Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I Did It

I’m going to do it again. And again. And again.

There were many things my daughter and I needed to get and do to prepare for our trip. She’s more traveled than I, so I deferred to her opinion on much. One of those tasks were mom/daughter mani/pedi-cures. I was not quick to jump on this wagon. You see, I’d never indulged. She on the other hand, indulges regularly.

On the appointed day she and I entered an establishment not far from home. We told the intake person what we wanted and were told to ‘go pick colors’. Colors? I haven’t worn colors on my fingers is years. I can’t remember there ever being color on my toes. Colors selected. Slippers given. It was time to release the feet. Dani thought to wear flip-flops, like I said she’s a regular. But, then again, I don’t even own a pair of flip-flops.

The foot spa was fired up and filled with warm sudsy water which was sent swirling. I sat upon a throne fit for a queen, with controls in hand so that I could choose to warm my buns or massage my back or better yet, both.

I was directed to place my feet in the pool of swirling, warm sudsy water and oooohhh, uh, yes, it felt like beyond good. Then the work began. Some picking, scraping, sloughing and brushing. Now, I didn’t know, or I hadn’t realized that I’m a might ticklish on the bottoms of my feet. Well, after the first wave of quite un-queen like squiggles and giggles, I was able to control myself and relax into the sensations being perpetuated on my soles and beyond. When mister man moved up to massage my calves and shins I thought, briefly, of how I could conduct all business right here from this very throne.

The manicure was just so-so and frankly a little annoying.

But, the pedicure was chocolate covered peanuts good, deep tub full of vanilla scented bubbles good, perusing the pulley aisle of the hardware...no, not quite that good, but very very good. Dani says that the salon we visited didn’t *perform* the massage portion as well as some other places she’d been. If what I got, wasn’t as good as some others...oh, best believe, I’m going to be on those like butter on a lobster tail.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Extra Hour

I had myself a party. It wasn’t just any kind of party.

My son’s show opened in previews this weekend and I wasn’t able to go. Physically and financially I was able-but snafus, mis-communications and such, prevented me from getting a ticket and watching him perform. It made me really sad.

My mother’s arthritis has progressed over her fingers, bending several. Therapists fashioned a splint to slow the curvature. She became frustrated with it and took it off. She’s had additional problems with her eyes, medication has been adjusted. Her overall attitude is poor and my brothers are not helping. This makes me sad.

My daughter announced on Friday that she was going to quit her job inside of the next week. The fact that she wanted to quit doesn’t come as a surprise, she hasn’t been happy or thriving for some time now. We’ve been having conversations about being prepared to make the next move. Getting her ducks in a row, so to speak. My extremely emotional daughter can be impulsive and rash, particularly when angered or hurt.

I support her decision to resign as she cannot continue to work under the conditions she has been forced to endure. When the call came in on Friday, though, she was at a fever pitch, which in turn rocked my emotions to the stratosphere. My concern is that she will lose control of her emotions, and react in a rash, unprofessional manner that could prove detrimental to future goals.

My concern is that any protracted state of unemployment, and in turn unhappiness will turn our clock back four years. I’m trying to trust that the relationship and bond we’ve been building since she returned from that brink, will withstand this test.

Earlier in the week, I’d finally completed my profiles, posted them and even floated some interest balloons to some prospects. Nothing. I tried really hard not to be disappointed. I’ve listened to my online buddies (you know who you are) who have encouraged me and advised me to keep an
open and positive mind. I’ve tried to not be too anxious. Lately, I’ve been feeling like Harry Burns,..."when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." Well, in my case, there isn’t a somebody, but the thought of somebody. I'm feeling very much like a three-year old, I want it now.

I’ve been alone for a very long time. My kids, my mother and even my brothers are here-but all look to me for leadership, for guidance, assistance. For strength. And I am fine with this. It is who I am, what I am. When I divorced, I honestly didn’t give a thought to having a different kind of life. The realization that something different was indeed desired, nay necessary, started to materialize over the years, becoming insistent, developing a hells bells kind of urgency in the last few months.

Friday night was the loneliest night I have had in a very, very long time.

