Category Archives: Story telling

There’s Always A Story

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I recently saw the quote “Alcohol, because no great story ever started with someone eating a salad.” This may be true but something tells me I could get a great story out of eating salad. There’s always a story.

Recently I went to the local mall in search of some fancy shoes to wear to a wedding. My feet have not seen anything fancy in years, so this was not going to be easy. I already ordered and returned two pair. Cinderella I am not.

My first mistake was bypassing Macy’s. The logic, if that’s what you want to call it, was to try stores I never shop in first. Why?

First up: Shoe Carnival. How inviting does that sound?  I was in, out and emptied handed in 5 seconds. Carnival is the key word.

Next, I headed down to Boscov’s, where everyone on the planet seems to find amazing merchandise basically for free, except me. As I was browsing the shoe department my intestines began to rumble…oh yes! Glutes tight as I head to the ladies room.

I proceeded to do the shit shuffle from the shoe department, up the escalator, through the furniture department, where I was blocked by a kid throwing a full-blown temper tantrum over the lack of Pokemons. Get the hell out of my way!  

This journey seemed 5 miles long through tar at this point. I headed down some godforsaken 1980’s hallway to the turn of the century bathroom where the gates of hell opened. No words.

Now that I was a least 2 pounds lighter I headed back out to the Mall with every intention of heading home. But no.

I made a sharp right and headed to Sears, because who the hell knows. There I was gazing over the shoes when a women dressed in red from head to toe, approached me with this statement. “If you keep smiling I’m going to file a lawsuit against you.” Alrighty then …

As I look for a glimmer of sanity I notice a man looking at me shrugging his shoulders. Seriously! That’s all you have is a shrug?

Ugh, I stood there alone smiling and now fearing a potential lawsuit. I decided home is where I need to go. Nope.

Just as I was about to escape I noticed the smile police browsing books at Barnes & Noble. She appeared very normal in that moment. 

Next thing I know she is heading my way as if my smile was on the list of the 10 most wanted!  Suddenly she is inches from me when she gave me another warning. “I told you to stop smiling!!” Good thing I hit the bathroom before this moment.

I found myself hiding in the Hallmark store texting my daughter and sisters about the incident, just in case I went missing. I learned that trick from Law and Order SVU.

At this point a normal person would have been sprinting to the car … not me.

Macy’s was my last stop. Within seconds I had a beautiful pair of sparkly shoes on my hooves. Life was good again for a nano second. 

A lovely woman sat down next to me admiring my selection. I loved these shoes! I would have loved them more if I had the 4th toe on my Right foot amputated, but that was not an option. Yet.

We were chatting about the wedding, my need for an emergency amputation, and the fact that my shoes need to be beautiful and comfortable when she began digging down into her bra. I should have known this was not just an adjustment.

Just like a magician she pulls out a pair of dentures, puts them in her mouth and apologizes for talking to me without her teeth. A rabbit would have been less shocking.

My face must have been asking all sorts of questions, because she proceeded to inform me that her 70th birthday was coming up and she no longer cared what people thought. Truth!

At this point of my tale my husband asked “did you finally leave?”

Me: No, I asked her when her birthday was?

Husband: Why?

Me:  I wanted to know.

Husband:  Why?

Me:  Because I wanted to know if she was a Leo.

Husband: Why do you care?

Me:  Just be glad I do.

Although I left the mall without shoes, I did get this post.

That wedding I was talking about is TODAY!!!!

My nephew Ryan is getting hitched to his beautiful bride Monica. Hurricane Hermine is a no show in PA, and we are about to get this party started!

Enjoy the Ride … I know I will!

 

 

 

 

Life With An Extra Side of Flavor

Weekly Writing Challenge: Characters

This week’s writing challenge: Tell us about a character in your life.

far-side-supermanWhere 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 7794185-clown-dressed-in-red-white-and-blue-smilingforget 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. 

The only difference is the hair color.

The only difference is the hair color.

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!

