Please, Call Me Gretel
As a parent watching shows such as Law & Order SVU and Criminal Minds take me to another level of worry. My already over active imagination suddenly kicks into high gear if my children are 5 minutes late. Hell, just watching the local news can scare the crap of you these days.
Needless to say my kiddies think I’m some sort of crazy woman for wasting an ounce of time being concerned about their safety … “Mom, I’m fine stop” and “OMG Mom just put me in bubble wrap!” Hmm…bubble wrap.
The parents of yesteryear, such as my own, may have had their concerns, but they weren’t even close to this level. Columbo and Kojack kept fear to a minimum. Things were just different I guess.
I certainly don’t recall endless lectures about “stranger danger”, however I do remember walking home with my friend and being summoned over to a car by a man asking for “directions”, only to have the displeasure of viewing a little one on one loving … if you know what I mean. Oddly enough I wasn’t scared. Grossed out yes, scared no. Today this story would have been on the 6 o’clock news, but back then I’m not even sure if we told our parents.
Thinking back it seems perverts were actually all around us, including behind the wheel of the Good Humor truck. You may never think of a Rocket Pop in the same way again…read on. My sister, who was giving Dolly Parton a run for her money by age twelve, was presented with an interesting proposition by the one and only Good Humor guy. That’s all she had to do was jump rope for him and she could have FREE ice-cream. Were we running away in fear? HELL NO! She was happily jumping away for her free goodies as me and the rest of the stick figures stood in the distance green with envy. The thought that there was something wrong with this request never even entered our naive little minds.
One, such as my daughter, may say that this naivety is still going strong within me. Her theory, after a few Sociology classes, is that I am so worried about her and her brother because in reality I would be the one getting into the van in search of that imaginary puppy. She may actually be on to something … don’t tell her I said that.
Just a couple of months ago my daughter and I were taking Peanut for his evening walk. Now, when I’m out I tend to greet people, however my daughter tends to be … well … a mannequin. I know! We are complete opposites. So, on this particular evening there was an unusual amount of people out enjoying the weather. Jackpot for this social butterfly, not so much for the mannequin.
A few blocks from home I stopped to admire a beautiful garden. The design was spectacular. You could just tell a tremendous amount of love went into to tending to the needs of this foliage. I do not have a green thumb, so this was indeed impressive. Just as I was trying to bring a potted mix to the attention of my
mannequin daughter, the owner appeared. She was elderly with a very heavy German accent. At this point my daughter was most likely Tweeting away #socialbutterflymom #annoying.
As I was professing my love for her talents, she began picking a few springs from the potted mix explaining that they were herbs. My eyes were the size of saucers! She was insisting that I smell them, which I did without an ounce of question. Of course, not to be rude I offered my daughter a sniff as well. #Idon’ttakeherbsfromstrangers #mymomisgretel.
Needless to say I stood there sniffing away for lord knows how long as I was no doubt being slammed all over Social Media.
We said our goodbyes and I was handed a roadie of herbs as a parting gift. I immediately began lecturing my daughter on her lack of socialization when she informed me I would talk to a stick if it had a face. I wouldn’t go that far … well maybe.
We were walking along as I happily continued to ingest the aroma of my little bundle when suddenly I found myself slammed against a parked car, before I hit the ground. I become very dizzy. Well guess who suddenly came to life as I was laying on the ground like a porpoise? The mannequin!
There I was with my knees scraped, still holding onto my herb roadie in shock when I hear these comforting words being screamed at me … “Mom! OMG, this is what you get for taking things from strangers! You are the only one in our family who would get in a car filled with duct tape and knives! I couldn’t deny she was right in her conclusion, but I certainly wasn’t about to reveal that I would most likely be suggesting a quick stop at Home Depot to my abductor. You know for the rope and tarp he forgot to pick up.
In the end I was fine and we got a good laugh out of it all. I can not deny that if I miraculously came upon a house made of sweets I would be chowing down on a chocolate shingle without a care in the world. I tend to see the good, not the oven large enough to fit a human. Enjoy the Ride!
Why The Hell Not!
Daily Prompt: We Can Be Taught!
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!
The Oscar Goes To…
The suspense is over folks! The Oscar goes to Life With The Top Down for her stellar performance as a balloon handler in Philadelphia’s 93rd annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. Insert a standing ovation and roars of applause while the camera pans over to my I won I won I won face.
