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A Kindness, From Hawaii

Yesterday, I was in the middle of the usual pre-holiday madness, when a customer said something I hadn’t heard before. This is always refreshing, as I’ve been hearing the same comments daily for over twenty years. I won’t list all the usual culprits, but damn I wish I had a ten spot for every time I heard “Is this the calm before the storm?” and “You’re just waiting for me aren’t you?” My favorite before a holiday is “Are you open tomorrow?” Hahahahaha. We are always open people.

Customers are generally nice at holidays and feel for us. The lucky ones who have the day off are horrified that we poor souls have to work. “But it’s time and a half, right?” Yes, for this holiday it is. Still…we are here and you are on the other side of the counter gearing up for a celebration. Not that I care much for this particular holiday. It’s too noisy and creates too much trash and air pollution and I’m not exactly patriotic. (I won’t go into all the reasons why.)

Anyway, back to the customer who was different. It was busy of course, and close to my break time, and I guess it showed. I wasn’t grumpy, just looking worn out, and on automatic pilot, when a woman says, out of the blue, “If we were in Hawaii I’d buy you a drink.”

This perked me up and we briefly discussed cocktails and sandy beaches, wishing we were somewhere else. It was enough to lift me out of my ‘just get through the day mentality’ and I was thankful. But she went a step further. When, a few minutes later, our Starbucks barista informed that someone bought me a drink, I was smiling for real. (Not the phony professional smile.) On my break, I received a passion tea lemonade with a palm tree drawn on the cup, from Hawaii.

This made my day. My whole work week actually. So for those of you who have to work today (I will be there too.) I wish I could buy you all a fruity cocktail—preferably with alcohol in it.

Happy Fourth Everyone—yes, even those of you who get the day off.

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What this Mother Does Not Want For Mother’s Day


I was looking through the newspaper (Yes, we get an actual newspaper on Sunday mornings. So nineties, I know) and came across a cosmetics ad, the kind they always put out this time of year. It was filled with the stuff all mothers want. Like perfume.

There were quite a few to choose from. Not only did each perfume have an actual name, it came with a helpful description. Essence of joy, for example. For a mere $54 dollars the important woman or women, in your life can experience the actual essence of joy. If your mother or wife is more the Hollywood type, might I suggest, Glamorous and Sexy. For the woman who wants to be enthralled, there is, of course, Enthralling. My personal favorite is Fresh and Carefree. It’s for the woman who wants to smell like… a feminine hygiene product? Is there any better way to tell Mom that you love her?

If perfume isn’t your mom’s thing, there’s always makeup. Like lip polish, which may or may not be the same as lipstick. This particular one is called, Buxom. Buxom is not a word I’d associate with lips, but what do I know of such things? Nothing. Obviously. I don’t even understand why a waterproof mascara would be named Too Faced. It brings to mind images of that character in Batman, you know, the guy whose face is grotesquely scarred on one side? Wouldn’t it be a more appropriate name for foundation? A really good foundation…

The advertising copy for this product is even more confusing. The claim is that Too Faced mascara is better than sex. Mascara. The goop you put on your eyelashes to make them look longer. Better than sex. Does the tube it comes in vibrate? Or does it come with a magic wand? Or am I so out of touch that I’m missing the true message? Could it be, that all a woman needs to achieve satisfaction is the right brand of cosmetic? How empowering!

As great as all that sounds, I’d be happy with a visit or a phone call for Mother’s Day. Though a box of good quality chocolate would be nice too. One can never go wrong with chocolate…

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Saving the World, One Flush at a Time

The View from my favorite Outhouse:

It takes 1.6 Gallons of water to flush the average toilet. (Older toilets require 4-7 gallons a flush.) Ninety-five percent of all household water goes directly down the drain. That’s a lot of wasted water. With several major cities around the world in danger of going dry in the near future, shouldn’t we all be concerned?