We Needed More…

Weekly Writing Challenge: 1,000 Words,Take Two Your challenge this week is to write a post based on this picture:

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Last night was amazing! I don’t want this to end; I just want to hold you forever. Honestly, I’ve never done anything like this before…I swear. I know you must find that hard to believe, but it’s true. It was magical. Was it real?  Maybe there was something extra in the wine or maybe it’s just the romance that seems to be oozing through the sidewalks of this damn city. Whatever it is, I know I’m not ready for it to end here on this street. I need more…

I never anticipated that a last-minute decision to take in some sites would lead me to catching your eye from across the room. I was standing in the distance, watching your expression as you absorbed the beauty in the room. I just knew I had to know the person behind those eyes. Your intensity intrigued my curiosity. I needed more…

It’s not like me to be so forward, especially with strangers, but before coming on this trip I made a promise to myself to try something very new … taking risks. I’ve spent so many years regretting my inability to capture moments just like this, I owed it to myself to take a leap of faith, face my fears and accept these unexpected chances. I needed more…

My hands were sweating, my knees were weak and my voice was shaking the closer I got to blurt out that very low-keyed “hey.” When you turned around I never expected that warm inviting smile as you responded with a very enthusiastic “Hey!” Our conversation started slow. You took your time capturing the last drop of beauty on that canvas. I couldn’t blame you; the colors that intertwined throughout the landscape were mesmerizing. As soon as your concentration broke, it was obvious that this piece of art captured your soul. I needed more…

Finally our thoughts were brought back to the present as we cordially introduced ourselves. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to travel across an ocean to meet someone who lived just 4 towns over from my own. I’m traveling alone with no set schedule, while you are taking advantage of studying abroad this semester. Just two people on a journey to escape their limited lives, crossing paths as they head towards their next chapter. I needed more…

Since I’m new to adventures I wasn’t sure how to handle this awkward moment that left us both shifting where we stood in the museum lobby. I took a chance suggesting that we continue this conversation at the corner cafe. I just couldn’t let it end there in that cold lobby; these feelings were worth more than that uncertain goodbye. I needed more…

After what seemed like just minutes in the cafe, we noticed the sun was about to turn in for the night. Our conversation seemed so natural, like two old friends picking up right where they left off so many years before. We never noticed how quickly time had left us. My stomach began giving me a quick reminder that I’ve been ignoring it all day. It was embarrassingly loud, but provided the perfect excuse to keep this conversation going over some dinner. I needed more…

As we sat drinking wine while enjoying the delicacies of this foreign place we remained engrossed in each other’s company. Something was happening, something good. Our hands were touching across the table. Our eyes were having a conversation all of their own and our young hormones were on the brink of exploding. We finished our dessert at record speed, while trying to keep our over-anxious emotions in tact. Check please! I needed more…

Standing out in the cool air didn’t seem to have an impact on our growing anticipation. We continued to hold hands as we tried desperately to suppress the magic that was obviously embracing us like a vice. We continued to walk down the dimly lit street with no destination in mind. Before I knew what was happening, we were through the door, up the stairs and in each other’s arms exchanging our pent-up aggression. I needed more…

Whew there is no greater feeling than releasing years of doubts, fears and uncertainty in a single moment. Exhilarating doesn’t even begin to explain how alive I felt laying in your arms. Our natural bond continued when you shared your photos with me, narrating each page; giving me permission to share your personal journey. I needed more…

We stayed cuddled close under the covers as the sun slowly began to make its way through the crack in the window and my heart began to sink. The morning began to take on a sense of reality that we were dreading. Normalcy began to creep into the bubble we created for ourselves last night. It seemed indestructible just a few hours ago, now it’s taking on the look of a fine piece of china. Coffee was brewing, the shower was running and that moment was getting closer. I needed more…

We sat quietly and slowly sipped our coffee in hopes that time would somehow take the hint; pausing to give us just a few more minutes alone, but the clock continued ticking pushing us closer to that daunting goodbye. The noises from the street broke our silence. We began to gather our things at a snail’s pace, savoring these last few minutes in the bubble. I needed more…

Classes started in an hour and the University was a good 20 minutes away. The Tin Trolly ran on a limited schedule. I had no choice but to catch the earliest one possible if I wanted to make it back to my hostel before I was reported missing. We grabbed our things, headed to door and stepped into reality. I needed more…

Our detour lead us to discovering something we didn’t expect. We needed more…

Embrace the detours and Enjoy the Ride!

