August 17, 2017

It’s My Birthday……It’s My Birthday…..

I love my birthday.  Really do.  It usually occurs during Thanksgiving weekend.  My mother said the doctor induced her labor so he could rush home and eat his turkey dinner.  I was literally pushed out into the world.

I have become spoiled with some wonderful birthday traditions.  I will stay in bed until my breakfast has arrived.  Sometimes that’s 11 or noon – whenever my daughter decides to get up.  My first breakfast in bed was 13 years ago when she was 5.  She poured me a bowl of cheerios and came into my room…..  and brought up 2 spoons.  (Only later did I find out that much of the contents of the bowl were splashed on the stairs)  She jumped on the bed and sat close to me and helped me enjoy breakfast.  She, of course, lifted the bowl to get the last slurp in.  After we finished she jumped off the bed and ran into her room returning with a small package (which was presented with more tape than wrapping paper ;o)  Inside was an original, handmade macaroni necklace.  “I love it!” I said as I gave her a big hug!  She beamed!  My birthday this year was no exception.  I was awakened by the clinking of a full glass of orange juice on a delicious plate of homemade chocolate chip pancakes and scrambled eggs.   The best part…..2 forks.

There is another custom I cherish – reading the birthday cards that my husband and father select for me.  They both are quiet in nature and not very demonstrative in their show of affection – although I know they love me.  Some cards I received from them have actually brought tears to my eyes.  I know the words on the card were exactly the words both would tell me if they spoke in that manner (in the Hallmark manner…)…..but they both express their love for me with the words on the card.  I truly believe there are different love languages and people show affection in many different ways.   Last year for my wedding anniversary I gave my husband a goofy birthday card – with the words BIRTHDAY crossed off and ANNIVERSARY written in.  Clearly, card giving is not my language of love.

I’m heading toward the end of my 40’s…..though I simply don’t feel as old as that number indicates.  I’m mostly at peace with my age but the ages ending in zero (0) tend to produce anxiety in me.  When I turned 40 my husband booked a weekend at the gorgeous Trump plaza in Miami – 5 star hotel right on the ocean.  Our room was on the 39th floor – way up there – and 39 floors beneath our balcony was a glistening pool and a huge slab of concrete.   Even though the place was serene and lovely,  I felt out of sorts about my upcoming turn of the decade.  As the weekend progressed I started panicking.  My panic turned into a full blown anxiety attack.  Before going to bed I had the dreadful thought that if I fell asleep in that room I would sleep walk, open the slider, and jump off the balcony plunging to my death.  I told hubby about this and he was being gracious but I could tell he thought I was nuts.  After tossing and turning I couldn’t sleep.  I kept picturing myself skydiving off that stupid balcony.  So around midnight I asked him to put all our luggage and chairs (and anything else movable) in front of the glass slider.  That way if I was going to sleep walk and open the slider, all the luggage would fall over and he would wake up before I leaped.  Pretty dreadful I know.  I hope we go somewhere flat when I turn 50…..

 

Thanksgiving

Ahhhh Thanksgiving.  This is my favorite holiday.   A time for us all to take a moment and count our blessings and be thankful for the wonderful things in our lives.  I am thankful for so many things.  My family, friends, kitties, health, employment…..the list goes on and on.   Even in the midst of hard times, I am blessed and thankful.

I like to cook Thanksgiving dinner .  ‘Like’ and ‘cook’ are two words I don’t often use together in one sentence.  My husband and daughter look forward to Thanksgiving because they are  aware that Turkey Day is the one day of the year when they are guaranteed a home cooked meal…..from me.  Usually it’s fend for yourself night or macaroni ‘surprise’ night – we never know what the ‘surprise’ is going to be…..usually it’s whatever is in the fridge on the random day I decide to surprise my family with macaroni.

