People

Three Year Anniversary of “Saving a Life!”

Three years ago today three people saved my son’s life.

Nothing I ever do or say will thank them adequately. My son is alive and well today because of their willingness to stop and help a stranger.

Still takes my breath away.

Luckily, one of the rescuers blogged about it. That makes it easier for me to share with you.

I never get tired of hearing this story. I think you’ll like it.

Enjoy.

Kami's Beautiful Morning

It’s GRATITUESDAY today! Yes, I capitalized it, because I am extra grateful today. Two years ago, three people saved my son’s life. Rarely does a day pass that I don’t think about and feel thankful to them for being willing to help out a stranger. Thank you Michael Harrison, Rustin Crawford and Sarah Crawford for being Angels that day!!

Sarah wrote on her blog about the rescue. So in celebration, today’s post is Sarah Crawford’s words telling her story of saving my son’s life. It’s a great story, with a wonderful ending. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

From the Crawford Chronicles: Saving a life!

“Rustin and I were blessed to be at the right place at the right time to help save an unconscious man from a burning car on Saturday (March 26, 2011) evening at 5:00 pm. Rustin was driving (just got his permit)…

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Categories: Family, Gratitude, People | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

A Few True Things

photo-18 copy 20Heaven has shined on me recently. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say I visited heaven recently. Perhaps both are true. Either way I’ve had a few thoughts without any details. Maybe I’ll elaborate on some of them in the coming weeks.

A few things I’ve learned this weekend:

  • Time can and often does slow down when you’re with someone you love.
  • Serendipity happens when you least expect it.
  • Being open to those thoughts that have been pushing on a locked door inside your head just might take you somewhere surprising.
  • Being cold can feel exhilarating or miserable depending on the circumstances and even more so, on your attitude.
  • Breathing very cold air in a very warm bed produces happy dreams.
  • Just because something makes you nervous doesn’t mean it’s going to feel bad, you might even experience sheer bliss.
  • The stars look brighter and appear closer from inside a bubbling hot tub.
  • The best recommendation for a great place to eat always comes from a local resident.
  • photo-18 copy 21There’s no such thing as too much hot chocolate or too much whipped cream on your hot chocolate.
  • Saying goodbye never feels good.
  • Saying hello outshines saying goodbye like sunlight outshines a starless night.
  • Chocolate goes with everything.
  • I’m a mountain girl at heart and will probably always feel restless living in the desert.
  • Say yes to trying something different, the chances for joy lean in your favor.
  • Blue comes in more shades than any other color of the rainbow, and I pretty sure I saw most of them in the past three days. Green comes in a at a close second.
  • Taking a different path downhill from the one you take uphill can make all the difference.

photo-20 copy 6

Hoping none of this comes across as too vague or too pie-in-the-sky. But, if it does I’m not too worried about it. I’m feeling saturated with love, joy, relaxation and warmth.

Hoping you’re able to find similar things in your days.

Categories: Joy, Nature, Outdoors, People | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Got My New Shoes On

My cool cousin introduced me to this song. It’s pretty kicky. (Ha, notice the pun? Shoes-kicky?) I dare you not to feel like dancing while this song plays.

Some things in life elicit an automatic response. No thought required.

  • For me, a new pair of comfy shoes makes me want to dance.
  • Something fun to look forward to can kickstart my endorphins.
  • Breathing the scent of mountain air relaxes me all the way to the molecular level.
  • Those smile wrinkles at the edges of MSH’s eyes melt my heart.
  • Happy laughter makes me want to join in and laugh along.

Of course, not all automatic responses are good feelings.

  • a cop running into a store I’m just walking out of makes me want to run to my car
  • a baby crying makes my heart flip-flop
  • feeling cold and not able to warm up sets my nerves on edge
  • hearing someone yell at someone else skyrockets my blood pressure and discomfort level
  • a near miss in traffic instantly triples my heart rate
  • the phone ringing late at night or early in the morning sets off the panic system in me

Neither of those lists begin to touch the depth and breadth of possible autonomic responses we humans come programmed with.

