The Train

Time stands still as I sit on the motionless train awaiting the news that we’re able to push forward again. I stare at the tumultuous sea and gray sky on this blustery winter day and wonder how long it will take to remove the fallen tree from the tracks. 

The announcement broke the silence, crackling through the speakers, “The track crew is just ahead and will be inspecting the rails all the way down the coast to make sure it’s safe to continue.” 

Safe to continue! I thought. What? Are we on a wagon train in Indian territory? Is Fess Parker our scout? Awesome!

I find it interesting that rails in Europe travel smoothly at the speed of light and actually arrive at their destination on time. Yet, in the U.S we still hear the clickity, click of the tracks and can’t pull off a six hour trip, that takes four in a car.

Not even an hour into our trek, we’re already running thirty minutes late. No wonder the freeways are packed and public transportation is losing it’s foothold in America.

At least I brought food! Hard boiled eggs, dates, fruit, nuts, muffins and of course chocolate. I don’t go anywhere without chocolate. My daughter had taken me to the train and as I boarded she’d winked and said, “At least I know you won’t starve to death.” I think she was mocking me! 

As the man behind me hums Christmas Carols, it occurred to me that maybe I should have flown. I don’t even think it’s legal to sing Christmas Carols in February.

Flying would have been another option, but the reliability of the airplane taking off on time is quite slim in inclement weather!  Drizzling is inclement weather in California. I can’t believe no one has ever called Chicago to see how it’s done!

On rainy days, our whopping three destinations of L.A, San Francisco and Phoenix typically won’t allow us to land on their wet runways. Real size planes take first priority and since our local planes are toy-size, there is the strong possibility the plane won’t even take off at all! I’m not saying small town living doesn’t have it’s charm, flying out of it just isn’t one of them. 

We have numerous delights that you can’t find in the big city. Green rolling hills, majestic ocean breezes, people wearing sweats and Uggs in the market, clean air and praise God, if you drive at top speed and don’t get a ticket, you can make it to the closest Nordstrom’s in a little over an hour. 

I’ve travelled Amtrak a couple of dozen times, business class, and learned only today that there is a foot rest that comes out from under the seat to prop up your legs. This alone makes the trip worthwhile. 

We just got word over the intercom that our official speed is now, CRAWLING! They are watching for mud on the tracks. I’m waiting for them to ask the passengers to walk along side the train with flashlights and picks. Fortunately, I’m wearing rain boots.

We are now completely stopped, my seat neighbor has started humming an upbeat, nasally marching chant, mimicking every instrument in the band. Very impressive! 

I close my eyes and smile. At least we’re still going in the right direction and I have plenty of food.

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Just Saying…


Cleavage has come 

A very long way

From what I’ve seen 

It’s here to stay. 

Once a playful wave 

Atop a proper chemise

Has evolved 

To a navel-shot

Almost seeing the peaks.

Seventeen year-olds 

Mimicking the Hollywood scene

Have joined the cleavage ranks 

Bordering obscene.

If your cell phone can be hidden 

Undetected in the crater

Perhaps a skirt with pockets 

Might be a greater

Way to carry your phones 

Cover your cones

And keep the TaTa’s 

In their homes.

Some cleavages have valley’s 

That are extremely wide 

Which leads one to believe 

There’s nothing left to hide.

If your nose gets stuck 

Hugging a friend

There should be a law 

To put an end

To this immodest trend.

There may be some 

Who find it vivacious

Others will see it 

As beauty abounds

I would think it quite chilly 

Unsheathing the mounds.

Is signing a petition 

A taboo subject?

Perhaps an ordinance 

Like “no smoking in public”.

Does modesty still exist?  

If not, that’s scary

Does discretion still  show up 

In the dictionary? 

 

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The Memory Table

Imagine, a place where your family would congregate, every evening, to eat, laugh and reminisce about the details of the day.

Think about a setting where your children would come on a regular basis, willingly, never having a second thought of not wanting to be there. I’m sure the willingness part is in the eye of the beholder.

I don’t have to imagine. For thirteen years our family gathered around our dining room table, and not just to eat dinner. 

The table was an antique we inherited from my father in law. It was rectangle and made of beautifully carved wood. It had six matching chairs that fit our dining area as though it was built especially for that room. 

To us, this this was not merely a piece of furniture. It was the heart and centerpiece of our families memories.