I celebrated my extra hour a day early. I had a Whine and Geez party on Saturday. I had myself a good old cry. I cried long and hard and it felt good. Then, I went out into the bright, crisp, very windy day and I rode my bike. The wind so strong it bit. So strong it impeded forward progress, momentarily. I rode to the business district where the town was hosting a trick-or treating event for families. I saw little princesses, cowboys, kindly witches, robots, knights, insects and such. I laughed out loud at the families who coordinated their costumes down to the wagons and pets. I regretted having left the camera at home. It was a happy scene.

I talked with Michael. He said the previews were going fine. There were some kinks to work out, but that’s what previews were for. I expressed sorrow that I couldn’t see it yet, he basically told me to relax, the show was going to be up until Dec. 3rd, that I had plenty of time to see it plenty of times. "Mom, you need to calm down, you are just too proud." I laughed and told him there was no such thing. I’ve secured the first set of tickets to see my actor man perform in the coming week.

I talked with my mom and I think I was able to convince her to try the splint, at least until the next appointment, when perhaps a new, better fitting, less constrictive one could be fashioned. I spoke with her pastor for additional support in keeping her spirits up and to see if we could arrange some assistance with shopping and such.

Dani and I had a long talk. She has mostly calmed down. She was concerned that I would be disappointed in her. She was concerned that she’d be stuck, because she didn’t want to be any more of a burden to me. She was afraid that I wouldn’t understand what being there was doing to her and that she really was trying to ‘hold it all together.’ It’s clear that we both want the same things, which is for her to succeed, to thrive, to continue her drive towards independence. I assured her that as long as we could talk, we would be fine. We worked on putting together her resume, cover letters and interview outfits. Yes, a trip to the mall was in order, she wouldn’t be Dani, without a trip to the mall.

I know that it was much too soon to expect anything to develop from the profiles and interest ‘feelers’ I put out there. I was, in a word, anxious. I got a bit ahead of myself. Completing the profiles was perhaps the one of the most difficult things I’ve done and one of the scariest. Putting myself out here is one thing, but making myself available for the interests of some possible special some ones, is quite another. The pang from the lack of response, the rejection, stung. But I understand. I have gathered my perspective and my strength. Slow and steady, steady and slow, that's the way this thing will go.

There are people out here, out there, going through some hellish trials, mine seem like a walk in the park, in comparison. I heard two songs this weekend that couldn’t be more different from each other, yet, both spoke to me in a way that was primal and re-affirming; "I Am Woman" by Helen Reddy and "Blame it on the Boogie" by Michael Jackson. 'Don’t blame it on the sunshine, don’t blame it on the moonlight, don’t blame it on the good times, Blame it on the Boogie.' There’s a part in the song where he says, under the instrumentation, 'I just can’t, I just can’t, I just can’t control my feet.' I am strong, invincible and I just can’t control my feet. My feet (and my fingers) will continue to do what we do.

What did you do with your extra hour?

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Here is my entry, in response to wordsmiths November challenge. This photo was the inspiration.

I give you Hindsight.

Walking with resolute sedulity for days, no, only a few hours, Trace came upon what appeared to be an old church. There was a steeple, now fallen. Stepping inside what might have been a sanctuary, Trace was taken aback.

This space, filled with overgrown sedum, ferns and other unidentifiable plant life was instantly scary. In that instant she regretted the decision to leave the car. In that instant she wanted to turn and run. But she couldn’t. She wouldn’t.

Trace was tired. She was hungry. As scary as this place was, here she would stay, at least until she could regain some strength, recover some insight, try to understand why Jamie reacted with such hysterics. Jamie’s response to Trace’s news about wanting to move to Massachusetts was bizarre, to say the least. Trace had no idea that Jamie would become so agitated. She had no idea that she would become, homicidal. Yes, homicidal, Trace believed that Jamie was trying to kill her. The fight was more than a fight, Jamie was out of control. She was unstable. She was strong.

Trace got enough leverage to break Jamie’s grip. She pushed Jamie hard enough, to give herself time to run. Trace put some space between them and was able to make it to the door before Jamie recovered. Luckily, her keys were in her pocket. Trace got to the car just as Jamie appeared on the stoop. The car started on the first try, thanking God, Trace took off tires spinning, rubber squealing.

Driving with no destination in queue, Trace’s mind spun as fast as the tires. A million questions riddled her brain; the whats and whys bouncing around with fervor. She discovered she was driving out of town, now on a single lane road. She’d not been lucid enough to take note of signs nor the tank. Running out of gas in the middle of nowhere, she got out and started to walk.