English: Mountain Combat Boots

What I don’t get is why some people purposely expose themselves to those triggers. Haunted houses, for one small example. Why is the Sam Hill would anyone want to feel terrified for an extended length of time? I don’t get it.

Or jumping out of an airplane? Never, ever, not even for a million bucks. No way. I’d die of a heart attack on the way down if not the instant I leaned out of the plane. Can’t, won’t.

I’m glad some people can overcome natural responses. Firefighters for one. Police officers for another. Doctors, nurses, teachers.  (Okay, maybe I exaggerate with the teachers, but only a little. Have you been in a classroom lately?) Military people.

I suppose some people don’t have a reaction to the sight of blood and such. And some love the sound of shelling and gunfire. And it’s possible that danger just feels great, like a new pair of shoes maybe, to others. I can’t imagine it, but it’s possible, right? How else to explain people who take on risky, scary, nauseating, crazy jobs.

My new Naturalizers! Mmm, so comfy!

My new Naturalizers! Mmm, so comfy!

I just meant to write about how great my new shoes feel on my feet. Like a little hug, supportive, warm, snug, protective.

Who knew I’d end up being grateful for people who are okay with the uncomfortable, cold, lonely, not-so-safe, daring pairs of shoes or boots.

Well, why not? If you’re one of those people who make sure I’m safe  and can walk around protected in this crazy world, this “THANK YOU” is for you!

Categories: Gratitude, People, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

My Own Personal News Hour

English: Canary Wharf stock ticker

Canary Wharf stock ticker (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Life could use a ticker tape. You know that scrolling thing across the bottom of the screen during the news that has stock numbers, brief headlines and weather for major cities? Yes, that thing. I need something like that for my daily life.

Why? Doesn’t Facebook already sort of serve that purpose, you ask? No, thank goodness, I reply.

No, I’m talking about a quick update about what’s going on in my body and brain and heart that might explain the why’s behind what I’m doing.

Like a little news blip that pops up about a traffic accident on the interstate, you’d know before you left the house to take a different route in to the office. If something like that let me know that there’s a psychic fender bender that’s not even in the clearing stages yet, I could reroute myself around the mess and avoid some tears or heartache.

Delays at airports over two thousand miles away make sense when explained by a little news note about heavy storms in a city with a major airline hub. In like manner, if a little news scroll reminded me of what I ate just before bedtime, mixed with the not so wise choice of dinner condiments, I’d be better informed about the reason behind the morning headache or the sluggishness I’m feeling.

As interconnected as the world works there’s no need to register surprise when something in Eastern Europe affects the stock market in the U.S.

Brains and bodies work together in even more intimate ways than the world operates. A little heads up that the worries I’ve stuffed into the dark closet in the back of my head are contributing to some sleeplessness might change how I deal with both issues.

Maybe more than the news ticker, I also need a couple of analysts in the background, my own personal Gergen and Shields, debating the merits, causes and results of various choices and events. They’d be way better than a shoulder angel and a shoulder devil because they’re unbiased. Well, maybe not completely unbiased, but they wouldn’t get emotionally involved. Imagine how intelligent, efficient and effective I could become with such well-informed people weighing in on my life.

I suppose that’s not really practical or affordable for an ordinary person like myself who’s isn’t trying to run a country or a large corporation or anything like that.

And the ticker tape thingy would get annoying pretty quickly, to the point that I’d ignore it, or resent that it’s covering up part of the screen.

I probably just need to pay attention to my life a bit better. Maybe it’d help if I were more mindful of what I eat, how early (or late) I get to bed, whether I’m thinking things through or just rushing in without much thought.

“Life moves fast,” as Ferris Bueller says.

I guess I need to “stop and look around once in a while” so I don’t miss what’s really going on.

