Sunday, October 09, 2011

Can I interest you in dessert?

It is a tough economy out there these days. That’s what the news tells us, and therefore it is true, right? Higher level economic indicators are discussed by news commentators and the politician of the hour expounds on the virtue of his greatness to overcome the sluggish market. I think I can confidently say, most Americans are simply tired of hearing about who to blame, why it happened, and how someone can magically take us back to the 90’s and the era of super big growth on Wall Street and outlandish personal spending.

From time to time I choose to spend time and money to have manicures and pedicures. It’s a luxury. My nails are strong enough to grow them out and have them long and look nice. So why do I do it? Because I like the fact that the polish stays on for two weeks without flaking and peeling. And I like the look of artificial nails with a French manicure. As to pedicures, who doesn’t like someone else trimming your nails, cleaning your cuticles and paying attention to your feet? It’s an extravagance that is easily chopped out of our budget.

I have been to quite a few different places to have fills this summer. The first set was put on in New Jersey; I didn’t get a get chance to get them done prior to business travel. Had some time in the evening and stopped by a new place, touting a Grand Opening special. As I walked in I observed the cleanliness and thought, yes, I’ll have my nails done here. The owner suggested a young guy put my set on and they both proceeded to upsell me on a set of gel nails instead of acrylic. Value add came in the form of a bottle of water. The final value add came in the highly self regarded opinion of the technician of the beauty of square finished nails instead of round tips. I thought to myself, “might as well do as the locals do, I’m at the New Jersey shore.”

After Jersey, I had a fill in Kent. The owner of the nail salon in Kent looked at my nails and spoke in length to the technician in Vietnamese. I said I’d like a gel fill since that’s what I have on. He said it is better to fill with acrylic. No upsell in this salon, and in fact, it was such a poor fill that I haven’t been back.

The next experience happened in Vegas. Again, business travel and I couldn’t get to my favorite place, Lovely Nail prior to leaving. Lovely Nail not Nails? Yes, if you question that, so do I and most patrons of the salon. Lost in translation and each time I leave here all of my nails (plural) are lovely.

Anyway, back to Vegas. I figured I could pay top dollar on the strip or go off and get affordable nails. But then there is the taxi fare. So I went ahead and had them done at the casino. Unusual for sure, but I had a Caucasian technician. It was a lovely visit with clear understanding and no difficulty in conversation. Of course, she looked at my gel set with acrylic fill and went on about how so many of the Asian salons really don’t know what they are doing. No upsells at this event. I was paying top dollar anyway. Have to admit, the polish and sheen of the color I chose was absolutely fabulous. I had so many compliments on the color and how nice they looked. This particular fill was COMPLETELY luxurious; I am embarrassed to say out loud how much I really spent when so many people don’t have money to meet all of their bills every month.

In between Vegas and now, I hit Lovely Nail a couple times. And then two weeks ago, I decided to get my “Groupon” (can I use that as a verb?) Anyway, I’ve had this Groupon coupon for almost a year. And with my nail season winding down, I figured I best use it before it expires. I phoned to make an appointment on Sunday afternoon and asked about costs to make sure I’d be using the entire coupon. Yikes, a spa pedicure and a fill will more than certainly use my $50. Glad I only spent $25 for the coupon.

As I walked into the salon, I noticed the fine atmosphere, soft music, nicely decorated, and clean. The gal behind the counter called for a technician to escort me to the pedicure area. 95 minutes later, my pedicure was complete. I planned for an hour and a half tops for both services.

Being a Sunday afternoon, and Uncle Bob asking if I ever get “Wendy time,” I held back my anxiousness to move on to the next thing on my list. The gal behind the front counter said to follow her and she’d fill my nails.

I asked for an acrylic fill, that I didn’t want to have another material since I had some lifting with the gel and acrylic mix. Sitting down at the station, she takes my hands and studies my nails. And then proceeded to tell me the features and benefits of silk wraps. She has developed her own wrap process and it is the best for your nails, only to have natural 100% Chinese silk on them. On and on. Okay, since this is a coupon, I’ll go ahead and give them a try. With that, she begins to file and prepare to wrap my nails in silk. Having heard about this type of fake nail before, I am curious.

