Evolve

The organist and vocalist were late. I hated my dress. I had little say in the flowers. Yet, there was a smile on my face. I was following in the footsteps of those young women who had gone down the aisle before me. No, not my bridesmaids — the women who followed in the footsteps of their mothers and their mother’s mothers before them.

The person who walked down the aisle that day so many years ago seems like a completely different person from the one who writes here today. I had different beliefs, even though my values have remained the same. We base our beliefs on myths and facts  that updated as new information becomes available.

Values are the things we find important, and although the priorities of our values may shift with time or age, they typically remain unchanged. I value love, but I no longer believe marriage is the only way to secure it. Does that help explain it? Life doesn’t grant do-overs, but it does grant start-overs, and we are all encouraged to grow and evolve.

barbara-billingsleyJune Cleaver and Mary Scott were my role models. June Cleaver was a fictional character on a black and white television show where men came home from work expecting quiet children and dinner on the table. June was known for her impeccable dresses and tidy pearls.

20580367823_243881f7c6_zMary Scott was my grandmother. She was a non-fictional character who watched me while my mother worked. She was known for her jet-black hair, slight frame, and dainty gestures.

Both June and Mary believed it was the woman’s duty and privilege to run the home while their husbands worked. Their homes were always as tidy as their skirts by the time their spouse returned home, and they knew how to get a steaming dinner on the table at the same time each day. Boy, did I have a rude awakening!

It’s hard to talk about how I might have done things differently if I had a the chance. After all, I might have had different children, or no children at all. I’d have waited. I’d have learned more about myself. I’d have considered the impact my choices make on the world, and my life. But life doesn’t give us do-overs. Fortunately, it does give us start-overs.

Is it time to update your beliefs? What myths might you hold as truth? What facts must be updated with new information? What are your values? Do you need to reprioritize them based on a change in your life, age, job, or family?

My children are waiting for marriage and children. I’m proud of the choices they’re making. If they do decide to do either, they’ll have so much more to offer their spouse and/or children. They’ll have a better idea of how to live with other people. They’ll have a better grasp of their own values and beliefs, and not rely on ones borrowed from their parents, grandparents, or fictional t.v. characters.

It’s okay to change your beliefs. It’s okay to realign your values. It doesn’t mean you’re a whole different person. It means you’re evolving.

Peace . . .

Evolution

Evolve.


I promised.

As promised, I’m letting you know that I found the picture of me in my little pixie cut. So homely, I’m cute. And after all these years, I have to say it’s true.

Peace . . .

 


Married White Women are the Problem

I had this post I was writing, and somehow I lost it. It’s. Just. Gone.

So that was disappointing. And now that you can’t read it, I can tell you it was probably the most amazing and life-changing post you were ever going to read. Instead, I will leave you with a YouTube link that was kind of the inspiration for the awesome post I lost.

I wanted to serve you an ice cold margarita in a frosted glass with lime on the rim. Now all I have is lemons. Enjoy your lemonade.

Peace . . .

 

All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation

Amazon.com
Audible.com


Over the Drinking Age

2.20.14 VFW

Shot of the VFW out the sunroof of my car

He was a pleasant-looking man, probably a little older than I.  He mocked himself as he wheeled across a floor littered with tables and chairs.  It was clear he had only one arm to work with.  I debated between whether to help him, or preserve his dignity and let him do it himself.  Eventually he was close enough to engage conversation.

His first words were, “You’re beautiful.”  To be honest, most of the people in the VFW sport grey hair.  One quarter of them are women accompanying their husbands.  The other half are lonely.  So I suppose I stood out, but I never know what to say.  I said “Thank you,” because I’m told that’s the correct response.

He told me his name, and asked to buy me a beer.  “It’s not necessary,” I told him.  He said he wanted to, so I showed him what I was drinking, and allowed him to order a beer and chat for a while.