But wait. Does that mean I need to speed up? Or do I need to slow down? I guess that’s the problem with taking advice from a fictional teenage character. Not really the most solid place to get life coaching from.

Where are Gergen and Shields when I need them?

Categories: Mental Health, People, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I Would Have

I’m using the Sandwich theory today. When you have to tell someone bad news slip it in between two good things. Not that the middle thing is bad news. Really it’s just something we hear in various forms but we don’t really listen.

Or is that we listen to but don’t really hear?

Whatever. Pay attention to the middle today, okay?

This sandwich is kind of like a good and healthy middle filling that we should choose to eat, enclosed by homemade bread.

Here’s one slice of bread:

20131013-171146.jpg

I didn’t promise the bread would be delicious, did I? Oh well, it’s a classic anyway.

Here’s the flavor packed protein filled goodness of today’s sandwich:

Erma Bombeck wrote this back in 1979 at the same age I am now, and many, many years before she passed away..

“Someone asked me the other day if I had my life to live over would I change anything. My answer was no, but then I thought about it and changed my mind.

If I had my life to live over again I would have waxed less and listened more.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy and complaining about the shadow over my feet, I’d have cherished every minute of it and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was to be my only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten popcorn in the “good” living room and worried less about the dirt when you lit the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would have burnt the pink candle that was sculptured like a rose before it melted while being stored.

I would have sat cross-legged on the lawn with my children and never worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television … and more while watching real life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband which I took for granted.

I would have eaten less cottage cheese and more ice cream.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick, instead of pretending the Earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for a day.

I would never have bought ANYTHING just because it was practical/wouldn’t show soil/ guaranteed to last a lifetime.

When my child kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now, go get washed up for dinner.”

There would have been more I love yous … more I’m sorrys … more I’m listenings … but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute of it … look at it and really see it … try it on … live it … exhaust it … and never give that minute back until there was nothing left of it.”

Here’s the other slice of bread:

20131013-171451.jpg

Insert your own rimshot at this point.

Hey, you can’t always take life too seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

Just three little somethings to let your brain chew on for a while.

Happy Sunday!

Categories: Humor, People, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

“How Big Is Your Brave?”

Did you hear what I said?

More importantly, did you hear what I meant?

Watch and listen to this and then we’ll talk:

You know how you can never think of a clever thing to say when you really need it? It’s like the next morning midway between breakfast and lunch when you think of the perfect comeback.

Too late.

And then there’s the text, email, instant message, private message or phone message you put out there that gets NO response whatsoever. What does that mean? Did it go through? Did you say something wrong? Are they avoiding you? It’s like the written equivalent of “do I have something green and gross in my teeth?” but much much worse.

I know, I know, the logical thing to think falls in the category of they’re busy, gone, their device isn’t working, or they missed seeing it among the three thousand others they received yesterday.

But still, I worry and wonder. Okay, fine, I obsess a little, too.

Or you post some witty or smart remark on Facebook and then read it a while later. You wonder who hacked your account and wrote such an abominable sentence that doesn’t even come close to what you meant to say.

Crash!

Laptop Keyboard

Return. Oops! (Photo credit: nist6ss)

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve, fortunately, read what I just typed, BEFORE I pressed the return button. Snarky, mean, thoughtless, manipulative, stupid, airheaded, too much information, ridiculous. Whatever. Dodged that one!

But, I’ve also pressed return without really paying attention and then shortly after wanted to crawl under a rock and ban myself from all forms of social media forever.

Sometimes just a regular conversation can leave me wondering what in the scrap-heap went wrong. I thought the conversation was about abc and the person I’ve chatted with  thought we were talking about xyz. Totally different wavelengths. Complete and utter misunderstanding. My brain throws its hands into the air and walks away disgusted with my lack of socializing skills.

Then there’s this other aspect of it all.

Pendulum

Pendulum (Photo credit: MrPlow5)

My communication pendulum swings rather wide. I fluctuate between two extremes.