Soon I learn that the front desk gal is actually the owner of the salon. She tells me of her other shop in Covington that she recently sold and how she has 3 children, two of which are going to school at WSU. Go Cougs. She stops from time to time to reply to texts from her daughter who is driving back to Pullman that day. I think to myself, she’s done well for herself, emigrating from Vietnam, owning successful businesses, and raising three children and having two of them in college. No small feat.

The wrapping takes quite a bit of time, and we discuss a variety of topics. Pauline, the owner, asks where I typically go as I have my Groupon coupon. She knows of Lovely Nail, and doesn’t speak poorly of them. Her sales tactic is on the up and up, Pauline promotes her salon with best business practices, clean facilities, how the Groupon deal has brought a lot of business her way. “I use it as a loss leader. I’ve offered the Groupon twice. Don’t know if I’ll do it again, but I did sell a lot of them.”
I commend her for drumming up business, and keeping her clientele growing. With the economy the way it is, I comment that I’m sure she’s see a downturn in her business. It’s hard to spend money on your nails when you have bills to pay.

Pauline stops wrapping and says, “Wendy, you have no idea how many people come in here and pay for nails when they can’t feed their families. Yes, it is rough with lots of people with no jobs, but ladies are not willing to sacrifice this bit of beauty.”

Smart businesswoman I think to myself. She is running this place to make money and understands a lot about sales from technique, product offering and her client base. It was nice to have this type of business conversation, surprisingly at a salon. I hadn’t had a higher level conversation like this at any other salon. Not that I couldn’t inquire and ask, but Pauline offered up this information.

So as Pauline grabs the spool of Chinese silk out of her drawer, she begins to tell me about other services they offer. Massage and waxing services. Nice.

“Wendy, do you wax?”

“Yes, I get my eyebrows done.”

“Oh, well what about other waxings; like a bikini wax or a Brazilian?”

This takes me back. Umm, awkward. I don’t know this woman and she’s asking me about that? Not wanting to appear uncouth, I decide to roll with the conversation and tell her no, no I don’t do those waxings. Besides, that whole Brazilian thing is so personal.

“I wouldn’t worry about that. We don’t even look at it that way. And a lot of women really like it.”

“Hmm.”

“You should try it.”

“Yes, well maybe I will.”

Pauling goes into the details of her services and I get a little glassy eyed. I don’t want to think about that on a Sunday afternoon! The conversation segues into other topics and my attention span officially wanes. Two and ½ hours into my “Wendy time,” I am seriously considering why I have my nails done. This is 2 ½ hours I won’t get back, and was it the best use of my time on this earth? I cut my event short; let her know that I don’t have time for polish and head out the door.

“Come on back when you have time, I’ll put some color on your nails. And think about making an appointment for waxing; you won’t be disappointed. “

Driving away from the salon, I am agitated by the delay in my schedule but also impressed by the sales techniques employed by a persistent small business owner in America. We all know that restaurants try to upsell appetizers and desserts to increase revenue dollars per ticket. The upsells and add-ons in other salons are typically for French manicures, eyebrow waxings, and paraffin treatments. But this gal, she went for it. You never know unless you ask for the order right? That’s what closing business is all about in sales. I’m curious about her close rate.

Will she close this sale with me? I honestly don’t know. But should I choose to have that service performed, I’ll likely return to her salon. Pauline deserves the sale.

P.S. As most of you know, my sissy la la is my sounding board. I told her about the waxing conversation prior to writing and we laughed and giggled. Sharing my title with her I said I still had to work the title into the story to you know, complete the circle. Otherwise the title wouldn’t make any sense. She texted back something I so wouldn’t expect. So then here I am explaining that it’s all about the upsell and more revenue and dessert that way. Love her. And totally think she’s gotta get her fiction writing groove on.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Speechless

Left speechless at the dinner table tonight. Not from praise of the FINE stew I made.