I have come a long way since my first Thanksgiving meal – if you could call it that.  At least now I remove the bag of gizzards and giblets from the turkey before I put it in the oven….. for 6 hours.  Most everything is usually served hot now – with one oven time management is crucial.  I no longer make a dozen sweet potatoes when only one person eats them.  I now dice up the cranberry sauce and serve it on a nice dish rather than plopping it on the dish right out  of the can.  (get the visual?)   My gravy has taken many years to perfect and it does not look like greasy brown water anymore – yeah!    I’m sure we all have had a dinner debacle at some time or another.   Years ago my family would go to my in-laws for thanksgiving dinner.  One year my sister made a  beautiful pecan pie.  As my brother in law began to cut slices for everyone, he quickly learned that a butter knife was not doing the trick.  He quietly picked up a serrated edged knife.  After a few forceful  motions back and forth, the pie was left without a scratch.  He looked up, smiled and asked if anyone had a chainsaw.

My biggest joy on Thanksgiving is looking around the table and enjoying my family.  Even though it takes hours and hours and hours to prepare and 15 minutes to gobble up, it is so worth it to me.

Now I have to work on perfecting Christmas cookies.  Last year I asked my 19 year old step son to make Christmas cookies with me.  He loves sugar cookies so I bought all the fixins and was prepared to spend the afternoon with him.  I was really happy to do this as he was home on military leave and it would be a great bonding time.  I bought the sugar cookie mix pre-made so all we had to do was slice them,  cut out Christmas figures and decorate them.  Apparently you aren’t supposed to put the cookie cutters through 2 or 3 inches of raw dough.  Once the 13 minute timer went off and we pulled out the cookies – we had the biggest snowman cookie imaginable!  We had the biggest belly laugh ever!  My daughter came home with her friend and made the most beautiful perfect sugar cookies – I wondered why she needed a rolling pin………

Enjoy your Thanksgiving  and wear your big pants.    Much peace and love…….

Take a Minute…..

The other night was Halloween.  I totally enjoy all the little ghosts and mummies standing at my door waiting for me to fill their pillow cases with treats!  I take a minute and laugh to myself as I  remember my adorable 5 year old nephew (with missing front teeth) run off a porch after getting a regular sized candy bar screaming “THITH ITH THE BETH HALLOWEEN EVER!!!”  Priceless!  What’s even more priceless is a few questionable treaters who came to my door – a 6’7” man with bunny ears and a pirate with white hairs in his fully grown beard……  some people will do anything for NERDS!

Halloween was just a few days after super storm, Sandy, hit the east coast.  The loss that many people endured is hard to imagine.   My little neighborhood really dodged a bullet.  No trees down.  No power loss.   We didn’t even lose cable!  I looked at the wind swirling around and all of our leaves shuffling over to our neighbors yard (and his over to ours….) That was the worst of it.  I turned on the news watching people travel by boat or jet ski to arrive at their partially destroyed homes.  I take a minute to be grateful that I am safe and secure and no damage was done.

At church this past weekend our pastor announced the church will support the Samaritan’s Purse drive.  They are collecting Christmas gifts for children.  The pastor requested that we fill a shoebox full of items for either girls or boys ages 2-4; 5-9; or 10-14.    More than likely this shoebox will be the only gift these children will receive this Christmas.  The list of requested items includes soap, washcloths, yoyos, dolls, toothbrushes, combs etc.  I take a minute and think of the huge pile of presents waiting for my daughter as she flies down the stairs Christmas morning.  I also take a minute to think of my Christmas wish list – an iPad, which I’m sure I’ll get ….. and then some.  Hmmmmm…..  I need to take a minute and be very thankful that I am so fortunate and blessed.

This is the beginning of the holiday season and there is so much need all around us.  Take a minute before you throw out that catalog you recently received in the mail requesting help.  Take a minute and consider sending in a donation.   If you can’t afford a monetary gift, think about donating your used clothing.  Take a minute to go through a closet or your basement and give away items you haven’t touched in years.  Take a minute and bring some extra canned goods to a local pantry.  Take a minute and call a friend who is hurting.  Take a minute and invite a lonely friend over to your home for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.   These little minutes can truly impact someone’s life……and you will feel wonderful knowing that you helped someone in need!

