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Archive for February, 2009

Unexpected Blessings…

You know what?  I’ve really got to stop watching the morning news.  Seriously!  Yesterday I kept switching back and forth between “The Early Show,””Good Morning America,” and the local news,  listening for something, anything, which wouldn’t make me feel more depressed.  Everything was like “murder, recession, economy tanking, swindles, more murder, government corruption, markets plunging, child abuse, animal attacks,  joblessness, etc., etc., etc.!” You get the picture.  I mean…where’s the joy? Lately I’ve taken to putting the sound on “mute” and only turning it back on if the story looks promising.

So, I feel like in these stressful times that we all need to look a little harder and stop to appreciate the good things when they happen.  I’ve had a couple lately which I want to share, in an effort to bring a little light to these gloomy times.

  • This morning when I stepped out onto my porch in the dark, I noticed there was a pickup truck stopped in front of my house with its lights on.  I deer1immediately saw why.  There, right in the middle of the street were five deer – three adults and two babies, just standing there!  I immediately had the urge to run for my camera, but knew that the moment I moved, they’d bolt, so I decided against it.  You have to understand, this isn’t out in the country somewhere.  This street is relatively busy because it’s the street that leads into my neighborhood, and is usually buzzing with people going to work.  But there we were – the pickup driver, the deer and me, all just looking at each other for what seemed an eternity.  It was so cool! I really felt that the driver and I were being granted this little gift from God, this little brush with the “wild world,” and I was grateful.
  • If you’ve been reading this blog, you may remember that towards the end of last year, I decided to try to make contact with a friend I used to work with whom I had cut off in a very stressful time of my life.  As time passed, I had come to regret it, because she was someone whose friendship I had cherished.  So I wrote her a letter and asked for forgiveness.  Immediately she responded with enthusiasm, and we’ve been seeing each other ever since.  That, in itself, is a blessing.
  • Well, in the past few weeks I had been thinking of another friend who had wronged me, (undeservedly, I might add,) but with whom, when times were good, I had had many crazy adventures.  I wondered what she was doing and if she had changed in the past ten years.  In my younger days, I was never very good at forgiveness.  Back then I saw things in black and white.  Rather than live with the “turn the other cheek” lesson from the Bible, I was more “wrong me once, shame on you, wrong me twice, shame on me” kind of person.  But hey, I’ve gotten older and have learned a few things and maybe mellowed a bit.  I finally sent her a card with my contact information and figured that was that.  Two days later I got an ecstatic email from her, telling me how she had always prayed she’d hear from me, but was too ashamed of her actions to contact me.  We’ve talked twice since then and are going to meet for breakfast next week.  I think this has really taught me that “what goes around, comes around” can be a good thing.  Because I asked for forgiveness and was granted it, I gained another friend.  And then because I granted forgiveness, I gained still another friend.  Hey, I could get used to this!  I think this is called karma. In this case, good karma!

So if you get nothing else out of this post, I hope you get this.  There is still good out in the world.  Sometimes it’s bestowed by the universe, like the deer.  Sometimes it’s of our own making.  But, however it comes to us, it is good.  Think on that awhile.

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The “Godfather Hair”

I wonder if men ever get bad hair cuts?  And, if they even realize it if they do?  I’m wondering this because I don’t recall ever in my life hearing a man say, “Oh, I look like crap!  I just can’t do anything with my hair!”

llama-hairUnlike women.  Unlike me, particularly.  At this point I’ll admit that how good a mood I’m in is directly proportional to how good I think I look.  Now I’m not saying I have to be a glamour gal 24/7, but I do like to feel like I’m “presentable.”  If I don’t feel that way, I tend to be grumpy.  And I’ve been grumpy ever since I had my hair trimmed last week.  Now here’s the thing…I don’t know what my stylist did wrong. All I know is that the shape of my hair, the feng shui of my head, if you will, has been off.  I don’t know if she snuck in some thinning scissors or if she parted it wrong or what.  At first, I just assumed she didn’t blow it dry the way I would.  But, after washing it and combing it and teasing it and talking to it, it still looks like bird doo-doo!  AND I HATE IT!

Every morning I wake up, hoping that the hair fairy stopped by during the night, and that I’ll look in the mirror and say, “Okay!  THAT’S how it’s supposed to look!” But then I’ll stumble into the bathroom, turn on the light, and the screaming begins!!!

