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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easter







We are just a few days from Easter and much like Christmas I find it to hard to focus on the reason for our celebration. There are too many distractions.




I look forward to all those phone calls, you know,"are you going to be open on Good Friday?" And then on Friday the bank will be dead until about 2:50 when everyone shows up at once saying, " I didn't think you guys were open today."




Yes we will be open on Good Friday, as Good Friday is a very Christian holiday, and, of course, the federal reserve does not like Christian holidays. And yes we will try to provide you with all the half dollars, dollar coins and two dollar bills you need for those special grand kids Easter eggs.




I never got money for Easter when I was a child, and I'm not sure I would have liked it. All I ever wanted were those malted Easter eggs. I never cared for those marshmallow eggs. They were way too sweet. I could hardly stand to eat every one of them. Oh and Peeps were just awful. Especially when you found them on the bottom of you new Easter shoes.




The chocolate bunny was kind of a disappointment. I really hated to ruin it's little bunny shape so I held on to it for a day or so. When I could stand no more, I bit it's little cottontail off only to find it was hollow. I'm sure there is some kind of lesson to be learned there.




The best Easter gift I ever received, other than salvation, was when my little girl, Sarah was born. It was April 1st and Good Friday. We brought her home on Easter Sunday in a Moses basket lined in blue dotted Swiss. If I had chosen pink, I'm sure she would have been a boy.



The Easter egg hunt was always a big deal at my parents house. We have yards of video tape and even 8 milometer home movies of the great event. I always felt sorry for the kids who were suddenly too big for the hunt. It was either stand back and watch the others having fun or risk humiliation.



One of my most memorable Easters was the year my niece Leah and I had our little girls all dressed in navy blue and white. It wasn't planned but they looked so cute. Leah's daughter, Melissa and my Lauren were just a month apart. They were sitting on the floor playing and Lauren leaned over and kissed Melissa on the cheek. So Melissa turned and bit Lauren on the cheek, and actually drew blood. It left a little scar that looked like a dimple, so for years we told people Lauren got her dimple from her cousin Melissa.



Anyway, I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter, and Sarah, Happy Birthday! I love you more than life.

Friday, March 26, 2010

All Strung Out On Lip Balm


Years ago, when I was around thirteen or so, I developed a terrible addiction. It plagued my life through high school and followed me into adulthood. I tried to quit over and over only to start again once the weather turned cold and windy. Over the last few years, Ive found substitutes and the occasional healing. Now this awful habit has reared its ugly head once again. Yes, that's right. I'm back on Carmex and I can't stop. It's even more convenient now. After all these years it's packaged in a tube like normal chap stick. But we know it's not normal. That cooling gel wakes me in the middle of the night saying, "You need more", and I can't resist.



I do miss the old packaging, however. I can remember the feeling of digging in my purse or pockets for lipstick and suddenly finding that little round jar. The glass itself was cool to the touch, promising relief for those sore chapped lips.

It may pale in comparison to other dependencies Ive suffered in my life, but I believe it is more dangerous, simply because of it's availability. How long before I find myself, red eyed and sleepless, standing at the convenience store counter, digging for change to score one more tube?

Just one more, and I promise I'll quit.



Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thursday

I had dinner with Tracy tonight. Little Mexico and margaritas. It was nice, I don't know why we don't do it more often.
I have the strangest relationship with Tracy. She kind of grew up in my back yard. I was friends with her father in our old singles group at Calvary back in the 70's. Then became friends with her mom after they were married. I didn't know for a long time that they both were teachers at my high school while I was actually in high school. Tracy was very good friends with my daughter, Sarah when they were little girls. When she was at our house she and my son, Eric fought constantly. When they were in high school, Tracy and Eric became close friends and hung out all the time. Sarah and Eric both have moved to Austin and now Tracy hangs out with me. It may not be much fun for her, but I do enjoy her company, and I love her little family.
I miss my kids so much and it's nice to spend time with people I know love them too. It's especially nice to talk to those who were so close to Lauren. She was the kind of person that, well, you had to be there.
By the way, I have a new great niece. Congratulations, Callie. I will be posting Easter bonnet pictures of you soon.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Suzanne


In an earlier post I wrote about a divorced mother of six who let her daughter, Mary, and me take her car to do laundry when we were sixth graders. Since then, I have been thinking a lot about Mary's mom, Suzanne. I didn't mean to imply she let us run wild and unsupervised. On the contrary, she had everything and everybody under control. Her hands were full and she had to delegate to the older children.