Just make sure when you take a minute, you do so with a loving spirit….   A husband was in big trouble when he forgot his wife’s birthday. But she was willing to let it pass if he made it up to her in the right way.  His wife told him “Tomorrow there better be something in the driveway for me that goes from zero to 200 in 2 seconds flat”.  The next morning the wife found a small package in the driveway. She opened it and found a brand new bathroom scale.  Funeral arrangements for the husband have been set for Saturday.  ;o)

Age Is Really Just a Number

Last Saturday was Family Weekend at my daughter’s college.  She is a freshman and before my eyes has transformed into a confident young woman. I couldn’t be more proud.

So I’m looking at myself now.  I am a parent going to parent’s weekend.  I certainly don’t feel old enough to have a freshman in college – even though I am approaching…..ahem….fifty. My body is starting to show signs of aging.  I’ve had my share of aches and pains – jolting me into the reality that I’m not 20 years old anymore.  I now enjoy Sunday afternoon naps.  I prefer staying in on a Saturday night snug in my jammies by 7pm.   Appears that the tiny little lines near my eyes have settled in for the long haul, even though I’ve desperately tried to remove them with expensive cream.  I just attribute them to laughing too much.   The resolve that I’ll have to go to my hairdresser every 6 weeks for the rest of my life to cover up the one inch gray halo that outlines the edge my face……  and now I realize that my eyebrows need a color boost too (I tried plucking out all the gray but realize that if I continue I’d soon be eyebrowless….)  Things that were once perky are now droopy.  My once taut neck resembles something served at Thanksgiving dinner.  I’ve had to accept that I just don’t remember much anymore.  Sometimes I look at a piece of celery and can’t remember what it is.  The memory loss comes and goes.  This is my daughter’s pet peeve with me – she will tell me something 5 times and it just doesn’t register.  It’s not that I am intentionally forgetting, it’s like my brain is too full.   Then I’ll repeat the same thing 5 times in a row.  We’ll find the cell phone in the fridge or the car keys in the silverware drawer. No saying where things will end up.

My vision is not great – one eye near sided, the other far sided.  I can’t hear much now either.  Our television volume has gone from a level 13 to a 16.  I mis-hear lots of stuff too. Lyrics to songs – forget it.  For years I sang the song In My Midnight Confession  as Immaculate Conception.….   I now appreciate Easy Spirit and Clark footwear.   My most recent sign of aging – if I laugh too hard sometimes I lose control and a piddle a little.  Ugh…..

Yet in my heart I still feel as young and crazy as I did in college.  For over thirty years my college roommates and I have gone to Cape Cod for girls weekend (thanks Phyllis – mwah!)   We are silly, zany and nuts – we crack up and love life.  We basically revert back to giddy teenagers (well, I do anyway).  We jump in bed with each other on Sunday morning, making goofs and tease and taunt.  It’s harmless fun – we go out to dinner and playfully fight for the front seat (well, I do anyway) come home, have a drinky poo, crank up the stereo and dance in the living room.  Last time the song Maniac from Flashdance blasted on the radio and we pulled out a portable potty and did the Chair Dance on it (well, I did anyway).  Last year I took a trip to Florida with my roommate.  Her condo happens to be right up the street from David Cassidy – so what would a mature almost 50 year old woman do?   You got it –  we belted out “I Think I Love You” outside his house at 2 am.  Wonder why he didn’t come out and take a picture with us?  So the next day we went back to his gated home and my friend (who I might add is 1 year and 2 months older than me) proceeded to dig through his garbage to find a souvenier for us to take home.  She came up empty handed as her search was cut short when a police car rounded the corner.  She literally had 3 seconds to run back to the car and shift into gear.  I didn’t witness the whole scene because I was scrunched down beneath the dashboard.  I do have my pride you know.

So even though my neck might wiggle a bit, I know at heart I’m young and fun and vibrant and free and certainly not feeling that I’ve been around for as long as I have.

