Gut or God? Executives give the credit to….

It’s 1 in the morning, the dead hour where I usually stop writing (or tonight, when it happens to be the pain pills have worn off my surgery Monday) and the time when I can actually go to sleep. I frit around with the layout, usually pilfering a quote someone has recently told me, and post my latest purchase (my latest spend was on a 12 dollar organic lip balm from France. I happened to b
e desperate an in pain, and was willing to pay anything to address my cracked lips while waiting for my prescription to be filled).

At this time of day–or really morning–my mind swirls through the misty hazes of comments made to me from complete strangers. it so happens that I’ve been working on a new business book that delves into why some people succeed where others with a better college degree or background fail. It’s always a joy to listen to individuals share their trials and pains, their triumphs and trophies in single sentence sound bites. They assume that I’m your standard, pain-in-the-butt writer that has not time for long stories, and I assume they are never going to stop talking. We are usually both wrong. I want all the gory details of an experience and once the interviewee knows this, the details float in the air like pollen on a summers day.

A trend I’ve noticed is these men and women talk about the role their “gut” has played in their lives. I dig deeper.

“Is it inspiration you are talking about?” Yes, some answer. Enlightenment is another common response, “like Steve Jobs without the boring black turtleneck,” was one CEO of a Fortune 500 firm  who I shall keep anonymous until the book is published. Yet I’m a curious being, and I continue my line of questioning. “Is it internal, and self driven gut or inspiration, or is it external, a thought or notion from something else?”

I don’t have to mention God. Diety. Buddha. T
his is almost always offered up by the person I’m speaking with, and you know what? It’s rare that a person under the age of 50 is willing to give any credit or credence to the ‘external force,’ whereas those of the older generation (e.g. 50 and above) frankly acknowledge that their wisdom or inspiration is divinely sourced, like its a matter of pride and not to be ashamed of.

During an interview, I type verbatim, asking for clarification here or a exploring a point there. I don’t ponder the words being said until later–like now. All twenty-three individuals who I’ve interviewed thus far, have essentially said that gut is only “God’s way of disguising his involvement.’ In other words, letting me think I did it all myself. At least, that’s what my gut is telling me.

The way it should be

Wouldn’t it be grand if animals came towards humans rather than running from us? Clearly, it takes a desperate animal to purposefully approach a man, but it happened.

Tom Satre told the Sitka Gazette that he was out with a charter group on his 62 foot fishing vessel when four juvenile black-tailed deer swam directly toward his boat.



“Once the deer reached the boat, the four began to circle the boat, looking directly at us. We could tell right away that the young bucks were distressed. I opened up my back gate and we helped the typically skittish and absolutely wild animals onto the boat. In all my years fishing, I’ve never seen anything quite like it! Once on board, they collapsed with exhaustion, shivering.”

“This is a picture I took of the rescued bucks on the back of my boat, the Alaska Quest. We headed for Taku Harbour. Once we reached the dock, the first buck that we had pulled from the water hopped into the dock and looked back as if to say “thank you” and disappeared into the forest. After a bit of prodding and assistance, two more followed, but the smallest deer need a little help.”

“My daughter, Anna, and son Tim, helped the last buck to its feet. We didn’t know how long they had been in the icy waters or if there had been others who did not survive. My daughter later told me that the experience was something she would never forget, and I suspect the deer felt the same way.”


Dark circle remedies and wisdom, a natural combo

A few things on my mind.

Dark circles. Did you know that this is easily solved by using hemorrhoid crème and witch hazel pads? Conjures gross images of pustules on the butt, I know. But seriously, I was told this by a dermatologist friend who said it’s the most effect, cheapest and best kept secret. I used it. Works. Husband uses both all the time (one or two swipes under the eyes and walla). (put this in the tips and tricks section of this blog. I sometimes forget it’s there myself). Other home remedies exist as well.

Wisdom never retires. That’s my own phrase. I was interviewing a guy that used to run half of the country for the largest consulting firm in the world. He’s been “out of the game” for 11 years and didn’t know if he had much to contribute to my latest book. I told him that “wisdom never retires,” and then asked him what he defined as ‘retired.’