I’m sometimes fairly quiet, uncertain about talking and keep to myself. Almost like a hermit, I mumble things under my breath, but rarely share out loud. I think way too much and have incredible inner conversations. Talking with others? Not so much.

Or the pendulum swings and I’m a little too talkative. I find myself answering a simple, basic question with Way Too Much Information. Those WTMI’s give me more anxiety than four teenagers combined ever did. (No, that’s not true, nothing could top that.) But anxiety levels rocket to stupid heights because of my over sharing, and again, I want to crawl under a rock and disappear for a month or three.

grizzly bear mind meld with boy

Grizzly bear mind meld with boy (Photo credit: woodleywonderworks)

Why weren’t we made with, I don’t know, brain to brain communication? Spock’s mind meld technique could come in handy more often than you’d think. I really need a verbal delete button. More than a shoulder angel or a shoulder devil, I need a shoulder editor.

“Hey, Kami, don’t say that. ”  Or better yet, “Shh… Just keep quiet for a minute. Listen…listen…wait… okay, now you can talk, but don’t empty your entire thought process here.”

Maybe that’s more like a quarterback coach with a headset on running the game mouth to helmet.  Fine, then, that’s what I need.

Or do I just need to stay BRAVE and say what I think and what I mean as best I can and roll with it.

Gaaaaaa!!!!!!!! Whole wars are fought over words that are misunderstood, misinterpreted, misused, missing or mistakes. No pressure!!!!

Do you sense the pendulum swinging here? It’s swinging so wide it may crash through a wall this time.

Why such angst? This is silly! These brave souls in this music video that accompanies these wonderful lyrics make me feel braver, make me smile, make me think I can just say what I think and the worlds walls won’t come crashing down around me.

It’s possible to just be there, move with the music, throw myself into living with abandon and silliness and guts and let things happen. It’s more likely that JOY will happen if I’m dancing. It’s more likely that JOY will happen if I’m at least TRYING to let my voice be heard.

Sure I’m gonna trip over myself. Probably way more than I think I will. (I already do, actually.) But maybe, just maybe I’ll make someone smile as I dance my words across the page or across the room. Maybe because I say what I think, I dance to the music that I’m hearing, someone else will get on their brave and dance with their words, too. It could happen.

Being brave with my words.

It’s surely worth the risk.

At least, I hope so.

I think I’ve found my new personal anthem.

_________________________

“Brave”

You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up
Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
And they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

Everybody’s been there, everybody’s been stared down
By the enemy
Fallen for the fear and done some disappearing
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, stop holding your tongue
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

Innocence, your history of silence
Won’t do you any good
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

*****

The title of today’s post is thanks to Sara Berreilles. You can also thank my young with-it daughter. When she heard what I was thinking about writing for today’s post she aimed me Sara’s direction.

Categories: People, Relationships, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | 12 Comments

Cat Highways

When we first moved here to the Arizona desert eons ago I had a learning curve to scale. It took a bit of time, but I got used to the oddities. Lizards, crickets, scorpions,  white flies, warm water coming out of the cold tap, the juxtaposition of police helicopters at night and roosters crowing in the morning,  running errands after the sun went down or before it rose in the morning, the pungent odor of dairy farms, pine trees in the same yard as palm trees, and monsoons that involved no rain whatsoever.

Portrait of a Wall lizard (Podarcis muralis

Portrait of a Wall lizard  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Assorted other desert adaptations for survival became necessary, but I think I’ve blocked those from my memory.

One of the first things I said to myself when I made the mistake of running to the grocery store at noon was, “who in their right mind would start a settlement here and then stay in this inferno?”

No one answered me.

I figured whoever decided that this was a good place for a town, and then another town and then a dozen or two more, most likely was suffering from some heat exhaustion or heat stroke. That was the only explanation.

I imagine the land was a great deal too.  Kind of like those real estate plots in the Everglades.

