Would You Like Fries With That?

Let the Marathon Begin!

Let the Marathon Begin!

It is time once again for that blogging marathon known as NaBloPoMo. It’s a mouthful, I know. It is also quite the commitment — thirty posts in thirty days. In November of all months!

Making that promise — to myself, to others — that I will write something every day is a good thing. Lately I’ve been slacking. Too much work. Too many computer games. And, of course, there is the oldest (and the best excuse), which is “I’m plum out of ideas”.

It’s not often that I find myself at a loss for words in my “real” life. Writing, though, is different. Writing requires thoughtful sentence construction, as opposed to the blathering that passes for verbal communication in my so-called “real” life. Truthfully, I am not blessed with many opportunities to converse, like a regular person, with anyone who interests me about anything I am interested in throughout the course of an ordinary day.

While at work, which is where I spend most of my time these days — college tuition payments being what they are — many of my conversations end with the sentence, “Would you like fries with that?”. I should be grateful, I suppose, as this is the one sentence that I am able to complete throughout the course of a shift.

Most other sentences or thoughts are almost always interrupted by requests for both the necessary items that are required for eating, items such as napkins or silverware, and the crazy things that even the best server could not have anticipated a need for — things like extra parsley. And lemons. One can never have enough lemons. Or a different free bread than the one that we normally serve. That sort of nonsense.

It makes little difference what I’m fetching, I’m fetching just the same. All of the fetching that is part and parcel of what I do for a living leaves very little time for conversation, stimulating or otherwise.

It is refreshing to know that here, in my little corner of the blogosphere, I have the opportunity to frame a conversation that has a beginning, a middle, and an end — an end that, thankfully, does not include “Would you like fries with that?”.

And so, for the next thirty days I will take this opportunity to have a conversation with you — about anything that piques my curiosity, gets on my nerves, or just plain old interests me. With that in mind, I say, “Let the marathon begin!”.

Nearly 30 Days of Blogging — My Semi-Successful Journey Through NaBloPoMo ’13

nablopomo13theendIt’s the end of NaBloPoMo ’13 and I feel a little bit like an injured race horse, one that just might have to be “put down”. I, too, stumbled a bit. I missed two days of posting because I fell into the same trap that I often fall into, the one where I tell myself that “I’ll do it later” and then “later” passes me by. I’ve learned, though. Yes, I have. I’ve learned that if I’m crazy enough to do this next year that I MUST write my Saturday posts in advance — Saturday posts are the enemy of this blogger.

When I began this 30-day exercise in madness, I promised myself three things: that I would do my level best to post every day (I did my best!), that I would not recycle old pieces (I had to do it once and, of course, it was a Saturday!), and that I wouldn’t do any photo posts (I didn’t!). All in all, I’m happy that I was almost able to keep most of my promises. (Now, there’s a rationalization if I’ve ever heard one!)

I was worried, at the beginning of this challenge, that I would sacrifice quality for quantity. I went back and read some of my posts from the past month and I have to tell you that in all honesty, I think that I did. I went back to review what I’d written over the course of NaBloPoMo and, frankly, I wasn’t that impressed. Out of the twenty-seven pieces I published, I like only two or three of them. The one I like the least out of the ones I like at all was, of course, the most popular. Isn’t that always the way? The one I liked the best? That one had almost NO traffic at all.

I decided to use the (almost) thirty days of posts to take a long, hard look not just at what I liked, but at what others seemed most interested in — to get a sense of what folks liked vs. what they didn’t. Like anyone who blogs, I like to get traffic and am always seeking ways to create more pathways to my blog. Not that I’ll only write what others like to read, but it’s not a bad thing to keep one’s audience in mind when you’re looking for ideas.

People really seemed to like the post in which I described my professional makeover. The one where I proclaimed to my husband — and to the world — that I am not, indeed, a sociopath? Not so much. The days that I participated in the mixed tape blog hop over at My Skewed View increased my readership and it did so not only for that piece. It seems folks came over and read some of my other stuff, too. So, that was nice. The post that I liked best, the one that got, at least to my way of thinking, the most heartfelt comments, was the one in which I discussed the shooter at our local mall. That one didn’t do so well, which was disappointing.

Even if I wanted to, I can’t pull another professional makeover out of my ass. I can (and will) continue to take part in Twisted MixTape Tuesdays, but not for the blog traffic. I will continue doing that because I love it! Hopefully I won’t have occasion to write too often about mall shooters. Not because there won’t be more violence in public spaces, but because his was a unique case — one that engendered not anger, but a profound sense of sadness in me.

November’s a tough month in the blogosphere. Many of us participate in NaBloPoMo, which, inevitably, creates even more competition for the blog-reading community. Others, people who might be doing a fair bit of reading at any other time of the year, may be participating in that other insanity — NaNoWriMo. Anyone who has committed to writing 2,000 words a day with the hope of turning out a novel in a month? There’s a good bet that they’re not READING anything while they’re doing THAT.

