Monday, November 30, 2009

What would you do?

Do you ever do something and then later doubt whether you made the right choice? I do this all the time. Split second decisions, lamented for days, sometimes weeks afterwards.

Here is the set up:

Black Friday-
Waiting in Aeropostale to buy a pair of jeans for oldest son who won't stop growing and can't keep a pair of pants longer than six months. Sorry to blather about my growing boy... Anyway,

back to the subject at hand: There are two checkers and they are both helping other people. No one else is in line, so I stand at the front, but get distracted with one of those jewelry turn tables just to my left. I probably spent one minute admiring all their really cool necklaces.

I turn around and realize that while I was being distracted by dazzling silver and gold, four or five people have found their way into the partitioned line and I have edged myself almost out of the line all together. I panic, thinking that they don't know I am in line. The line gets longer by the second. The lady in front of me is still at the checkout, but I don't know if the other lady at the checkout is the same one from before.

And I'm hot. My coat has added about ten degrees to my body heat and I've got a list a mile long to get through. I stand there mulling over whether to go to the back of the line or if I am still considered in line. The girl behind me is the same one I was behind in Old Navy. She took forever! Seriously I watched the other checkers go through three or four additional people in the time it took for her to check out! I'm not thinking it's payback time, but I AM thinking I do NOT want to get behind her again!

A checker is free. It’s time to pony up or go to the back…

Now I want to hear what you think I should do next. What are the etiquette rules for standing in line? If you are not religiously watching the checker are you out? If you miss your turn and someone goes in front of you is it back to the end of the line for you? If someone gives you a dirty look did you break etiquette or could they just be having a bad day? I want to hear your ideas. Some of us weren’t born with white gloves on and have to learn it the hard way.

Counting on your wisdom to guide me along...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Let's Talk Turkey...

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and that's all good and fine, but what I really want to talk about is what you all think about this "Friend" business on Facebook.

It goes like this. You add a friend, say a few pleasantries and three months later you have a little picture of your new friend on the side of your wall saying you should be friends because you have a bazillion friends in common. You think to yourself, "But we are friends, aren't we?" And then you type in their name and sure enough you are locked out,shut off and banned from friend-dom. Is this a phenomenon that happens only with me or have any of you had this experience?

I can only think of a couple reasons to "un-friend" someone. They are offensive, rude or annoying. Any other reasons? Maybe you want to keep the number down below 200 and suddenly you find you are at 201 and somebody MUST go. Do you play eenie meenie minie moe, or just delete someone randomly? Or perhaps more commonly,you didn't want to be friends with this person in the first place. However, under laws of social graces you said yes, waited a week or two, and then when they weren't looking, cut them off cold. Hmmm. Sounds probable. Don't get me wrong; sure it hurts momentarily, even when its done by someone you have no desire to play scrabble with on Friday night, let alone say hello on their wall, but there are no hard feelings on my side. I get it, really. My husband does it all the time. Says he didn't ever really know these people and doesn't need to be friends with them now. But I can't help but wonder if it wouldn't just be better if you denied them from the beginning. No false pretenses, no fingers crossed behind your back, just out and out I'm not interested in swapping status's with you, or looking at the many family photos in your album. Wouldn't that be a more honest way to let people down? Anyway, it's just a thought. But just so you know, if I say yes to you I promise not to unfriend you behind your back. One thing I've never been accused of is being a fake friend. I tell it like I see it. Get's me in trouble sometimes, but I sleep better at night for it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's New Moon Premier Week!

It's finally here!

That’s right folks, it’s New Moon premier week! I have to admit, and I’ll do it proudly, that I have been a Twilighter longer than most whippersnappers. I picked up the books three years ago and practically inhaled them. It was like they were a drug and I was an addict. I started the first book on Friday, read LATE into the night and into the morning and then was forced to go to a Super Saturday crafty thing, and read with the book hidden on my lap between painting clocks and making chocolate covered pretzels. Pathetic I know, but I couldn’t help it! It was too good to put down.

As soon as I escaped the craft thingy I bee-lined it for the nearest bookstore and bought book two and three. (Eclipse had just been released the previous week). I rushed through New Moon thinking, "Edward. Must have more Edward," and finished Eclipse on Tuesday. Hungry for more, it was like you couldn’t fill me up. I won’t even go into what this did for my bedroom life, but lets just say, husband dearest would occasionally sit the books on my nightstand--just in case I wanted to read them again.