But I digress. Sorry, it’s been a long, long, long, long, long, long summer. I think someone mentioned breaking records, but I’m sure they meant CD’s or DVD’s.

Anyway.

The point I was trying to make was there’s this oddity I don’t recall seeing in other parts of the country where I’ve lived.

Most everyone in the country appears to believe Robert Frost’s adage that “good fences makes good neighbors.”

Chain Link Fence

Howdy neighbor!

Oklahoma had chain link fences, but then, they’re a really friendly bunch. They pretty much adopt you into their family right after you’ve made introductions. So the fence is really more of a dog deterrent than anything.

There were long expanses of six-foot tall wooden fences in North Carolina. Mine, mine, mine seemed  the word each nail punctuated in those fences. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the people alright, but boundaries seemed very important and well-defined. But then I lived there less than a year. I’m open for discussion on this one if you’re from Charlotte, or parts thereabouts.

The Seattle area employed a combination of wood and chain link depending on the neighborhood. Those fences seemed more of a suggestion than a real threat or barrier.

Creative Block

Cement block wall. More than just a fence between neighbors. (Photo credit: lukeroberts)

By contrast, here in the desert, the fences are really walls. Six foot high cement block walls. I still haven’t figured out what that means. Go away and leave me alone? I’ll stay on my side and you stay on yours and we’ll get along just fine? I have a room full of guns and I’m not afraid to use them?

What I noticed, early on after moving here were the cats on top of these lovely interconnected walls. The cats made really good time from one section of the neighborhood to the other and stayed well out of reach of any dogs. In fact, I believe they stopped and taunted dogs as often as time and speed allowed. I took to calling the walls “cat highways.”

Just last year I realized that teenagers had adapted and learned by watching the cats. They frequently scale the walls and run along the tops to get to where ever they want to go. Not sure if they taunt the dogs, though.

It’s important to know that the top edge of the wall is only six inches wide. The kids I know who do this seem oblivious to the possibility of falling, trespassing, irritating a rabid neighbor or injuring their often bare toes and feet. But then, most teenagers are oblivious to most things not orbiting their own personal universe. (No disrespect intended, just stating a fact.)

I guess if you live in the desert you adapt, change, melt a little, and do whatever it takes to survive.

You use what nature and construction offer and you run with it. Or, in this case, you run on it.

My take on it all? Extra good fences make good neighbors and in some cases, really good shortcuts.

_________________

Just in case you were wondering, here’s the actual poem by Frost that I was referring to. I consider it an astounding work of art. Enjoy. Read it out loud! It rolls in a warm wave and fills the room with the scent of an open meadow, pines and apple blossoms. At least in my mind it does.

Mending Wall

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
“Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
“Why do they make good neighbours? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.” I could say “Elves” to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbours.”

Robert Frost
Categories: Humor, People, phoenix | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

All Things Chia

Today’s Daily Prompt from WordPress asked:

“What’s the most dreadful or wonderful experience you’ve ever had as a customer?” 

My post twists the question around somewhat to reply as the one providing the customer service. I’m sorry to have to report that it turned out as rather inept service.

“I’m making a chia cava,” the woman said. “Can you tell me what fabric would work for that?”

“I’m sorry,” I replied. “I’m not sure I heard you right.”

“I’m looking for fabric, for a chia cava,” she said again.

After the tragic and premature death of Fernan...

Chia cava. Chia cava. Chia cava. I repeated in my head. I’m picturing chia plants, chia pets, chia heads. But what’s a cava?

“My hearing isn’t very good, ma’am,” I said apologetically, “could you say that again?”

“Chia cava,” she repeated louder. “Fabric for making a new chia cava.”

She didn’t have an accent, she wasn’t from a foreign country, she could pass as my grandmother and yet I couldn’t tell what she needed.

“Just a second,” I said as looked for the other sales associate to call her over.

“I’ll just find it myself,” the woman said and she walked away toward the stacks of fabric. Exasperation wasn’t exactly the look on her face, but I had clearly failed her.

