Greetings! I thought I would take a moment on this beautiful Fall morning to give you all a shout out and a little explanation on what I’ve been doing lately that has kept me from writing as much as I would like. I’ll just assume you are all sitting on the edge of your seats right now.
First, I’ve been working very hard trying desperately to get into shape. Something other than a rectangle. This has consisted of attending a high intensity Cross Fit class 3 or 4 times a week. In other words I’ve been a sweaty bruised pain stricken woman who feels surprisingly great. Attending this class with a great friend is a bonus, but being surrounded by a group of people who just have a way of bringing out the best in us, well that is priceless. We have both come a long way over the past 8 weeks, physically & mentally.
The key is to eat like a caveman. No grains. No sugar. No flour. Nothing from a box and brace yourself … no Alcohol. In other words, NONE of EVERYTHING I have come to LOVE. However, something tells me if there was a big fat piece of sugary cake in the cave the females would be fighting over it like a pack of wild dogs. There is no scientific proof to back up that statement, just the personal knowledge of female hormones.
So, I have been consuming meat, fish, chicken, fruits, veggies and nuts since September 23rd. Thank GOD for the likes of cocoa and coconut to satisfy my sweet teeth…yes, that was plural. I’ve been splitting my hunting & gathering between Whole Foods and Local Farmer’s Markets, which by the way can be equally as dangerous as a jungle, especially on the weekend. We can not even discuss how expensive it is to eat like a cavewoman, but then again so are visits to the doctor’s office…right? Looks like I’ll be working some over time at the quarry.
Note: I spent $9.99 on a loaf of Paleo Bread after CRAVING some sort of grain. I have concluded that price in no way determines goodness…AT ALL! I will painfully finish eating the entire loaf of
dry wall bread due to the memory of my father’s voice saying “Are you out of your god damn mind?” I remember when he would complain over the increasing price of things like milk, bread & bridge tolls, so I’ll assume he is spinning in his grave right about now. Sorry dad…
This challenge is a learning tool to be used in making better future decisions. Honestly though the transition hasn’t been too hard and I do feel very good, but come November 4th you better believe I will be indulging in a Pumpkin Muffin … made from all natural ingredients of course.
One of the other things I was able to do this month was attend my 35th Grade School Reunion. That’s right, 35 glorious years ago I graduated from 8th grade and headed into the
hell hallways of high school. Can you feel me shuddering?
One thing I know for sure after this evening is that women, at least the ones from my class, aged much better than the men. I was only able to recognize 4 on site, the rest … well, they needed to be reintroduced. Yikes! Also, the most asked questions of the night “are you still married?” and “how many times have you ben married?” All in all it was a wonderful evening filled with old friendships and laughs…lots of laughs.
Next on my list is the request to appear in Federal Court today for jury duty. Yea me…NOT! I was all prepared to spend the next (3) days waiting to find out if I’ve been chosen to serve on a federal jury. I had my David Sedaris book ready to go, just in case I needed some random outbursts of laughter to make me look a little cray cray. I worked liked a dog to clear my desk, for the sake of my co-worker who will be holding down the fort. That is a post that has yet to be written. All these arrangements only to call the 800 number yesterday and hear the words “Report to your normal place of employment tomorrow.” “Do not report for jury duty.” This was equivalent to hearing All Public & Parochial Schools are Closed, after you already did your homework. Cross your fingers that I hear that message again today!
As if I weren’t busy enough, this weekend I will participating in 2, yes 2 fundraisers. One is being held this Saturday 10/26/2013 at the Cross Fit gym and it is appropriately called Barbells For Boobs. For every $80.00 raised a woman will be able to receive a Mammogram. My participation in this challenge will be on behalf of Susie over at Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride. She knows first hand the importance of Mammograms and early detection!
The next event is a 5k walk for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. My family, including Pea-Wee (Peanut) will be walking on Sunday 10/27/2013 to support our neighbor Joey. He was diagnosed in February and this is his first attempt to raise some money to Stomp Out Juvenile Diabetes.
This little boy is a wonderfully sweet, smart and creative kid. He has taken on his challenge with encouragement and hope that some day he will be the one known for stomping out the likes of this disease.