Gloria Vanderbilt’s Pet Horse

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Don’t let these faces fool you….

I spent my weekend putting the finishing touches on the Christmas decorations. As I was strategically placing the Santa’s around the house I couldn’t help but laugh.

Christmas time is filled with stories. They rest between the decorations, the ornaments and our families just waiting to be told each year. Some things never get old, especially when they make us laugh.

I was remembering the day when I told my son, who was 4 at the time, he better be on his best behavior because Santa was watching him. Mothers around the world wait all year for this moment. Well, when I came back in the room he had all the Santa’s facing the wall so that they couldn’t “see” what he was doing. Brilliant!

That memory really made me pause and realize how quickly these moments pass through our lives. Wasn’t it just yesterday that Santa was bringing me my Madame Alexander baby doll? I remember it like it was yesterday!  

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We will believe everything you tell us.

My sister and I woke up at the crack of dawn that Christmas, just as Mr. & Mrs. Clause went to bed, to examine our loot. I quickly picked up one of the dolls and ran into my parents room to display my treasure. I was filled with excitement!

I’ll never forget my mother slightly raising her very tired head while stating “that is your sister’s doll yours has the light hair.” No questions were asked as to how she received such highly classified information before heading back downstairs to retrieve what was rightfully mine. My own children would never have been this easy on me! 

Who really knows what went on in our gullible little heads, but we seemed to be extremely accepting of the fact that Santa ditched the elves for special projects and periodically shopped at Sears. This according to the neck of my guitar anyway. 

I do remember asking about it and happily accepting whatever I was told. No interrogation, hot lights & saltines for my parents, just pure acceptance of whatever they were selling. This included the illusion that Santa himself made the executive decision to distribute matching gifts to my sister and I. This lack of effort tradition went on for YEARS.

Sadly during the Christmas of approximately 1977, Mrs. Clause was under the misguided notion that it would somehow remain acceptable to continue the duel gifts, separated by color method this particular year. Poor thing never saw the uprising of the female teenager in our home.

Unbeknownst to anyone present, my sister was at her breaking point with the lack of surprises as we opened our gifts. I had just opened a box containing a blue bathrobe, that I was thrilled to receive, as my sister was holding an unwrapped box that mirrored mine. The last thing I remember saying was “I bet that’s a robe.”  

Gloria riding her pet horse a/k/a G. Photo courtesy of Everything Anderson

Gloria riding her pet horse a/k/a G.
Photo courtesy of Everything Anderson

Years of pent-up disappointment surfaced as we all watched her explode, ranting something about colors, before running upstairs to slam the bedroom door.  Nothing says Merry Christmas like a teenage hissy fit. Mrs. Clause just looked at me and said “I don’t know who your sister thinks she is, but she’s NOT Gloria Vanderbilt’s pet horse.”  What?

The confrontation was still going on, which really put a damper on my present opening. It probably wasn’t a good idea to inform my sibling that “I just opened blue slippers yours are probably pink” during the mayhem. Honestly though, little sisters around the globe live for these moments. We must embrace these opportunities when they fall upon us, we just do. 

My mother/Mrs. Clause had enough as she yelled up the stairs to my ungrateful sister. Again letting her know that she was not “Gloria Vanderbilt’s pet horse.” At that moment my sister came down the steps prancing and neighing like, you guess it, a HORSE.  I believe my sister thought “if being Gloria Vanderbilt’s pet horse meant getting individual gifts, so be it!” Laughter ensued, Christmas continued and my sister perfected her imitation of a well-bred horse by the day’s end. Meanwhile I was still wondering “Who the hell is Gloria Vanderbilt?”

Often times when we think about Christmas, the first thing that comes to mind is a great laugh. Christmas and laughing go hand in hand, whether it be Santa’s deep belly “Ho Ho Ho – Merry Christmas!” laugh, the giggle of excited children ripping apart the wrapping on their Christmas presents, or the doubled over gasping for air reaction to the well orchestrated imitation of an entitled horse from your ungrateful teenage sister. It’s all good!

If you celebrate Christmas I’m sure you can recall at least one thing that has happened which made you laugh so hard your belly hurt! Take time this season to share your funny stories, connect your hearts with those you care about and of course … Enjoy the Ride!

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