One way to reduce wasted water is to flush less often. Yes, I know, that’s ‘Icky.’ It’s impolite not to flush, and what is more important than being polite? Certainly not preserving the world’s fresh water. A few years ago, while visiting an environmentally conscious organic farm, I heard the phrase, “If it’s yellow let it mellow if it’s brown flush it down.” It’s catchy, don’t you think? And it reduces the ick factor. If it’s yellow, it can’t be too gross right? Yellow, after all, is the color of Smiley faces.

And then, there’s the more extreme solution. The out-house. It’s not for everyone of course. If I dug a hole in my front yard and put up an out-house my HOA would…well, they’d shit their pants I think. (No water wasted there!) The thing is, it’s not so bad, using an outhouse. I used one for three weeks and I didn’t mind it. It was a great way to wake up in the morning. Refreshing even. Seriously. I threw on my coat and boots and stepped outside into the bright sunshine and fresh cold air and suddenly I was wide awake. The trek woke me up even more. I love a walk in the morning. The sound of cows mooing, and geese calling and little birdies chirping were an added bonus. And the dusting of snow on the seat that floated in through the cracks during the night? That’s a quick wake up in itself. Better than coffee.
And after dark? That was fun too. When the moon is bright you don’t even need a flashlight. And it’s a great excuse to look up at the stars. I’d forgotten what it was like to gaze up at the stars, without street lights dulling their brightness.

Lately, I’ve begun to wonder how I ended up in the suburbs, living in a carefully designed neighborhood with a whole lot of pavement and green grass (how much water does it take to keep the grass green all summer? Too much, I’m thinking!) There are four toilets in my townhouse. Four. Two each. I cleaned them all today. And I wondered, how many more hours of my life will I spend cleaning toilets?

Someday, when I retire, I’ll live in the country, growing my own organic vegetables, walking on dirt and dead grass, sleeping under the stars on warm nights, and saving water by using an outhouse.

No Bingo, or shuffle-board for this senior citizen!

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I’m Back


Well, I was right about the boy vibes but wrong about the date. My grandson was born on March 25th, and I did need to take a third week off from work. (Oh, darn.) While waiting, anticipating, and preparing for the birth (how many times can you practice folding cloth diapers?) we planted trees, worked on a privacy fence, built a summer kitchen (semi-covered fire pit) and went on long hikes in the woods. We only got lost once, but hey, it all worked out.
I thought I wanted the baby to hurry up and get here, but the truth is, I will always cherish the memories of the time I spent with my daughter and son-in-law before the birth. (Bonding isn’t just for babies!) I think the three of us made a pretty good team, though I will admit to feeling relieved when the midwife finally got there.
I believe natural childbirth is the best way to go (when it makes sense medically, of course) but there’s nothing easy about it. The end result was, of course, worth every minute. (Yeah, I know, easy for ME to say.)
Our little bundle of bodily functions is strong and healthy as well as adorable. Only in the first days of life are other people fascinated by your every gurgle, grunt, yawn, cry, sneeze, and fart. Seriously, his little farts were so sweet…
I wanted to stay forever, but here I am, back at home being a responsible adult. For now anyway…

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A New Title—No, Not a Book Title

I’m Leaving. On a jet plane. Don’t know when I’ll be back again. Not for sure anyway. Probably in two weeks—that’s when the return flight is scheduled. If this baby decides to stay where he/she is for more than two weeks, I might have to extend my vacation time. Sorry in advance, fellow co-workers, for any inconvenience this may cause, but a grandma’s got to do, what a grandma’s got to do. I did give the baby instructions to arrive on March 13th or 14th. We’ll see how well he/she follows directions.
On our last visit, I started getting HE vibes but the baby’s gender matters not at all to this grandma. I’m still getting used to that word. Grandma. My mom is Grandma. My mother-in-law is Grandma. How can I be Grandma? Doesn’t seem possible. We have discussed other possible titles. Grammy? Nana? Granny? Gram? Gran? Mammy. Mammy Tammy. How’s that for a title?
Hm. I don’t know…
I’ll fill you all in soon enough. There’s no Internet on my daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law’s property so it won’t be too soon. There’s no television either. I’m excited about that. I like quiet. It’s a peaceful place, with a great view of the stars at night, and snow-topped mountains, in the daytime. And so quiet. Or at least it will be until this baby starts crying…
I can’t wait.