Finding herself in this sanctuary, which she’s decided isn’t so scary anymore. Trace decides it is an old church, but it doesn’t appear it was being used as a church. The furniture suggests some other purpose. Trace decided this place would serve as her sanctuary. She would rest and get her bearings. Trace fashioned a bench out of some of the broken furniture, patting herself on the back for having the foresight to bring some provisions from the car, primarily the blanket.

Thinking about the ads she’d answered which eventually led her to Jamie, Trace thought, oh, Jamie! What happened? Why had the mention of Massachusetts triggered such vitriolic responses? Such violence? Trace slowed her breathing trying to relax. Putting the episode aside, Trace would sleep thinking onward to the hike toward the next town and how the solitude of this sanctuary was giving her strength.

There was company on Trace's road. The company knew Trace would sleep and how she slept.

The company hovered, crowding Trace’s fleeing thought

Friday, October 27, 2006


I’ve been cleaning my closet. The change in the weather is partly the cause, as I need more access to more sweaters. I am rarely without a sweater, even in summer. Air-conditioning and I are not on friendly terms, so I wear or carry a sweater to mitigate the arctic temps of some office buildings, busses and trains. In the wintertime, I’ve been known to double-sweater.

Other than outerwear, coats, hats, gloves and so on, my warm weather wardrobe doesn’t vary that much from my cold weather wear. I do tend to wear more turtlenecks in the colder weather, but a turtleneck, or at least a mock turtleneck or two have made summer stops on my top.

I don’t do pastels, as a rule. I’ve tried. I just can’t embrace pale yellows, greens and the lighter hues of blues. I don’t do prints, especially, floral. My disdain, however, for certain fashion choices hasn’t stopped the flow of these items into my closet. Thanks to well-meaning gift givers, I have amassed a collection of pale and/or printed tops. Many of which are also too large.

I’m a healthy specimen of woman, no doubt. I am not, however, by any stretch of the imagination, buxom. Never have been, never will be. Yet, I have tops that would indicate the purchaser had someone else, entirely, in mind when making said selection.

Which brings me to bras. I wear bras and yes, I buy all my own bras. I wear front hooking bras. I like them because they are easy to get into and more importantly, easy to get out of, a must for middle-of-the- day work-out sessions and the shower which must follow.

I have one bra who is really past her prime. She has served her purpose, outlived her usefulness-but she is so damn comfortable. I can’t bear to part with her. I must though. She has taken to coming undone, without provocation, in the middle of conversations or other scenarios where immediate re-hooking is not encouraged or possible.

And while, being the un-buxom specimen that I am, the un-expected un-hooking doesn’t result in major flipping and flopping, it is still, well, unseemly and unwelcome. Thank goodness I was wearing a sweater, but still, she must go.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

$ $ $

To paraphrase Gordon Gekko, money works, money is good. Found money, even better. I put finding money somewhere just above triple chocolate fudge brownies sprinkled with coconut flakes and just below finding said brownies in the kitchen after a 14 hour day. Thanking the brownie fairy as we speak.

No matter the amount, I like to savor the joy that is found money. I don't spend it right away and when I do, I like to buy something I might not have otherwise bought. Or, better yet, spend it on someone else, I might buy a cheer 'em up greeting card, for instance.

My biggest found on the street hey day, pay day? $32.00.

This family of dollars is going towards something special, just what hasn't been decided. In the meantime, they will rest comfortably in a a box, on a shelf. Perhaps they'll be able to convince some friends to join them.

That would be sweet.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I Asked for This

Being a mom is one of the most challenging, frustrating, exhausting, yet rewarding, invigorating and exciting jobs I have ever had and probably ever will have.

My kids, yes, I know they're 24 and 21 respectively, but they'll always be my kids, expect from me, guidance, expertise in a variety of areas and data. They are constantly asking me not only for advice, but also seeking answers to questions Ask or Wikipedia certainly could handle. Yet, to me they come:

Daughter: Mom, I know Barney and Betty had Bam-Bam and I know Fred and Wilma had a baby girl. What the heck was her name?

Son: Hey Ma, who recorded that song from back when you were young. It might be a disco thing. I think the title is, "Ain't No Stopping Us."

Me to daughter: Pebbles. And oh, by the way, you do know that Bam-Bam was adopted.

Me to son: McFadden and Whitehead. They were a one hit wonder as performing artists, but a very successful song writing team.

