Stop pulling my hair

It’s an odd thing, living in Idaho. No where else can I attend a hockey game and have a relative stranger tug my hair. I’m serious. Actually reach out and give my hair tug, like it’s not real.

“Are these extensions?” she asks.

Before I can give an audible reply, I somewhat automatically pull away, but it’s hard. She’s sitting right next to me. I do the next best thing; I attempt to show some grace by laughing it off.

“Yes, as you can probably tell by now,” I say, expecting her to stop pulling. Instead, she moves her hand a little deeper into my hair.

At this point, I’m having an out of body experience. I mean, over the years, I’ve been told I’m rather intimidating, on the phone or in person. Here, in a hockey rink, watching my husband play and with my two girls, I’m suddenly like the pregnant woman who has unwanted foreign fingers touching her belly.

But back to the hair. I realize that my look of “get your hands out of my hair,” is not doing the trick, and I physically take her hand, hold it still and lift up my hair to the roots.

“See? No glue ons.”

Here again, I expect this to suffice. Nope. I must explain the concept of glue ons to this gal, who has a profession that will not be named, but rest assure you, it took an undergrad and graduate degree to get her where she is today, thereby confirming that not all book smart people are street smart, or have class.

All this to say I’m still a bit unsettled by the whole experience, two days later. I like to say it’s a North Idaho thing, where people have no filter, and no sense of boundaries. At least that’s the way I justify these types of situations, which are becoming more normal, not less so (the last time this happened I had a woman at a checkout counter peer at my face, and specifically my eyelashes. Thanks mom and dad. You gave me great eyelashes).

Rog says this is our new normal. Blunt of question and freedom to feel and touch as one chooses. Come visit, if you’d like. Just make sure those extensions are glued in and on real tight.

The Safe Friend

It was 1:30 in the morning.

“Can you talk?” My friend asks me. Well, I’d answered the phone I think to myself.

When someone calls at 1:30 a.m., they don’t want to hear me talk. They want to talk. They need to talk.

“Of course. What’s up?”

“You are never going to believe…” she starts, telling me about the trainwreck that has become her life. I put my hand to my mouth, close my eyes, ignore the wave of judgment that passes through me and think of the right words to say to the person who has said these things to me more than once.

“That must be have been hard,” I say.

Friendship is like the sun thawing an emotional chill.

“Yes!” my friend wails. I keep going, saying phrases designed to help my friend get her emotions out. It’s what my mom (a shrink) did with us around the dining room table after school. Of course, we had no idea we were being shrunk out. We just felt understood, heard and validated.

“Let it out,” I tell my friend, all the while thinking I was a safe environment, and that’s what friends need: a safe environment to emote. Friends aren’t always looking for advice. That’s what spouses are for (wanted or not). Friends want compassion. A listening, non-judgmental ear that is all for them and no one else. Taking sides isn’t even a question.

Here’s a few affirming statements I learned from mom. For a:

  • Breakup…..”It sounds like it really hurt you….” (“Yes!”)
  • Loss of a job…”That must have been discouraging…” (“It was!!”)
  • Rejection…. “It’s like it’s never going to get better…” …. (“That’s right!!”)

So my friend continued like a young child, until she finally got it all out, her energy spent. The dark fumes of hurt, anger, anxiety gone. She then cried again, but this time happy, relieved and able to sleep. The gift of a safe spot for a friend the only thing I could offer but precisely what she needed.

Need an Upper? Everybody does

Before you throw in the figurative or literal towel on your relationship, try this. Start the day by recalling as many items that fall in to the category of grateful. ‘What’s the point’ you ask, of reciting items of gratitude. Let me tell you. It begets a certain amount of appreciation. Here’s how my list went..I am grateful:

  • I have a home (the recent Occupy Seattle-whatever-space-is-available protests depict folks living in tents)
  • It has clean toilet seats (did you see today’s data of public toilet seats? Mom always did know best)
  • My kids are healthy

Clean fannies and a roof aside, I was still a grump. I kept going, thinking about a story from a few years ago.

would you do this?

would you do this?

  • I was able to have healthy children and live. (see photo and caption)
  • We weren’t robbed a few months back like our neighbor four doors down. Side note-Our quiet little row of 16 homes on a hill is nary a stones throw from the local Sherriff’s office. Of course, had they tried to pry open the gate,  Rog was home alone, w/our pitpull and the guns were loaded (interestingly I’d just asked him to clean them yesterday). I feel badly for our neighbors, who had their door busted open and every bit of portable goods, including cash and jewelry, were taken. 45 yrs of acquired goods gone. This is potentially the only upside of our home with a street view–it makes it a bit harder for theives trying to jump the fence (their home was down a curved road and completely out of view from the street.
  • We haven’t had a natural disaster, drought or a heat wave, thereby giving us enough water and electricity.
  • The large rock that rolled down from our pond didn’t hit our driveway (whew)

I could go on, (and I did, for about another five minutes). It didn’t take long for me to raise my thick head out of the ground, have a whole new perspective and say ‘wow, I really am very, very blessed.’ All in under five minutes. The grey on my day turned to a much nicer, warmer color.