I know that I’ve read less and less this month — or turned my attention to reading NaBloPoMo blogs, rather than the blogs that I usually read. There is just so much time in a day. If you’re spending two hours of it constructing a daily post (and I do), it stands to reason that you won’t be reading posts with anything resembling your usual regularity. I also found myself perusing, skimming, rather than reading with the focus and ease that I usually bring to this activity.

So, was this experiment successful for me? Yes. I’d have to say that it was. Even though I feel that, at times, I wrote more about less, I learned to be more disciplined about the act of writing. I kept to a schedule as best I could. I think that this is something that I really needed to focus on doing. It was something I kept telling myself I was going to do. NaBloPoMo gave me a reason to do it — to get into as daily a regimen as my schedule allows.

Would I do it again? I don’t know. Ask me next October. Because right now this whole thing seems like the end of a pregnancy — when people start talking to you about having your next child — when you look at them like they’re crazy to make such an idiotic suggestion. Of course, most folks do choose to push aside the memories of the discomfort and the pain associated with child-bearing and they go on to have that second child. For the record, I’m not one of them.

Other posts that I’d like to see get more attention:
Why I Get Out of Bed in the Morning
The Sounds of the Season
A Few of the Reasons That I Am Who I Am
Accepting Forgiveness

Go Ahead, Get Your Own Blog — I Dare Ya!

nablo13daytwentynineThanksgiving is a day when we take the opportunity to give thanks for all the blessings in our lives. I used the day in this way. I also used it to catch up with what my extended family members are getting up to and to relearn the names of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. My husband, on the other hand, chose to use his day of thanks in a somewhat different manner. Yesterday, my husband, the much put-upon, Fang, served up — in much the same way that he doled out the pie — several small slices of resentment, topped with a few savory dollops of bitterness.

We got on the topic of social media. I was commenting about how much I enjoyed keeping up with some of the family members on Facebook — watching the kids grow, discovering who had changed jobs, living vicariously through my cousin’s fabulous vacations, you know, that sort of thing. Mostly I chit-chatted idly with folks I don’t see that often anymore. I think I said something like how grateful I was for Facebook and other social media sites that allow me to feel a part of everyone’s life.

My Uncle had a decidedly different take on the Facebook phenomena. He was lamenting how, as a result of his wife’s Facebook page, nothing that he ever does is private — right down to where he has dinner on a Friday night, how much he won (or lost) in the weekly football pool, and why one might want to avoid him following his and the dog’s latest tangle with a backyard skunk. I got the sense that he wasn’t as big fan of the Facebook as I am.

During the course of the conversation my husband found an opportunity to do a bit of his own kvetching. He laughed and rolled his eyes as my Uncle regaled us with tales of his wife’s Facebook “antics” (his word!). My husband saw fit at this juncture to “warn” my Uncle about saying “too much” around his niece. (That would be me.) Fang explained to my Uncle that while the odd Facebook status update might prove slightly embarrassing, it couldn’t hold a candle to the blog post in terms of length, breadth, or depth.

Fang went on to explain how there are now — thanks to my blog —- any number of strangers out there (“they could be anybody!”) who know how many pairs of shoes he owns, his affinity for reality television, and how often he uses the word “stupid”. Fang doesn’t normally say much, but he was on a roll AND he wanted sympathy — a deadly combination!

He and my Uncle seemed on the verge of hatching a plan of their very own — a plan that included telling the world about the wives’ poor eating habits, redecorating failures, and all of the other wacky things the two of us are wont to engage in. I suppose they were doing this in an effort to staunch the creative outlets we have discovered, hers through Facebook, mine through blogging. It seems that they thought they could shame us into changing our ways.

We just laughed as we boldly challenged them to get their own Facebook pages and/or their own blogs. We’re not afraid. We know they won’t do either.

It helps that my Uncle doesn’t even know how to USE Facebook and that my husband wouldn’t know the first thing about blogging. If they put their heads together I’m sure there could be trouble, but they won’t. While an all-out internet war might prove interesting, my Aunt and I are fairly confident that it will never come to pass. Frankly, they’re entirely too busy rasslin’ skunks and “Squatchin'” vicariously to get up to any such thing.

