Sunday, September 30, 2012

Voices


So, while I was struggling to wedge my foot into a stiff new pair of pumps the other morning, my father's voice intruded...

Use. Your. Shoehorn!

.... oh Dad, come on!   I don't know where it is!   Besides, I'm not a little kid anymore.

To be perfectly honest, I've never really subscribed to those who claim to communicate with those who've gone before.   (Perhaps I'm envious?)

All the same, I can sure identify with Chris Young's song lyrics:

You could say I'm a little bit crazy
You could call me insane
Walkin' 'round with all these whispers
Runnin' 'round here in my brain
I just can't help but hear 'em
Man, I can't avoid it

Am I the only one with a "chatty closet"?
My wardrobe could hardly be described as expansive ... but purge I must!

Some decisions are easy-peasy.   That pantsuit which left me feeling like a giant cantaloupe, or the way in which those too-small jeans giggled and mocked.

Then, there are the difficult goodbyes.   A new (to me) ensemble which caught my mother's practiced eye years ago.   In a rare moment of clarity, she'd smiled, "That looks so well on you!"    It was also the outfit I happened to be wearing that last morning.    This may sound silly, but I finally had to carry it to the trash ... every time I spotted it hanging there, I'd hear her voice.   (And it's really hard getting ready for work when your eyes won't stop leaking.)

Of course, there are a few pieces with which I'll never part.
There's a red cocktail dress that hangs in the far recesses, but its presence always makes me smile:  That summer of '83, when -- for the first/last time in my life -- I  felt almost pretty.   And I hear a special dark-eyed man whisper, "Cara mia."


Sometimes I try to ignore 'em
But I thank God for 'em
'Cause they made me who I am


Perhaps you have a seemingly-ordinary article of clothing with a host of memories attached?

.... I'm curious:   Do you relegate your "chatty" pieces to storage ... a sort of purgatory?
Or, are you braver than me, and rip that bandage off, quick-like?






Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Calmer heads


Like many others, I keep mental roster titled, 'Those I Admire.'

Until recently, however, I totally overlooked a big one!   Well, not a "one", exactly -- rather, thousands of them.  

Normally unseen, these individuals' voices convey such an amazing sense of calm.

Do you recall hearing of that near-miss over one of our nation's largest airports a few weeks ago?  
What struck me the most was the sound-bite of Air Traffic Control, calmly redirecting the incoming aircraft to #-blah#-blah#-blah#.
.... as if she were reciting a weather forecast.

Later to DH:
"I'd probably been screaming, Get out-a the way!   Turn right!,  No, my right!"   (That's presuming I could even form a sentence.)

And the 911 operators!   Goodness.   In spite of my absurd fascination with emergency responders, I'd be a poor candidate.  

The list goes on......

Privately, I used to believe those individuals were emotionally removed from the rest of us.  OK, I'll say it out-loud:  Dispassionate.

One of my closest allies at work is a former paramedic/fire fighter.   Despite our camaraderie, I was suspect of K's oddball sense of humor, even sarcasm, recalling emergency scenarios.   Finally one day she admitted, "If you allow something to 'get' to you, even for a minute, you're finished.
Then, "One can help ... or be part of the problem."    

So simple, really.  They've the ability to control their emotions.

While there's little chance I'll be changing my stripes at this stage of the game, I'm incredibly grateful for those with calmer heads!



  

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Wow.  Can you believe we're smack dab in the middle of September!?!

Thus far, I've been a nutritional overachiever.
You see, there's been much to celebrate!


.



 DH and I kicked off the Labor Day weekend (our 8th anniversary) at a new Southwest-inspired steakhouse.


Since the "deal" (love Groupon!!!) included a bottle of wine, he was even persuaded to sample a glass.

....Either that, or he'd finally grown tired of my playing amateur cardiologist -- going on (and on) about the benefits of fermented grapes.









I even ventured outside my comfort zone and was delighted by the macadamia-crusted chicken, with shitake mushroom cream and red chili.  


Let's see ... 
Then there was the celebratory broasted chicken, following the clean bill of health DH received from his cardio-guy.     

And finally ... 
Last week my GM and a few office pals planned a luncheon to celebrate my 10th anniversary.  To be perfectly honest, however, I'd a few misgivings re. their preferred venue. 
  
You see, under this Mannered.Mature.Lady facade lies a little kid who still prefers a fat burger or ribs to tea sandwiches and scones.  

Given the news earlier that morning that our company has been purchased by an industry Giant, we were all eyeballing the wine list.  
....But given that same Fact-of-Life, my GM sighed, "We'd better behave ourselves."

When my plate arrived, the little brat inside my head was tempted to channel Clara Peller ("Where's the beef?").  
Beside me, Diana -- a zealous vegetarian -- was doing her best not to smile .... all the while sensing  the party about to take place on my taste-buds.    

Sometimes I love being proven wrong!  Gotta give props to those kitchen magicians who know what they're doing with organic, fresh herbs and spices!!!  
I may have to give it a test drive in our own kitchen.    

When was the last time you were delighted to have been proven wrong?   ...Have you any tidbits or advice for this carnivore?

Wishing everyone a yummy new week!
 



 







Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A little chicken soup ....


Do you recall the marvelous film adaptation of "Bridges of Madison County"?   Whether one agrees (or not) with its theme ... I was struck by Francesca's son and daughter's reaction upon reading their mother's journals after her death.  (We never knew .....)

Her prose seemed effortless -- dreams and disappointments laid bare, as if to say, "This. This is who I was."

Yes, I know "Bridges" is a work of fiction.
But some days ... well, most days, I second-guess my decision to blog....
rejecting ordinary moments as "unimportant" ... or worse, hitting that "publish" button before indulging in a therapeutic cooling-off period! :))

What's it all about, Alfie?

Then ... BAM!!!   Out of no-where, I had my answer:

Like so many of you, I'm a huge fan of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series.   Like a laser-beam, one story was so (personally) powerful, I wrote the publisher, requesting permission to excerpt a portion*.  

She said 'Yes'!!!
So, without further ado ...

The author, Tony D'Angelo, recalls a collegiate Philosophy class ....

"Respond to the following questions by a show of hands," my professor instructed.

"How many of you can tell me something about your parents?"  Everyone's hand went up.

"How many of you can tell me something about your grandparents?"  About three-fourths of the class raised their hands.

"How many of you can tell me something about your great-grandparents?"  Two out of sixty students raised their hands.

"Look around the room," he said.  "In just two short generations hardly any of us even know who our own great-grandparents were.  Oh sure, maybe we have an old, tattered photograph tucked away in a musty cigar box or know the classic family story about how one of them walked five miles to school barefoot.  But how many of us really know who they were, what they thought, what they were proud of, what they were afraid of, or what they dreamed about?   Think about that.  Within three generations our ancestors are all but forgotten.  Will this happen to you?

"Here's a better question.  Look ahead three generations  You are long gone.  Instead of you sitting in this room, now it's your great-grandchildren.  What will they have to say about you?  Will they know about you?  Or will you be forgotten, too?

"Is your life going to be a warning or an example?  What legacy will you leave?   The choice is yours.  Class dismissed."




___________________________________________
*From the book Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grand and Great 
by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Amy Newmark
Copyright 2008 by Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC.  Published by Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC.
Chicken Soup for the Soul is a registered trademark of Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC.  Reprinted by permission.  All rights reserved.