About thirty minutes later, the delivery woman arrived at my door with this beautiful arrangement.
It was exactly the kind of sophisticated design that appeals to me! As traitorous as it sounds at this time of year, I’ve never been much of a poinsettia kind of person. In fact, I find them kind of boring. But this! This was lovely and I was touched. I couldn’t wait to find the card, rip it open and discover who had sent me this lovely gift. I opened the tiny envelope to find this message:MERRY CHRISTMAS! SANTA
So, not only was the giver generous, but also someone who chose to remain anonymous rather than receive the credit! I just don’t know how to express the feelings this evoked in me. At this time of year especially I’ve been feeling particularly alone in the world. And to think that someone actually took the time, the trouble and the expense to show me that I was being remembered, well, it made me tear up, to tell you the truth! But I’ll tell you this, they couldn’t have done this for anyone who appreciates it more than I do.
So, Santa, if you’re out there reading this, I want you to know – you sure put a little more “Merry” into my Christmas this year. And I want to thank you, with all my heart.
I remember vividly the first time it happened to me. I was in my first apartment assembling a piece of furniture, maybe a bookcase, I can’t remember. At any rate, I had the pieces laid out on the living room floor in nice piles and the instruction sheet was right in the middle of the floor. I left for a moment to get a cup of tea and when I returned, everything was normal except that the instruction sheet had vanished! Now, understand, I don’t mean I had misplaced it or moved it. When I left the room, it was right in the middle of the floor. I had no pets. I was the only person there and this was a small apartment. And it was gone. Naturally, I took the place apart looking for it, but it was never to be found again…even when I eventually moved.
It just happened again the other night. I was sitting on a trunk at the end of my bed, trying to fix a hangnail. I had cuticle scissors and clippers. I laid the clippers down next to me on the trunk and was using the scissors. When I went to reach for the clippers again – they were gone. Immediately I assumed they had fallen, so I got down on the floor, looked under the bed – nothing! I walked around the bed, searching the carpet – nothing! I probably searched that room fifty times and have never found the damned clippers! Come on! Where could they have gone? I hadn’t left the room. No one else was in the room. I just don’t get it!
This kind of thing has happened to me enough times in my life that I’ve come to the conclusion that, for whatever reason, certain things just vanish. I know how crazy that sounds, but I can find no other explanation. There must somewhere be a “Land of Lost Stuff,” where certain items take refuge. Either that, or aliens are starting some kind of museum. (Yeah, you knew I had to bring up aliens! But, it could happen.)
Anyway, this place (probably in the sky,) is loaded with all kinds of articles. There are, of course, a million orphan socks. (You don’t really believe dryers eat them, do you?) And there are mugs, shoes, pens, underpants, toys, umbrellas, my instruction sheet, my clippers and so many earring backs you couldn’t begin to count them! I like to think of them as all partying wildly in celebration of their freedom. They probably all send little telepathic messages to their comrade items on earth saying, “Come on! You can do it! Join us! Be free! Imagine her face when she turns around and…you’re gone!”
It’s either that or some diabolical conspiracy by manufacturers throughout the world. Maybe they’ve devised a machine that can make things vanish so that we’ll have to keep buying new stuff to replace the stuff that has disappeared. Nothing would surprise me anymore.
So, what do you think? Surely, sometime in your life you’ve experienced this phenomenon. As for me, I’m a believer. And that’s why I’m bringing this post to a close…before the laptop goes!
Wow. I’ve never seen my indoor weather station record an outdoor temperature of one degree before…until now. It’s kind of spooky. I mean, if you get stuck outside in this kind of cold, you could die! Seriously!
As a matter of fact, I’ve long suspected that, among all the seasons, Winter is the one who is out to get us! His sister, Spring, is just the opposite. Spring is like a perpetual hippie with flowers in her hair. She’s mellow and dreamy and just wants everyone to be happy. Ask Spring anything and she’ll likely just sigh contentedly and murmur, “Whatever!” with a little smile on her face.
Summer’s pretty much the same, but with a wild side. When she’s hot, she’s hot, and she wants you to be hot, too! She can be sunny and warm, but, if crossed or having PMS, can whip up a tornado in the blink of an eye! Summer sizzles, but is not deliberately evil.
Their brother, Fall, is more solemn and reflective. He’s the “good kid” who reminds you that the party Spring and Summer started is almost over, and it’s time to settle down and act your age. Fall has a deep, melodic voice and is a calming influence. You can almost hear him singing, “Dooby-dooby-doo!” like some ageless Bing Crosby of the seasons. He can be moody at times, but is somehow comforting, nonetheless.
But Winter? Look out! He’s the slick one. He shows up in an immaculate white suit and tosses all those feathery flakes in the air like confetti, to a chorus of “Oohs” and “Ahhs!” He seduces you with his surface beauty, meanwhile laughing to himself as he paints the highways and sidewalks with deadly slick ice. As cars slide and crash and people slip on the sidewalks, breaking legs and hips, he can hardly contain his mirth. If you try to avoid him by staying inside, he’ll howl with rage, prying his icy fingers around windowsills and doors.