Live your life and Enjoy the Ride!
The other morning I came across a reblogged post by Mimi over at Waiting For The Karma Truck that really struck a nerve. Well, it wasn’t actually the blog itself, but Mimi’s comment that got my nerve going. Read on…
I have been having many conversations with friends of mine about what the second half holds. The key perhaps is in re-defining one’s understanding of the concept of ‘doing’ – turning that energy inward and valuing it as much as one valued all those years of externalized effort. Some thoughts for this morning…
The subject of the blog was about aging, a conversation I was also having recently with a dear friend. Calm down we weren’t discussing nursing homes, if fact it was the polar opposite. There were a number of things that brought this subject to the surface, especially our looming “Special Birthdays.” One has already been celebrated, but I must wait with bated breath until February to celebrate mine.
Mimi made a wonderful point in her response to my comment. She said, “I think some of us are just at the age where we realize that we need to move not just to another chapter, but perhaps another story entirely.” Reading Mimi is like having my own personal Yoda around for a daily dose of wisdom. Shit! I hope she doesn’t bill me.
Her words immediately had me thinking about all the chapters and several stories in my own life. We all start out with the same story “New Beginnings” , but the rest, well … they’re on us. I decided to compile a Cliff Note version of some of the more noteworthy stories/chapters of my life.
- Mommy, Will You Marry Me?: When I was my sister/best friend had to go to school and leave me ALL day. In that moment I vowed to marry my mommy. That’s right I had amazing sense even at 4. I knew this woman was the best thing that ever happened to me and damn it I wasn’t going to let her get away. We had two wonderful years alone together before I had to join my sister at school, but I never forgot how special I felt as we watched Pixanne and I proposed.
- Catholic School or Scarred For Life: I think it’s safe to say these two go hand in hand. I didn’t have a chance between following in my over achieving sister’s shoes, constantly being reminded about it every time I entered a classroom and being the emotional punching bag for a group of bitter, sex suppressed woman a/k/a nuns. This may come as a surprise, but I really didn’t enjoy school…can’t imagine why. This story lasted 12 long years!
- Love Goggles: Over the years this story has also been referred to as “What The Fuck Was I Thinking?” and What The Fuck Were You Thinking?” on more than one occasion. I fell hard at 16, sealed the deal at 21 and ended the farce at 23. This story lasted close to 8 years! This was more like a series of short stories that always ended with a clear lesson for the readers, however the author was somewhat of a resistant learner who tightened her love goggles to the point of blindness and missed her own lessons.
- Cupid To The OR … Stat!: This is one of my favorite stories. Cupid certainly had his hands full with me. I walked around with my heart on my sleeve for all to see and when I fell, I fell hard. I went from doormat to a wall to wall carpet while in this relationship, so Cupid had to really push the envelope for me to open my eyes. The procedure took place over a holiday weekend in 1988. Cupid scrubbed up and prepared to surgically remove my “Love Goggles.” He led me right to my bedroom where I saw my husband in bed with another woman…**BAM** they flew right off and I never looked back. There are times when extreme measures are necessary, this was one of those times.
- Love, Marriage & Baby Carriages: After a few years of recovery from my procedure, Cupid put my name on another arrow. This time he dulled the point just enough for me to recognize what true love was all about. After 22 years and 2 great kids later I can say “Thank you Cupid, thank you very much.” This story is still going strong with new chapters being written every day.
- Lisa, Is That You?: Considering the amount of years I spent answering to Mommy, Mom, Momma, Momma Bear, Emily’s Mom, Zac’s Mom and Yo Mom, it’s no wonder that LISA was put on the back burner alongside her underwear. That’s right folks, her underwear! Those cotton sacrificial lambs that went YEARS not being replaced because “Mommy” had to make sure the little asses of her offspring were covered first with their latest cartoon character obsession. Oh, how their big smiles over Rug Rat briefs made me forget all about the missing elastic on my own panties. Until the next Chapter…
- MOM! You’re Fired!: Talk about not seeing the warning signs of this happening. I went from “Employee of the Year” to the unemployment line overnight. All my loyal service and they left me in the dust…with semi worn underwear. Of course they still “need” me, just not nearly as much. I’m proud of the young adults they have become, but I am a nurturer, so I missed shelling out the love, until I realized I had been neglecting the one person who needed my love more than anyone else…ME.