From Reyde asserting himself. Looking at Uncle Bob and he says, "just so you know I wasn't talking to you."

Uhhh. WHAT? His delivery was impeccable, and I had to really hold it together to be stern without laughing at how funny it was. So I reprimanded, James chewed on him, and Uncle Bob didn't realize what was happening it occurred so quickly.

Love parenting.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

You wanna talk to my....

Uncle Bob kibbitzed with Mom for a long time on the phone tonight.

I sat down at the table with him, patiently waiting for him to wrap up the conversation so I could show him soccer photos.

Dah duh duh....da duh duh....waiting. Zoning. Pretty tired. And then I hear him say, "Do you want to talk to my lawyer?"

What? Mom didn't get it either.

He hands the phone to me, and I say, "I thought I was your nurse, caregiver. Not your lawyer."

"You're my everything Wendy."

"Mom, did you hear that? I'm HIS EVERYTHING."

HIS EVERYTHING. If it weren't my 73 year old uncle telling me that I'd be over the moon.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

I thought we were just picking up a catalog

I took Monday afternoon off to do a couple of things with Uncle Bob. Needed to go to wound care in Renton and since we’d be in the area, I thought I’d drop by the cemetery to pick up a catalog for Uncle Bob to peruse head stones. It’s been since 1991 when Verla passed, and he hadn’t gotten around to ordering a marker for her grave. Now each time we’d talked about this task, Uncle Bob had teared up; Verla truly was his soul mate and I think in the back of his mind, a marker would be pretty darned final.

I’d called over a month ago to arrange a catalog. The guy I’d spoken to said that we could look online, but I kindly refused saying that my uncle is a paper kinda individual. I’ll put something together he says. And he actually followed up call me to ask when we’d be in. That was a month ago. Life got in the way, and we found ourselves in the neighborhood. I told Uncle Bob he could sit in the truck, and I’d be right back.
No, I’ll come in.

10 minutes later, we’ve walked the short distance to the office and inquire about getting a catalog. The receptionist says they don’t have any, and I asked if there was anybody available to help us. She went through the names and I recognized the salesman’s name. He’s on the phone, if you’d like I can have you sit in a room and make a cup of coffee for you? Knowing that the afternoon has been taxing on Bob to begin with, I say sure, 2 cups of decaf and let’s sit in a room.

Been quite a while since I’ve been in a mortuary. We follow the gal into a room that resembles a residential dining room. Obviously decorated as such to make us feel like we are at home and not in such an odd place. You know, end of life place.

Before long, the salesman walks in and we say that we are looking to get a catalog that my uncle needs to arrange a marker for his wife that passed away in 1991. Our phone conversations are recalled and he gets us a catalog. About an inch thick. And I think to myself, there is no way he’ll let us take that home.

Uncle Bob tells him that he wants to be cremated and buried with Verla. That brings up a whole new conversation about 2nd rites and if he has those to be buried in the same plot. Off he goes to pull the card. Coming back we see that Grandma bought 4 plots, one for herself, one for a future husband, and the other two are assigned to Uncle Bob and Uncle Don. So, the salesman says, you can be buried next to her if you like? Digressing into who should go in what plot, pondering Grandma’s plans for a future husband, and what about so and so, we finally get back to 2nd rites and having Verla and Bob together.

Luckily this guy has done this thousands of times right, and begins to direct us on how to pick the marker. Shape, font, saying, design. Holy guacamole.

Flipping through the pages, I see that we gain a little traction in that there are a few pages for dual names. Uncle Bob is quick to choose one; seeing pictures of angels and flowers, he says he’d like to have an eagle on it. Go to the clip art section and you’ll find an eagle the salesman tells us. We find one that matches the tattoo Bob has. This is going well but it’s been about an hour and my attention span is waning. Remember, I planned to pop in, pick up a catalog and head home to start this journey.
Do we have room for a saying? The salesman says yes. Uncle Bob thinks about it for a moment, holding back tears I think but I can’t really tell as his eyes are shadowed by his baseball cap. I was think about writing something like, mother, friend, wife, because that’s what Verla was. We agree, sounds good. What do you think Wendy?