“I sit on the board of X company, and advise Y company, and I sit on the board of the Seattle Art Museum…” and then he listed off two other mentoring jobs and I told him “stop.”

“That’s what I’m talking about. Successful people don’t retire. They don’t just wake up one day and stop contributing. They keep going.”

Another gem of his? When we were talking about community service, he said too many people “sign up on a list and don’t contribute.” He went on to say that contributed means being involved to the degree that it’s making a difference in people’s lives. “Will they look back on you and say ‘that person made a difference in my life?’

“If they can’t say you made a difference in my life, then you haven’t contributed.”

Girls. Get your jewels On

The most useful gift of Christmas, then
helps make all of my other non-useful gifts sparkle
(ok. glasses are useful)

The illustrious She didn’t need to remind me that I’d not written a blog on exercise in two months. It’s self evident. The only exercise I’ve gotten in that time (since I’m she of the broken bones) is that I fell down the stairs today. Yes. You read that right. It was at about 8:30 pm, Rog was at a hockey game, I fed the girls, who were scampering off to bed whilst yelling at each other, I lumbered down our stairs on my crutches and lo, they caught on our bloody metal stoppers that are intended to…stop you from slipping.

Oh. the irony in my life. So it is that I now have a busted up bursa bag on my left leg (I’m so Daniel Day Lewis. Left ankle. Left foot. Left knee. Where’s my Oscar?), and then I thought of another type of blog I haven’t written, which is something fun and girly.

This blog is fun and girly, but it should be read by men as well, for this is the gift that will make both sexes happy. It is the Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner that LO, also cleans DVDs. So the entire family can use this thing.

A few things. It’s inexpensive. At sub-$50 US, it’s a steal. It’s also versatile. As you can see from the pic, it has a tray for rings, a ‘bridge’ that you can use for your watches and a stand for the DVDs.

What I love about this device.

It’s relatively compact. It’s also easy to use, with timers and settings for different types of items, such as rings or watches or DVDs. Press a button, go on your way, return in 1, 2 or 3 minutes. Love that. What I love the most is that it makes my rings and watches look brand spanking new. Obviously it doesn’t remove scratches from a watch band-that takes buffing, but the rings and necklaces–wow. I only wish this came in a model for stainless steel stuff or sterling. Now that would be fantastic.

I also love this gift because it’s amazing for year round. Mother’s Day. Valentines. He buys it for you. You buy it for him. Whatever. It’s gender neutral!

Tip #1: it uses water, but if your water includes heavy metal (like calcium, which is in a lot of wells or areas in Arizona-even filtered) then use bottled water, or filtered water from your fridge. Trust me, it makes a difference.

Tip #2. Use Dawn dish soap. I know this sounds a bit crazy, but I spoke with my jeweler about this. They have an ultrasonic at the jewelry store (most/all do) and you know what they include? DAWN!!! According to him, (and the Illustrious She, who used to work at one as well), the Dawn gets off the grime in no time.

My rating and review? 4.5 stars. I want my all-in-one version for sterling next. Oh, and I wouldn’t mind one in a flashy red, neon green or sea blue. that would be cool. Black for a man would also be optimal (Brookstone, are you listening??)

Don’t Kill me…Yet

“Tell me when your leg heals,” Lucas politely requests. Why, I’m thinking, because you’re going to send me on the next exotic film location? “Because I’m gonna put out a hit on you. You’ve never been so productive.”

Ge-ross. Can I just have a nice, robust
woman w/some curves so I don’t have to
look at a dude’s dude?

Nice. (Note to self: this is what broken bones get you. more work, not less).

So here I am, taking a random break, which is not so random, according to the latest Internet statistics. Did you know that most of us lackies stop at noon, three in the afternoon then 11 pm at night to surf and generally waste time, and that there being addicted to the Internet is now classified as a addiction disorder? True story.  Empowered with this information, I’ve jumped from my non-Catholic self guilt and self-loathing to feeling down right normal.

I’ve spent the entire morning on the phone with my literary agent out of New York, who told me I have not one, but three books on my hands, and I have to figure that out (translation; make your existing shorter, backfill for the other two). Then he told me I have to cut 50 pages out of my current fiction book, and if I can’t figure out a way to do that, I will have to pay $100/hour for a “strategic editor” to chop for me. That’s like telling a southern cook to lay off the butter. Who can do that, really?