Here’s to hoping for the best

glassesclinkingI never write about not being able to write, but today I feel the need to make an exception (along with my apologies for not having read what you folks are writing, which feels more terrible than not posting). I’m not blocked, exactly. I’ve got a few musings in the hopper, so to speak — just nothing that’s ready for prime time, if you know what I mean. I’ve just been busy with other things. I wish I could say they were more important things, life-changing things. Some of them are. The hovel purge continues. So, that’s good. This activity feels both important and life-changing. We shall see. Getting more organized will ultimately be a good thing. I know this. It’s just the process that’s daunting. I’m hopeful, though. Having hope is always a positive thing. Unless, of course you are the type of person who sits around hoping for bad things to happen, like the death of your enemies or nuclear destruction. Luckily, I’m not that type of person. I figure the world will wreak it’s own havoc on my enemies. I can’t muster up the necessary time and energy to worry over the nuclear thing. If it happens, it happens. I assume it will be quick. I think that’s the best that we can all hope for on that subject.

Besides being hard at work on getting my house in order, I have also been up to my usual idiocy. Mostly, I’ve been doing those absent-minded professor things for which I am (semi) famous. Not once, but twice this week, I engaged in some footwear tomfoolery. First I headed out of the house in two different shoes. I wish I could tell you that they were so similar that I became confused in the dark, but that would be a lie. First of all it was broad daylight, second of all the were two very different colors. In my defense they were both sneakers, however, one was black and one was white. Fortuitously, I caught myself just outside my front door and was able to rather easily rectify the situation. I wish I could tell you that this is the first time I’ve done this. It’s not. A couple of years ago I did the very same thing with the very same shoes, only that time I wasn’t as lucky in terms of noticing what I’d done. That time I made it all the way to Target before I realized that I was wearing two very different shoes.

I was not as eagle-eyed when it came to putting my Uggs on the wrong feet. I have performed this feat of stupidity twice over the past couple of days. Okay, I was only running to the corner store or to the laundry room, but still, who does this once, let alone twice? Further, I will have you know that I only discovered it when I began to actually trip over my own two feet.

I have, for the most part, been successfully bathing/showering myself for over forty years. Why suddenly it’s become a problem for me, I couldn’t tell you, but it appears that I may no longer be up to the task. Again, not once, but twice this week I failed at something that most people manage to accomplish on a daily basis as a matter of course. I’ve had to take up focusing and concentrating in the shower, otherwise I am liable to either not shampoo my hair at all or to not rinse my hair of the shampoo that I miraculously remembered to apply. What person of normal intelligence does this?

I wish that these minor memory glitches, which I have decided to attribute to preoccupation, rather than a peri-menopausal state or my advancing age, only reared their ugly head at home (or at the corner store, or on my way down to the laundry room), but they haven’t. No. My foray into the land of forgetfulness has followed me to work where, on several occasions, I have simply failed to either order a customer’s food or to bring them something integral to their dining needs. My sincere, profuse and heartfelt apologies were accepted by these kind and generous people, none of whom were pressed for time or unduly attached to eating ketchup on their cheeseburgers. So, outside of looking like a ditzy waitress, no harm, no foul. Thankfully no one flipped out. I don’t know what I would have done if they had. A crying jag cannot be ruled out.

As much as I want to believe that none of this is hormonal, I know that’s not true. And I know it’s not true because of the crying. I would say that I’m an average crier or, more to the point, an appropriate crier. I’ll admit that I sometimes find crying cathartic. I’ll confess that sometimes the Sleepy’s commercial gets me to feeling a little weepy — the one where they do the montage of the couple as they age and their children grow while “In My Life” plays in the background. That one. I also really miss Oprah. That show was usually good for an afternoon cry. And, obviously, I have been known to cry when faced with personal loss. I’m not made of stone. I’m just not the sort of person who bursts into tears on anything resembling a regular basis (at least since Oprah went off the air, that is).

Lately, though, I have found myself either on the verge of tears or full-out crying on several occasions. A couple of times were out of sheer frustration with my husband who, it seems, has made a resolution to become a complete and utter asshole this year. I don’t really know what is going on with him and, frankly, I’m too fed up at the moment to care. I’m sure his behavior is related to my efforts at organization. Don’t get me wrong, he wants things more organized, he just doesn’t want to do any work or spend any money to make it happen. He has also grown fond of the word “stupid” and has begun to apply it liberally to many of the changes that I’ve suggested for living space. After a while the word “stupid” (not applied to me, per se, just to my ideas) began to grate on my last nerve. I got frustrated. I cried. He apologized. He then proceeded to continue to thwart me at every turn. So, I’ve resolved to just let him go on being an asshole. I’ll work around him.

My daughter, God love her, perhaps sensing the tension in her parents’ normally placid relationship, said something the other day that literally brought me to tears. I know that my kid has a kind and generous heart, mostly because that’s what other people tell me. At home she is snarky, mouthy, and self-centered, but when she goes out into the world she demonstrates altogether other qualities. (Don’t we all?) Normally, like most any adolescent who knows that she is unconditionally loved, her behavior at home can be beastly. So, imagine my surprise, when she looked me straight in the eye, put her hand on my shoulder (I was, literally, knee deep in plastic container sorting) and said, “Mom, I’m so proud of you.” I could barely choke out a “Thank you” before she noticed me crying. I’m happy to report that she got back to her old self right away, rolling her eyes and calling me “ridiculous” on her way out of the kitchen. And I did feel ridiculous. There she was, being nice — finally! — and all I could do was burst into tears. So, I guess that’s the last compliment I’ll get out of her for a while.