Now I understand there are two types of camps:you devoured Twilight like me, or you really don’t get it. Just like we have a two party system, we must have two opinions about Twilight. And that's okay, just don't ever try to convince me that she is not a brilliant writer. Seventy million books and a bazillion dollars later,I'd have to beg to differ.

I will spend this next paragraph trying to explain the phenomenon to those that don’t get it. In a nut shell: first, Stephenie NAILS the feelings of first love. There is something so intense about ones first love that you never forget it, or them. Secondly, she gets the big break-up thing and the sometimes physically painful experience it can be. It doesn’t matter if you are seventeen or seventy, heartbreak hurts. Mixed with the allure of the all powerful love triangle and you have yourself the basics for a good story. Thirdly, Stephenie understands what women want, and it has little to do with the physical, though we do like the very slow-- like four books slow-- approach.:) What we DO want is a man to love us unconditionally; have us as their whole world. Listen to us, ask questions about us, be curious to know everything about us. Let us talk about ourselves, and act like there is no where else on earth they'd rather be than listening to us talk! Sigh... See why this could only happen in fiction? How do I know I am right about this? The millions of women and girls from twelve to seventy all over the world screaming Edwards name, that's how.

So here’s a question for you. What team are you on? Team Edward or Team Jacob and what was your experience like reading Twilight? How many times have you read the books and do you have tickets to the midnight show come Thursday night? Not to brag of course,but my sister, Love her! Got me a ticket to a 5:00 show on Thursday. I don’t know how she did this, nor do I care. I’m just glad to see it before two in the morning. Can’t wait!

We’ll see ya at the movies fellow Twihards!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A soldier,and a dream to keep us free

Happy Veterans day!

This morning I was rummaging through the front closet, searching for my flag. There were too many coats and backpacks taking up space, and like a jungle safari, I had to cut through the growth to find it buried in the back. Today I will fly my flag in honor of all those who serve our country. I am forever grateful for those who are willing to sacrifice their time, families, and often careers to serve in the military. I am no respecter of divisions. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, they are all needed.

To be perfectly honest I haven't known a lot of "military" in my life. My father, Grandfathers', and brothers' all missed major conflicts. My husband's father and his grandfathers' were in the Vietnam war and World War II respectively. But I had a dream a few years ago that really changed my attitude towards those that wear the uniform and made me feel like I knew what it was like to be deep in the trenches, if for only a few minutes.

A forewarning and a promise: I have a lot of dreams. And they are usually weird, but I vow not to dig them up and display them on these pages unless they are poignant. This one is poignant. Really.

So I had this dream one night that my family and I were at a restaurant, say something like Texas Reds, and we were talking and laughing, and eating (of course), and having a great time. I looked over my shoulder and spied two Army guys dressed in fatigues silently staring into their beers at the bar, and I wondered what it was like for them to return from combat and be thrown back into a normal society. And like an answer to a question I was suddenly whisked into their world.

And it was scary.

Really scary.

Not ghost and goblins scary, but like my life might end with one wrong turn-- the unknown lurking just around the corner-- scary. And it felt so real! A dusty hot street in Afghanistan, an old rusted out car careening down the dirt road, windows broken, garbage strewn, a fowl smell of burnt garbage in the air, a few turban wrapped men following me, and fear thumping in my ears so loud I couldn't hold a normal conversation. I don't know when I've ever been so vulnerable. Fear gripped me so real and so raw I believed there was no way out. Granted I hadn't had any of their training, and that could be where my fear stemmed from, but all I can say is I wanted out of there and fast! I pulled a Henry Fleming from Red Badge of Courage and hid in an empty building until I found an elevator, and was quickly whisked back to the USA. It led me to a parking garage of a shopping mall. Women with their bags of treasures, laughing and talking leisurely with their children or friends, unaware of the dangers lurking on the other side of the elevator. The change was jolting.

I stood there telling them about my harrowing experience. It wasn't just the dangers that I wanted to warn them of, but the utter poverty and despair amongst the people.

Images seered into my heart.