Oh boy, huge commitment here. Suffice or do I offer my opinion? Well Uncle Bob, I’m probably going to tear up a little bit here…but you guys were soul mates. You didn’t need anybody else around but each other. He agrees, the salesman says that’s nice too. Yeah, we could add that to the bottom. You know, she was the best friend I ever had.

That’s it exclaims the salesman. That’s what you should have written on the marker.

Best friend I ever had.

I take a sip of my cold decaf coffee to pull myself together and look at the paperwork in front of the salesman. No eye contact with my Uncle, don’t want the waterworks to start in full force.

Redirecting to pull myself together, I say should we talk about prices then?
We flip the brochure open to the options of burial and Uncle Bob suggests that we might as well pay for his cremation while we are at it. I look at him and say, okay, but we may not be getting the best deal. Yeah, but it’s done then and it would be easier for you right? Yes, yes it would. In the back of my mind, I am also thinking, when did I become the executor of your estate? I really wanted Amy to have that responsibility since she just handled Dad’s. Maybe we can be co-executors…

Looking at the prices, and knowing that Dad had a really good deal, I still asked if we could have the cremation service happen somewhere else. And then bring the ashes to be placed with Verla. Sure, not a problem. Would there be a cost? Like a handling fee? The salesman looks at me and says no. Wanting to make sure that he understands what I’m saying, I explain it like a cork fee. You know, if I bring my own bottle of wine to a restaurant, they charge me a fee. The salesman gets a twinkle in his eye and says, you know, no we don’t have that sort of fee but you have a great idea there.
After we pay for ours, you can start charging that fee okay?

Soon the event starts feeling like buying a used car. The brochure is flipped over and the salesman starts writing figures for cremation, and this fee, and the marker, and the engraving, and the 2nd rites and, and, and. We come up with a figure.

Whoa.

What sort of discount can you give us? This feels like we are paying full retail here.

No cork fee.

Doesn’t count, you get to start charging that after us.

If you pay today, I can give you 10% off but that only applies to this and this, and the state doesn’t allow us to discount that, but this, and this…we get a new figure.

How about a free t-shirt? Any gift with purchase? The salesman looks at me to see if I am serious. Yes, you know, like I got great service at Greenwood Memorial?

No, we don’t have t-shirts.

We’ll settle for these pens then and I point to the gel pens on the table. Oh no, pens are hard to come by here. I can’t give you a pen. I raise my eyebrows; this guy is serious about the pens.

Diverting our attention back to his worksheet, Uncle Bob agrees on the price. The salesman stands up to leave the room and print contracts.

Is there any sort of viewing with this cremation Uncle Bob asks.

The salesman sits back down and explains that the package he is buying does not include a memorial. No, but can people come in for a viewing before I am cremated? You know to say their goodbyes? The salesman looks a bit agitated, like we are not done like he thought he was.

Wendy, Uncle Bob asks me; wouldn’t you like to be able to see me one more time? Well, I mean, no, not really, but if that is what you want, for people to come see you, we need to make that happen. So here’s what you can do the salesman says. Upon your death he looks at Uncle Bob, she just needs to inform the funeral director that we need to do this…

What do you think my uncle asks me again. I’ll do what you wish. Looking at the salesman, I ask him again what I need to say. Writing it down verbatim, I put the note in the folder we will take home. I can’t forget, I have to make sure this happens.

The salesman leaves to get contracts.

I look at my watch and we are 90 minutes into “picking up a catalog.” I call James and let him know that we’ll be awhile, that he and Reyde are on their own for dinner; maybe you should hit McDonald’s.

Uncle Bob is starting to look a bit piqued. When the salesman returns I ask him if we can do this pretty quick as my uncle needs to have some food and we need to head home. Yes, this will be quick; I have a 6pm appointment.