It was all I imagined it would be and so much more. I would like to thank my dear friend Susanne for her consistent pleas on Facebook for volunteers to represent the SPCA. And also for signing me up before I even said yes! If it weren’t for your ability to beg, plead and forge my name, I would not be beaming from ear to ear today. 2012 is the best Thanksgiving on record.
I would also like to give a HUGE shout out to my daughter for joining me in the shenanigans of the day. Not to mention getting up early, taking pictures and limiting her eye rolling. But, most of all for being by my side as I fulfilled this dream.
Living your dream is not an easy task to tackle. It doesn’t matter if you’re climbing mountains or carrying a 40 foot latex Lorax through the streets of Philadelphia, there will be obstacles and lessons along the journey. Some good, some bad and some……
The day started with getting UP at 2:00a.m., out into the bitter cold by 3:00, dressed in an orange jumpsuit with gold “hair” looking as if I escaped from Disco prison and inflating balloons in the street … all by 3:45 a.m. For the Love of God I never in my life thought that sentence would come from me!
Honestly, there is nothing more disturbing than approaching an alleyway blanketed with deflated cartoon characters. It looked like a crime scene for christ’s sake! Once the shock wore off we were put to work.
The night before the big show it was brought to my attention that I would also be part of the “Inflation Team” just something else to beef up the resume. Actually volunteering for this team landed the SPCA a nice donation by the parade coordinators. Life is good! The pleasure was all mine as I assisted in the resuscitation of Clifford the Big Red Dog, The Hungry Caterpillar and of course The Lorax.
I met so many amazing people on this journey. The SPCA volunteers were a genuinely compassionate group of people who were a pleasure to have in my company. Living the dream surrounded by good people was a perk.
We were interviewed by WPVI 6ABC, where I graciously answered the question “Is there anyone here who always wanted to do this? with a very enthusiastic “YES! me…it has always been my dream!” Nothing confirms crazy like silence from a News Reporter.
Next up was Sam Champion from Good Morning America. This time I stayed back while Susanne & Emily took center stage with Sam. He was so nice, genuine and very easy on the eyes in person. It was very exciting!
While they were out hobnobbing with celebrities, I chose to spend some quality time with an Auguste a/k/a a Clown. I’ll admit I was a little jealous that they were on National TV. Hey, this is my dream right? So, what does one do when she’s green with envy? She roams the street looking for her own celebrity, in this case the Christmas Clown. If you’re gonna live it, you gotta do it all….including Christmas Clowns. I’ll admit our relationship was brief. We didn’t exchange names or numbers, but with both walked away with a little extra spring in our step.
While spending some time in our trailer, sipping on an endless supply of hot coffee & cocoa, by trailer I mean Septa bus with hot beverages supplied by the Red Cross, I had the pleasure of meeting “Simon.” This young man was with the wonderful crew of hardworking men who provide these latex beauties for parades all across the country.
He came in with a big “Hello, how’s everyone doing today” “Are you all having a good time?” No one was spared hearing about my dream, including Simon. I told him my tale of living the dream, when he opened up to me about his dream of wanting to try out for Xfactor, he was a singer. I said “show me what you got…sing me a song.” After some intense begging, he took my challenge.
This brave young man began to snap his fingers, tap his foot and provide us all with an AMAZING version of Lady In My Life by Michael Jackson. It was indeed a memorable moment that will not be forgotten anytime soon. Not many people can take on an icon like MJ, but this 18-year-old did and he nailed it! The rest of his story is for another post. That’s all I can say is, I’m much whiter than I thought.
FINALLY around 7:30 we headed out onto the street to get the Lorax ready for his debut. We didn’t actually get into the parade line until around 9:00, which meant standing in the cold for over an hour while we held the balloon. At this point one of the other handlers offered me a swig of vodka from her flask. Seriously? I told her ” I can’t drink, I’m operating heavy equipment.” forgetting she also had a damn rope! Just imagine getting a DUI for walking a Lorax while intoxicated…come on.
Once we began our journey down JFK Blvd., greeted by thousands of people screaming Happy Thanksgiving and chanting Spin It! Spin It! Spin It! I was beaming like a glowworm.