- Who Loves Ya Baby?: It took a few years of therapy, an extreme panic attack, a good honest look in the mirror and the big 50 on the horizon for me to realize that Lisa was overdue for some much-needed loving. Here I am challenging my mind, body & soul in ways that I never thought possible. I am physically seeing changes that make me proud of my accomplishments. I am participating at my Quaker Meeting in ways that enable me to walk the talk and feed my soul, but most of all, I am realizing that I am able to take pride in being whoever the hell I want to be.
Untitled: I’m not sure where I’m headed, but I know I’m going in the right direction and with a lot less baggage. You may want to brush off your sunglasses and be prepared to squint, I have a feeling I’m going to be giving off quite a glow.
Remember, if you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave and Enjoy the Ride!
Tell us about the last thing you got excited about — butterflies-in-the-stomach, giggling, can’t-wait excited.
Well, recently I did something so far out of my normal realm I’m still not sure what came over me. Maybe I’m going through a little MLC of my own. Was I excited to jump into this venture head first? That would depend on your definition of “excited.” Did I have butterflies-in the-stomach? Um, it felt more like a flock of geese, but yes. Was there that giggling, can’t wait excited feeling? In my world there is always giggling, but in this case, it was the let’s just make fun of ourselves in order to survive kind of giggling, so yes, there was in fact lots of giggling.
I bet you’re on the edge of your seats wondering what the hell I’ve been keeping from you all……Drum Roll Please.
The answer is CrossFit (this is in red to signify the fires of hell I endure every time I attend class). If anyone is wondering “what the hell is CrossFit?” The official definition is: CrossFit is a strength and conditioning brand. CrossFit combines weightlifting, sprinting, and gymnastics. My definition is: CrossFit is a love/hate relationship that will push you to thoughts of self demise and euphoria in the same hour. CrossFit does not discriminate against any of your muscle groups, in fact, parts of your body will hurt that you weren’t even aware existed.
This all came to life after meeting a long-time friend for coffee. Maybe someone slipped something into our Lattes. My friend started telling me how she wanted to try CrossFit, which I never heard of and I shared that I wanted to try one of those Mud races….Muddrella to be exact, which she never heard of and this folks is how insanity was born. Two crazy ideas shacking up in the middle of a Starbucks produced a bundle of over zealous confidence that brought us to sign our lives away to a CrossFit facility.
You see, my dear friend and I are approaching milestone, or as I like to call them, “very special birthdays” soon. One of us (not me) isn’t venturing into this next chapter with the same vigor as someone else (me). You see, she confessed that this is the first Summer she hasn’t worn a bikini. Tragic, I know. She was looking for something challenging so she wouldn’t turn into “one of those hideous older people” as she so eloquently described it. She could never be hideous, but I knew exactly what she meant.
This conversation provoked me to do some math and I came to the horrific realization that this is my 21st year without wearing a bikini, along with my 5th year without wearing a bathing suit of any kind, so I think it’s safe to say that I was just a Christmas sweater away from a catastrophic level of hideous aging. YIKES! All I can say is … THANK GOD for whatever divine intervention led us to meet for coffee that day!
Yesterday we concluded our second full week of CrossFit and believe it or not we are both making significant strides. For starters we’re still alive! Everyone, including all of the young what the hell are you doing here with that amazing body guys and girls are very supportive of our endeavours. They encourage us, answer our questions and cheer us on one WOD (work-out of the day) at a time. It’s really nice having your own personal cheerleaders … a girl could get use to this love.
We are running, the actual verb form of running too, not the “I’m running to the store” adjective kind. We are also jumping rope. Do you have any idea what happens when middle-aged women run & jump rope? They begin to laugh out loud at the prospect of wearing a diaper and they actually start to justify it! Hey, Lisa Rinna wore one on the Red Carpet, she says so in the commercial!