Anyway, this about sums up what I’ve been up to (or not up to) this week. It’s time to sign off now, as I have to attend to showering, carefully choosing my shoes, and relocating my dishes to a place that will, no doubt, be called stupid by my husband. I also must try very hard to get through the dinner shift without incident. And I have to do all of this without crying. I’m going to hope for the best.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Sleepy’s commercial referenced above:

photo credits:
glasses clinking (zazzle.com)

My Exciting Thursday

moodfabriclogoSomewhat guiltily, I shoved aside hovel purging and did a few more interesting things yesterday — not, perhaps, as necessary as hovel purging, but, still in all, far less mundane and back-breaking than filling more bags and boxes with the detritus of my life. Following what turned out to be a bus ride that had it’s equivalent in the expression “slow boat to China”, I went to Mood Fabrics in NYC and drooled over toiles, velvets, and the hundreds of other beautiful fabrics they have to offer. For a fabric hound such as myself, there is no better place to while away a few hours than on West 37th Street in Manhattan. Maybe they have more toile at, say, The Palace at Versailles, but I suspect that they would frown upon my clipping a swatch. Mood and the other fabric stores in the area actually encourage the swatching that will, no doubt, land you in a French prison. (I wonder if they still use The Bastille?). Also, I can’t just hop on the 163 Local to gaze at the toiles enjoyed by Louis XIV and his ilk. Sampling the Versailles toiles and enjoying three hots and a cot on the French government would require airline travel and a passport. I’m adventurous, but I’m not THAT adventurous. Frankly, I was antsy on the OVER ONE HOUR bus ride to the city (see “slow boat to China” reference above) — it normally takes about 45 minutes midday — a seven-hour plane ride would be out of the question.

I spent an hour trying to find the Joe Fresh location that was supposed to be on 34th and Fifth. They were supposed to be having a sale on sweaters. And they don’t sell online. (Can you even imagine?) There was no Joe Fresh on 34th Street or anywhere in the surrounding area. No one that I asked had ever heard of such a store. I did, however, manage to stumble upon a place called The Manhattan Mall. I only ventured in because I thought that Joe Fresh might be tucked away inside of it. It wasn’t. Don’t worry, though, I didn’t come home empty-handed. I still managed to feed my cashmere addiction at, of all places, JC Penney. (You all need to check out what they’ve done to JC Penney — it’s not just Worthington anymore, boys and girls!) I managed to leave the store with a cashmere sweater for myself and one for my daughter. And, GET THIS, it only cost me $40 total. Forty bucks for TWO cashmere sweaters. Unheard of.

I downed a delicious and much needed vanilla latte at Starbuck’s on 33rd Street (the one thatstarbuckslogo is literally in the shadow of The Empire State Building). I even managed to have a moment of self-awareness and a mini-adventure in the bathroom line. In a city known for its dearth of public restrooms, Starbuck’s should be commended for the fact that they have at least one in all of their locations (at least the one’s that I’ve been in). Also, there is no need to ask a barrista for a key nor have I ever seen a sign indicating that only Starbuck’s customers are welcome to use the facilities. This appeals to my sense of fairness and democracy. While I applaud the Starbuck’s bathroom policy in theory, the reality, as is often the case, is somewhat different, especially when this reality has a direct and deleterious effect on me. (Communism looks great on paper until you’re the one subjected to a lifetime of potato peeling based solely on your inability to read as well as some of your classmates in the first grade!) So, there I was. About to break out into the “pee-pee” dance in the shadow of one of the greatest architectural wonders of the Western world when it hit me that I am not as egalitarian as I like to think I am. As excellent corporate policies tend to do (Rite-Aid takes back opened/used cosmetics — no questions asked!) word has gotten out regarding Starbuck’s lax lavatory regulations. And not just to the folks that work in the area. No. Word has spread to those folks that live in the area. More specifically, word has gotten around to the local homeless population.

I have nothing against the homeless. In fact I think it’s shameless that there are homeless and hungry people living in this country at all. That being said, I must tell you that yesterday at Starbuck’s I harbored a fair amount of ill will against a few homeless people who had managed to scooch in front of me on the restroom line. And scooch they did. One minute I was alone and next in line for the W.C., the next minute they were in front of me. I honestly have no idea how this happened. Perhaps I was daydreaming or looking at The Empire State Building. Maybe I had a small seizure. I really couldn’t tell you. All I know is that they had somehow taken up residence ahead of me. Sure, I could have said something. I could have made a scene. But I’m a middle-class, middle-aged suburban white woman who has never even considered voting for a Republican. Tangling with homeless people in a public place istheempirestatebuilding just not my style.