We head out to the foyer to look at marble and pick out the color Uncle Bob wants. Going through all the colors, what looks best with the engraving, what looks good in the rain, what takes upkeep or not. Some are always tidy with the wind, while others get moss and mold growing in them. We lean toward green since Uncle Bob loves the outdoors and the mountains, and we have an eagle.

Heading back to our faux dining room, the salesman notes the color, the clip art number for the eagle, and then asks us for the font to use. Knowing we have hundreds to choose from, I wonder how long this will take. Uncle Bob makes a quick decision and before long we are done.

A signature here, initials there, papers are signed for both his cremation and the grave marker. As Uncle Bob write his name for the final time, the salesman hands us a copy of the contracts and says, and I’ll take those pens. Right.

We shake hands and excuse the salesman from the room. Uncle Bob’s gait is a tad bit slower than his, and he is late for his next appointment. We leave the building and get to the truck.

I ask if he’d like to go visit Verla’s grave and Grandma Lillian’s. No. Let’s head out to Maple Valley and visit with Don and Julie. Sure, but I need food and so do you. Might as well hit up McDonald’s for chicken nuggets and salt free fries. Not the best choice but one that doesn’t mess with his diabetes too bad.

Heading out of the parking lot we see a conveniently placed McDonald’s right across the street. Bet they get used a lot for folks unexpectedly coming to Greenwood.

Quickly ordering and pulling up to the drive through window, I tell Uncle Bob that I don’t plan on driving and eating. You sure you don’t want to have dinner with the girls?

No, we’ll visit them when we place the marker.

As we eat in the parking lot I check out of the corner of my eye to make sure he’s doing okay. Big stuff organized in the last two hours. Closure to his soulmate’s death. Planned his own cremation. AND we were just supposed to be picking up a catalog.

The whole event was pretty non emotional. A business transaction, as if we were buying a new appliance. Perhaps it was so matter of fact as it was unplanned, perhaps because he’d thought about it for a while. I don’t know. I sit back and wonder how I would feel, paying for my own cremation, and planning what will be on my grave marker.

Watching traffic go by, and cars arriving at the funeral home, I remark that he’s gotten a lot accomplished.. Now, you need to remind me what you want and where to have your memorial I tell him.

He says I don’t want to wait until after I’m gone for the party. I think we should have it while I’m still alive so I can hear what people have to say about me.

I laugh, put the truck in gear and head down the road.

My day didn’t’ go as I’d planned. We got home very late and while we didn’t cry, it took a toll on my emotions as I’m sure it did his. Quite a remarkable afternoon.

I knew there’d be life lessons learned living with Uncle Bob. I have to say that I appreciate every day my family gets with him and the opportunity to get to know this man. My uncle.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Man of Character

Fiddling with the remote control, I clicked on “On Demand,” and queued up Entourage. Finally, James and I get 30 minutes of down time watching one of the few shows we seek out. It’s 10pm Wednesday night, and while late, we are looking forward to this mindless drama.

As James walks past the end of the bed and past the windows, he notices a truck slowing down alongside the road, gravel crunching in our driveway. I wasn’t looking out the window, instead fast forwarding to the beginning of the show. Seeing the headlights and hearing the motor, I asked if it was headed up our neighbor’s driveway.

“No.” Opening the window further, James sticks his head out and watches the headlights dim and the truck go in reverse into our other neighbor’s driveway.

“You got Ross’s number?” James asks as he checks his phone.

“Yeah, I think so, let me get my phone.”

He tells me turn off the TV and the lights.

Heartbeat accelerating, I get my phone in the kitchen and amazingly unplug it from the charger after having just put a TON of hand cream on my hands. Fumbling through my contact list, I call the home and cell numbers to no avail.

“Call 911,” James tells me as he is pulling on pants and shoes. He heads downstairs and out the front door. He tells me he’s heard a voice his doesn’t recognize and he thought he heard a scream.

I place the call tell the dispatcher what I know and ask them to send an officer out to investigate. Throwing on pants and grabbing Mom’s sandals, I head out the door too. If James is going outside, well I’m going too.