Then as I’m transitioning from the call with him (his name is Peter by the way. A former London-based fleet-street reporter turned bestselling author, Columbia school professor and concurrent literary agent, who, by the way, is married to an opera singer and plays jazz professional in his spare time), I’m waiting to get on the phone with a former CEO of a global 500 firm.

what I need to cleanse my
brain: happy-time fizzy water.
calorie free and no bulges in the
wrong spots

What do I do? I surf the Internet. What do I find? Well, this horrid photo assaulted my sense, for it literally jumped out at me from the website and I almost swallowed my tongue. Do you see what I’m seeing, or was I in a particularly bad place?  You know, my brother always liked big girls (he called them Romanesque, but let me tell you, he liked them nice and fleshy) and after being mentally scarred with this image, no wonder. Who wants to see a skinny white chick with what looks like a mans package?! I may never recover.

So I had to wash my brain with a quick prayer and a bottle of Perrier before I could ask a 77 yr giant of business his best words of wisdom. I have to save some for the book, but he told me that he was acclaimed for his ability to “read people quickly,” …”be decisive.”

Sure, I want to be a part of the next generation of leaders, so I’m going to take his advice and be more decisive than I already think I am. Next time Lucas (or anyone) tells me he wants to put a hit on me, I’ll decisively tell him not to kill me…yet. I’ve got things to do, like surfing the Internet.

New Year Non-Resolutions

Can we exhale a collective sigh now that the first few days of resolution-making-and-breaking is past? Seriously. The time between Christmas and New Year’s is nothing more than a bloaty, farty five day period of self loathing..or is it just me, and did share a bit too much information?

Lets all have an 80’s revival shall we?

So it is that I have put the Ki-Bosh on the resolution making insanity. I think there is a better approach.

1. Don’t make a resolution. Set a GOAL. Goals have a start and an end point, like a race. The gun bangs, one runs over the finish line. The end. Goal accomplished. Resolutions are lame…and ambiguous. I had a 15 year resolution to lose the extra 15 pounds. It didn’t happen until my brother died. Then my body did the job for me. I suck. I should have set a goal and actually done it.

2. Use the reverse-psychology approach to achieving your goal. Tell yourself the exact opposite of what you really want, and then more than likely, you’ll hit your target. Case in point: me. Back in the day (and I’m talking, way back) I’d say, I’m going to go carb-free, (e.g. give up bread and potatoes).

What do you know, pretty soon I’m mowing down toast with butter and jam morning, noon and night because I was already feeling deprived. Now I say “self, I can have the entire fresh-baked loaf of homemade bread anytime I want.” And since I’ve given myself permission, I have no desire. I know. I’m messed up, but I don’t have time for shrinks, and besides, I’d rather go buy myself another ring with the money I save.

3. Try the non-resolution-resolution. NIKE taught me all I know about getting what I want and it was this:

Don’t think. Don’t pontificate. Just do it. Ignore Oprah’s advice and that of “The Secret” to ‘put it out there’ (by verbalizing our intent). Forget. That. NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR IT, shouting or otherwise. Stop talking about running the marathon. Just train, finish the race and then tell people (along with your sticker as proof for the disbelieving).

I’m so happy that I’ve followed my own advice because I really didn’t want to write this blog, but then I set a goal to start at the new year, gave myself permission to delay it until the 5th, and then as I crawled into bed, I opened my laptop, bypassed my email and cranked this out.

Whew. I feel so much better. I just nailed my first new years non-resolution.

Reclaim an hour of your life each day: Get this robot. The Roomba 5-star Review

It doesn’t matter how many times me, my husband sweep the floors and vacuum,  we can’t keep up with the daily dirt and grime that comes with three kids, two adults and two animals going in and out of the house.

Offender #1. White cat + dark floors=
Roomba heaven

The day or reckoning occurred as most things do in our house; with a marital spat about how often we clean the floors and how often we need “reinforcements.” As a bit of context, our cleaning people (a lovely pair of 2) have come every other week for 5 years. For this, we have paid $245 per time, and it takes them 2.5-3 hour. Not bad. But let me be clear. We aren’t spoiled. No. We “clean” daily. We don’t have a lot of clutter. We vacuum daily and sweep after every meal (and many times in between).