I should have taken it as a bad sign when I watched as the two women went into the loo together. I should add that they did so with all of their goods and wares in tow. This, as you might imagine, took some time and maneuvering. Oh, and there was still one more poor soul with his cartful of supplies ahead of me. I weighed my choices. I could stay where I was or I could make the mad dash across Fifth Avenue to the Starbuck’s across the street. It was a classic case of choosing the known versus the unknown. I opted for the former. At the end of the day, I don’t know whether or not I made the right decision, having no knowledge of the goings on across Fifth Avenue. Though I imagined, as I stood there with a nearly exploding bladder (why? why? why? did I order a Venti? A less gluttonous person would have gone for the Breve!) that there was no line for their, more likely, swanky and sumptuous facility. I had, by this time, reached the point of no return. It was too late to get across the street in anything resembling a dry state. Having already shopped for sweaters and been successful, I could not imagine that I would have the same luck procuring new jeans and underwear (and, God forbid!, socks), but don’t think I didn’t consider it.

I stayed put and counted the minutes (13!) that the pair spent in what I was beginning to think was a mirage of a lavatory. I assumed that they were showering and doing some laundry. I cannot tell you how disappointed I was when they finally emerged (only to have their bedraggled compatriot go in behind them) looking much the same as when they had entered. For whatever reason, this annoyed me. I expected to see that they had at least made some minor improvements to their appearances. So, there I was, judging the homeless, tapping my foot, doing some kegel exercises, and, I am sure, rolling my eyes when one of the fine folks who is employed by Starbuck’s actually took notice of my discomfort and allowed me to use the employee bathroom. He was not wearing a name tag and I plum forgot to ask him his name. Whoever he was, I would just like to say that he is a fine human being who, in addition to rescuing a soon-to-be covered in urine person from her latte excesses, also has excellent taste in footwear. His patent leather kicks were to die for! Also, he wouldn’t even hear of taking the tip I proffered after emerging from the restroom. Who says New Yorkers don’t have a heart?

On most days this young man and the kindness that he showed me would have been the highlight of my day. But not yesterday. No. Yesterday I had the pleasure of being surrounded by exciting people. You see, the reason that I went to the city at all was to have dinner with a group of women from GenFab. GenFab is a Facebook group of (mostly) women of my generation. We’re not Boomers. We’re not Gen-Xers. We’re the ones that fall in between. I came to be a part of this group a few months ago at the urging of my friend and fellow blogger, Amanda Fox, over at The Fur Files. (Thanks, Fern!) They are a great group of supportive, talented, and wonderful women. Over the last few months they have been working on launching a website dedicated to issues that are pertinent to our age group. (Don’t worry, I’ll promote the launch!) They asked for contributions and have agreed to publish one of mine. This is not what drove me to join them for dinner last night, though. No. I really just wanted to be in the company of these dynamic women. (I’m hoping some of it will rub off on me!) They were all so welcoming and, given their accomplishments, not the least bit pretentious. Usually at 8 o’clock on a Thursday evening I am apologizing to some moron for bringing him what he ordered and/or dealing with my immature co-workers while covered in the barbecue sauce that I had spilled on my shirt during the lunch shift. Do I need to tell you what a nice departure this was from that? I didn’t think so.

genfabdinnernyc2713This was first “in real life” meeting with folks that I have met through blogging. I won’t lie, the idea of this was a little daunting. More daunting, though, was knowing that I was going to meet virtual strangers, most of whom I admired. For a couple of weeks prior to the dinner I was both excited and a little bit worried. I thought about dying my hair, getting my nails done, wearing better clothes, whitening my teeth, and making other adjustments to my appearance. Basically, I wondered if I should change who I ultimately am. In the end I decided to just be myself, warts and all. I’m happy to report that it went well. I don’t think anyone cared that my hair was in need of a dye job and that my nails were in need of a manicure. If my teeth weren’t white enough, no one mentioned it. And my attire? It was fine. Here’s the thing: these women were more interested in WHO I was than in what I was wearing. Many of them seemed genuinely interested. And some of them had even read my blog. And they admitted not just to reading it, but to actually liking it. Wow!

So, now comes the hard part. I really want to mention, by way of a “thank you”, everyone that I met last night. I want to encourage you to read their blogs and their books, subscribe to their web magazines, watch their movies, and, just generally, get to know them, but I fear that I will leave someone out. I’ve decided to put that fear aside and not squander this opportunity to promote them and GenFab. I’ll do the best I can and list everyone that I can remember. If I forget any of you, please remind me who you are and what your blog/website is and I will update my list. I promise you that my intention is not to exclude anyone! For those of you who fall into this “fabulous” generation, consider joining GenFab. You won’t regret it.