This is where the girls did their homework and built their California missions. We created Halloween costumes, played Yahtzee and built many a remote control airplane on her. This is the spot we held our serious family meetings, had our food fights and decorated Easter eggs. As all mother’s did, I stood atop her, beating my chest, announcing to my children that “I AM A HUMAN BEING!! 

What? All mothers didn’t do that?

Tabletop is where we carved our turkey, blew out our candles and lit the Menorah.  On occasion we dressed her up with a pretty cloth to hide the scarred pad and entertained dinner guests and Campfire Girls. 

She has posed as a drum, housed puzzles pieces, and was drenched in spilled hot chocolate on winter days. She also weathered the wet towels after summer slip and slide afternoons. She stood strong when the girls sat atop her getting their knees bandaged or teeth extracted; not necessary both at the same time.

When the children were grown, we moved to a home where we no longer had a room that could accommodate her, so we said goodbye. 

Decades later, when our eldest daughter had the opportunity, she bought her back, gave her a facelift and she is now the focal point in her dining room.

Traci is purchasing a new round table for her home that seats eight. Not to replace the old girl, just to give her a rest in the formal dining room. 

She confided in me that she wants it to be the place for her daily dinners of laughter and joy.  For her children and grandchildren to make cookies and get their knees bandaged.

A setting that will be the heart and centerpiece of memories, just like the one she had growing up.

 

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Two Way Street

The definition of communication is the sending or verbalizing of a message that is understood by both the sender and receiver of the message.

Communication is NOT sending a message and getting no response! That’s known as a “one way street” where only one of the sides is in the relationship. 

Texting is decades old. I didn’t make it my primary mode of communication until the last few years. As a novice I assume when I text someone, they’d respond, like they did when I called on the phone and they picked up the receiver. My old fashion expectation is to receive an acknowledgement or at least an Imogi.

I’ve become really good at Imogi s! I have one that looks just like me and I don’t even have to think of what to say. I just pick the one that says Peace or Back at Ya, using no brain power what so ever.

Is it reasonable to assume that texts are received even if you never hear back from the recipient? What is the appropriate timeframe to wait before you send a second text, or should you never send a second text and pretend no conversation was ever trying to take place? 

My grandsons method of communication is to use all of his text minutes, have no message on his voice mail, other than the robot that gives his number, along with a full mailbox. Maybe he works undercover.

My daughter in-law starts her texts with, “I got your message three days ago and I am so, so sorry it took me so long to answer.” I’ve got to cut her some slack, she has three little girls to run after, yet I never have seen her without her phone.

Before texting was invented, my ex-husbands idea of perfect communication was to turn the stereo to decibels that would blow out a dogs eardrums and say, “What? I can’t hear you!” It seems my grandson and daughter-in-law are doing the same thing only in text-style.

I have a dear friend who responds to my responses to the point that I’m not sure if I should just send one more text, so I can be the last Imogi standing. I must say I smile each time she does it. This is my idea of communication, the old two-way street relationship.

Is it irrational to become frustrated with people who don’t respond? I still send handwritten thank you cards using postage stamps and use my pointer finger to text, so what do I know.

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It’s a Girl, It’s a Boy, It’s a Book

My first daughter was born, weighing in a little under 6 lbs. I handed out pink bubble-gum cigars and shouted to anyone that would listen, “It’s a Girl!!” It’s a Girl!! I was elated, filled with joy and innocence. I was a mother, yet not old enough to vote, nor had I ever read a book on “How to Care for a Baby”. Aside from nearly clipping the tips of her fingers off, poking her in the eye and sticking her with baby pins, things turned out really well; much better than anyone would have expected.

I lovingly placed her on a soft blanket on the floor so she wouldn’t get dirty and every time she’d crawl off, I’d pick her up and put her back on the blanket.

My second daughter was born, weighing in at a little more than 6 lbs. Once again I handed out pink bubble-gum cigars shouting, “It’s a Girl!! It’s a Girl!! I was thrilled and filled with joy and hope. By then I was able to vote and had read a few books. I really got a handle on how to be a mom. I rarely cut, poked or stuck her. I did lose her a couple of times, but not for long. Things turned out really well, much better than anyone would have expected.

I lovingly placed her on a soft blanket on the floor so she wouldn’t get dirty but when she crawled off, I’d fold the blanket and put it away.

My third daughter was born, weighing in at around 7 lbs. Evidently I was getting better, as I was growing them larger. I handed out pink bubble-gum cigars, yet again, shouting, “It’s a Girl!! It’s a Girl!! I was extremely excited and filled with joy and exhaustion! Things turned out really well, much better than anyone would have expected.