But here’s the deal. My husband’s version of “clean,” equates to using a toothbrush on the sink faucets (I’m not kidding you either. You think this happens only in movies. Nope. It’s my life).  My version of clean stops at the disinfectant and the dishrag  after every use, and mopping once a week. But then, what do you expect from a “hobbiest” how takes apart his Porsche engine for fun and flies planes because it’s faster than driving. He’s slightly anal. I think I’m the normal American wife. I have a job. I cook. I clean. I do my own laundry (the notion of cleaning people seeing our underwear is likewise gross). But I digress.

Can you tell where the Roomba is hiding?

Thus it was, after 10 years of marriage, I drew the line. Or rather, I handed back the toothbrush and said “have at it.” The following day, he comes home from Costcowith a big box with green packaging. It was a Roomba by iRobot. The invention that has saved me hours of daily cleaning and nearly saved my marriage (ok, maybe saved a daily fight or two over the indoor animals).

“This is how much I value our marriage.” He shows me the Roomba product. I’m unimpressed. I’m not down with a Rover-like machine that looks more comfortable on Mars, and certainly and weirded-out and skeptical when he tells me it “learns the house,” thereby memorizing the furniture. Anything that learns better than I do is far too Matrix-meets-Terminator of artificial intelligence.
A different photo. Right behind the piano

Nonetheless, he’s believed the marketing and packaging hype enough to spend $300 on the thing. As a refresher, Rog spent years at Microsoft as a product manager before moving up and eventually running three businesses totaling $1.2B in revenue. I spent years as a product manager, before skipping to partnerships and business development (where I could do deals that allowed the products to be sold). We are marketing people by nature and background, thus, the truism is…true. We love to be marketed to. Just don’t market to us with a crappy product. Do it with a good product, and we are yours for life.

The review

First, the terrain.

Mixed flooring with multiple transitions and stairs. We have angled transitions from wood as well as a flat, but raised, transitions. Multiple oriental rugs with different materials (some with tassles, others not) as well as rugs in the kitchen that have intentionally frayed edges. Also have invisible stairs and couches of different heights. Main floor square footprint: 2,500. Top floor is all wood, multiple rugs, two transitions to marble, footprint is 1100. Bottom floor, all carpet, two step up/down transitions but only about 1 inch. Footprint: 1100.

What happened

The Roomba got plugged in. It charged. Roger programmed it for the time of the day for 9 am. It came out on the mark, and we watched as this foreign-looking thing whirled around and got familiar with its new home.

On the stairs. It stopped on the smooth edge, and didn’t go over. That was good. On the other edge (below our floating stairs), where we have a slight lip, it got confused (or so we thought). What we hypothesize occurred was it started to go over the lip and then knew it was going to suffer a sudden and immediate death by robotic suicide and changed its mind. However, when that happened, it couldn’t recover. We had to reset it.

In the kitchen. It worked as advertised. I give it a 4.5/5. It couldn’t get in the wee-corners because it’s round (not sure if longer whisks would help or not). On the upside, it proved itself superior to other devices we own, having no problem on the uneven slate, which is fantastic, because I’ve had 3 different electronic vacuums (Electrolux to name just one) that weren’t as good. By this, I mean that some items get flipped by the whisk and do no more than bounce across the surface. Not so with the Roomba. It comes. It whirls. It leaves a clean floor underneath.
Bar stools. We have four bar stools in the kitchen. It goes under, picks up and around, but unless the stools are pulled out, it misses the 2 inches between the front two legs and the wall. It can help itself. It does not, as yet, have the ability to fold space and time (Dune reference) and get between.