It is acceptable to answer more than what was asked. A mom must be careful, however, to stop herself from giving too much information. Too much info will undoubtedly lead to the eye-roll and the fan favorite follow-up, 'oohhh, maahhm.'

I love this job.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

! ! Mortified ! !

I was scheduled to work Sunday, 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. I'd gone to bed Saturday with thoughts of which route would avoid the worst of the marathon participants and spectators. Making every effort of follow the usual night before work routine, I gathered wardrobe, set and checked the alarm and then lights out.

The next vaguely lucid moment arrived when awakened by what I thought was a waste management crew run amok, but that couldn't be, it was Sunday. It was just my daughter going through her laundry preparations.

I lay there a moment thinking it was awfully early for her to be up and about on a Sunday. And oh, it's pretty light outside for 6 in the morn...oh my sweet jeans, it's not 6:00 a.m. it's 10:00 a.m.! I cannot flipping believe I slept through the alarm, well past even my normal wake-up time. With or without an alarm, I'm usually awake no later than 6:00 a.m.

"Mom, you're late for work." Gee, thanks kid. However, I'm only late, if I go. It's 10 a.m. now, the commute, under ideal circumstances, takes an hour. It is Chicago marathon Sunday and it's raining. I'm not going. I call off. I really do not like calling off. I cannot believe I'm missing a shift because I overslept.

I was mortified.

Since returning from Vegas, I've been out of step, out of sync, out of rhythm. I've been off my robustly enthusiastic resolve to regimented routine. I've been a slug.

I thought time was all I needed to shake the post vacation malaise. Not so, I need time and a list. I need a list. There are tons of chores, projects and tasks and I just realized, I haven't made a proper list since preparing to leave Vegas. It's all about routine. The list is routine. I've been winging it, making it up as I went along. Maybe sub-consciously extending the vacation. The routine won't keep-life goes on. I gotta get back on the clock.

I missed my shift. I am now adrift. I need the list, but...first, there's football and a soccer playoff. I spend some time thinking about the list while watching The Striking Viking, Ewa Laurance defeat Duchess of Doom, Allison Fischer in a trick shot competition.

It sounds like more slugging around, not so. It was just the ticket. I rounded out the early evening by clearing our patch of yard of fallen leaves, twigs and other debris, energizing mind and body for the work ahead.

The minutely detailed list is done, out of my head, onto paper where it will do me some good.

Monday was blissfully, beautifully routine, right down to missing not one but two busses, in the rain, getting home from the part-time gig.

Going for two today.

Monday, October 23, 2006

a d i d a s f

All day I dream about, no, not sports, but food. Well, not really, of course I'm exaggerating. I don't dream about food all day, but it is a constant. It has to be. From all appearances I'm not alone in this. I eat to survive, but also because I enjoy eating. Along with the eating, there must be shopping, storing and then, of course, the preparing of food.

I like food. I even like to prepare food. I'm a good cook, not amazing, but good. I can follow a recipe and can and do creep on the side of creativity, to keep things interesting. When I had to cook to sustain my family, I didn't enjoy it much, now that I don't need to cook daily, I'm finding more joy in the process.

Still, I'm a cautious cook. I know my limitations, I tend to not bite off more than I can chew. Yet, I do endeavor to stretch those limitations. I continue to practice some dishes repeatedly because I love eating them and want to make them to my satisfaction. The omelet is my current nemesis.

I adore omelets. I cannot make a decent omelet. I don't know why, it may be the filling, folding or the flipping. Because I cannot make an omelet to satisfy my omelet snobbery, I must call upon the self-proclaimed breakfast queen to soothe my monthly cravings. This must cease, however, because Ina's is becoming much too trendy and expensive to continue as my omelet outlet.

The San Diegan Omelette featured on a segment of the Rachel Ray $40.00 A Day show may have provided a solution, a temporary fix. This robust, open faced treat featured in the segment seems an acceptable alternative to the traditional omelet, one that I could and in all likelihood, will achieve.

I must, however, manage to get myself to a grocery store for the ingredients. We'll talk about me and grocery stores another time.

(a search from the home page will reveal the recipe.)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Serving "Darkies" Today?

Michael, a chai tea enthusiast, has been frequenting a Starbucks shop near his place of employment. He'd discovered a former classmates is one of the valued employees. They've chatted from time-to-time, like pals are wont to do.