They smiled politely, but did not listen. I gave up and returned to the restaurant, this time standing alongside the two military personnel, my feet rooted to the floor, unwilling to leave their sides, like I understood now. It was a dark feeling. A lonesome feeling, and as I glanced around at the hoards of happy people, I wondered if they had any idea the price that had been paid for their freedom. Then I turned inward. Did I have any idea? What gratitude had I shown these men and women? Had I ever thanked any of them? Didn't I take our wealth and prosperity for granted also?

I know it was a dream. But I have never looked at those in uniform the same again. Honestly. I don't mean to talk out of my neck, cause I recognize that I don't really know what it is like, but for some time after my dream, I felt a common bond with them. "Hey I had a dream I was in Afghanistan last night. I know just how you feel." Hmmm. Okay, maybe not so much, but it was as close to it as I've ever come.

So on this Veterans day I wish to say God bless our Military, God bless the U S of A and God bless each of us that we will be worthy of his guiding hand.

Do you have an experience you'd like to share? Some one you'd like to honor today? I'd love to hear your comments!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Eyes of the Beloved Part 3 of 3

It's time to add the last installment of my story "Eyes of the Beloved". If this is your first time reading check out the links on the top right of the blog and click on "Eyes of the Beloved" it will take you to all the posts regarding my book. You must start at the beginning if you are joining us for the first time.

And now the last installment of my newest story "Eyes of the Beloved"

““She is here Madam.” A somber voice called from the doorway. It was Mrs. Croft the housekeeper, her face expressionless, her hair still tight in a bun. Mrs. Gates stood stiffly from the chair that she had but occasionally lent herself from in nearly twelve hours. “Oh sweet mother Mary” She whispered in gratitude. Darling Esther had returned and brought the old woman with her. A small glimmer of hope warmed her icy limbs. Throwing her hands through her matted and loose bun, she sighed deeply and headed towards the door. Esther, red-faced and out of breath from the cold October night air, met her mother in the hallway.


“She is outside on the front porch. She refuses to come in until arrangements are made.”
“She has one other stipulation.”
“What does she want?” Caroline asked resigned.
“She asks to be alone with Lillian while she works.”

Caroline Gates stopped short. She opened her mouth in a vehement objection. “Absolutely not! I will never let that ogress alone with my eldest daughter. I will never agree to it!”

Suddenly Mr. Gates appeared at the top of the stairs and slipped one arm around his wife’s waist while grasping her hand in his.

“Caroline, remember,” He whispered softly into her ear. “There is nothing else for us to do.” The feel of his hand and heat of his breath softened her. She pursed her mouth in frustration. Her eyes pleaded with Michael and then Esther. Finally she nodded in agreement,

“If that is what she requests, then we shall oblige her willingly.” Her voice was controlled, though the ringing of her hands gave away a deep apprehension. They walked down the curving staircase. With a nod from Mr. Gates, Mrs. Croft opened the large wooden door.

The withered woman, draped in a black cloak and nearly invisible in the darkness, stood hunched and done-in. A gust blew across the porch and the black hood flitted in the breeze exposing the yellow of her deeply sunken eyes. Caroline stepped back instinctively. Her husband, who had been standing silently behind her, grabbed her arm and squeezed it. She forced herself to meet the ancient eyes, and as she did coldness ran through her veins, sending an icy chill through her.
She shivered. The chime of the Grandfather clock interrupted the otherwise silent exchange.

The old woman spoke first. “Well…what is my payment to be if I save your daughter’s life?” She demanded bluntly.
Michael stood shocked in the hallway, looking from Mrs. Gates to the housekeeper and then to the old woman. “I’d rather discuss this in private. If you please step into my office I’d be happy to discuss-”

“You damned old fool. I don’t play your games. I have a mind to walk away right now. Your daughter is lying near death and you want a private meeting.” She spat roughly on the porch floor. The other three stood staring at the puddle of phlegm, wrestling the urge to wipe it up.

Her black eyes bored into Mr. Gates “I want thirty pounds in gold. In advance.”
He stood staring at her in shock. “How will I come up with that kind of money?”

She cut him off. “ I believe you know exactly where you will get it. Do not be fooled. Your daughter will be dead within the hour if I do not help her.”