We are lifting weights, dangling from gigantic rubber bands, contorting our bodies into positions we didn’t know were possible, but most of all we are having a great time….a very sore time, but a great time. No pain, no gain … right?
As of this morning I am 20.2 pounds lighter. Um, yes, she did include that .2. I am healthier, happier and more determined than ever to continue on this path of Non-Hideous aging. I think I feel a bumper sticker coming on…perhaps a t-shirt.
Honestly though, the best part of this whole journey has been spending time with my dear friend. We make each other laugh through our inadequacies while we celebrate our personal milestones, which to date include running without stopping and staying alive. Enjoy the Ride!
Tell us a moment or an incident that you treasure – not necessarily because it brought you happiness, but because it taught you something about yourself.
I have spent the majority of my life in self-doubt. What can I say, not everyone is blessed with the ability to ooze confidence from every pore. I must have stepped out of line when it was being distributed.
This weakness was nourished in my house and reinforced throughout my school years. Let’s just say I could totally relate to Jan Brady … Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! So there I was, without an ounce of effort, neatly placed in the shadow of my older sibling. I was cool and comfortable with no reason to face the heat.
When I look back, I realize that I did step out into the light on more than one occasion, but didn’t even take a minute to put on my sunglasses. I chose to squint and hurry back to that shady spot.
Over the years, I had the pleasure of being in the presence of some very good people, who little by little enforced my confidence, but none more so than my children. They allowed me to see the sun when that’s all I was able to see were the clouds. Hey, they thought I was the greatest thing since sliced bread because I knew how to tie my own shoes!
But unfortunately there were also those who just loved to remind me of my weaknesses, especially myself, which left me overvaluing my lack of confidence and undervaluing my badassness, until one day when I was suddenly forced to unleash all of me on the world. An emotional Tsunami if you will.
I was faced with fighting a battle on behalf of my daughter, after quietly being told by the school psychologist (we will be using that term very lightly) “Mrs. G. your daughter will NEVER go to college.”
Her educational future was as stake and no one was going to take that away….willingly. My daughter believed I could do anything and lord knows I wasn’t going to let her down. Have no fear…Underdog a/k/a Mom is here!
Although I gave myself permission to spend a good amount of time silently sitting in the shadows, no one was going to force my daughter to do the same…she deserved the opportunity to shine and someone else’s low standards of her abilities were not going to stand in her way. Do not Ef with my cubs!
So there it was, bigger than life…the LESSON. Up until this point I spent my life believing that being the underdog was a FAULT and all along it was a GIFT. Never underestimate the quiet one sitting in the shadow, our sparkle is contagious.
I will always treasure that time in my life, not because of winning the battle although it felt pretty good, but because of the look on my daughter’s face when we went on our first college tour. Priceless!
We were walking on the campus of Lebanon Valley College, on a sunny freezing cold day, when she just stopped in the quad and said “Mom, I can really see myself here.” There it was, smack in my face, my daughter was shining in her own light. I just put my shades on and thought damn straight you can…Why the Hell Not!
I am proud to say that this Fall she will be entering her junior year … still shining strong.
Never let anyone dull your sparkle … Enjoy the Ride!
Tell us about the most surprising helping hand you’ve ever received.
Helping hands have shown up in my life recently and just in the nick of time if I do say so myself. That’s right humanity came strolling in, fashionably late of course, complete with party horns & confetti to join in on all the festivities. Was I “surprised”? Not really because that’s how humanity rolls.
Considering the level of activity around these parts over the past few months, it wasn’t too shocking to anyone that my emotions decided to go into a full-blown tailspin, but the timing couldn’t have been worse. Now that was a big fat ssurprise!
Believe me when I tell you I admire the complexity of the human brain, but there are times when I really wish it had an “off” switch. Perhaps it could have been installed when I became a mother. God obviously missed the memo on “When Women Worry”, along with the follow-up memo “When Mothers Worry … A Whole Other Story,” otherwise he would have included the switch. He was probably off creating a giraffe or something so I’ll let him slide, since giraffes are so badass.