Rog didn’t say “merry Christmas.” No. He skipped right over
that and said “Look at this. You HAVE to blog about
this. Right now.” That’s a believer. (note: Roomba
product managers: you deserve a bonus in 2013). 
On the rugs. It loves rugs. It devours everything. And I do mean everything. Poor tassles. They are clean, but a little worse for the wear. If I were my mom, I’d have one of those Persian-rug tassle rakes to use after its been one-overed by the Roomba, but I’m not that crazy. (Besides, who sells those things anyway?). And we have another rug that is frayed at the edge, and one of us is too cheap to get it fixed. So the Roomba isn’t helping things by continuing the damage. That said, it’s not the Roomba’s fault. At least it’s clean.

In one hour, the Roomba picked up so much gunk (that would be the technical word for disgusting hair, dirt and filth), both rog and I were a little sick. We always thought we had clean floors (I really do take the Electrolux around the house once or twice a day no matter what). Further—this was the day AFTER we had the cleaning people. Goes to show what a house of 5 people and 2 animals will do to a floor.

“If it can do this for the main floor, think of upstairs!” Rog told me. The next day, he was back at Costco for another. My brother recently built a 6,000 square foot home in Vegas, and my sister told his wife all about what the Roomba could do with her floors , and all the time she could get back for herself (because all she was doing while we were there was running around behind everyone, sweeping). She too, was skeptical, but after hearing my sister rave about ours (she’d witnessed it’s magic first-hand), she went out and ordered 2. One for upstairs and another for downstairs. She also bought the infared device on my recommendation.

My biggest (and only) complaint is actually a product marketer’s dilemma. The height goes up and down, as it should, in order to get up and over objects. However, it constantly gets stuck under our bed, which is atop another Persian rug. So we suspect what happens is that it lifts itself up to get over the rug, but then can’t go down fast enough to make it under the bed. This doesn’t happen under our couches downstairs, nor even under a chaise lounge that’s in the bedroom. In both those scenarios, the edge of the rug is at least a foot away from the start of the couch/chaise lounge. On our bed, where it’s getting stuck, the edge is only 2-3 inches. (As you can see, we are giving the Roomba the benefit of the doubt, like a scorned lover who’s in denial, already making excuses).

Tip 1: Purchase the infa-red device. We put ours by the stairs. The invisible light is Roomba-suicide prevention.

Tip 2: Pick up underwear or strings before the Roomba starts. It has a taste for my iphone cord It ripped it to shreds (clearly, it’s an Android fan), but with a little ducktape and a blessing, it worked. Thankfully.

Tip 3: If you have 2 floors, save yourself the gas money. Buck it up and buy 2.

Overall product review: 5 stars. I have faith that the product managers (who are of course, brilliant), will fix the up and down issue, since I can’t be the only customer that suffers from the incessant getting-stuck-under-the-bed thing.

Pain for the Divine Purpose of Inspiration

  • If I hadn’t been for my broken ankle, I wouldn’t have started my latest fiction book.
  • If I hadn’t been for my broken ankle, I wouldn’t have launched my latest company,, with the two partners (& former clients) that have had many discussions w/me to do so.
  • If I hadn’t broken my ankle, I wouldn’t have listened to Jim (one of the partners above) and gotten off the time for my 3rd biz book, created the interview sheets, sent it out to a select few of my biz friends, and gotten the likes of Stevie Wonder’s former manager, the VP of a global consulting firm and several billionaires who have great stories to share
  • stage 1- fusion therapy
  • Had I not been completely helpless around the house, I never would have known that my youngest daughter at nearly four, could still take a nap, and furthermore, be self-trained to go downstairs, crawl in bed, cover up and not get out until after she’d slept…all due to Rog’s commando-like style of “encouragement.”

Before you think this has been the easy road to enlightenment, let me clarify. It’s been nothing but three weeks of hell followed by one week of goodness with family over Thanksgiving, which means I was still in my inner purgatory, but at least had good food, which brightened things up again.

24/7 pain for 3 weeks solid was one thing. Worse than that…far worse, was being trapped in my own body, unable to be active, to get away from myself, to occupy my time and my life with things that I cared about. Initially, that meant I couldn’t take care of the family- husband, kids, dog or cat. I didn’t realize how much personal uplift doing for others, including the four-legged kind, lifts me up. With that stripped, I turned my thoughts and angst toward my career. That too, was gone. No meetings. No calls (calls on drugs does not a productive call make). The absence of the flow of ego-enhancing activity was like the water being shut off mid-shower. The final area of enjoyment is my hobby, which is like a second career anyway, and that’s writing. But I wasn’t feeling it. No plots. No interest. No output.