The friend pulled Michael aside, relating that he had something to tell. He prefaced his tale by stating that he hoped Michael didn't get mad. Michael braced himself, guessing the context of what was about to follow.

The manager of this Starbucks location had spoken with Michael's friend; seems a customer had complained about an incorrect drink order. The manager did what manager's do, offered to make amends; a new drink, a refund, coupon, whatever it takes to soothe and keep the customer.

This customer didn't want soothing. This customer's position was that the order was incorrect because the Barista was distracted by the 'darkie' who was talking to him. The customer further noted, for the record, that there seemed to be 'darkies' in there all the time. As the customer was gearing up for a full on rant about 'darkies', the manager halted her, invited her to leave and never return, as that kind of talk was not going to be tolerated in this establishment.

Michael assured his friend that he wasn't mad.

He was concerned that his friend and some new friends he'd made, might be uncomfortable with his presence. He returned a few days later, asking cheerily, if 'darkies' were being served that day. Everyone exhaled, relaxed. They all chatted a bit, Michael got his chai, and all was well.

It pains me mightily that my son has to even have these conversations-still, that these actions, and worse are still part of our lives.

Michael started writing poetry during is Junior year in high school. His becoming interested in acting and drama was born from his writing and spoken word performances. He wrote the following when he was 19. He gifted it to me for my 41st birthday.

Leader of My Ambush

Before and after my birth
You have fought battles that I couldn't imagine being in the trenches of.
Despicable Wars of Racism Dejected Confrontations of Poverty Disputable Invasions of Infamy

Ordeals you charged into not for ego
but for survival of your children
and that is the courage I see in your scars
the sufferance I listen to in your stories
the pride vibrating in our home

reminding me

I'm a boy learning from a giving general
who has descended her combat tactics
so I could transcend into a soldier of literature.
As I age, I understand more
why immense vocabulary
is necessary

My battles to come are invented by
futuristic technology that can only be
countered with precise language explaining
allies or enemies made
and acquaintances caught in crossfire

Mother of Protection
Mother of Benevolence
Mother of Comprehension
Mother of Accommodation
Mother of Humbleness
praises of warfare shouted on mountain tops
glory resonates in valleys
Responsibility bombs obligations
Craters of examples are guidance
I cheer explosive victory

Never question your
instinctive intentions to fight
'cause whether you've gained or lost

Your smile is a symbolic weapon of unconditional love.

by Michael (insert last name)
July 2001

Name Game

According to How Many of Me, based on a total United States of America population of 299,968,595, there are 740,922 people in the U.S. with the first name Deborah. 100% of the people with the first name of Deborah are female and statistically, Deborah is the 60th most popular name in the United States.

There are 9,869 people in the U.S. with my last name. My last name is statistically the 3728th most popular last name-tied with 18 other last names.

There are a whopping 24 people in the United States who share both my first and last name.

Thanks Betty for the link.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Vacation? What Vacation?

There isn't anything like two full work days to vanquish the last vestiges of vacation memories from your psyche, except for maybe, cold, wet, windy weather. Thank goodness for photos.

It must be said, here and now, that my daughter, the brand new twenty-one year old, shown here enjoying her Dreamsicle, is the countess of consumerism. She would be the queen if she (or I ? ) were more fiscally fit. Her Vegas agenda was simply, shop until mom drops and of course, the Fights.

Before getting to the rest, let me just say that for my first flight (s) I did pretty well. I didn't scream or shriek or otherwise embarrass my daughter. Both flights were relatively smooth. I was nauseous for the first hour of so after take off on Wednesday. I didn't experience any of that on the return flight Sunday.

We visited two malls, Las Vegas Premium Outlets and The Meadows, an embarrassing number of gift and souvenir shops, sidewalk vendors and even a drugstore or two. While not my favorite sport, I did get caught up in the frenzy and even allowed myself some new sneaks, tees and jeans. There was music, drinks, food, drinks, masks and drinks all lending to the carnival and party air. We returned home with three bags more.

The only down side were the sidewalk hawkers. The time-share hawkers are situated inside hotels, as well as, up and down "The Strip" or Las Vegas Blvd. Some approach with a hard sell, most are annoying. We discovered pretty quickly the magic words to turn off their motors; "we're flying out tonight."