Better After 50
Grown and Flown
An Empowered Spirit
The Chloe Chronicles
Connect with your teens through technology
The Louise Log
Relocation: The Blog
100 Sleepless Nights
Books is Wonderful
Second Lives Club
Oh Boy Mom
Boomer Wizdom

photo credits: starbucks logo (starbucks.com), The Empire State Building , GenFab dinner pic (Cathy Chester), Mood Fabric logo (fashion how-to.com)

How I Met My Husband: GenFab Blog Hop

80shairI don’t remember the exact details, but I know that I was refusing to go to the club that summer Sunday evening. My friend, K, who had promised to meet up with “Mr. Right Now” had other ideas. I had just come off of my first real heartbreak and was really in no mood for the dating scene. So, I wasn’t going to go. And I wouldn’t have gone, except that she needed a ride. Grudgingly, I took her to the club. I told her to go inside and find whoever it was she was trolling for and I would wait outside until I got the thumbs up from her that it was safe to leave. She came out a few minutes later to tell me that he wasn’t there, but that she KNEW he’d be coming. Couldn’t I just come in and wait with her until he got there? “Ugh!”, I remember thinking, “Why do I have to be such a good friend?” For sure most people would have just left her there, but I couldn’t do it. Plus, if he didn’t show up, I’d just have to come all the way back to get her. So, in I went.

I was not dressed for “clubbing” in the ’80s. I had on a tank top, sweatpants, jelly sandals, no make-up, and my hair wasn’t even teased or shellacked, nor was I wearing the requisite Jersey Girl bow. (After the big break up I had actually gone “punk”— short hair, shaved at the sides, but with a long pink tail that I braided down my back. I am fairly certain that all photographic evidence of that particular hair style has been obliterated— at least I hope so!) In any case, I was a sight. But, in I trudged for what I was hoping would be a short stay. I got a beer and hung out on the sidelines, like the proverbial wallflower. I did not want to engage with or be seen by anyone. I thanked God it was dark in there.

Within a few minutes my cover was blown. Someone with whom I was acquainted (we’ll call him B1) came over and asked me why I was hiding in the corner. I explained to him the circumstances under which I had found myself there at all. He shook his head in an understanding way (he, too, knew K) and asked me to join him and some friends. (They had found a coveted table!) He introduced me around. Ho-hum.

One of the guys told me I looked familiar and asked me if I had worked at the local supermarket. I told him that I had, indeed, worked there. He said that he had worked there for several years, so he must have seen me there. “Yeah, that must be it”, I replied. I can’t help but think that I must have been delightful company. At this point I spied my friend talking to a guy. “Great!”, I thought, “I can leave now.” Of course, this guy turned out to be just A guy, not THE guy. So, I went back to the table for more pointless and boring conversation about where we all knew each other from.

At some point, “Dancing in the Dark” came on. I think I said something along the lines of, “I love this song.” The supermarket worker (we’ll call him B2) asked me if I wanted to dance. Up to then I had really not been all that engaged in the conversation and I felt bad because he seemed like a nice enough guy, so I said, “Sure. What the hell.” We danced. We talked. As it turned out, he was a pretty nice guy.

We returned to the table to discover that someone new had joined us. I knew this woman, F. She was actually friends with K. I was pretty psyched to see her because I just wanted to get the hell out of there and I figured she could take K home. F agreed. She told me that she was supposed to be meeting someone there, a blind date. F wanted me out of there nearly as much as I wanted to be out of there. Because F and I had a weird history. The night that I had met my former boyfriend, it was she who had dragged me to a party to meet this “awesome guy” that she had connected with the night before. As it happens, I met an “awesome guy” at that party and dated him for two years. Unfortunately, my “awesome guy” turned out to be her “awesome guy” from the night before (in the end he didn’t turn out to be all that “awesome”, either— still, he was cute and she was pissed). Oops!

During the scintillating conversation with B1 and B2, prior to F arriving, it was established that B2 and I actually lived a couple of blocks away from each other, on the same street even. When I saw my opportunity to leave the club, B2 told me that he had come with B1, but since I lived so close, would I mind dropping him off? Early shift at the supermarket and all that. I agreed.

As we were walking out, there was a line of people waiting to get into the club. As we were passing the line, someone grabbed my hand and said, “We should talk.” My former boyfriend. In the flesh. We hadn’t seen or spoken to each other in months. It was the strangest thing. Because up until that point I would have done just about anything to see and/or speak to him again. In that moment, when the opportunity presented itself, instead of telling B2 that he would have to go back in and get a ride home with B1, I said, “Sorry. The Chestnut Street Express is leaving. And, what would we talk about exactly?” It was liberating and exhilarating.