Age really is just a number.  I leave you with my favorite quote:

“Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body but rather to skid in sideways, champagne in one hand, strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, worn out and screaming WOO HOO, what a ride!”

In The Midst Of Grand, ah….There Are All Those Little Things

Visiting Sedona Arizona and the Grand Canyon has been on my bucket list for years.  The fabulous hotel – L’Auberge de Sedona, has been on my computer favorite tab for almost a decade.  We just returned from a phenomenal vacation where I experienced more than I bargained for.

The awesomeness of the grand canyon is almost impossible to describe.  The peaks and valleys of the carved rock; the way the sun hit the sides of the canyons at different times of the day; the sheer vastness of it;  the magnitude of beauty.  When hubby and I first arrived at the Grand Canyon National Park, we both agreed to experience the grandeur all at once rather than get a glimpse here and there – we didn’t want a tease.  We walked a path to the canyon which was not far from the Visitors Center.  My expectation was that we would walk down a flight of stairs to a lookout of splendor.    God would appear before me and I would be lifted to another dimension.  I would find my purpose in life and be raised to a level of consciousness that I never could have imagined.  I guess when you wait so long to do something, expectations can get the best of you.

When we arrived at the lookout, the view was magnificent, that much was true.   Beauty as far as the eye could see – breathtaking.   But to get to the lookout we had to squeeze through a crowd of spectators.  It wasn’t serene like I envisioned, it was noisy and chaotic.   One woman yelled to her husband ‘HAL, YA SHOULD SEE THE VIEW FROM OVA HEYA!!” Hal was only a few feet away from her and my ears were in between them both.  The yelling, people blocking my view, children jumping and screaming off the rocks gave little to no chance of me hearing from the Creator Himself.  In any other place this activity wouldn’t bother me as much, but for some reason I thought it would be a sacred spot where beauty was respected in SILENCE…. or at least a place where people used their indoor voices.  I can’t say I was disappointed in the view because it was incredible, I just wished the grandness would have swept me away.  I just couldn’t get in ‘the zone.’  Although I did find the zone in some other unexpected places……

– The feeling of free falling while on a helicopter tour of the Sedona canyons; my knuckles were completely white but the swooping in and out of the canyons was exhilarating

– Watching a squirrel run up a tree repeatedly, popping a nut in his mouth and digging little hiding places in the ground for his food storage

– Smelling the Sedona pine trees as we were driving with the top down in our very cool, slick, black convertible (yeah baby)

– Laughing till my side hurt when my hubby jokingly suggested I buy a long scarf when we slid into the convertible  (remember Isadora Duncan?)

– Having superb service from Matt, our waiter at L’Auberge, who was the ultimate professional.   Each day I would receive a cloth napkin that matched the color of my pants (black napkin on black slacks – white napkin on white pants).  A simple, yet thoughtful gesture so I wouldn’t get mis-colored fuzzies on my clothes

– While visiting an energy vortex –  I opened my eyes to see a woman coming out from the red rocks riding a handsome spotted gray horse (literally took my breath away)

–  Viewing the full moon through a telescope on a crystal clear night in Sedona; seeing the moon so close up that the craters looked touchable

–  Watching huge black birds soar solo above the grand canyon

–  Feeling my lips and face jiggle as I stuck my head out of the doorless helicopter

–  Walking on our balcony in Sedona each morning and saying good morning to Snoopy Rock  (coolest rock ever!)

–  Dipping my toes in the cool, clay-like bottom of the Colorado River – as the outside temperature topped 102 degrees

–  Riding in the back of a jeep on a wildlife tour and seeing herds of gorgeous white tail deer.  Looking through the binoculars and seeing their gentle wide eyes and   big oversized ears.  (I get chills thinking of their beauty and innocence!)

– Freezing while driving with the top down in the convertible gazing up at a nighttime full of glistening stars.