Okay, call me shallow.  Call me vain.  Call me whatever you want, just give me back my hairstyle, ’cause this is bugging the heck out of me!

the-godfatherAfter having messed with it for…oh…I don’t know…sixty million hours…I’ve finally come up with a theory of what must be the problem.  I think that most of our hair is made up of individual hairs, call them “pedestrian hairs.”  They have a root and they have an end, but there’s not much brain in between.  But, somewhere on everyone’s head, there is one sentient, wise, authoritative hair.  This is the “Godfather Hair.” This is the hair which keeps women sane.  This is the hair that’s the natural leader of the other hairs.  This is the hair that “is one” with you.  I can just hear him now, keeping the other hairs in line.

“Hey yous guys, listen up!  The princess here is not happy.  And that makes ME not happy, capeesh?  So everybody try to remember where you were before.  Harry, you lay left.  Ralphie, stop stickin’ up!  Alphonse, what are you snickering about?  Here’s an offer you can’t refuse – get with the program or your end won’t be the only thing that’s split!  Ya got me?

So, that could very well be the explanation.  While my hair stylist was chattering away about “The Bachelor,” she inadvertently cut my Godfather hair off!! And now all the hairs on my head have gone renegade! Oh, that’s just great.  So now, I have to walk around looking dorky until I grow a new one.  I wonder how long that will take?  I wonder if I can stay sane until the leader emerges.  This is so not good.

And meanwhile, my head, my poor, poor head…is a crime scene!

Don’t laugh.  It could happen to YOU.


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To You, Dad

February 13th was the 15th anniversary of my daddy’s death.  Every year on that day, I take time to remember what a profound influence he had on my life.  After my mother died when I was eight, and before he married my stepmother, we had such a special relationship.  It was much like the one depicted in the movie “Paper Moon” between Ryan and Tatum O’Neal.  Only, rather than being a con-man, my dad was a policeman, someone I was always proud of and respected.  He taught me how to draw cartoons, shoot craps, and play the harmonica.  He instilled in me a love for writing and reading which shaped my life.  He fed my imagination and creativity and always encouraged me to believe that I could do anything I set my mind to.  He was funny and strong but, over time, my stepmother slowly began to poison his mind against me because I was “so spoiled.”  And the loss of our closeness was overwhelming for me.  In his later years, when he became ill, I was never able to even talk to him on the phone without her picking up the other line. I think she felt the need to screen our calls, lest he remember how much he once loved me.  But, despite all the things that went “after,” she could never rob me of the memories of what went “before.”

I was his first-born.  He did love me.  And this is a little poem I once wrote in remembrance of him.

He was no mechanic,
to say the least,
so it was not surprising
that when my daddy
put training wheels on my bicycle,
they were uneven..comically uneven.
“Hold on,” he said, scratching his head,
and made an adjustment.
They wobbled.
And another adjustment.
They wobbled.
And another and another…
They still wobbled.
He looked so lost and frustrated
that I finally blurted out,
“Daddy, let me try once without
the training wheels.”
And, as I straddled that then-frightening bicycle,
I somehow knew that this was something
that I had to do for him…
With brows scrunched together,
I put my whole concentration into it…
“one foot after another, one foot after another,”
faster and faster and faster
until…Glory Hallelujah!…I RODE!
And his smile lit up my world
with the light of 10,000 candles.
And he was happy.  And I was happy.
After all, even a six year old little girl
knows that her daddy has his pride.

I’ll never forget you, Dad.  Never.



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I’m on the national “No Call” list, and that has really helped me avoid sales calls.  But, the problem with that list is that companies with whom you do any business can still contact you.  The latest instance of this was the other night.  The salesgirl was nice, but she made the mistake of calling me in the middle of “Lost,” which was a miscalculation on her part.  However, I realize that people have to earn a living, so I exercised a little patience, and the call went something like this:

Salesgirl: “Good Evening Ms. Star, I’m from ABC Cable company and I was wondering how you’re enjoying your broadband connection.”

Me: “Well, I’m not enjoying it at this moment, I’m watching television, but, when I do use it, I enjoy it.  Thank you.”

SG: “Well, I’m calling to tell you about how you can avail yourself of our other services for a low, low monthly rate.  Do you have a few moments?”

Me: “To be honest, I’m really not interested, but I know you want to tell me about them anyway, right?”