I think of Winter when I go out in the dark first thing in the morning to get the paper. I can feel him watching me. I know exactly what he wants. He’s hoping I’ll slip or stumble on the ice, hit the ground and be unable to get up. He’ll chuckle as I start to freeze to death, my calls for help going unanswered in the still-sleeping neighborhood. He’s hoping my body will be found when it gets light – me with my “morning face” and hair in disarray, a virtual “Star-cicle, “ frozen for eternity. So embarrassing! But I’ve got his number! Before I go out for the paper, I now do full hair and make-up. So there! I may not be able to control his wickedness, but at least I can be a presentable corpse! So, who’s laughing now, Winter, huh? Who’s laughing now?
But, he won’t give up. I know he won’t. Making people miserable is Winter’s mission in life.
After all, they don’t call him cold for nothing!
I’ll never understand people! Maybe it’s the season or maybe it’s just that it takes all kinds, I don’t know…
Anyway, I had to take a package to the Post Office yesterday and was pleasantly surprised that they had three postal workers working the counter, and the line was moving. While I was talking to my clerk, a Barbie-Clone woman at the window next to me was raising her voice and obviously working herself up into a grand temper tantrum. It went like this,
Barbie-Clone: “Are you frickin’ kidding me? It will cost that much to ship three measly packages? My God, that’s highway robbery!”
Postal Clerk: “Well, all three packages are quite heavy and they’re going all the way to California!”
Barbie-Clone: “Don’t you know there’s a recession? I mean, here we are, barely making ends meet, and you charge a fortune to ship three packages!”
Postal Clerk, (being incredibly kind and patient): “I’m sorry. I don’t set the rates. Do you still want to ship them?”
Barbie-Clone, (looking around to make sure she has an audience): “Can you believe this? Everybody’s out for your last dollar!”
At this point I had finished my business and headed out the door. But, before I got to my car, I saw Barbie storm out of the Post Office without her packages, which I assumed she mailed, and got into…are you ready?
A $62,000.00 2009 Hummer H2! (I know it was a 2009 because the new car tag was still on it!)
Poor thing. Just making ends meet, I suppose. Ya gotta feel for her. I know I did.
Recently I’ve written about how I was worried about my emotional state this Christmas, in view of the fact that this past year has not been the best in my life. Well, I’m pleased to report that lately I’ve been doing really well! And, in part, I owe this surprising development to some advice I got a long time ago, but had forgotten. Someone once told me that we all should treat ourselves with as much love and compassion as we show our friends and family. Easier said than done. But I’m in a place in my life where, without a mother or a sister or significant other, I need someone to care about my feelings and my needs, not just when it’s convenient, but twenty-four hours a day. And I’ve finally found such a person…ME.
Now I’m not talking about the “Everyday Star.” I’m sorry to admit that I’ve always tended to react too emotionally to things. I’m the kind of person who can often be wounded with a dirty look and demolished by acts of disloyalty. When something goes wrong, I always wonder if it’s my fault. No, I’m talking about another part of me that I’ve just recently let emerge. Let’s call her “Sister Star” because she’s nurturing and loving and helps keep things in perspective. She’s the part of me who always takes a deep breath and thinks before reacting.
This is the part of me who, when I’ve done something really nice for someone and don’t even receive a “thanks,” steps in and says, “Don’t get angry. Their ingratitude in no way diminishes the fact that you’ve done the right thing. This says more about them than you. Let it go.”
When I see too many Christmas commercials showing the “perfect” family and am starting to sink into depression, Sister Star steps in and reminds me that being in a family is no guarantee of happiness. She recalls past stressful holidays with my stepmother and my ex-in-laws. She points out that we’re going to have a lovely Christmas because we’re free, independent and at peace. Whatever we say – goes. She points out all the blessings we have and how very lucky we are. And she’s right. God has been good.
Just this past week I had a Christmas lunch with a good friend of mine, who has moved from the city where I live to a very small town. We had a nice time, but, as we sat and talked, I realized that the shape of our friendship has changed. I could sense that she has started to distance herself from her city friends in favor of her new small town friends. They’ve become her priority. I don’t doubt that I’m still important to her, but I feel our bond is weakening with time and distance. When I was driving home, I started to feel sad, like I was being abandoned by everybody I care about.
That’s when Sister Star popped up and said, “Whoa! Slow down, sister! First of all, remember that whole Serenity Prayer thing where it says, ‘accept the things I cannot change?’ Well, you can’t change this. It is what it is. This long-time friend may be changing her life, but what about all your other friends? What are they? Chopped liver? What about your friend, Francie, with whom you’ve only been close for about three years, who was there every step of the way for you when your sister broke your heart? Remember how she called you long distance and helped you talk it out…for two hours? Doesn’t she make you feel loved? Or Charles? You and he have been email and lunch buddies for like…forever! What would you do without him? And he hasn’t gone anywhere! And your ex-neighbor, Iris, who may have moved, but is still a friend? And what about Shar and Dee? Girlfriend, you’ve got friends! I will NOT let you brood about this!”
And the miracle is – I didn’t.
I’m feeling stronger and much more positive. Maybe Sister Star has always been a part of me, since I was a little girl, but I’m just now letting her out. Maybe I’ve always been afraid to put myself first, even when it was a matter of survival. I just feel that for too long I’ve let the emotional side of me rule my life and I’ve been hurt too many times when I should have been strong. My Sister Star part of me is better, stronger and more in control of my life and my future, and I’m sure glad she showed up when she did. Better late than never.
And oh, yeah, I’m going to let her stay… As a matter of fact, I just may have to buy her a real nice Christmas present! I know just the kind of thing she’d like.