I explained the misunderstanding to the other sales associate who looked at me like I’d lost my mind.

“Seriously, she said ‘chia cava,’” I whispered to her. It wasn’t a very big fabric shop.

Fabric shop in Hilo, Hawaii

Fabric shop in Hilo, Hawaii. Not, unfortunately, the one I worked at.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My coworker walked over to the misunderstood and somewhat frustrated customer and started chatting with her. They ran their hands over the bolts of paisley’s, prints, stripes and solids. They took out a bolt or two and spread out the fabric a bit. There were hand gestures I couldn’t quite make out. I still had no clue what a chia cava was. They walked over to another section of the store and talked about some of that fabric.  And again, there was the touching of fabric, more pulling bolts and spreading it out across the top of the other bolts. There was some laughter. Then they walked over to another section and chatted some more.

I stayed busy restocking a few notions while I surreptitiously watched the two of them chat and talk about fabric. When the customer selected the fabric she wanted the two of them walked back to the cutting counter together. I found something to do in another section of the store. Embarrassed at my inability to understand or help, I made myself as scarce as possible.

After measuring the fabric, cutting it, bagging it and collecting the money, my coworker walked to the door with the customer, chatting comfortably. As the door opened they both looked back at me briefly and I hid my face again. I’m not certain but I’m pretty sure I heard chuckling. The customer left with a look of satisfaction clearly on her face.

I stepped out from my hiding place near the notions wall and lifted my hands and shrugged my shoulders to ask, “well?”

“Well, what?” my coworker laughed.

“What is a chia cava and what kind of fabric do you make it from?”

She pulled up a chair behind the counter and sat down.  “See this?” she said, leaning back in the chair and letting the front legs lift off the ground.

“What? The chair?” I said exasperated.

“Yes, the chia,” she replied, dropping the “R” in the word chair.

“A Chair?” I said hitting myself in the forehead with the palm of my hand. “But what’s a chair cava?” I asked, but as I said the two words together out loud I understood. “A chai cava is a chair cover?” I said emphasizing the “R” sound in each word.

English: Chair

“Yup, simple as that,” she said. “She wanted to recover a chair in some new fabric, and if it turns out well, she’ll be back for more fabric.”

I looked at her, stunned and sheepish.

My coworker laughed. “That customer thought you were the strangest, dumbest salesperson she’d ever encountered in her whole life.” She laughed again. “I told her you were really new to the job and didn’t even know how to run the cash register yet.”

Now it was my turn to laugh. I’d been working there for over two years. I thought it better for the customer to think I was silly and inexperienced than for her to feel awkward or embarrassed herself.

I’m sure she told her friends and her husband about the airheaded sales clerk who couldn’t understand simple English. Just as surely as I told my family about the customer who couldn’t make herself understood by a simple sales clerk in a fabric store.

Occasionally when one of my kids says something I can’t quite hear or understand, I’ll throw out the phrase, “you want a chia cava” and get a laugh out of them. Then they’ll repeat themselves very slowly as if I am hard of hearing and dimwitted, laughing at me the whole time.

At least they all get a laugh out of it.

I’m happy to be of service.

Categories: Humor, People | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Not my “A” Game

Do I have to show up with my A game?

Or can I just show up?

How about if I show up in my pajamas?

My A game is definitely down today. Might be best not to show up at all, even in pajamas.  Does anyone have the number for calling in sick to life?

Open bottles of Extra Strength Tylenol and Ext...

Sore throat, earache, head ache, me ache. Sleep remains elusive and fickle. The doctor and I get to chat today. With any luck I’ll leave with a prescription or two or five that will a.) help me sleep; b.) take away some of this dumb pain; and c.) cure whatever this is that’s ailing me. Maybe he can even write one up for d.) an attitude adjustment that minimizes whininess and self-pity.