All the trips up, down and over the boulevard and beyond were fun, tiring (we came quite close to developing the 'Las Vegas limp') and illuminating. We found out many fun facts, like, women are not allowed in strip clubs (or sections of clubs) where women perform, unless they are accompanied by a man. Not, mind you, that Dani and I were planning such an excursion. One of our cabbies, Mary, offered up that tidbit. She also related a story of how she'd been verbally attacked by a performer when she'd gone to a club to pick up her husband. The performer thought Mary might have been a pro who was trying to poach. It seems that pre-rule, prostitutes would go into the clubs to make...connections. The dancers took offense and after many scuffles and skirmishes, the clubs started banning un-accompanied women. Mary provided us with our Las Vegas quotable, 'Bitch! You tryin' to take my buck?' We didn't see any strippers, male or female or prostitutes, for that matter-at least we don't think so. There were billboards advertising in-room service, guaranteed to arrive in 30 minutes or less, like Dominos. Sin city, you know.

Our hotel, the Luxor, sported an Egyptian theme. There were pyramids, pharohs, rivers, rocks and well, Egyptian artifacts all over. One of the most popular spots, New York, New York sported faux Liberty and Coney Islands and a monster roller coaster that went through, up and out of the building. No, I did not try it. I don't do roller coasters, the plane ride was plenty, thank you very much.

The fight. Dani is a huge UFC fan. Prior to planning for this trip, I was oblivious to UFC, it's players, rules and so on. Still, not an expert, I know more than I ever thought I might. There were title bouts on Saturday, the 14th and according to my daughter, her birthday celebration trip would not be complete unless she could be in attendance witnessing fighters box, kick and wrestle each other into submission or better yet, a knock out. This event was the talk of the town. Everywhere we went, when discovered we were there to see the fights, stats, predictions, proclamations and grunts were exchanged. It was quite the spectacle.

Fight night found us in a throng of several hundred guys. So many guys that I though we'd od on the testosterone. Some guys brought babes. Some babes came without guys. Some brought kids. There were some celebs, like Jason Giambi, who was booed LOUDLY, in attendance. Everyone, it seemed, screamed allegiance to their favorites. Dani lost her voice. I didn't. She was in birthday princess heaven. Her main guy, Kenny Florian lost in five rounds, but he didn't 'tap out' (cry uncle). He held is own against a heavier fighter, and she was pleased with his effort.

My best bud and I flew home Sunday, a little tired, a lot stuffed and very much happy to have spent this time together.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Home Again, Jiggity Jig

While not the payday Elizabeth scored on her trip to the KC slots, it was more than I walked in with, so it was a good spin. Dani scored more than I, but then, she's charmed.

Kmae was too right about the smoke in the casinos. We did have serious issue with the huffy puffingness of the players. The only place in our hotel's casino where smoking was prohibited was the poker room-which was really just an area. That area seemed particularly stern-we walked by, briskly.

Mostly, we walked through the casinos, I think we visited 5 or 6, throwing a buck or two into a random slot-eschewing those with too many buttons, too many options. Dani hit 4 out of 5 times. I think her highest take was $3.00 on a $0.25 bet. We didn't rest on those laurels because, of, well, the smoke and because we were there to shop and see the fights (more later on that), after all.

There is more, but I hear the slumber sirens wailing their tunes. For now, know that we had a blast and as great as it was...it's good to be home. We missed Mike like craazzy.

Glenda knew her stuff, there is no place like home.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Until Now

It was coming on the Summer of 1980. I had been working my first real job for a little over 5 months and had just earned 5 paid pays off with pay. I was going to be twenty years old in a few months, my mom and I weren’t in the best of places, my brothers and I were not speaking, I was feeling close to my best friend in a way that I shouldn’t talk about and the guy I’d attached myself to for distraction and relief from the other happenings, had started the, ‘take this to the next level’ talk.

Vacation. The concept was foreign to me. My parents never talked of vacations, let alone ever taken any. Breaks from school were spent working. What the heck did a girl do, when she didn’t have to work to work?

I couldn’t talk with my mom. My brothers were hopeless. I was making every effort to avoid my best friend, difficult, since I was renting a room in the house she shared with her boyfriend. Out of options, I talked with the guy. He invited me to travel with him, his brother and other family and friends-home.