I was at the point of going from mole hill to mountain in one second flat, which is what can happen when your creative juices decide to collaborate with your fears. These 2 should never hook up … ever. Unfortunately for me they were in an on and off relationship since September, but decided to take it to another level in February and by the end of March they were nothing short of hot & heavy. Such sluts!
So, on that particular Thursday when I pulled into the parking lot at work, I could not believe what suddenly began to unfold. One minute I’m laughing along with the morning Dj’s and the next my heart is pounding out of my chest. My imagination and fears decided to get it on right there in the parking lot!
Somehow I managed to get out of the car and right into my first set of helping hands. Lord knows I must have appeared completely crazy, but in the moment I was more concerned about dying and much less concerned about first impressions. This stranger walked me to my office, assured me I was “ok” and wrapped those helping hands around me with a supporting hug before closing the door. Suddenly I was alone with the dynamic duo again…this was not good.
Next set of helping hands to show up was my boss. Oh, yes you did read that correctly. By the time he arrived on the scene, not only was my heart pounding out of my chest, but the tears were uncontrollable. He assured me I was NOT having a heart attack, but what did he know? … he’s only a DOCTOR for god sakes! My brain was already claiming victory over this battle!
Just as I was about to wave my white flag and let my brain wear the crown some helping hands joined forces. My friend/co-worker arrived and knew exactly what to do. Honestly, the only thing missing was her white horse. She held my hand and walked me down to the office of my family doctor while reinforcing the fact that I was NOT having a heart attack. Um, I still wasn’t believing it.
Her helping hands had a magnetic force that attracted more hands into my circle of need, while never loosening her grip on mine. The girls at the desk, the medical assistant and the nurse practitioner all worked together with my friend to ensure me that I would come from behind and start kicking some crazy ass very soon. It really does take a village people.
By the time this all ended I was whipped! My brain is pretty freaking tough, but my spirit is much tougher thanks to all those helping hands. They helped me to get back on the road to Enjoy the Ride!
Today started out like any other day. I was up before the crack of dawn, came downstairs and gave Chester who was snoring like a chainsaw a quick “good morning little guy”, turned the coffee pot on and hit the family room. Pretty much the same routine as any given day. Then something happened….I heard Chester crying.
As most of you know from his Blog post the other day Hallelujah! Hot Dogs Heal The Lame Chester has been having some walking issues. Well, those issues turned into much more this morning when he couldn’t use his hind legs. It was painful to see him struggling. He wanted to get out back to do his morning duties, even though he was in pain he was determined. He never went in the house and he wasn’t starting today.
Our new hardwood floors were not helping his journey to the yard so I gathered all the area rugs we have to make a path to the stairs where I was able to guide him down. Whew! That was an ordeal, but we made it. The next challenge was getting from the bottom of the stairs over to the door. We took numerous breaks, had a couple pep talk and eventually crossed the finish line or threshold, just in the nick of time.
As you can imagine I was very concerned. After some research I discovered he most likely has a back issue, not a leg issue. We got ready, slipped Chester a rophy and headed to the Vet. In our minds we were going for a cortisone shot & medication, but instead we were sent to a hospital for an MRI and possible surgery. What?
Sadly after hearing that he most likely had 3 bulging disks that would require surgery, along with an 8-12 week recovery period with no guarantee of full use, we were left to make the painful decision to let him go on to a place where he can run free and bask in sunbeams all day, while we remain here with all of our wonderful memories to treasure and broken hearts to mend.
I’ll be taking a few days off during the mending, but I’ll be reading to stay occupied. Thank you for all of your kind words about Chester over the past year, they are also included in our memories.
Life can certainly change is a flash so make sure you Enjoy the Ride as much as Chester enjoyed his. I Love You Poppy!
Today marks quite a milestone here at Life With The Top Down. One year ago today I decided to take the plunge into the great big world of blogging. I nervously hit that big blue Publish button and sent my first post The C-Word out into the blogosphere. I had a love/hate relationship with that button for quite some time, but we’re cool now.
Yesterday I took a little trip back in time and discovered that I really have come a long way through this journey. The first thing I noticed was that my overall well-being and my writing skills have both grown quite a bit in the last 365 days. Along with my ass, but that’s another story.