As B2 and I got into my car, he looked at me and said, “Now you look like the girl I remember. You’re smiling. It’s your best feature.” I was confused. “Remember?”, I asked. He said, “Yes. I told you before I remembered you from the supermarket.” “No”, I said, “You told me that I looked familiar.” “No”, he said, “I remember you. How could anyone forget you?”

He’s spent the next 28 years making sure that I never forget him.

P.S. The guy that F was there to meet up with? Her blind date? B2! He revealed to me on the ride home that she was the reason he wanted to leave so suddenly, that she wasn’t his type. That was the first time I wanted to smack him, but surely not the last. (So much for “Mr. Nice Guy!”) Oh, and not that I blame her, but F? She never spoke to me again.

THIS IS A BLOG HOP! <<<Click for more info!

Here are some more posts from the blog hop. Enjoy!

How—and Why—I Met My Husband – Empty House Full Mind

How I Met My Husband – Books Is Wonderful

How I Met My Husband – CarPool Goddess

Shopping at the Man Store – Midlife 2nd Wife

A Date with Destiny – The Giggling Truckers Wife

Soul Mates and Angels – Connie McLeod

How I met the Big Bison – Wild Life In The Woods

How I Met My Husband – The Boomer Rants

The Love Story With A Warning Label – The Chloe Chronicles

How We Met – Joy’s Book Blog

How I Met The Men Of My Dreams – Daily Plate Of Crazy

Joe And Heidi – Did You Exercise Today?

Bald Men Have The Prettiest Wives – Home Place

It Takes Two To Make a Thing Go Right – The Fur Files

Blind Date = My Fate – Forever 51

Rites of Passage: Mid-life Marriage – juliedanis.com

Over 50 and Happy – Wanna Wrestle?

The One Night Stand That Lasted 25 Years – Really Real Atlanta Housewife

Don’t I Know You? – Life on Wry

photo credits:80’s hair

I Answer Eleven Questions from “Weird Stuff Happens to Me”

I was nominated, once again (my cup runneth over!), for The Liebster Award from Dennis over at Weird Stuff Happens To Me. Since I was honored recently by Fat Lies and Fairytales for the same award and shared eleven things about myself, Dennis has kindly dispensed with that requirement, but I have agreed to answer his eleven questions. So, here goes!

If you could choose any career what would it be?

Talk show host. Not like Craig or Dave or Jay or even Ellen. More like Charlie Rose, but without all the boring intellectuals with accents. Although, a few intellectuals might be nice. (So long as they were funny and understandable— not too strident in their intellectualism!) And no band or DJ. Because once you have those, well, the rappers are likely to follow. And who needs rappers at 2 AM? (Because I cannot fathom that anyone but your average insomniac would tune in to hear me talking to, say, James Carville— actually, I cannot imagine talking to James Carville for any length of time— talk about your unintelligible accents!) Unless they are intellectual rappers (or wildly successful like Jay-Z). Intellectual rappers (sans rapping) would be welcome, of course. Or rappers who own their own sports teams (again, Jay-Z), they’d (he’d?) be okay, too. Really, what I’m saying is a Renaissance rapper would be fine. And this applies to white rappers as well as black rappers. I am an equal opportunity rap hater. Eminem holds no interest for me.

Having a show like this would surely eliminate having to be subjected to your average starlet plugging her latest project. Nor would I have to endure cooking segments.

And, thanks for your interest, but no. I do not want a studio audience. I’m no monologist. Just give me a comfortable chair. (Preferably one where I don’t sink into the cushions and look shorter than I already am. Also, a little back support would be nice— I’m not getting any younger!) And one for the guest. (If they’re weird and would rather stand, please book another guest— this one has control issues. Probably a rapper.) I would be one of those hosts who would actually have read/watched/listened to the interviewees body of work. I would ask appropriate questions. I would try to elicit honest responses. (People tell me all kinds of crazy things, so I know that I have skills in this area!) I’ll tell you this much, it’d probably be a better use of your time than watching Conan.

Where is your dream vacation spot?

Seriously. My nice, clean, organized house. That’s my goal this year. To get and stay organized. I’d like to spend my vacation fund redoing my living room. Then, we could go to or rent movies and order take-out or eat at restaurants during our actual vacation week. I’m going to have to sell it to the family, though. Wish me luck!

I am also trying to put away enough money to go to Paris in July, 2015. I want to spend my 50th birthday there. Because I understand that there’s some big hoopla on my birthday; it’s a little holiday they call Bastille Day.

What was the worst nightmare you’ve ever had?

Something about still being a waitress/bartender at 48. Oh, wait. That’s the nightmare I actually live.

I have had the same recurring nightmare for years (since childhood) in which My house is slowly surrounded by wild felines— lions, tigers, panthers, leopards… Maybe that’s why I’ve always had a cat. You know, to demonstrate to my stalkers that I am a friend to their kind. Of course, in real life, my cat would probably jump out the window in a show of solidarity with his brethren. Fucking cats. They really have no loyalty. None whatsoever.