Home for them was Itta Bena, MS. Our car was part of the caravan of Cadillacs and customized vans, packed to the bumpers with coolers full of soda, beer, fried chicken, potato salad and all kinds of sandwiches on white bread.

This first trip to his hometown to meet his parents and sister was memorable. I remember it being hot, damn hot. Hot doesn’t bother me much, I’m pretty comfortable with heat and I would have been fine, except that’s all anybody ever talked about, that and the mosquitoes. When it got dark, it was damn dark. This did take some getting used to. I remember rabbit and deer meat being nasty, no matter how it was prepared. Finally, I remember that in deference to my first visit, the pigs were not allowed inside the house. Considering the size of the house, for this, I was extremely grateful.

Itta Bena, MS in and of itself was not all bad, but certainly not a vacation idea that bore repeating. So of course I became engaged to and married the man from Itta Bena, MS, conscripting me to annual pilgrimages to his parents’ place. Our eventual family of four stayed in Bud and Tip’s 2-bedroom, 1 bath ranch style house, with little to no water pressure, for 5 to 7 days. Most summers sharing the modest home, perched on the lip of a swampy lake, surrounded on three sides by trees and cotton fields, with up to 10 other family members. Some of the people I met were really pretty sweet. But the conditions were less than ideal and over 13 years he would not vary, by one iota, the arrangements. Each trip was more stressful than the one before.

The summer of 1994, I'd had enough and refused to go south. We took the kids to Wisconsin Dells instead. When we arrived, I found he’d invited his brother’s family and other Mississippi buddies to meet us there and hang. My niece and I entertained and chaperoned the kids, while the guys stayed in the parking lots or picnic grounds drinking and talking. This was our last vacation together. We separated 3 ½ years later.

Little did I know that this would be my last vacation, until now.

As you may have heard, I’m taking my baby girl, who will be 21 years old in just about 23 hours, to Vegas. We will get on a plane, (my very first time-ever), heading southwest at approximately 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. Excitement doesn’t even begin to cover the range of emotions twitching her newly arched eyebrows and spiraling through my newly buffed and painted fingers and toes.

Until now, vacations meant caravans of Cadillacs and customized vans, a yard full of turkeys and chickens, pigs with house privileges, trickling tepid bath water, cotton picking stories, endless talk about heat and mosquitoes. Not to mention, snuff dipping men, women and children.

That was then, without which, there wouldn't be a now, a new friend reminds.

See you guys in 6 minutes days.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Hair: Exhibit A

It's been suggested by one blogger and then another that photos re: Reverent Hair should be offered. Here are those offerings. These are both afters, as Dani will rarely appear on camera without her hair and there just aren't many shots of me, suitable for this venue. Danielle spent the better part of Saturday morning getting her hair done. Having washed her natural hair the night before, she was ready for the stylist to begin immediately. The stylist braided Dani's short, thick hair in a circular cornrow pattern, different from this in that one continuous braid is fashioned around the crown. The hair pieces or tracks are sewn into the rows, layered and following the braid pattern. Dani had supplied the stylist with a photo of the style she preferred and according to her, Crystal, the stylist, nailed it. The process took 4 1/2 hours and cost $220.00, including the hair. I'm told a well done weave, with proper care, will last two months.
After work on Friday I went to the barber. The finished product shown here is a bit shorter that I generally would prefer, but the barber had no choice. My usual stylist, my son Michael, very busy with work and rehearsals, hasn't been able to fit me into his schedule. Impatient, what with trip preparations taking over my mind, I decided I could do it myself. Barber Jamie gracefully corrected my un-handiwork. My hair grows pretty fast, so it will be at the optimum length in pretty short order.

Mom came over Saturday to get her hair braided for her own home weaving session. She loved Dani's hair.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Public Service

In my capacity as a jobs line recruiter (part-time), I talk to people, lots of people. The company's client base brings me in phone contact with people across the US and Canada. While much of the work is scripted and repetitive, the range of clients, jobs offered and the applicants provide plenty of variety.

Having worked for the outfit for three years now, I feel qualified to offer some advice or tips, if you will, should you find yourself out of work, about to be out of work or just looking for something new, and you are calling a similar provider, in search of a job.

1. Call Center positions mean you will be talking on the phone. You probably should sound like you enjoy talking on the phone. Try being enthusiastic without being silly.