The motion light in the driveway blazes brightness; I walk through the light and off to the other side so as not to trip it again. A police cruiser pulls up, no lights and an officer gets out. James is across the street, standing in the bushes near the truck. He walks across the street, talks to the officer and then goes back by the bushes and trees. The police check out the truck, check both doors of the house and then go ahead and knock yelling loudly, “Normandy Park Police.”

Our neighbor opens the door, talks to the officer, and then they check out the truck. We hear him say, “I just bought the truck….yeah, I know I need to get current tabs….”

A few minutes later the officer walks past James and says, “Seems like everything is okay.”

I yell across the street, “Hey Ross, I need your number!” We visit for a while and James apologizes for calling the cops. He said he didn’t recognize the truck, and then when it backed up with no lights in the driveway he got concerned.

“You did the right thing, thanks for keeping an eye out.”

“Yeah, and then I heard a loud knock and this voice that sounded like it had an accent. And I thought I heard a scream.”

Ross laughs, “I guess it’s not funny now, but I knocked because I told my daughter not to answer the door. She asked me if it was me, and I did respond with an accent that of course it’s your Dad.” The daughter must have laughed and screamed or something to that effect.

Walking across the street to go back into our house I asked James what he was doing across the street hiding in the bushes and trees.

“I really thought I heard screaming and I wanted to be close by until the cops arrived. I was pretty sure the kids were home by themselves.”

It was in that very instant I saw the very inner core of my husband; that I realized I married a man of such strong character. He willingly crossed the street to protect our neighbor’s children. If he heard another scream he intended to go in the house. How selfless is that?

So as the days go by faster than a Google Search, the pace of daily life so quick that you can’t seem to appreciate any of it, I have a flash of clarity. A flash of the good in people, the protector instinct in James.

Moments like this don't happen very often. Where you an ethic or moral talked about but rarely put to the test. I mean, you see that a person is nice, caring, giving, a good person. But rare to see the very essence of who a person is, what they believe in.

I am awed to be a part of James's life.

Monday, June 13, 2011

I Stand Accused

By my Sissy La La. And luckily I stood up for myself, defended against the emotional and moral judgement set upon me on Saturday.

Amy and I set out about 11.30am to transport Uncle Bob from Maple Valley to the Issaquah skilled care nursing facility. Uncle Bob needed a bit more rehab from his ailments and hospitalizations of late. We knew it would take a while.

"Amy can you find this?"
"Wendy can I have another cup of coffee?"
"Julie where did you put this..."

I don't really recall the segue as to how Amy brought up "my charge." But it went something like this.

"Wendy do you remember what you did to me to make a scar on my face? I don't remember how it happened but I have this scar on my chin."

"Amy, I don't think it is a scar."

"Well, it is really deep and I don't remember getting hurt as a kid."

"I have a feeling I know exactly what it is from. I think I have one that is really similar. Right here, on my face to the right of my chin."

Amy looks up from what's she doing and confirms that yes that's about where it is on her face.

"I hate to tell you this, but um, yeah, it isn't a scar. It's a wrinkle."

Amy screams, "ahh." Julie busts out laughing. Uncle Bob chuckles away on his hospital bed. The ice is broken a bit. Laughter was definately in order.

Cut to t minus 6 hours later.

Hopping down a different bunny trail for a moment... after Amy and I had a 9 hour event with Uncle Bob on Saturday and Mom had a 7 hour event today with Uncle Bob, there is a newly formed verb in this world. When your day gets away from you and you don't get everything done, you've been "unkiebobbed." I will definately use this verb along with my "practicing avoidance behavior." Yes, I tend to proscrastinate. And when I do, I overachieve "practicing avoidance behavior."

But I digress...t minus 6 hours later, Amy and I are organizing Uncle Bob's things in the nursing facility room. A little tight on the space as the wardrobe is directly behind the vanity area. Lighting is good. I pause and smile and inspect my own "childhood scar" in the vanity mirror.

"See Amy, look this is what my wrinkle looks like."