Back in 1980, I was working the store alone, as I often did.  A class ran downstairs — I want to say it was woodworking or tooling of some sort.  It drew men who often ogled me through the glass.  Only once was I approached.  It was one of the younger men, using a crutch and missing a leg.  He asked me on a date.  I told him no — probably too quickly.  I explained that I had to go home and pack because I was moving to an apartment closer to work.  I realized it sounded like an excuse, yet I was glad to have a real reason to decline.  I was nervous and unaccustomed to random men asking me out.  I often wonder if he knew I shot him down so quickly because I was shy, or did he think it was because of his leg?

Here I was again, older, much wiser, in almost the same situation.  I remembered the guilt of turning the younger man down, and had no intention of reliving that, and no honest reason to refuse.

It’s a happy place, a good  casual spot to grab a cold beer after work, and I know a couple of the  women who work there.  While he went up to the bar, my girlfriends took their break and sat down at the table.  I prefer bellying up to the bar because it’s easier for men to join you at a table, but the stools were all taken tonight.  When he brought my bottle to the table, it was clear he was a regular, which made conversation easy.  We passed around pictures of their grandchildren, who were adorable, of course.  Eventually, the women went back to work, and I was left to make small talk.

He strained to find the words he needed, but I learned about his boys and what he had done for a living.  The details were difficult to understand.  He struggled to remember if he was 72 or 65 or some other number.  Then he would get frustrated, and say, “Oh, screw it!”  Which made me laugh.

So while he spoke, I had time to think.

What is it about a bar that makes women so approachable?  Had I been in a restaurant or coffee shop, it’s unlikely that anyone would have spoken to me.  Bars are social, I suppose.  I really enjoy stopping for a beer after work on a Friday, sometimes alone, sometimes with friends.  Unfortunately, because it’s so rare to see a woman alone in a bar, they assume I’m looking for company.  I’m not.  I just want a cold beer and to check emails on my phone while doing some serious people-watching.

Was I leading him on by letting him buy me a beer?  I’m not sure.  Maybe I should have said, “If you’re looking for someone to chat with, you can join me whether you buy me a beer or not.  If you’re looking for someone to date, you should know I am not available.”  But what if I really want to be alone?  Then I should say “No, thank you,” and risk feeling awful about it.  Why do men put women through this?

Don’t think I haven’t tried the shoe on the other foot.  I know what a leap it is to ask someone if you can buy them a drink.  But at what point am I obligated to say yes?

  • because I know it took a lot of courage to ask?
  • because I know he had more obstacles than most to overcome?
  • because I’m in a bar alone, and I should expect to be approached?
  • because I don’t wear a ring on my left hand?

Back in the 80s, my desperation overshadowed what little confidence I had, and men avoided me like the plague!  Nowadays, I’m not the least bit desperate, and am quite comfortable in my skin.  Men sense these things.  I get hit on a lot more in my 50s than I ever did in my 20s, and don’t think I don’t appreciate it!

I met Bubba in a bar.  He let me buy my own drink — the first one anyway.  I can’t resist a man who enables my independence.  It’s a good story and one worth telling someday.

That was back in my 40s, and apparently I still have it.

My girlfriends tell me I have to come back for the VFW BINGO.  My daughter tells me she loves BINGO, but I still regard it as something little old ladies do on Sunday afternoons.  I looked at them and said, “How old do you think I am?”

Peace . . .

 


Upon Opening the Door to a Stranger

We had an unexpected visitor last night. It was one of those days where you can’t wait to get into your p.j.s and just zone out in front of the television. Wait . . . that’s pretty much every night around here.

Well, it had been a long day — early to rise and productive. So I threw on a nightshirt, and okay . . . don’t judge me, but I was naked as a jaybird under that thing.

I know. You’ll never be the same. Sorry.

We turned off the tube at about 9:00 p.m. Bubba got up to close and lock the front door. He turned on the outside front light, and was startled by a brown face in the dark. When I heard his reaction, I joined him at the door.

Now, I wish I had a picture, because he was so handsome. He was young and well-built, and seemed very friendly. We opened the door to see what he wanted, and he greeted us enthusiastically. Bubba and I both glanced up and down the street to see if he was alone, to which we surmised he was.