There was a stigma attached to the divorced woman in the 60's and 70's. I remember the hateful and snide remarks from other mothers and how they would lower their voices when Mary walked in the room. My Mom was never in on this and probably didn't know it was going on, as she was too concerned about her own divorced daughter and husband who drank too much. But that's another story.

Suzanne worked hard, day and night keeping books and hostessing at the local country club. She had a family to feed and a house to keep. She wasn't looking for a new man or someone else's husband. I believed the only problem the other mothers had with her was, Suzanne was drop dead gorgeous.

She loved her family and when she had time off that's who she spent it with.

Mary and I would often walk to her house for lunch and save our money for more important things like football games. We didn't get allowances like the other kids in our class, so we made these little sacrifices whenever possible.

One extremely cold windy day, we walked to Mary's, half starved, and Mary's mom was home. I don't think I had ever seen her in daylight. Anyway she made us soup and the best cornbread I have ever eaten. In fact, I don't think I had ever eaten cornbread until that day. Even though it was a staple in our house, it had never appealed to me. But this was good. It was a little sweet, I think she added sugar.

Life can be pretty hard in a single parent family, but it's one of those things that happens in this imperfect world. I think Suzanne somehow was able to make the best of her circumstances by focusing on the end result, children who felt loved and secure. That's hard for anyone.

Suzanne tops my list of people I learned from growing up. And when I make cornbread I always add a little sugar, which makes me think of her, which makes me think maybe it wasn't the cornbread that was so sweet.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Dishin'




I'm not what you'd call technologically savvy. Some people might even call me technologically retarded. Those people are cruel insensitive and not very P C, so don't listen to them. Anyway I just got my first IPod Shuffle. I have an MP3 player and never thought there could be much difference, but this thing runs on magic. I think it is made by little elves living in trees. I unintentionally loaded every song and CD from my computer on it. That was nearly eight hours of music and it was less than half full. Yet the thing is so tiny, it just can't be possible.




I never thought I would be singing the praises of a Macintosh product. People who use Macs are, well they are computer snobs. I think I could buy seven PCs for what a Mac cost. But everybody is a snob about something, right?








Some people have to drive the nicest cars, even if it breaks them. And car dealers don't mind. If they repossess a car it can be sold, again, at a huge profit. And the person who defaults on the loan can always find a dealer willing to finance them again.




A lot of people are cell phone snobs. They have to be able to take pictures, shop online post their face book status and call their mother in-law on Mars all at the same time. I only need a cell phone to make an occasional call.


No, my obsession is dishes.




I might be living in a trailer house with a Trans Am on blocks in a yard protected by a Pit Bull on a chain, but when you come to my house for dinner I will set a darn nice table. You will be impressed. Not so much by my cooking, however.


I have so many sets of dishes I'm a little afraid my cabinets may fall off the walls some day. Every once in a while I'll give some away. This is very hard to do because I heard once that a gift is not a gift unless it's something you really want to keep. So if I have given you dishes you know I really love you, Tracy. At one time I had given my daughter, Sarah, so many sets of dishes she started bringing them back. I couldn't blame her, though. She was single and living in an efficiency apartment with six sets of dishes.


I have sets that remind me of different people. Of course my Blue willow will always remind me of Grandma Bell. Another set, I think is from the 50's. It's white with silver and that art deco turquoise color and I can almost see my Aunt Eloise drinking coffee from the delicate little cups. That's a good memory.


The dishes my mother gave me were white with blue roses on them. I'm sure they were not expensive but they look kind of Victorian. For years after my mother died I would see the matching sugar bowl on my dad's table and wonder if I could ask him for it. But I never did and then one day I found one in an antique store. I actually was able to complete the set.