It was also nice to discover that my girl Miss Four Eyes was the first and only person to like my words. We all know how important it is to be acknowledged. MFE is a breath of fresh air. She is no doubt an old soul who expresses her youthful, yet wise self perfectly both in and outside of her posts. Thank you MFE!
No matter how things go down, you never forget your first and that stands true for followers as well. My very first follower or followers are Daryl and Devon. Do the math, yes it was a threesome. I have laughed, loved & learned quite a bit through their views on politics, current events, black history & music. They certainly keep things real, which was an immediate attraction for me. Thank you D&D!
Of course, the list of people who have sat shot-gun with me on this ride and were kind enough to bring their support, inspiration and encouragement along, have certainly grown over this past year. They include my real life family & friends, along with a new group of virtual friends that I would consider family. You all deserve a great big thank you, thank you and one thank you very much for the road!
I wasn’t sure what my expectations were for this venture, but I did know it was something that was absolutely necessary for me… for so many reasons. I was at a point in my life where my kids suddenly left me in the dust…they decided to grow-up and I was finally handed the pink slip. Of course they call me back occasionally for advice, assistance and we can’t forget the big one …money, but all in all they were doing their thing and I needed to do mine. It was my time to shine!
Sometimes things just pop into our lives to help us along the way, like Kathy over at Friday Night Family, who I hadn’t seen or spoke to since high school did! There she was, this blast from the past, encouraging and inspiring me to find what makes me happy. Well done Kathy…well done indeed!
“You can’t reach for anything new if your hands are full of yesterday’s junk.”
So, I finally decided to unloaded some junk mostly fear and give birth to Life With The Top Down on March 4, 2012 at 12:58 pm. Her first year was a quite a challenge, but I think she is ready to enter year 2 with vigor and excitement.
Hope you will all continue to join me as we … Enjoy the Ride!
Write about what you did last weekend as though you’re a music critic reviewing a new album.
This album features a ROCK STAR that rarely flies solo. He loves to be surrounded by his entourage, which seems to grow each year. Zachary turned 18 last weekend and celebrated in true Rock Star fashion. The house was packed as he took center stage to debut his new album appropriately titled … It’s Finally Official.
We celebrated the release of his new-found freedom album by treating him, the entourage and a couple of groupies to dinner at a Japanese Steakhouse. The paparazzi swooned in and captured this shot of him performing a duet of Happy Birthday with the chef.
Zachary will not disappoint his fans with this latest release. His uncanny fusion of teenage boy, young man and complete goofball can be heard within each track. His hit single I Can Do What I Want Now soared to the top of the charts this week when he came home with a tattoo.
For most of his life, we knew him as an unfiltered energized boy, the kind of kid who just loves to have fun. But lately he’s showing signs of re-birth – taking things a little more serious. Not completely ditching his hands in the air like you just don’t care attitude, but showing glimmers of responsibility that have left us all in a state of…Huh? This comes through loud and clear when you listen to the lyrics of One Less Gray Hair For Mom on track 3.
When Zachary crossed over that imaginary threshold into manhood he learned to appreciate the wisdom that went into the two special tracks cowritten with yours truly…Adult Is A Four-Letter Word and my favorite … Being Grown-up Isn’t Half as Fun as Growing Up so Enjoy the Ride!