– Being welcomed by two adorable, starlet lookalikes at L’Auberge de Sedona – Alexandra and Katarina  (who could easily be mistaken for Natalie Portman and Taylor Swift respectively)

–  Eating breakfast by the bubbling creek, sipping my mimosa, and watching the relaxed lives of the many ducks that passed us by

–  Sitting outside ancient ruins and watching a delicate butterfly have a rest on my arm

–  Discovering a dime beneath my feet while visiting a vortex.  Dimes have been a significant symbol since my mother’s death earlier this year.  This dime was a spiritual comfort to me.  (Thanks ma!)

After thinking about this amazing trip, I realize God’s beauty is in the big and the small.

Love Comes in Many Forms

When we initially think about love we might think of a family member, spouse, friend – all of the human variety.  But love comes in many forms.  And not always human.  Some of my most precious gifts in life have come from animals.

Growing up, our family pet was an incredible collie named Mike.  He was stellar in beauty.  Looked just like Lassie – although we never got him to bark the ‘Timmy’s in the well?” code.  We bought him as a puppy when I was 6 years old.  He was a good natured, fun loving, adorable, fluffy dog.  We lived on a small cul-de-sac with a pond in our back yard.  Mike would hang out visiting all the neighbors, wagging his tail a million miles an hour to all he met.  It didn’t take long for the mailman and paper boy to know him by name.  In those days tying up your pet in your yard was not as enforced as it is today – so he had the run of the town.  As the local boys got together in the winter to play ice hockey on the pond, Mike would be sliding around chasing the puck.  All the kids loved him.   When my sister and I wanted to dress him up in my mother’s Carol Brady wig and oversized Nicole Richie sunglasses, he would sit quietly (and humiliated I’m sure) until we got the perfect look.  I think he liked to see us giggle.  One time when he was in the house too long and had to do his business – he actually pooped in an ashtray.   You can’t get more disciplined than that!  When he wanted my parents to pet him while they were reading the newspaper, he would stick his long collie schnoz at the paper and poke at it until someone paid attention to him.

Most of the time Mike stayed on our property but once in a while he’d wander off with his doggie friends who lived down the street.  One day he was hanging out with some buds and the dog catcher came to sccop them all up.  Uh oh.  The other dogs took off (like normal teen dogs) but Mike hopped in the front seat with the animal catcher eager to go on a joyride.  When we picked him up at the pound, his head hung low in the cage.  My parents didn’t punish him because the remorseful look on his face was punishment enough.  We hoped he’d never do that again.  And you know what?  He didn’t.  Good boy!!!

Aside from being a local celebrity, Mike was my best friend.  Yeah, some might think it’s silly to say an animal is your best friend, but for me he filled that role. (I’m sure countless others can identify….).  My junior high years were difficult and rough.  I felt alone most of the time.  After school I would sit on the grass with him in the backyard next to his special dog house that my father made for him.  (I wasn’t the only one who cherished this dog – my whole family loved him so.  My father went so far as to put shag carpeting and a little window in his dog house.)   I felt safe when I was with Mike.  I would share all my dreams and my secrets – some so shameful that he’s the only one I could tell.   If I had been picked on during school that day, I would report the days bullying events in detail and how sad I felt.  He would sit with me, listen and nuzzle his big long nose in my face.  He wasn’t a big licker, but some days when I cried his tongue would cover my face.  That would make me laugh.  Sometimes he would try to sit his 92 pound body on top of me in order to get as close as he could to me.  That dog never let me down, never hurt me and never disappointed me. He was always there for me – loyal and true.

When I think of Mike today, even though he’s long passed, I can still FEEL that love.  That four legged gentle beauty helped me get through my worst years. To this day, we’re not sure of the details of his death but my family suspects he was poisoned.  There was a mean man down the street that had hit him with a broom and didn’t like him.  Mike was healthy one day and found dead in our back yard the next.    My family didn’t tell me any of this – my brother in law told me when I was well into my 20’s.  My family protected me too.  Amazing how the love goes full circle.