My mom refers to incidences where we are saved from irritations large and small as life’s tender mercies. The cynic in me refers to them as ‘near-misses.’ Whatever you call them, and whatever the impetus for the exercise, try it. Grey days are overrated.

Marriage longevity & the mantra of Time will Tell

Thursday morning I took a flight down to Mexico for a week, stuck on an aisle (I’m a window gal, more privacy) and had a couple beside me. He, looking like a throwback from the seventies with shoulder-length graying hair and a Geraldo Rivera-wide mustache that begged to be trimmed, and she still sporting a mullet, the puffy rims around her eyes barely moving as she concentrated on the itty-bitty phone in her hands. Her thumbs moved frantically as she attempted to kill whatever demons were in a game more suitable for an eight-year old. They say little and smiles are non-existent. The mood turns surly when they learn wine isn’t complimentary as it was on their earlier Horizon flight, which means instead of saying two words to each other and one sentence to me (“I need to use the toilet.” No please or excuse me. Ahh. These Canadians. So direct).

I sigh, thinking the four hour flight will be a long one and open my laptop and turn up the first of many songs I scored in Switzerland last year (of course, they are everywhere thx to Internet radio. I just happened to used my Shazam while I was in a club and it was the direct route). As I’m doing so, I turn to my right and see another couple, roughly the same age, but opposite in every way, already talking to Rog. I lower the music just enough to hear the banter about the flight, hometowns and how nice it will be for that Canadian couple to escape the quasi cold of Quebec to hit the shores of Mexico. I guess they are ten years older than the couple next to be by virtue of grey hair and wrinkles.

Two hours and a cheese plate pass me by. I unplug and hear the man (who I learned is Stanley) and Rog swapping pilot stories. Rog, once again bemoaning his “bad eye” that didn’t allow him to fly fighter jets but he can fly his own planes–so comforting, right? When they start talking hockey, I check out. I up the volume and return to my screen, which is far more exciting that talking about the Blackhawks and Patrick Kane (which is what Rog wants to name our next dog. May our present dog live until after I die). Stan’s wife has also checked out. Periodically, I see the man glance over to me in an ‘oh, really?’ type of way, his eyebrows raised, and I fear for what my husband is telling the man. Whatever, I say to myself. I’ll never see him again.

An hour before we land, my battery runs out and I’m too lazy to get up and retrieve my powercord. I eavesdrop again and learn the man has been married 47 years. Forty-sevennnnnn. Now, I pause to remember my own parents have been married over 50, so I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. I listen. I observe, and then I it hits me. He has a permanent smile on his face, his hands are animated, but not overly so. His eyes are bright and alive. Stan has a vibrancy and zest for life that exceeds his seat and pushes out and over him, front, back and sideways, to me. I momentarily visualize the airframe of the plane bulbing out at his positive energy. His wife, although in to her book, periodically touches his arm, gives a smile or leans her cheek on his shoulder.

47 years. Happiness. Zest and vibrancy. I do what I do, and start asking questions. What do you get a person for an anniversary gift after 47 years? Answer: “Nothing,” replied the wife, who never did offer a name. “We stopped at year 30. We don’t need anything.” How do you remain so happy? Answer: “What’s not to be happold couple photoy about?”

Eventually,  I ran out of questions that I wanted to ask, because I went inward, thinking about the couple next to me, and how they were literally consuming the lifeblood from within the plane (including my own). Then, I thought about me and those that I know- both in relationships or married. Where does the longevity come from–within–is what I think Stan would say. But as I’ve been sitting poolside or walking the beach or working out, I’ve thought more about the experiences that comprise 47 years–everyday, week and month–each one with choices that determine our happiness that hour, day or month. It all adds up. Can I do more? Yeah. Will I do more? Yeah.

When Stan looked me in the eye and said, “The best years are still to come,” he said it with conviction. I looked him right back and thought to myself, catch me in about 30+ years and I’ll let you know.