In the dark, we saw a metal tag hanging from his blue collar. Bubba retrieved my phone from inside, and I tried to read the fine print while he wriggled and nuzzled his way into my heart. When I couldn’t make out the number, Bubba edged his way out the door, keeping one dog out and two in. We traded places, him with the collar, me taking the phone. Bubba’s eyes are younger than mine. Most of him is.

The phone number led to a veterinarian office, after business hours with no answer. We stood still and listened for someone calling in the distance, “Fiiiiiidooooo……” We heard nothing but the usual clatter from houses, traffic on the main road, and dogs barking to be let in one last time before bed. The street, littered with neighbor’s cars and trucks, forced those passing by to slow to a cautious speed. Each time, we hoped they would stop to thank us for holding their pet for them. Each time the cars continued up the hill.

We took turns holding the dog and running into the house. I went in to get a leash, a jacket, and tennis shoes to throw on with my nightshirt. I shut the windows so the dogs’ barking wouldn’t bother the neighbors, and to keep them from hearing our new friend so clearly. Bubba ran in to get shoes. Still, the cars continued up the hill, and no voices called for a lost dog to come home.

We rejected the option to keep him until the morning, either inside or out. We even thought about letting him go, thinking he might find his way back home. But it was obvious there was only one safe choice for us, our dog-family, and this beautiful big, brown pit bull.

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While Bubba went in to calm the hounds, I made a call to animal control. She said they would send someone right over. In the meantime, I hoped the owner would come along and save this guy a trip to the pound. He was a strong animal, jerking me this way and that toward the sounds in the night. It was all I could do to keep him out of my emerging perennials.

It was while I was on the phone with a helpful friend (who is somewhat of a dog-angel by nature), getting her take on things, that a city police SUV pulled up. My call ended as this massive beast decided I wasn’t greeting them with the urgency they deserved.

I leaned back on the leash, and was pulled one step at a time, each one faster than the last. By the time the two of us reached the middle of the yard, I had given in to a run.

Please note:  I do not run. Not only are there just too many parts of me that bounce, jiggle, and swing, but my knees are no longer up for the task. Nor is my bladder.

Another pace or two, and my descent to the street had become less than a run and more like what I can only describe as a launch, my wrist wrapped firmly in the handle of the leash. This stunt, which I can remember micro-second by micro-second, happened in the wag of a tail. At once I realized the only thing that was going to save me from a face-plant on the asphalt was if I could hit the police vehicle first.

With my eyes on the goal — the word POLICE in shiny gold letters against the black front fender of the SUV — I put my hands out just as I realized this was not going to end well. My knee hit the pavement at the same time my face struck the “L.” Bullseye. The phone I had hung up seconds ago bounced across the hood of the car.

The panic of ensuring my nightshirt was still covering my undercarriage dwarfed any pain I might have felt. I may or may not have wet myself . . . Just sayin’. One cop took the leash from me while at the same time asking, “Are you okay, Ma’am?” The driver did a combat roll over the hood — okay, he didn’t. But he was at my side in a flash, wanting to reach out to me, but needing to assess the situation before moving the victim.

When he also asked if I was okay, I told him I would be as soon as he helped me up. Giggling, with a bruised pride, I answered his questions — name, address, phone, and how it was I had the dog. They said the decision to call them was the right choice. We all hoped he had a chip, and agreed he was a gorgeous animal. When he asked again if I was okay, I told him I hoped his car was okay, peering in the dark to look for a dent. I wanted nothing more than to tuck my tail and retreat into my house. When eventually they dismissed me, I shuffled off without looking back.

Inside, Bubba came to the door in amazement. “Did they come get him already?” It took me several tries to get the story out between my giggle-fits. Once showered and back in fresh night-clothes, I took inventory of my injuries. One twisted ankle, one bruised and swollen knee, and a scuffed thigh. Bubba brought me a couple of ice packs and I swallowed some pain reliever. He kept repeating, “But I was coming right back out! I should have been out there!” But then I’d have nothing to write about.

I can’t help wondering if I’m the butt of some awfully good police stories today. No pun intended.

Peace . . .

Not our friend, but as close a picture as I could find. Please spay and neuter your animals. Pit Bulls are not for everyone. When choosing a pet, find one that fits your lifestyle . . . and strength.