SG: “Well!  I notice you don’t have cable TV and, bundled with broadband and digital phone service, I can give you a really great rate!  Wouldn’t you like to add cable TV to your services?”

Me: “Not really.”

SG: (Taken aback.) “Why not?  You’d be able to get X number of channels and all the cable shows you don’t receive right now!”

Me: “Well, right now, even though I just get network TV, I still have to tape some shows while I watch others.  What on earth would I do with more channels?”

SG: “Ah…well, let’s talk about digital phone service then!  I can guarantee I can get you a lower long-distance rate than you’re presently paying.”

Me: “I doubt it.”

SG: (Taken aback again.)  “Why?  What are you paying for long-distance now?”

Me: “Nothing.”

SG: (Getting a little frantic now.) “But what about your long-distance calls?”

Me: “I don’t make long-distance calls.”

SG: (Slightly losing it.) “But what if you had to?  What if it were an emergency????”

Me: “I guess I’d just use my cell phone.”

SG: “You do understand that you could have all of these services I’ve described at just slightly more than you’re paying now?  I just don’t want you to miss this opportunity!  Are you absolutely sure???”

Me: “Well, let’s see.  Am I sure I don’t want to spend extra money on two things I don’t have and I don’t miss?  Hmmmm.  Yup.  But thanks for checking!”

SG: (With the tone of voice that indicated that she thought I was totally dumb.)  “Well, thank you for your time.  Have a nice evening.”

Let’s see, I just saved spending $40.00 more a month, which would be $480 more a year on something I don’t want or need…so am I dumb?  I guess so.

Dumb like a fox…

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You know how they say, “Every cloud has a silver lining?” Well, I thought of this when I read a news item the other day.

Okay, I’m not a ghoul.  The “cloud” part of the article was that the woman who possessed the”World’s Longest Fingernails,” and appeared in the 2006 Guinness Book of records, was in a car crash.  Fortunately, although her injuries were serious, they were not life-threatening.  And I truly wish her a complete and speedy recovery.  I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

Now for the “silver lining part.”  When she got thrown from her SUV, she broke all ten fingernails! Sorry if that sounds mean, but come on!   Look at those things! What kind of person wants to go through life with fingernails like that?  Her longest nail on her right thumb was two feet, eleven inches! Just looking at them turns my stomach.  Imagine living with them!  How would you wash your hair?  How would you shake hands?  How would you tenderly touch a loved one?  And, most important – (and don’t act like you’re not wondering this, too) how would you…ah…how do I put this delicately…wipe?

fingernails

I realize that everybody is supposed to yearn for their fifteen seconds of fame, but do you really want to be famous for something that makes you look like a freak?  I sure wouldn’t want to!  Apparently, this woman was proud of what she considered her accomplishment.  Long Nails Broken

My hope for her is that, now that she is free of those appendages,  she can develop new talents and interests.

And I’m sure her poor butt will thank her, too!

Just sayin’…

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I know I’m blessed in so many ways, and I never forget that, nor do I fail to thank God every single day.  Having said that, we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t have a few minor grumbles now and then.  Here are few of mine.

  • The friend who, when she was going through very difficult times in her life, often turned to me for support and advice, (and I was always there,) but who now, when things are better, has gone incommunicado.  At first, when she failed to answer my emails, I assumed she had just gotten busy, but now I’m starting to think that I must have offended her in some way.  But I honestly don’t know how!  She has got to know I would never deliberately hurt her.  So, why can’t people just be honest with each other?  Why play these passive-aggressive games? I’ve gone from being concerned to worried to being, quite frankly ticked off!!!
  • Whoever came up with the idea for those grocery carts that are shaped like gigantic “mini-cars?”  Those darned things take up almost the whole grocerygrocery-car aisle!  And, to add insult to injury, the ones I see are almost always being “driven” by a seven year old!  The other day, I saw a kid taking a wide turn and almost took out a lady struggling with a walker!  And where was the mom? She was way ahead, nose buried in her coupons.
  • The other night on the premiere episode of “Survivor,” each team had to vote for someone who “would not be continuing this adventure.”  Since none of the people had met each other yet, they didn’t know each other’s names.  The majority of one team wanted to get rid of a 26-ish young woman and wrote,  “the blond girl with the striped t-shirt.” Most of the other team’s members wrote, “the old lady,” “the old woman,” “the old gal.” The woman they were trying to dump is 53!  Enough said?  This is wrong on so many levels.
  • Why is it that the grocery store will suddenly, without warning, stop carrying a brand you buy every single week?  I am very attached to certain brands of certain products and I’m not about to change.  It is totally exasperating when you look in the same spot where a product has always been, only to find it gone.  This past week my regular store did it with two different items on my list and I really want to send them the following message:  I don’t know what you’re thinking, guys. but I’m not married to you.  And let me remind you that you’re not the only grocery store in town!  Either you shape up and fly right, or we’re OVER!  Got it?