What is your “signature” dish when you cook?

When I cook? When the hell aren’t I cooking? Oh, I know. When I’m sleeping, showering, or working.

I have two “signature” dishes. One is a version of Chicken Marsala, which my family calls “Chicken Jackie”; the other is a version of Chicken Tikka Masala, which my family, in a stroke of incredible originality, calls “Chicken Jackie Masala”. Here’s what you really need to know about these dishes: they take about one-fifth of the time and taste enough like the originals to fool almost anyone. That’s my kind of cookin’!

Tell us about something dumb you did in the last year, or so.

Since I’m limited to just the one thing, I’ll make it short and sweet: Believing my boss when she convinced me that taking on a supervisory position at work would help me to advance my career when, in actuality, what she really meant was that it would advance hers!

Who is your hero and why?

I have several heroines. In the interests of time and space I will simply tell you about why I have always been impressed by Margaret Sanger: She fought to make the lives of poor women better in the early 20th Century. She grew up poor, but found a way to secure an education. She became a nurse and married well. (Very well for a poor Irish girl from Corning, NY.) She could have used her social position and political connections to try to affect this change in many ways, but she chose to do so by disseminating birth control information and distributing contraceptives. As a result, she violated The Comstock Act and was jailed. Ultimately she had to flee to England to avoid spending more time in jail. (She faced five years in jail. Seems a little “cruel and unusual”, doesn’t it?) She was no saint. She left her children in the U.S. She had an affair while in Europe. (I like that she was flawed, actually.) She also educated legions of poor women and began the “birth control” (a term she coined) dialogue. She published pamphlets and a newspaper to this end. She founded what would become Planned Parenthood— in 1921! She worked her tail off and managed to either have overturned or render toothless the Comstock laws that, essentially, defined birth control information as obscene. She was directly responsible for securing the funding and shepherding the research for what would become the first oral contraceptive, Enovid, which hit the market in 1960. We take for granted today the idea that we can “choose” whether and when we want to become mothers. We have her to thank for that. Not just for providing the means, but for changing the mindset. Her goal was very simple. That “every child should be a wanted child”. I couldn’t agree more.

Name one person you’d punch if you saw them walking by.

Again with the one!!! There is someone who tops my current list, though.

I could actually lie in wait for this woman. I know where she works. Or, I could just walk into her office. Churches are public places. I have not, thus far, sought her out and administered the bitch-slapping she so richly deserves. And it’s not because she wears a collar. It’s because I have decided to take the high road. A higher road than she, the supposed religious person, chose to take, by the way. There were other players in this fiasco, to be sure, but she, in her position, should have set a better example. She didn’t. And she either influenced or turned a blind eye to some very unchristian behavior from her flock.

I’m not going to get into what all this woman did. Because it’s someone else’s story. But this pastor’s role in the events and how they unfolded could have and should have been very different. As much as I am not one for altercations of a physical nature, I could probably punch her in the face.

Who is your celebrity crush?

Timothy Olyphant. Preferably in a cowboy hat. And smirking. With one eyebrow raised. Shirtless. Holding a Swiffer.

What is the biggest fish you ever caught, if any?

I do not fish or hunt (except for compliments and bargains). I have a hard time killing most bugs. (I “shoo” flies out the window and push spiders out the door— I show no mercy where mosquitos and centipedes are concerned, however.)

What book are you currently reading?

“1831: Year of Eclipse’ by Louis P. Masur
It is a historical analysis of the year 1831. He makes the argument that the events of that year (including, but not limited to, Nat Turner’s slave rebellion, the publication of William Lloyd Garrison’s abolitionist newspaper, “The Liberator”, and the evangelical movement led by Charles Grandison Finney that began in upstate New York’s “burned over district”), led us directly and inevitability into The Civil War thirty years later.

I agree with his thesis. And this book is very good as secondary source material is concerned. The footnoting is not as comprehensive as I would like, but this may be a result of reading it in its electronic format. There is very little (if any) new information for those already familiar with the events of 1831. That being said, it’s a worthwhile read for anyone interested in this period of our history.

If you won the trip somehow, would you go to Mars knowing that it would take several years of your life? Why or why not?

Not in a million years. I hate to fly in a commercial plane. There is no chance I’d ever strap myself into a rocket for any amount of time, never mind the amount of time that trip would take. There wouldn’t be enough Valium in the world to make me a decent traveling companion. I’d probably be kicked out a pod bay door amidst the mutinous riot my anxiety-ridden behavior would, no doubt, cause in such a closed space.

I might do it for a million dollars, though. I’d give it some real consideration if that kind of remuneration was involved. Screw my rocket mates. They’d just have to adjust to the crazy.

photo credit: fineartamerica.com