We willfully met the demands of the crowd by running in circles with the balloon.They roared with enthusiasm as we scored a perfect 10 for our performance. Meanwhile with every “Spin it” I peed a little…mind you, this went on for hours. NOTE TO SELF: Wear A Diaper.
As we approached the Grand Stand our Captain informed us we will be on TV, so this was our moment to shine just a little brighter. This is when it occurred to me that I lost my Disco hair 4 “Spin Its” back and I was walking in soaking wet pee pants! It’s not exactly what I imagined, but the dream must go on.
I put on my camera face, gripped my rope a little tighter and handled that latex Lorax like a boss!
Live your dreams and Enjoy The Ride!
She’s a Lady
Happy Birthday to my Mom!
Whether you have a great mother-daughter relationship or a mother-daughter relationship that can be improved, you probably know that mother-daughter bonding can start at an early age.
When I was 4 years old, I remember watching Pixie Ann, professing my love and vowing to marry my mom when I grew up. I walked around mimicking her every move, wanting to be just like mommy. Then I discovered boys around 14, ironically around the same time she became the most ignorant, unenlightened, out-of-touch creature on the planet. The next five years were spent rolling my eyes followed by a single word, “Mooooooooooooommmmmmm!” And then, somewhere around twenty, she became human again. It wasn’t until I had children of my own that I recognized, she oozed the wisdom equivalent to Yoda.
I’m sure you’ll all familiar with that wonderful saying “What goes around comes around” well, it most certainly does. Now that I have a daughter, I can attest to this truth. Thankfully my daughter is heading towards 20, hopefully she will soon recognize that I just may have a clue. I long for the day when I am recognized as all-knowing and all-powerful again. Until then….
So, in honor of this very special lady, on her very special day … I think Tom Jones sums up best with this classic hit. Enjoy the Ride!
Recently I was presented with a challenge by Miss Four Eyes to write a post about HOPE. I was given this honor in response to my recent post Democracy Is Alive which was regarding a Grassroots effort to save a piece of Open Space near my home and the HOPE that we would be successful in our efforts.
What she didn’t know was something happened between then and now that resonated the highest form of HOPE.
In the very early hours of Monday morning, a very dear person in my life, lost her daughter in an automobile accident.
At 18 years old “Sammi” was full of life, vigor & HOPE. The reality is she experienced more than most in her short life, but throughout it all she never lost HOPE.
She HOPED to turn her life around and she did just that when she graduated in June with honors.
She HOPED that she would have the opportunity to be proud of her accomplishments and she did just that when she purchased her first car and moved into her own apartment.
She HOPED that everyone would just love each other and that love was evident at her funeral yesterday where there was not an empty seat in the church.
I went to visit my friend to express my condolences, however I was the one being consoled. This woman just lost her daughter, yet she was some how at peace. She explained that up until a few hours earlier she couldn’t fathom living another moment, but then something amazing happened. HOPE?
She was told by police earlier in the day that when they approached the accident there was one dead deer at the scene, however another deer was standing next to her daughter, protecting her until the authorities arrived.
A glimmer of HOPE …
Next she went to her childhood church where the services would be held. At this point she was overcome with the unknown answers to her questions. Where is Sammi? Why can’t I feel her? Is she safe? Little did she know those questions were about to be answered.
HOPE is moving in…
It was suggested that she take a moment to visit the new Prayer Garden around back. As she entered the gate she was feeling a pull to go to the right. At first she was fighting the urge because the brick path was heading in the other direction, but she gave in and followed her instinct.
HOPE is getting brighter…
Just when she thought nothing could ever give her peace, she looked down to discover (3) statutes. One deer standing, one lying down and an angel sitting between the two.
Standing in awe at the foot of the statues a large bight yellow butterfly began flying around her, to the point of her letting out a typical mom statement of “I know, ok, ok I see you!” Sammi?
HOPE is in the shadow…
The butterfly took a seat on her shoulder as she walked to the back of the garden where a large statue of the Blessed Mother stood, she realized Sammi was indeed in good hands.
HOPE is now a reality.
Please keep my dear friend in a positive light in HOPE that she continues to have the peace she needs to get through each day.
I would like to pass this journey of HOPE onto a wonderful fellow Blogger who holds HOPE at its highest when it pertains to the treatment of animals. She is Susannah and her recent post Take Shelter is just one of her many posts that expresses her diligence towards the injustices against animals.
Have HOPE and Enjoy The Ride!
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