The Replacement Test

Many years ago when I was agonizing about a decision I had to make, I learned about the replacement test.  This test has guided me through some very difficult times in my life.  It was most important when I was not in a good place emotionally.  I am forever grateful for this tool.

So it goes like this.  When you are at a crossroad about a decision and you are not sure what the right thing to do for yourself is, replace yourself with someone you love unconditionally.  Think of how you would advise that person in the exact situation.  Easy enough.  You might ask:  “Why do this?  I’m totally capable of making   my own choices.”  The thing is that sometimes we might not feel good enough about ourselves or love ourselves enough in that moment to make the best decision for ourselves…..and a decision we might make could cause us more heartache in the long run.

I select my daughter when I take the replacement test.  I find a place to sit where there is another chair or sofa in front of me.  I actually visualize her sitting across from me.  I review the pros and cons of the situation.  Most of the time I write them out on paper.  This helps me clearly evaluate what I’m dealing with.  With my eyes shut, I am quiet for a moment.  Sometimes the moment turns into an hour or two.   I picture the whole scenario as if it is happening to her.  I think if she is in this situation, what is the best thing for her in the long run.  It might cause pain or be a hard thing to do initially, but in the end it is the healthiest decision.   That is my answer.

No matter what my state of mind is, this test works for me because I am giving advice as her mother and as someone who loves her unconditionally.  Any decision I make on her behalf for myself is the right one because that decision is done with pure love.

Try the replacement test for a minor or life altering decision.  It just might be the way to give you the clarity you need to move forward in a loving, positive way.

You Would Really Want Someone To Tell You This!

One of my favorite loving-myself activities is to visit an incredible spa in CT.  This spa is top notch.  It is a day facility and they provide you with comfy big white robes and squishy flip flops.  Inside is a sauna, steam room, whirl pool,  indoor pool, full service spa services – all to use at your leisure for the day.  They offer complimentary water, teas and fruit, a smoothie bar and 2 restaurants on the property.  The building is sectioned off into several parts – areas for massages, manicures/ pedicures, Hollywood dressing room, and a quiet room.

On this visit I went alone and requested a 90 minute hot stone therapy treatment.  I made myself comfortable waiting for my name to be called in an area right outside the massage rooms – nice and snug in my robe and slippers.  I began to enter the zone – relaxed, peaceful – flipping through a vacation magazine.  My masseuse called out my name like a song.  I was shown to my room, whipped off my robe and slippers, went commando under the sheet and soaked in every second of the next hour and a half.

After the massage I sauntered over to the quiet room to veg out some more.  The area was dimly lit with twelve chaise lounge chairs surrounding the room.  Each chair was covered with a navy blue micro fleece cushion.  There were blankets to pull over yourself and towels to use as pillows.  In the corner was an oversized  lounge chair calling my name.  That would be my spot for the next hour or so.  I put the blanket over my feet, took a sip of my tea and began to read my book.

Goodness knows how much time had passed before I woke up with a wee bit of drool on the left side of my mouth.  Geez, the massage must have knocked me out!  I layed still for a few seconds trying to wake up, staring straight at the ceiling.  After a moment I sat up.  I looked down.  My entire left breast was hanging out and exposed in full view to the other eleven people in the room.

 

So my question to you is this – if you were in any of these situations, would you appreciate it if someone told you that you’ve got a little somethin’ going on?  So the next time you see someone with her skirt tucked into her underwear or with toilet paper hanging off her shoe, please  Make a decision to be that person and let them know!  You will certainly make the world a better place ;o)  Please share any similar stories!

Part 2…. Thank Goodness the Commute Was Too Long

During my single years, I went on a bunch of first dates.  There was a stretch where each date was worse than the last.   I was beginning to wonder if I would ever find a compatible mate…or just someone normal.  Even though I hadn’t found Mr. Right, I was feeling like a pretty good catch after getting a taste of what was out there.  My confidence level soared.