I had nothing to do but contemplate why God was giving me…nothing to do. The forced quiet, and I do mean forced, was the equivalent of being put in a room full of meditating yogis. I was unable to “do” much except be quiet–mentally–and in case you haven’t yet figured it out, that’s not an easy thing for me to do.

Yet do it, I did. I read. I contemplated without “thinking” of a new project or stressing out old ones. I just tried to be still, just like the books and magazine articles and self-help gurus counsel. It took the last two weeks (because I was too busy being pissed off to count the first three weeks), and then a subtle change occurred.

I started being inspired. Not motivated, but inspired. The idea of starting a business that me and my two former clients/friends and now partners, had always talked about came to me.

Rog trying to find out how much these machines cost

“Why not?” I asked myself, when the idea appeared out of nowhere as I was on my couch. “All of our work is just sitting here, in our computers, waiting to be used by others. After all” I continued, “zero plus zero equals zero. We might as well make money in our sleep if we can.” I said as much to my guys, they agreed, I offered to create a website, and within 24 hours the new business was launched.

“Can’t you just take the next month off and relax?” Roger asked me, exasperated when I told him about the launch. “No, I take that back. You don’t know how.” I clarified that this wasn’t doing for the sake of doing. It was inspiration, and once up, it could really take care of itself with only a few hours of effort a week. Rog didn’t comment. He just shook his head, but later told me he wasn’t going to argue, because it was better than having me angry.

A week and a half later, I called Jim up to talk about the site, and he just said to me “Sarah, you need to write it all down in a book we can read.” That book, he suggested, should focus on why some people with the right background, best schools and skill sets aren’t always as successful as peers who lack training, education and connections. He’d mentioned this before, and I essentially ignored him. This time around, I didn’t. Something clicked. Why not? I asked myself. What else have I got to do?.

Present stage: typing from the bed, watching
80’s movies on Amazon prime while I type

The next morning I woke and created an interview sheet with the types of questions I’d like to see answered in a book. I sent it off to a few people in my network, a couple CEOs of global 50 firms, and entrepreneurs. I got the written replies back, along with an amazing list of others who they suggested I contact, with appropriate introductions. (I didn’t tell Rog about this for a few days. I didn’t want him to think I was ready to start cooking again). I finally wrote an email to my literary agent in New York. He tried not to freak out that I wasn’t concentrating on my fiction work (where I’m behind on my latest work) but then he saw my interviewee list and his opportunistic reasoning took over.

“This might really have some legs,” he wrote back. “Lets talk next week,” which, for an agent in NY, is the equivalent of God telling Moses to come back up the mountain for a second set of tablets.

Then last night at nine pm, I go the clear and distinct impression–no, I’d call this a demand notice– to start writing a new novel that’s been spinning around in the back of my mind for several years. Don’t ask me ‘why now, why this time?’ because I don’t know. What I do know is that when a writing project is meant to be, it flows. It’s not hard or choppy. It just comes, like a basketball player whne he’s having an ‘on’ night versus an ‘off’ night. It’s that simple. I stayed up till 3 writing. Today, when the family left for a movie, I got back on, and wrote for another 6 hours. I’m only taking a break to write this out, because it will be 5 weeks on Monday, and in three ways, I have a whole new beginning that I never could have imagined prior to my “accident.”

Going forward, I’m going think about the purpose behind our little ‘accidents’ that drop us down on our knees and take us out of commission for a while, because I’m now convinced that sometimes, it’s the only way to receive inspiration, and I think that’s divine.

Stay outta my way, I’m going in for the kill

Holiday’s mean two things for me. Family and Food. They go together, like chips and dip, Harold and Maude and Ben and Jerry’s. My triggers are going to kick in like a starving lion in the Serengeti that sees a lame wildebeest and I’m going to take off, launching my hind quarters with the force of Apollo, my arms reaching and extending for mom’s orange rolls, doing an airborne batman across the kitchen floor, collapsing time and space as I attempt to take the hottest and biggest one possible.