His eyes became cold and dark. Finally he spun around and disappeared into the library. The grandfather clock’s tick-tick continued to fill the empty silence. Caroline avoided the old woman’s eyes but the old woman never stopped watching her.

Finally the old woman asked. “Are you going to leave me out here in the cold?” the frozen air swirling from her mouth like an obscure cloud of smoke.

Mrs. Croft glanced at Caroline who gave a quick nod. Mrs. Croft motioned stiffly for her to enter. The old hag struggled up the threshold, grasping the door casings for support, her breathing heavy. She pushed by Caroline, carrying a velvet, paisley bag that seemed too light to be of any consequence. Caroline’s heart pulsed with a foreboding as she imagined the contents, disturbed at the look, the feel, the presence of this old, morose and ancient looking woman— worried about what she was planning and what cost they would pay.
She lifted the candle box up to illuminate the way, cupping the flickering light to prevent it from blowing out as the door closed loudly behind her. Just then the door to the library slid open and Mr. Gates appeared, carrying a brown cloth bag, heavy with gold.

“I was certain coming up with the money wouldn’t be a problem.” She coyed, stealing it from his hands and poking her nose into it. She grunted, “Well then, lead the way.”

Mrs. Croft held a candle up to lead the way. The flame reflected off the elaborately papered walls casting eery Shadows that danced erratically as they climbed the curving staircase. The old lady grunted and gasped as if each step might be her last behind them. Upon reaching the second floor Caroline stopped in front of the first bedroom on the left. Esther, who had been watching from the top of the stairs, stayed frozen in place. The old shrew pushed past Mrs. Croft and Caroline, “No one is to enter this room while I work.” She demanded harshly before slamming the door shut. The echo of the slammed door reverberated through them. This thing they were doing felt so appalling that avoidance of one another seemed the only thing bearable. Mrs. Croft, ever the dutiful servant, was the first to go, disappearing through the hall and down the servant’s staircase. Esther followed after her and then Mr. Gates, with a slight grimace to his wife, disappeared down the sweeping staircase from which they’d come. Lillian’s mother stayed near the door, pacing— with one eye on it at all times, determined to be nearby in case something happened. She strained to hear what the old crone was up to, but all was quiet on the other side.

Esther— relieved to be home and still alive curled up in her favorite quilt next to the parlor fireplace and closed her eyes. But sleep failed her. For try as she might—she could not erase the awful picture of that woman from her mind. She also remembered her words. She had meant what she had said when she’d told her that she would sacrifice her life for her sister’s. But all the same she stayed hidden in the parlor, waiting and listening; straining to hear any noise, but there was only an unsettling silence filling the dusty corners of the house. She pulled the quilt up around her ears and stared into the smoldering fireplace; waiting for something to happen.

Mr. Gates sat in his large wing back leather chair in the library. Perplexed how the old woman knew of the gold he had stashed away, he crossed his leg, lit a pipe, and took two or three puffs. As the sweet smell of tobacco rose he felt his shoulders begin to loosen. His jaw relax. There was a hostile feeling ripe throughout the house; a reeking to this business that he could not shake from his thoughts, like the stench of over-done manure. He took another couple drags and peered intently into the fireplace, waiting for sound. For being such an old unhealthy ogress earlier; she seemed surprisingly light on her feet now. It seemed she could walk and not give away so much as a creak to expose her movements.

Upstairs Caroline continued to pace. It had been several minutes and still not so much as a noise from the room. Red-eyed and sick with worry Carline stopped and stood at the door that was a locked gate to her. How much longer would they have to wait? span>

After several more minutes of unreeling silence, wisps of smoke began seeping through the door cracks. The air was filled with a medicinally pungent scent while slithering its web-like fingers up and across the sides of the wall.

Caroline inhaled the bitter smoke and staggered as the fumes clouded her head. She breathed in deeply, unable to control the urge. Everything around her began to ripple in a dance-like motion. She grabbed at the walls to steady herself.

Smoke now billowed through the cracks and the strange aroma nearly overpowered her. She coughed sporadically as she struggled for more air. The walls began to shudder, swaying to some soundless resonance. A ringing pierced her ears and everything around her acted as if it might swallow her whole. She opened her mouth to cry out, but the intensity of the funnel was too great and she finally succumbed, dropping heavily to the ground.