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I’m sharing Kirsten Lamb’s Awesome Poem today, in Honor of Valentine’s Day. Enjoy!

Ah Valentine’s Day. I figure we’ve had enough seriousness, so today we’ll have some light fun, sponsored by my flu med hallucinations (the purple hippos dared me). 608 more words

via Twas the Night Before Valentine’s… — Kristen Lamb

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New Netflix addict discovers Orange is the New Black

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I had one of those vivid, way too real dreams last night. I was in Fred Meyer, where I very rarely shop, and I put a tube of toothpaste in my back pocket, intending to buy it, but Jim and the kids were already outside, waiting for me, as we were on our way to a softball game. In my haste, I forgot about the toothpaste and walked out the door.

There was a security guard standing in the entryway, watching. He took me by the arm and led me back inside. I calmly explained that I was having a spacy moment and forgot it was in my pocket. Haha. Sorry about that. He wasn’t buying it.

I was taken to a small room and told to sit down at a table while he filled out the paperwork. I wanted to call Jim and explain where I was, but I couldn’t find my phone. Or my purse. He had to be looking for me. We were going to miss the game. Or else, he’d go without me, while I was being carted off to prison.

I woke up before I had put on the orange jumpsuit. It was kind of disappointing actually. I wanted to meet the crew of Orange is the new Black. We finished Season One last night and I was looking up the actresses to see what they are like in real life.

This, from someone who never turns the TV on when she’s home by herself. I blame Netflix for slowing down progress on my series. On the other hand, the way these shows are written does give me good ideas for my own work.

Yeah, I know, rationalizing is a sign of addiction…

 

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Bra Shopping: A Mystery

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Has this ever happened to you? You try on a bra, and it fits fine and feels comfortable—until you get home. Or worse, until you get to work. And find yourself twisting around in awkward positions, resisting the constant need to adjust it. And when you do finally manage to duck down out of sight and make the adjustment, it doesn’t do a bit of good. No matter how many times you contort your body and tug on the straps, it just isn’t right. It might even make you wonder if the clerk pulled a fast one and switched bras while you were focused on the card reader.

Or, as in my case, she might have made the switcheroo while engaging me in an asinine conversation about how many times one should wear the same bra before washing it. Only once, according to her boyfriend, who can’t stand to see her wearing the same bra two days in a row because it’s ‘gross’ like wearing the same underwear again. To this, I replied that no, it really isn’t the same. Only later, did I wish I’d suggested it might be less hassle to find a new boyfriend than to go through the whole process of trying on and purchasing, new bras. But maybe she doesn’t try them on. Maybe it’s all a part of the conspiracy. She keeps the good bras, the ones her customers tried on, for herself. Yes, I think that must be it.

I must get revenge. I know, I’ll find out the name of her boyfriend and tell him she’s wearing pre-worn bras, which, is, of course, far grosser than the wearing her own two days in a row…

Or maybe I’ll use her boyfriend in a story. He could be one of my protagonist’s odd, ex-boyfriends. Yeah, that’s it. Now, I’d better head back to my fictional world, where I belong…

 

 

 

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Strange Things Indeed

I’m kind of hooked on Netflix now. With my work schedule being wonky I’ve never been able to follow a show from week to week. Watching a continuing show is almost as fun as getting lost in a particularly good novel.

We just finished Season One of Stranger Things. I’m glad I waited to watch it. This way it will be fresh in my mind when Season Two Starts. My favorite part was the boys, who, it seemed to me, actually talked and acted like real middle -school- age boys. I just read in the Oregonian that they’re older than they look, which makes their acting, even more impressive. Or maybe not. I guess 16 is not too old to remember what it was like to be 13 again. But in the eighties. Those high-waisted jeans bring back all kinds of bad memories! Those of us without waists could never find any jeans that fit properly. I had to buy boy jeans, which wasn’t all bad. I have fond memories of my shrink-to-fit 501’s. I can’t say I miss eighties hair. The Mom in Stranger Things is a good example of some strange hair…