1a. speak clearly
1b. don't eat, chew gum or smoke--inhaling sounds awful on the other end.
1c. don't call from your car while you are on the interstate, or you know, moving.
1d. don't talk to your children, pets, parents, the counter person at Stuckey's, or current boss or co-workers, whilst on the phone with a recruiter.

2. Know who you are. A recruiter is likely to ask your name. If you don't say anything else with confidence, you should be saying your name, with supreme confidence.

3. Please don't be offended if a recruiter asks you to confirm the spelling of your name-even if it is Jon/John, Sheila/Sheilah, Shenequah/Sheneequah or Chris/Kris-we are supposed to ask, even if we think we know-especially if we think we know.

4. It might be helpful if you knew your zip / postal code.

5. It might be helpful if you knew your phone number(s) & area code(s).

6. The response to, Are you fluent in Spanish? is not, "I know some words."

7. The response to, In what state would you like to work? is not, "Salt Lake."

8. Recruiters might need to call you back; outbound messages on voice mail and ring tones probably should not include references to any part of the anatomy, the words shit, damn, fuck or any of the genre.

9. Have a pen and paper handy, you might need to take notes, record some instructions.

10. If you are asked to read something as an example of sight reading skills, you might want to avoid reading your court summons.

Bonus: You might look into getting an email address-that you will check.

Thank you for calling and Good Luck!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Reverent Hair

Beyond the many hours spent washing, combing, brushing and cutting hair; in my household, there has also been budgeting, shopping, procuring and the choosing of practitioners; hair issues galore.

Michael wears his hair short and will usually go with just a mustache. He has, for various roles, alternated between wooly mammoth to totally bald, head and face, and variations between. Having grown weary, some time ago, of barbershops, he learned to cut and style his own head and face. Since my conversion to short hair earlier this year, he takes care of my 'do, too.

Dani has struggled with hair issues. Since her teen years her hair has been a major disappointment and the source of much debate and expense. Once she kicked me out of her head convinced me that micro-braids were the way to go, buying hair and paying braiders to work their magic has been a near quarterly ritual, for a few years now.

Before my conversion to short hair, it seem life was all about what to do with my hair. Since kicking my mom out of my head convincing my mom that I could do my own hair when I was 11, very few people have had their hands in my head, a situation that rankled some closest to me. I ran the gamut of the super afros popular in the mid to late 1970's, cornrows, press and curl and chemical perms; all towards keeping current and within cultural conventions. I became a pretty fair hair-dresser, for my own head. I just didn't obsess take it as seriously as others.

Hair and all the related actions and decisions are like a religion in some black communities. There are nearly as many beauty supply and beauty shops as there are churches in many of the predominately black neighborhoods I have frequented in my commutes. I've been told more than once, that I don't have proper reverence for my blessed tresses. I've often felt that I'd been too bound to conventions.

I mentioned to my mom about getting Michael to shape up my hair this weekend, for the trip. My mom wanted to know how long I was going to keep my, good, pretty hair, so short. She said short like it was the dirtiest of dirty words. My hair is still good and is still pretty, it's just short. These days wash and go hair is the only way to go, I'm sorry I didn't have the courage and sensibilities to do it sooner.

Dani's getting a new 'do for the trip. She cut out the micros and has decided on a full head weave. We shopped for hair yesterday, bypassing the hair that Brandy wears for a brand the new stylist recommended. Filling time while she's being done on Saturday, I will work in the yard, do my laundry, run an errand or two, check my packing list, start to pack and fix something for lunch. I might even have time for a nap before she returns.

Have I mentioned how I love my wash and go hair?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Target Market

When I married a lifetime ago, I didn't take his name. No politics, no fanfare, I didn't like his name, he didn't argue. I stayed me.

Likewise, the children bear my last name. I briefly considered hyphenating them, as was a trend in my area, dismissing that as unnecessarily unwieldy and stupid.

My ex and I haven't lived together in over 8 years. I moved to my current address some three years after we split. Yet, some weeks ago, I started getting mail for him. Well, almost. The mail, mostly from realtors and hearing aid purveyors, is addressed to his first name and my last name.

He's never owned any property, as such, has never had any to sell. While he spent many of our years not hearing me, I doubt even the most sophisticated device would have provided a remedy.

Things change. He may very well need the services of a realtor. He may very well need to procure devices to aid his hearing.

Than again, it's not really he, the marketers are targeting. The person addressed doesn't exist, not here, anyway.