Proven Guilty

Sometimes I get frustrated with a piece of me, either physical, emotional, or intellectual, and I wonder, “Where did that come from?”  I’ve long known that I have a tendency toward guilt.  Had I been raised Catholic, I might have blamed my religion.  I get asked all the time, “What are you, Catholic?”  Personally, I think the Catholics have been over-blamed for this, but maybe they’re just an easy target, what with all they probably should feel guilty about.

This morning, after Bubba’s nap, we watched an episode of Vikings — the drama one, not the History Channel one.  Afterward, he popped up off the couch declaring he had things to do.

Me:  What?  What do you need to do?
Bubba:  Stuff!  I have things to do!
Me:  Are you going to clean?
Bubba:  Well, for starters, I have to do some laundry.
Me:  So nothing I have to feel guilty about not helping with.
Bubba:  No.  You sit here on the couch a little longer

We do our own laundry.  I hate that he eyeball-measures the soap, and uses way to much bleach.  I wash my clothes in cold water and sometimes wash cleaning rags in with my towels.  That freaks my bubble-boy out.  So we avoid an argument and each do our own.

But what is my problem with the guilt?  As I sat pondering this, I had a flashback.

I’m playing with my Barbies, making furniture out of towels and empty boxes, because kids back then actually had to use their imagination.  My mom pops up off her chair where she’s been reading the newspaper all morning.  I hear shuffling and banging and running water.  After about (what I can only estimate after all these years) has been about 15 minutes, I go off in search of her.

Me:  Mom?  Do you want me to do anything?
Mom:  No . . . no . . .

After another bit of time, I follow the huffing, puffing, and sighing until I find my mom again.

Me:  Are we having company?
Mom:  No.  Uh-uh.
Me:  Why are you cleaning?
Mom:  Because it needs to get done.
Me:  Do you want help?
Mom:  Do you see anything that needs to be clean?
Me:  No.
Mom:  Well, then, I guess not.

No longer feeling comfortable playing with my toys, I begin to pick them up.  When I get everything put away, I go back and tell my mom I cleaned up my toys and ask if there is anything else she wants done.

Mom:  Well, you sure know when to ask.  I’m all done now.

This is a story we would laugh about in later years, but the residue may not have worn away even yet.  I know she was teaching me how to take initiative, and it probably worked for the most part.  But to this day I am a person who needs structure and straightforwardness.  I’m not sure if the chicken or egg came first there, but for the most part I’d say children need structure.

As a teen, I asked to apply for work, but was not allowed to do so.  Their reasoning was that I had everything I needed.  I should leave the jobs for kids who actually had to pay for their own clothes, cars, or school lunch.  I had a wonderful childhood, and indeed had everything a kid could dream of.  This is the space where most people insert the label “spoiled.”

I’ve gone out of my way in my writings not to speak ill of those I love.  And I don’t mean to do so here.  However, I will say that the single best thing they could have done for me is to let me get a job when I asked about it.  I think it might have changed the course of my life.  But then I feel guilty about wishing things might have turned out differently.  Of course I do.

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Me with my first child, the second on the way.

I grew up in a home that spoke of business around the kitchen table.  It was well-known that my parents valued honest hard work.  Their identities were very wrapped up in their business and the reward it gave them.  Yet, they were blind to the fact that they were denying me the same reward.    It wasn’t until I had children of my own that I felt truly needed.  It’s no wonder I went on to have three more after the first.  I thrived on the responsibility.  I became very involved in my children’s school, and in Scouting.  In effect, they were the job I never had.  I’m not sure if they would say that was a good thing or a bad thing.  Most likely some of both.

By the time I was old enough to get a job — and by that I mean my kids were becoming more independent — I sampled several different environments.  I was a cashier, a teacher’s assistant, and a server for a caterer.  I quickly learned what I had missed.  With the support of my family, I started a full-time career, and learned I am every bit the workaholic that my dad was.  I get my identity from good honest work.  I value people with a good work ethic.  I am passionate about service to others.