Dad has told me I could have Mom's china but I wanted Sarah to have it. Maybe she will have room. I know I won't.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fun With Jon And Sheila


Jon and I decided, out of the blue, yesterday to drive up to Palo Duro Canyon for a picnic. He wanted to take some pictures for his photography class and I thought it would be a nice break from the ordinary.
Driving around the canyon, I was reminded of our honeymoon at Cripple Creek Colorado. Only this time the only illegal contraband we were carrying was a bottle of Bohemian Highway Chardonnay. In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have let him pack the food for our picnic. Cheetos, yummy as they are, do not pair well with Chardonnay. While Jon was taking pictures Jethro Tull was playing very loudly on the radio and he said, "this is where your supposed to say I just found this joint in my purse." Now that would have paired well with Cheetos, but I also would have been carrying a very old purse.

Out here on the prairie, we flatlanders forget sometimes, we have this beautiful national park just sixty miles up the road. If your reading this and you don't know, there is an amphitheater there, where they perform a musical called Texas. It's kind of famous and people come from all around to see it. I have only been forced to see it one time and I can tell you I hated every minute. However, a person who is less jaded and cynical might really enjoy it. I just never could get passed the dancing cowboys.

Another thing I forget is how much fun Jon can be. He is, as of Thursday, retired from AT&T after thirty two years. I hope he can relax and enjoy life now. I also hope he finds another job, but something he wants to do now, maybe photography or meal planning. You know, like choosing just the right wine for hot dogs and Frito's

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Soundtrack To My Life


My life might make a boring movie but I think the soundtrack would be great. I love music and there is a song for almost every memory I have. If I love you at all, chances are I have a song for you.


When I was a little girl, I would sit and play records for my mom while she did laundry and ironing. Long before I started to school or could read I recognized the records I wanted to hear by their labels. For years I knew what label every artist was on.


Even as a child I had my own taste in music. I found it hard to like something just because it was popular. When all my fifth grade Friends were diggin' the Archie's Bang Shang a Lang and Sugar Sugar, I couldn't forget the Archie's were a made up cartoon band not to mention comic book characters. Still brokenhearted and disappointed by the Monkeys the previous year, I would not be fooled again.


The Chi Lite's Oh Girl and Have You Seen Her and the Temptation's Just My Imagination were my favorite songs in seventh grade. Most of us junior high schoolers hadn't gotten into hard rock yet. One morning I walked into art class and my teacher, a very strange and sullen man, said, "did ya hear the news? Isn't it awful what happened to Janis Joplin?" We all said Janis who? He couldn't believe we were so uncool.

I had this friend named Mary. Her mother was divorced and had six kids. The two youngest were named after John Lennon and Paul McCartney. On Sundays Mary's mom would give us her car to go do laundry at the laundry mat. We were just in the sixth and seventh grade but we would ride around and listen to her mom's Led Zeppelin tapes. We didn't do anything wrong except underage driving.

Eighth grade was all about Carol King and Paul Simon for me. Paul Simon's self titled album is still one of my favorites today. The song Mother and Child Reunion means something completely different to me now.

High school was different. That's when I really started to love Rock. I had listened to the Beatles and Stones my whole life because of my older brothers. But now I was really listening. I loved Bad Company, James Gang, Led Zeppelin and, before they went commercial, Z Z Top. And Neil Young and Little Feat and I could go on and on.

I started listening to the blues late in High school. Eric Clapton, E C Was Here is still the album I'll go to first most of the time. One day I was listening to Eric and my mom came in my room and said she liked it. Then she suggested I check out Muddy Waters. I had no idea Mom was a blues fan from way back in the 40's.

None of this matters to anyone but me. I just thought it would be fun to write it down, maybe see where Ive been and how I got there. In the movie, Hi Fidelity there is a scene where John Cusack is organizing his massive album collection. His friend ask him if he is doing it alphabetically or what and Cusack says "No. Autobiographic." I love that line, so now, here are my top 10 all time favorite songs in autobiographic order.

10. Hello Stranger by Barbara Lewis


9. Walk Away Renee by..I don't know who this is by


8. These Eyes by The guess Who


7. Mother and Child Reunion by Paul Simon


6. Doctor My Eyes by Jackson Browne


5. Layla by Eric Clapton


4. Box Of Rain by The Grateful Dead


3. Love Has No Pride by Bonnie Raitt


2. Into The Mystic by Van Morrison


And the number one all time favorite tune in autobiographic order...


Have You Ever Loved A Woman by Eric Clapton








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A wife, mother, and spoiler of small dogs, I grew up in a small West Texas town, with my eyes full of sand, and my heart full of joy.


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