All this flashes through my mind when I’m at the manicurist today, having been dropped off by a friend (since I can’t drive for another 5 weeks), and while I sit there, thinking how ridiculous it is that I even care about my nails when I’m sporting a plastic, knee-high boot on my left leg on crutches.

“You lost weight,” says Monique, the Vietnamese gal working on my nails, her broken English heavily accented, at odds with the music and surroundings of the spa, which is about as European as you can get. No loud music and talking here, and I’d already gone into my Serengeti zone.

Stay outta my way man-
those orange rolls have my name
written on them

“I can’t cook,” I respond, which is true, and belatedly thank her, remembering how Rog had told me for the ten-thousandth time that I’m terrible at accepting compliments, but what am I going to say? I can’t hover in the kitchen and make food because it hurts, it’s time consuming, and frankly, I’d rather just throw down a few almonds and call it a day?

“What you gonna eat for Thanksgiving?” I tell her the usual. She then tells me that her whole family comes over and they have the “traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Like Americans!” she say
s proudly. I stop for a moment, struck by the purity and sincerity of the compliment that is all for America, and on this side note, it was awesome, for it reinforced that someone in this country still thinks this country is great. Ironically, an immigrant, who’d come here looking for a better life and she got it. (Not sure if I ever blogged about Monique, but 3 years ago when I first met her, she told me about her journey here, how she’d grown up with wooden shoes that cracked her feet and one pair of pants…she took a boat to come to America, gotten robbed and raped on the way, but landed, got a job, found a man who loves her, got married and had three kids. She is so happy to be here…as she said, “look at me! I work in this beautiful place. I have beautiful clothes.” Talk about gratitude. I could (and do) learn something from a woman like her.

 “But you gonna eat?” she asks me again, giving me another compliment that I accept with a bit more dignity this time around. I think of my mom’s orange rolls. I think of the lame wildebeest and me lunging through the air, knocking down my siblings and probably stepping on a niece or two in the process. I give her a one-word answer.


Shameless dinner invites

This was the Trudinator (aka Trudie) being my
couch-buddy a I attempted to decorate the hosue

My mom taught me right about not inviting myself over to dinner, and she’d be happy to know that her training took, right up until the point I got desperate. Granted, it was a good 30 yrs after I left her home, but still, like a California redwood that finally keel over, my inner core of decorum and etiquette cracked at the center, struck by the lightening bold of hunger.

“Let me know if you need anything,” was the polite, if half-hearted offer from a n
eighbor and fellow church-goer who had come over today to help me put up my Christmas decorations. (Yes, I know it’s before Thanksgiving, and Yes, I know this makes

me evil. But in my defense, my family is out of town, I am a one-legged gimp and my husband has gone full Jehova’s Witness on me by not wanting to put up Christmas if I can’t do it myself- something to do with ‘strange people’ coming in the house when he’s not gone. If that’s not eccentric, I don’t know what is, and he’s only 44, but whatever. So I waited until the day after he left w/the girls, called my friends and the hustled over to put up the tree and lights so when Rog and the girls return, they can all be surprised….but back to my story).

I thought about the offer and at first, gave the instant expression of appreciation with a “I’m good.” Not long after she left, I had a hunger pang.

Knowing my look, when it’s my turn to host, this is
what will happen

“I got it!” I texted my friend. “What I’d really like is to come over for dinner in December when your kitchen is done. I love your food. I love your company and I’d love to see your house!”

Do you see how sleezy that was? A shameless dinner invitation smothered in flattery..which, btw, is true. She IS a great cook. She DOES have a great house that’s she’s remodeled and her new kitchen kicks some fanny. Who wouldn’t want to go over. The only card I have right now is the sympathy one, and it’s not going to last long.

“You got it!” she texted back, and we have a date set in December. I can’t wait. I’m thrilled. I’m a bit embarrassed because all those years of good breeding from my mom were washing down the toilet in a single moment of unabashed shamelessness. Still, I’m going to get a great meal out of it, and know that the universal law of Karma is going to come around, and sometime, when I least expect it and someone else most needs it, I’m going to be on the receiving end of a shameless dinner invite, and I’m going to say “You got it!”

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