THE DAILY PROMPT: PROUD When was the last time someone told you they were proud of you? Well, this actually very easy. Just the other day at work my co-worker told me she was in fact very proud of me. About a year ago we began the daunting task of converting to the world of Electronic Health Records. To make a very looooong story very short…things don’t always go according to plan. At the end of Summer someone in our office was under the impression that perhaps the upcoming election may let’s just say have a different outcome, therefore we put this whole electronic record transformation on hold. Lesson…do not count your chickens before they’re hatched. So, now that the Inauguration has taken place and it appears the Prez is staying for the next four years, we are back to perusing this monumental change. We all know that no one likes the C-Word, but there are moments when it’s just necessary in order to get the ball rolling. I hope you all realize I’m talking about Change…just checking. This brings us to Monday when we once again started to dabble back into this new system to see just how much information was actually retained after all these months. After a few technical difficulties that nearly pushed us all over the imaginary cliff…we started. Ok, let’s get back to the prompt at hand. On Tuesday I started to scan some records into the computer. For the record, it’s not as easy as it sounds. By the grace a God, a miracle, a fluke or some other out of this world phenomenon I was able to wiz right through the process without an ounce of hesitation. This is when I heard those magic words…. Co-worker: Wow, how did you do that? Me: I have no idea. Co-worker: I’m really proud of you for remembering how to do that. Me: Laughter. Considering I couldn’t guarantee this would happen a second time. I must say it’s nice to get a little pat on the back every once in a while…even when you might not feel it’s necessary. We live in a world where criticism comes easier that compliments. A place where people seem to have a difficult time stepping out of their own boastful bubble to recognize the very things that deserve gratitude. So it’s best to just humbly accept that someone recognizes something good in you and watch it blossom. Hey, even my dog likes to hear that he is a “Good Boy” just for pooping! Make your supporters proud, your haters jealous and Enjoy the Ride!
This week’s writing challenge: Tell us about a character in your life.
Where the heck do I even begin with this challenge? My dilemma isn’t a lack of material, it’s narrowing down the list. I’m not sure if it’s my overly curious nature or keen listening skills, but my path is always crossing crazy. Never a dull moment that’s for sure.
For this piece I decided to share the likes of Kathy MacDonald, a coworker from my very first “real” job. You haven’t experienced characters of the real world until you work for the Federal Government in Center City Philadelphia, at a meer 18 years old. This was similar to dropping a lamb off into the center of the jungle.
I’m not certain of Kathy’s age at the time, considering 30 year olds appear ancient when you’re 18, but if I were to guess, I would place her around 60 at the time. She had white cotton candy shaped hair, large glasses with over exaggerated features. Her cleavage doubled as a clutch purse and her voice was that of a well seasoned smoker, however Kathy never smoked. Kathy’s wardrobe consisted of nothing from the current decade and everything from the closet of a retired 60’s go-go girl, complete with colored plastic beads & baubles to match any shade on the color spectrum. She stepped right off of a Far Side calendar and planted herself in the desk behind mine.
My first day of employment was 6/14/1982, better known as Flag Day. I will never again forget this fact due to Kathy MacDonald, who was dressed as a human american flag in honor of the holiday. As if the red,white & blue ensemble weren’t enough, it was accessorized with flag earrings, a red sparkly headband, all sorts of red, white & blue plastic beads and bangles with blue socks that donned stars and of course, white sandals. I was in awe!
She introduced herself just as she headed out the door at lunch time to partake in the festivities over at Independence Hall. I had never met anyone who celebrated Flag Day with such enthusiasm in my life. To be honest, at 18 I probably had no idea there was a holiday called Flag Day. I quickly learned that ALL holidays were celebrated equally in true Kathy fashion.
Kathy always had a story that my 18-year-old ears had no business hearing, but I couldn’t help but be completely absorbed in her tales. One day she called me over to her desk to discuss the discomfort she was having with her “girdle”. I patiently listened how this “girdle” was pinching her skin, yet she didn’t feel it was doing its job. I had NO IDEA what a girdle was up until this point…I was just coming out of diapers for god sakes! She proceeded to raise her dress to reveal this torturous device that spanned from her neck to the middle of her thighs. It was covered in metal zippers with these elastic ribbons that held up her stockings. It’s really a shame that cell phone cameras weren’t around in 1982.
As you can imagine the girdle sighting stayed with me for quite some time. My mother tried to reassure me that it was only an undergarment, but I probably should have undergone some sort of therapy at the time. To this day I have questions about those zippers. Not to mention this went down in the freaking office!
I have certainly witnessed a large cast of characters over the years, most that left Kathy appearing almost normal. Looking back on Kathy’s character, I must say she certainly lived life with a little spice adding flavor wherever she traveled. She certainly made it easy for me to go to work every day…I never could risk missing an event.
The world can be amazing when you’re slightly strange, so be yourself and Enjoy the Ride!