The bad boyfriend is me- the girl

bad boyfriend blog

Do bad boyfriends have long blond hair and wear Fox Racing visors? I don’t think so…

I sit, I type, and I furtively glance over my shoulder every so often, wondering if Rog is going to pass by and catch me not-working. You see, I tend to write at my bar counter because Roger usurped my office while I was out of commission the last year. The good is that I’m close to the stove, which is handy for making chocolate pudding, a writer’s version of caffeine. The bad is that anytime he emerges from the troll den, as I now refer to my former-office-that-was, is that I have to bounce back and forth between screens to show that I’m not working–or wait, I’m working.

According to the Illustrious She (who, to this day, 5 years after starting a blog, insists she remains an anonymous ghost of a person), makes me: “The bad boyfriend.”

“I’m a girl,” I moan, tired of reminding her. “Tell me again why I’m like a bad boyfriend?”

“Two reasons,” she explains, mocking me, but still serious. “First, you retreat from the page you are working on like a bad boyfriend caught looking at an adult site, when in fact, you are writing a blog and yet you act just as guilty.”

Okay, there is truth in that (but seriously, do men even feel guilty about looking at ‘adult sites’?

I don’t say this out loud of course. I just make it all about me, and realize–yes, I DO feel guilty, because I should be writing any of my three projects and yes, I do feel like I’m doing something wrong by writing this.

“But it feels so right,” I whine defensively.

“And that’s my point exactly. That’s what a bad boyfriend says,” to which I burst out laughing, and then she continues, ignoring me. “The second reason you are like a bad boyfriend is because you call me when you only have five minutes, and you speed-talk and then say “I have to go because I only have 5 minutes.’ Only bad boyfriends do that.”

“I thought bad boyfriends just never call,” I tell her.

“Nooo,” she drawls. “Those are guys who have dumped you.”

Oh, I’m so glad that’s cleared up. So then I ask her if she’d rather have me dump her entirely (e.g. not call at all) rather than call only when I have more time. “It’s like sex,” I say to her. “Wouldn’t you want to have something rather than nothing.”

She hesitates, an rare thing for She. “Sometimes.”

Ironic. Because I think that’s exactly what a bad boyfriend would say.

Outside the Faith: the doubled edged compliment & criticism

BJ was over today, a surprise event, given that the married father of two, engineer by day and hobbiest-inventor by night, just showed up with his long-bed truck about thirty minutes after Rog left to go skiing.

“What are you doing?” I ask him, noticing the top of his truck is up and his lawnmower is sticking half-way out the back.

“I’m going to mow your lawn and cut down the blackberry bushes while Rog is gone,” he said, already unloading the push-mower. I try to stop him, hobbling toward him as fast as my crutches will allow, telling him he won’t.

“What are you going to do?” he laughs, continuing about his business. “Stop me?” He’s smiling broadly, the face-wide grin on his square face, atop his squat, muscle-bound body that attests to his state championship title when he was in high school, when I first met him. I’ve watched him evolve from young man to father, our relationship maturing along the way, from a boy that wouldn’t look me to one who barely acknowledged my presence and now today, both adults. It is in this state that the still uses a respectful tone with me, but now its sassier, more like a brother than an associate.

“Beside, I like Rog, even though he’s outside the faith.” Before his last comment registered, I responded that I liked him too, which is helpful, and then as I stood watching, the gravity of his phrase hit.

Outside the Faith. How interesting. How many women (or men) are married to a person ‘not of the faith’ and are looked upon as different. In this case, BJ, who has know Rog as long as I’ve known him, looks at Rog almost as a mini-idol. I’ve gathered this over the years from the things he’s said, his aspirations: “I’d really like to show Rog my truck. Is he around?” to “I invented this wake board that is jet propelled and can lift you ten feet off the ground. I want Rog’s opinion” and so on.

I’m off pondering how many Jewish, Baptist, or whatever people “of faith” of had family, friends or acquaintances say something like this, because it’s such a double-edge sword, sort of like “she’s not bad, for a red-headed dwarf” or something strange. Thanks, I think.

“You know, he’s a better father and family guy than most of the men who come to church,” BJ tells me, getting ready to pull the cord on the lawn mower.

“He’s a pretty good guy,” I agree, then add, “and I’ve had a few people in the church say that to me as well.” What else am I supposed to say? This is why Rog doesn’t bother go to church- because he thinks half the men in my church are hypocrites, who espouse family but then spend more time doing their own things. Nope. I keep my mouth shut, take the compliment, and tell BJ that I’d still like to pay him something for just showing up.

“You can go back inside now,” he politely suggests, his mind made up, completely ignoring my request. I found it ironic. That’s exactly what Rog would say to me. Maybe he is of the faith after all.

The Invisible Wedding Ring

Another day, another splashy page alerting us all to the fact that ‘the ring is off the finger,’ intimating that the death of the relationship is on the horizon, using as evidence the fact that “the couple hasn’t been seen together since August 13.”