I was on match.com and corresponded with a guy from CT for a while.  He was articulate and funny and we decided to meet after several engaging phone calls.  There was an hour and a half commute between us so we each drove 45 minutes to meet at little strip mall restaurant.   I met him inside at a table.  He was attractive and had a nice smile.  His sweatshirt was tucked into his jeans – not something I’ve seen in a recent GQ magazine but……. whatever.  We sat down and after a few minutes I put it in the back of my mind.

We eased in with the usual first date questions – Where are you from?  What’s your family like?  What do you do for work?   Etc.  I found out that his ex-wife was a dentist and automatically assumed she worked on his teeth because they were perfect.  I’m talking perfect.

He ordered a small pizza and I ordered a salad with chicken.  Lunch came and went and we were not at a loss for words.   I noticed after we finished eating that he repeatedly gazed my way and when I caught his eye he shared his sparkling smile.  I have to admit I did come up with a few great one liners so I could see how he thought I was simply charming.   Seeing him look at me that way made me smile right back – bigger and wider each time.

As we were leaving we agreed that even though we were both nice people, the long commute would be a hindrance to starting a relationship.  I was okay with that.  He obviously thought I had a great personality and couldn’t stop looking at me, so I received positive validation anyways.  We parted after a pleasant afternoon and I watched him drive away.

I hopped in my car and looked in the rear view mirror.  Staring back at me was this dimed sized, dark green piece of salad covering my two front teeth.

Seriously?

Stay tuned, Part 3 tomorrow is even better……..

Highlight of My Internship

Being a senior in college and finding out I was accepted to an internship at a prestigious law firm elated me!  A partner at the firm was a former graduate of my college and embraced the upcoming generation.  He was willing to take me under his wing and I wasn’t going to let him down.

My hours were half days on Mondays and full days on Wednesdays.   Yikes – only a week to prepare myself for my first professional position!  I quickly made an appointment at a salon for a well-needed haircut to tame my shirley-temple locks.  Looking in my closet I had plenty of clothes from Shaky Jakes, my go-to consignment shop, but my $3 Denim jacket with the cigarette burn hole on the left sleeve somehow seemed inappropriate.  So off to TJ Maxx.   I bought several classic suits, matching shoes, stud earrings and conservative underclothes.  I was ready to go and perfectly coiffed.

On my first day,  I woke up extra early to the silence of my roommates sleeping.  I dressed with a tiny light on so I wouldn’t disturb them.  Beautiful gray skirt suit, fuchsia silk blouse, single strand of pearls.    Hair was modern, shoes were stylish and didn’t pinch, face was blemish-free, eye shadow applied perfectly.  Looking fresh from head to toe and felt like I was a ‘big girl’ ready to take on the world!

I nervously rode the elevator up to the eighth floor and fidgeted as I greeted my mentor.  Bill was 20+ years older than me, had an excellent reputation in the community, was the manager of a large staff and was mild mannered and gentle.  He took me around the office to meet his staff pointing out the obvious  – bathroom, kitchen, filing cabinets etc.  I smiled politely as I was introduced to the entire office staff.  They were cordial and welcoming.

My first tasks were to review a file, prepare a summary, make copies of various pleadings, and file a stack of documents.  During the day, I walked back and forth around the office, in and out of files, over to the copy machine, back to the filing cabinets, into the kitchen.   I passed by at least twenty people during the morning and swear if I had eyes in the back of my head I would have seen people staring at me in a peculiar way.  Maybe I was just paranoid, or maybe they thought I was a fashion queen – after all everything I had on was ‘tres chique’.

At noontime, I said goodbye and thanked Bill for a great first day – he waved back to me, smiling,  “See you Wednesday Gayle –  thank you!”  I was relieved to have the first day over with and looked forward to the next five months!  Once in the hallway I realized the morning flew by so quickly that I didn’t have a spare minute to go to the rest room.   I walked in the ladies room and went over to the mirror to fix my hair.   There before me, as I lifted a brush to fix my hair, were two gargantuan white, notebook-sized price tags hanging from my armpit…..

 

Maybe, just maybe,  someone could have said something to me?  Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow…..