Okay, I feel better now.  It was good to get those out.  If you have any little grumbles you want to air, that’s what the “comments” section is for.  This is your chance to be heard.  I’ll be glad to listen.   🙂

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The Mattress and Me

It dawned on me a little while back that my mattress was twenty-six years old!  It was certainly old enough to have finished college, gotten married and had several little pillows by now!  Yeah, I know – disgraceful!  But who sits around and dreams of buying a mattress?  I think the reason I put it off was that I dreaded going into a store and wandering around from bed to bed like a modern day Goldilocks, thinking, “This one’s too hard.  This one’s too soft.” And during all this, the salespeople would stare at me like I’m some loon, looking for a place to nap!   I’d done some research on line regarding what constitutes a good mattress, but really, it wasn’t too educational.

However, when I woke up Friday morning and discovered that my state refund had been deposited in my bank account, I took it as a sign.  Either I needed to give a birthday party for that old mattress or else replace it!  I looked at its sad, sorry, sagging self, and decided that it was time to take the plunge.  The newspaper had ads for mattress sales all over town, but, as I was heading toward a department store, I saw the mattress store where my friend, Iris, had bought hers and pulled in.  Before I got out of the car, I could see through the window that there was only one guy inside, thus lessening my fear of being stared at.  I leveled with him about how long it had been since I’d been mattress shopping and asked him to give me a “Mattress 101” course.  He picked out about five different beds for me to lay on, pointing out the differences.  I was impressed that the ones he showed me weren’t the most expensive, nor were they the cheapest.

Now, to be completely honest with you, I don’t think anyone can tell a whole lot about a mattress by testing it for a few minutes in a store.  But, I tried.  Boy, did I try!  I finally settled on the one that felt the most “cushy” to me.  And it did cradle my back in places where my old mattress had long deserted it.  It was a little more than I wanted to spend, but I’ve always read that since you spend one-third of your life in bed, this is not the place to “cheap out.”

About an hour and a half later, the delivery men had hauled out the old mattresses and positioned the new ones on the bed frame.  So, all’s well that ends well?  Well….   After I saw the deliverymen out and walked back into the bedroom, I got a shock.  First of all, let me point out that I have a very tall four-poster bed.  I’ve always had it set up on the highest notches, so that it’s much higher than a regular bed.  What I didn’t realize until too late was that the mattress I bought in 1983 was about maybe five inches high.  This brand-new mattress was twelve inches high! (In addition to the box springs!) And now that the deliverymen were gone, and the heavy mattresses were on the bed, there was no way I could move the frame to the lower notches.  What does this mean?  I’ll tell you!  I have the tallest bed in the world!  nighstand-contrast

To give you an idea of how much taller it is, that nightstand on the left used to be even with my bed!  But now it’s about five inches lower!  This picture doesn’t even begin to capture the tallness of the bed!  It’s a bit overwhelming.  I even tried with a rubber mallet to see if I could loosen the notches to lower the frame a bit, but it was far too heavy.  To get up on the bed, I have to give a little “hop.”

bed-stepFortunately, a long time ago, I bought a little unfinished bed step and painted it “just for show.”  Little did I realize that I’d ever have the necessity to actually use it to get up onto my bed!   Getting out is a bit easier.  I just kind of “roll off” and hit the floor…hard!

When I mentioned my problem to my friend, Francie, she laughed and said, “You’ll just have to pretend you have a big old “princess bed.” And so that’s how I’m proceeding.  Who knows?  After a week or so, maybe I’ll get used to it and it won’t look so massively tall to me.  I certainly hope so.  But still, I bet if any of you walked into my bedroom, your eyes would bug out and you’d say, “Oh my goodness!  Your bed is ah, kinda, ah, tall…isn’t it?

So, in conclusion, from here on out, whenever I tell you “I climbed into bed,” believe me, baby, I CLIMBED into bed!

final-pic1

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