I rarely even wear my “wedding” or “anniversary” or
“engagement” rings, preferring the rings that Rog gets
for other occasions. This happened to be for my 
and our 15th yr anniversary.

Two things then flash through my mind. The first is that I don’t know a single married couple (or non-married but co-parenting) who make it to every event together. Can you imagine if the biggest rise in the local paper was “Roger and Sarah not seen together for
3 months?” What news. Truth be told, we follow the motto of ‘divide and conquer,’ for most occasions (you go to one school event and I’ll go to other so we have it covered). The only time we absolutely aren’t apart is for charity events, and even that doesn’t account for health issues or family emergencies (or a delayed flight).

Together- ness aside, don’t you think this whole obsession with wearing a ring is a little nutty? Marriage and togetherness is a state of mind, not a piece of metal. In high school (remember those days) and college for that matter, I didn’t need a ring to tell the world I was in love with some guy. I simply didn’t notice anyone else. The vibes I gave out were the ‘not interested’ type instead of the ‘come hither,’ sort.

Perhaps it’s because I was married before, it was short-lived and symbolized by a beautiful ring turned out to be worthless (I kid you not. side story; our deal was I’d buy the setting, he’d buy the ring. I thought I got a good deal, until I lost it at the beach, went to put in a claim and discovered that the only “real” part of the ring was the platinum setting that I had paid for. The stones were CZ. Nice).

Don’t get me wrong. I love a good piece of jewelry. 15 years of together-ness with Rog means that he bought me a ‘friendship ring’ that I ended up using as the ring for the marriage, and for two years later, until one December day, long after we’d purchased a home together, he decided I needed “a real ring.” That one is an indestructible round stone in a tension set platinum. 12 years later, he shot for the moon, purchasing me a radiant cut stone in an ornate fancy setting. It’s beautiful. It’s elegant. The problem is that it wears me. You know a ring outshines you when the first thing the waiter says after handing you the menu is ‘nice ring.’

Three years hence, I find myself wearing my original friendship ring most of the time, and sometimes, like right now, I’m wearing nothing. To my chagrin, I’ve realized the worse I’m feeling about my relationship (or self) the nicer the ring I wear. When I’m happy and in love, I don’t need anything. I don’t need the iron around my finger, but my feeling about the man I’m with is just as evident as if one existed. And that’s the way it should be.

Dad’s Call

Sloan (my Dad), with Porsche (my daughter). Laps only get so big

Dad’s forget that when their daughters grow up, they never, and I mean never, want to stop thinking of themselves as their Daddy’s little girl. What it means is that a daughter always wants to know she is loved by her father. That she is missed. That her Dad still wants to hold her on his lap the way he did when she was eight, even though she’s well past the age where she’d fit. This desire doesn’t end with a marriage, a divorce or a change in the economic or social status. It just is.

As I type at 5 in the morning, I tell you that the bond between father and daughter never ends. I still want to get a call from my father every Friday night telling me to have fun and be safe, the way he did from the moment I left to college, even though I’ve been married 15 yrs! Dad rarely (if ever) asked what I was doing, but I took this as a sign of trust, not disinterest. He didn’t always reach me live, nor did he wait until the end of the day; sometimes his call served as my alarm. The point was he called and I knew he cared.

Dad’s lap also holds a special place for me, but he has bear-sized arms he’d wrap around me as I sat on those tree-trunk sized legs. He tickled me when I was itty-bitty, then he bounced me until I was too heavy, then gradually moved me to the center of his legs to sharing his thigh with the couch, until it was only my feet that could be on his leg like a footstool while I sat across or beside him. Yet the physical impossibility didn’t mean the sentiment or desire went away.

Last night, I felt myself wanting to be on the receiving end of Dad’s call. I wanted to hear my Dad telling me to have fun and be safe, even tho it was a Saturday night and I’m stuck in bed and in a
great deal of post-surgical pain. My father is the lone male voice in the world that will be there until he’s in the grave. It’s deeper than it was, and it’s not always has fast talking or peppered with colorful words or politically incorrect phrases. But it’s holds a lifetime of love and advice, and it has often served as the emotional lifeline that’s pulled me back into the safety of my marriage.

I believe Dad’s forget the impact and power they have on their daughter or believing that relationship a husband has replaces their own. Nope. It’s in addition to, not replacement of. When my daughters grow up, they too, will eventually get to big for Rog’s lap, but they won’t outgrow the desire for his love or attention.

And what will I, the mom, tell our girls if and when Rog ever forgets to call them? Exactly what my own mom advises me to do. “You have a phone. Pick it up and call him. The phone works both ways.” Thank heavens for that.

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.

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.


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