It’s probably a virus. That’s why I’ve waited this long to visit with the doc. When I go to the doctor only a few days into an illness, I’m told it’s a virus, or it’s what’s going around, and I should drink lots of fluids, get rest and (ha) take it easy.

Somehow my body isn’t getting the message that this is “just” anything and that it should heal itself.

I feel so whiny and wimpy when I think of how my best buddy has suffered through five flipping years of pain, chemo and crap. And she’s done it with less whining in five years than I’ve produced in the past week. You’d think I’d have learned something from her amazing example of perseverance and perkihood and optimism.

I have.

I’ve learned that she’s exceptional and strong and gutsy. I’ve learned that she’s kept her focus on her family. Her priorities have been on three things: 1.) doing what’s essential for her own spiritual well-being; 2.) doing what she can that’s necessary in caring for her family; and with any remaining energy 3.) she does some nice stuff that brings variety and beauty and enjoyment into her life.

That order of priorities has kept her focused and hopeful and happy, in spite of the pain and loss and sickness.

So maybe I can’t bring my A game today. But maybe I can muster my B game and stop being whiny. I could do that.

Right after a nap and some Tylenol.

Categories: Family, People | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Dressing Down in the Dressing Room

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I recently found myself in a department store with a small hopeful stack of shirts and sweaters to try on. As I walked toward the dressing room I saw an unusual sight. The top of a man’s head poking above one of the dressing room stalls. Then I noticed a stroller poking out the bottom of the changing stall. “Must be a dad helping his daughter find something to wear,” I thought to myself.

My assumption turned out wrong. It wasn’t his daughter in there with him it was his wife and child.

How did I know this?

She proceeded to make it clear in no uncertain terms. Here is approximately what I unavoidably overheard:

“*#(%*@ size ____. I’ve never been this big in my life. Disgusting!!! How can you even stand to look at me?

You look fine, honey.

I look like a big, fat, stinking pig. Why are you still married to me?

Honestly, you look great to me. Who are you trying to impress anyway?

&)@*!!! *^ I am a fat stinking *&**!!!%@!# [insert most derogatory swear word you can think of] Do you hear me? You should be so disgusted and just leave me because I am a worthless *#&%@*!!

Another woman in another dressing stall piped up. Girlfriend, you’re a size smaller than me. You can’t look all that bad.

You want to come see. It’s disgusting. I’m a fat *#*%@.

At this point her husband tries to shush her as she’s now not only berating herself in the worst possible terms, but also making other people upset as well. They leave the changing room and thankfully I have no face to put to her words.

Here’s the thing.

If someone else called this woman the names she was calling herself, her husband would have certainly punched their lights out, demanded an apology and made sure they couldn’t walk for at least eight weeks. That’s what I hope MSH would do if someone treated me with such disdain and disrespect.

But it was a woman berating herself publicly. Okay, semi-publicly.

Here’s the other thing.

I’ve thought very similar thoughts. I’ve gotten angry at what I’ve seen in the dressing room mirror. I’ve sworn off shopping for clothes at times because I can’t find anything that I feel presentable in. I’ve left stores hating myself for what my body looks and feels like.

And my size, that number we all give so much power to, runs significantly higher than the number that angry woman was so disgusted about.

I admired the intervening voice, the other woman trying to serve as a voice of reason and solidarity. I thought about saying something, but having felt similar feelings, knew it was impossible at that point to comfort, soothe or repair anything.

Maybe she’d not slept enough, maybe her baby in the stroller had kept her awake night lately. Maybe she’s still recovering from growing, laboring and birthing a child. Maybe she missed lunch or was dehydrated. Maybe she was just having a bad day anyway and the dressing room fiasco was the last straw.

Whatever the reason my heart hurt for her. And for thousands of us who let the mirror determine how we feel and what our worth is.

Is there a way to stop looking in the mirror and being so critical? Is there a way to stop caring so much about the book cover and be more concerned with the quality of the words and sentences and story?

I wish there were an easy answer. But I know there isn’t.

Categories: People, self-image, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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