Adjusting her glasses (because she really does need bifocals but won't accept that her eyes are aging,) she agrees that that there is a wrinkle.

"So show me yours." And there my sister and I stand side by side, vying for mirror space in the nursing home room. Which is not private; Uncle Bob nearest the bathroom and his roomie Randal on the other side. Being good 40 year olds, we don't start picking our black heads and checking out other dermatological concerns.

"Look towards me." Amy turns and I check out her scar.

"I hate to tell you this. But it's confirmed. You've got broken blood vessels on the bottom and a wrinkle on the top."

We laugh, Uncle Bob laughs. I think Randal laughed too.

Tucking Uncle Bob in for a rest and good God we helped him tuck in a pinch of chew too, we left to go get dinner.

I love you Sissy La La.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Want Versus Need

A wise counselor once told me there are only 5 things you need in life: food, water, oxygen, shelter, and the ability to go to the bathroom. Everything else is a want. It is in this perspective that I feel blessed with such a generous, loving, want fulfilled life every day.

May is for trying motorsports

video

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mummy Tummy


In the spirit of Sandra Lee's Semi-homemade, tonight's delicacy is Costco's Spinach Feta Cheese Chicken meatballs in a blend of Vodka and Alfredo Sauce with rotini noodles, baked with mozzarella cheese. Wouldn't recommend the meatballs, but my throw together masked them well enough. Yum, happy mummy tummy.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Every once in a while...

I read a really good sentence. That just gets to me. And I don't know why this one did; perhaps it's the imagery, I don't know. I just know I really like it.

From The Help A Novel by Kathryn Stockett.

At the end of June, a heat wave of a hundred degrees....

Mister Dunn's rooster walks in my door and squats his red self right in front of my kitchen fan. I come in to find him looking at me like I ain't moving nowhere, lady. He'd rather get beat with a broom than go back out in that nonsense.

Ahh. Inspired to write.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I asked Reyde to practice art. Got a dinosaur, a race track, and "can I play Wii now?"

"No, you need to practice shading, and shadows from light."

I put a car in front of the table lamp. He took it from there.

"Hey Reyde."

"Yeah?"

"Now. You can play Wii."

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

It's a bit presumptious

But I often dream about being a brand. And today, I doodled an idea for my brand.


Dad-o-meter

On vacation this and next week. James is at work, Reyde is at school and I have all the time to do what I want. Haven't gotten to much of what I thought I would, but it's only Wednesday right?

Having been on a creative binge of sorts for a while I indulge in a few movies. I can't just sit and watch though, it drives me batty. Lacing up my shoes, turning up the volume, I set my treadmill in motion and enjoy the escape of a good story.

With the Oscars just around the corner, I catch "The Kids are Allright," "The Social Network," and "Crazy Heart." (Yeah Crazy Heart is from last year and Jeff Bridges performance was so good.)

I love it when a story brings forth emotion. I'm inspired and motivated by The Social Network. Gosh, why can't I invent the next biggest thing?

Crazy Heart on the other hand was off the charts for tears. Tears? Yeah. Tears. I mean it wasn't that sad of a story. Brdiges character reminded me so much of Dad. The unkept hair, dirty clothes, a man lost. There wasn't much similarity other than that, a man alone in the world with the realization that he'd lost someone. Trying to make amends. Seeing it from Bridges character's perspective I cried for how my Dad must have felt.

So, having balled my eyes out while not falling off the treadmill, I figure I should check in with Amy. Because it seems that when I am missing Dad, she is too. We are connected that way. Chit chat about this and that, and I bring up the movie.

"Have you seen it yet?"

"No, is it good?"

"Well, on the Dad-o-meter it's off the charts. Bridges character looks like Dad and I cried like a baby."

"I better not watch it then. I'm missing Dad."

"Yeah, me too."

Grief sucks.