So maybe I learned guilt at my mother’s knee.  Maybe I’m naturally a person who feels guilty sitting while others are actively employed.  Or perhaps I should just repent and join the Catholics.  Maybe what makes us US is something we will never truly figure out.

As I keep telling my kids, you can’t blame everything on your parents.

Peace . . .


Scut Farkus for President

I’m not one to get up on a soapbox when it comes to politics.  One politician is, in my humble opinion, as bad or good as the next.  However, I feel the time has come for me to bring to light something that has been glaringly overlooked.  The closest thing I have to a soapbox is my bottle of liquid detergent, so without further adieu, let me begin.

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Donald R. Trump is not a politician.  He is the neighborhood bully you wouldn’t have voted into class presidency.  He is a spoiled, egocentric, tyrant who never received the good whooping he had coming to him.  In fact, I have indisputable evidence that he is Scut Farkus from A Christmas Story, all growA-Christmas-Story-1983n up and running for president.

Please tell me you’ve seen the holiday movie A Christmas Story.  It’s the classic tale of a nine-year old boy who wants only one thing for Christmas — A Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle.

So who is Scut Farkus, and why am I telling you this story when there are still 292 days until Christmas?  Scut Farkus is the little shit bully who torments our protagonist, Ralphie Parker.  And I’m claiming Farkus grew up, changed his name to Trump, and is now running for the presidency of the United States of America.  By the time you’re done reading this, I think you’ll be convinced as well.

When we meet Scut Farkus, he’s cornering Ralphie and his two buddies, Flick and Schwartz, along with Ralphie’s little brother Randy in an alley.  Farkus lets out an evil laugh.  The narrator, adult Ralphie says,

“There he stood, between us and the alley. Scut Farkus staring out at us with his yellow eyes. He had yellow eyes! SO HELP ME GOD, YELLOW EYES!!”  

The boys run to escape, but are cut short by Grover Dill, Scut’s crummy little toady.  Every bully needs a toady to do his dirty work.  Bullies don’t typically have the grit for it, and dare I say, neither does Trump.

I’ve seen a lot of comparisons of Trump to Mussolini or even Hitler.  One included a who-said-it game, and I thought that might be valuable here.  Unfortunately, Farkus didn’t say much in this movie, so this isn’t a long game, but let’s see if you can play along.

WHO SAID IT — TRUMP OR FARKUS?

  1. Listen, jerk.  When I tell you to come, you better come.
  2. I don’t like losers.
  3. I’m not doing that to brag. Because you know what, I don’t have to brag.
  4. What?  Are you gonna cry now?  Come on crybaby, cry for me.
  5. She’s a fat pig.

Scroll to the bottom for the answers.

The narrator goes on to tell us, “In our world, you were either a bully, a toady, or one of the nameless rabble of victims!”  Yet, Ralphie proves he is none of these when, finally, he is pushed to his breaking point.  His hot tears turn to rage and he rams into Trump . . . er, I mean . . . Farkus, and knocks him to the ground.  Ralphie pummels the bully to a bloody pulp, while his toady, Dill, runs home to his Dad.

If Trump ends up being our Republican candidate, which it looks like he will, I can’t wait to see who his crummy little toady is, but I’ll bet he was once known as Grover Dill.  You’ll know him by the way his lips curl over his green teeth.

If you’re still considering voting for Trump, please check out these common traits of bullies:

  • Are often strong
  • May or may not be popular with their peers
  • Have trouble following the rules
  • Show little concern for the feelings of others
  • Think highly of themselves
  • Often a sign that a person has not learned to control his or her aggression

Does this sound like a certain Republican you know?  Is this the person you want leading the United States of America?

This year you will have the choice to be a toady or one of a nameless rabble of victims.  Or will you finally reach your breaking point, march into the election booth, and pummel this bully with your vote?

Lest you still harbor uncertainty for the likelihood of Scut Farkus having grown up to run as Donald Trump, I ask you to examine the uncanny resemblance.

When I’m right, I’m right.

Who said it — Trump or Farkus?

  1. Farkus
  2. Trump
  3. Trump
  4. Farkus
  5. Trump – Even Farkus wasn’t that mean.

How’d you do?

Peace . . .

 

 

 


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