Meeting Miss Lula Belle

After falling backwards, hitting my head on the compact snow and chattering my teeth, I decided to go shopping with the girls last Tuesday in Sun Valley. Best to rest my head for a day and give my whiplashed neck a break from the action. Time out for Wendy. And "they" say you don't need to wear a helmet when cross country skiing. I say they need to design a sleek line of helmets with fun design in mind while protecting the noggin from the occasional nordic mishap.

Carol, Vivi, Nancy, Joy and I headed into Ketchum Idaho and hit up the consignment shops first. In years past, the ladies had found quite the prize in this playground town for the uber rich.

The first stop was The Dollhouse. Perusing the goods, I didn't find anything I couldn't live without. Settling on the bench for trying on shoes, I wait for the ladies to finish shopping. The shop owner directed us to another consignment store down the road. "We refer back and forth you know? Keeps us in business. Head that way for 2 blocks and you'll find Consign Design."

Off we went. Stepping into the shop, we realize that this is an upscale store. Miss Lula Belle catches my eye immediately. She's sitting on the shelf, a bright spot amongst the brown and black offerings. I try her on, looking at her in the mirror. She's lovely and the price is too. Sitting her back down, I wander throughout the store.

Not being a fashionista, I ask Aunt Nancy what she thinks of Lula Belle. Lovely color but is the texture all wrong? The color is spring and summer, but the texture is all winter. I don't even know what you call it. Cow fur? It's one of my favorite colors, she's one of a kind, but I don't know. Will I use it?

We leave the shop, but Miss Lula Belle remains on my mind. Having taken a photo I decide to show James to see his reaction. If he doesn't say much I figure I can go back and buy her; if he says something it's unlikely I'd choose to use the bag much.

No reaction, "buy it Wendy," is all he says.

The following day, Aunt Nancy and I go nordic skiing (with helmet.)After lunch we head back into town and I go back to Consign Design. Miss Lula Belle sits on a different shelf, and my hopes are dashed for a brief moment until I see her. I guess it was meant to be.

The store owner tells me that Miss Lula Belle came in with an expensive herd. "She had $20,000 in handbags that had never been used." Inquiring about the designer, Temma Dahan, the owner didn't know much about her.

A few nights later, after our usual Rummikub competition, I googled Temma Dahan. Mind you, it was late, about 11.30pm. I didn't find much save for the tag line about the designer creating bags for the "modern princess." Uncle Clem, Aunt Nancy, Joy and I got a kick out of that. Lula Belle sat on the kitchen counter between us all.

"I'm a modern princess dammit," I say and Uncle Clem busts out laughing. We all do. As if Lula Belle will bring out the princess qualities in me. Perhaps I need to add a few rhinestones to her.

Sifting through more links, I try to find her worth. Hoping that she was one of the more spendy individuals in the herd, I can't find anything online. She's one of a kind.

Out of the blue, (I suppose pun intended,) Joy asks, "I wonder if she'll attract flies like cows do?"

We all laugh so hard that Joy is crying Nancy is wiping her eyes and Clem is leaning over the counter, he can't stand straight. Loud enough to get James out of bed and come in to see what all the fuss is about.

I now am on a quest to find a rhinestone fly to adorn Miss Lula Bell. Here she is out to pasture:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Until We Meet Again

You come into my life as the leaves begin to fall in October.

We spend the holidays together. You greet me each morning yellow as the summer sun amidst the dark dreary Seattle days.

The creamy sensation as you touch my lips overwhelms my senses. I awaken with your spice.

And as the New Year rounds the corner, we settle into January knowing that our time together is short lived. I question the day that I must ask you to leave. It's not fair, but it has to be done. And sometimes it is not my choice, but rather left to others affecting our relationship.

Know that I love you; everything about you. Don't be sad.

I go through a range of emotions as I know you are soon departing. I get angry and what you've done to my body; but I am a willing participant. It's a vicious cycle we go through. The push and pull of oneness.

I put up walls to defend myself and show my strength. I won't let you see how lonely I'll be without you. Part of me wants a gentle goodbye, you waving and not losing eye contact with me until the distance is long between us. But I know what's best for me.





Don't let the door hit you EGGNOG!
See ya next year.