I lovingly placed her on the dirty floor and bought a book on how to stop having children.

My son was born to me when he was eighteen, weighing in at approximately 170 lbs. I took a stiff- drink and handed out blue bubble-gum cigars shouting to anyone who would listen, “It’s a Boy??” It’s a Boy??

He was the easiest for me to raise, since he was already in college I didn’t need to buy a book on how to raise a step-son nor worry about soft blankets or dirty floors. I was amazed and filled with joy! It turned out better than anyone would have expected.

Many years passed since I gave birth or inherited any children, yet today I am blessed, amazed and filled with joy! My dear friend and writing partner, Jeannie and gave birth to a labor of love, weighing in at three-quarters pound. It’s a Book!! It’s a Book!! I shouted it out on Facebook to anyone that would listen…”Living Unstuck” – Finding your Joy!!

Living Unstuck is changing peoples lives, and turned out much better than anyone would have expected! So cuddle up in a soft blanket and enjoy!

Next step: A “Best Selling Author! Cigar anyone?

Check it out!! http://www.livingunstuck.us

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Me & My Egg

I can’t pinpoint the day it happened. The day I became obsessed with eggs, or to be more precise, hard boiled eggs.

I blame this obsession on a previous co-worker and probably shouldn’t mention his name, but you know who you are Jon Hodgkin.

Hard boiled eggs have become a big part of my life. I find myself having conversations with friends about them.

Case in point, the hard boiled egg is the perfect snack; 78 calories, satisfies hunger, easy to make and you can buy 24 of these little bad boys, for the same price as a stinking cup of Starbucks coffee.

I’ve made it a habit to keep a half dozen peeled eggs in the refrigerator. It’s my way of saying to my husband, “I’m retired, I’m not getting up to make you breakfast and by the way, there’s peeled, hard boiled eggs in the refrigerator.” That’s my idea of being the perfect wife!

I’ve fine-tuned my boiling and icing method down to an exact science and cook them precisely the same way each time. It takes seventeen minutes from start to finish. Last week, however, my husband interrupted my process and I had my first failed results in five years. I hadn’t felt this much ire since I retired from the mortgage industry. Anyone who has ever tried to shell a hard boiled egg will tell you, when it’s a failure, it not pretty.

I’m embarrassed to say that my inability to unsheath the shell from the egg caused me enough anxiety to throw a tantrum and put all the eggs, with shells, down the garbage disposal. I fully understood that it wasn’t good for the disposal, but I did it anyway.

With the grinding Insinkerator screaming in my ears, I rummaged through the cupboards like an animal to find my hidden contraband. Then, devoured the Green & Black, 70% Dark Chocolate Bar in it’s entirety; weighing in at 1200 calories, which in my world is 15 eggs. It had “Organic” on the package, how bad could it be?

The most embarrassing part of my tirade was Terry witnessing this behavior; he just leaned against the sink and said nothing. He’s such a smart man!

I unconvincingly apologized for my behavior and put away the pot, pot holders, unused bucket of ice and the container that was suppose to have housed the half dozen eggs. I sulked out of the kitchen.

I said to myself, you are better than this! It will never happen again! I know darn well that if I don’t ice the eggs immediately, the shell won’t pop off the egg!!!

I came to the conclusion that it was Terry’s fault and felt much, much better.

 

 

 

 

 

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Only for the Food!

I’m embarrassed to say, I’ve never been a football fan. Blasphemy! you say?

I don’t know what off sides has to do with anything or what the person called the running back is suppose to be doing. I did see the movie Blind Side, loved Sandra Bullock and totally understand that protecting the pretty boy, Brady-type, is paramount. But that’s it!

I feel bad at my lack of devotion to football because it’s America’s favorite past time. After all, I am an American. I don’t have a team that I follow, nor an opinion on which one of the aggressive, violent, fanatical, militant teams wins or loses. Let’s just say that I have no opinion, nor am I being judgmental in any way.

Have you ever gone to the market on Super Bowl day? This past Sunday I ran in to grab a bottle of wine to take to a Super Bowl party. Yes, I was going to a super bowl party; but only for the food.

Running into the market was no problem, running out was not an option. I felt quite lucky to have made it out alive. Evidently, I wasn’t the only one celebrating this revered holiday. I was, however, the only one not wearing a bright colored jersey with someone’s name and number on it.

I dashed by the overflowing carts piled high with cases of beer and sacks of buns and dogs.  The underside of the carts were stuffed with gargantuan size bags of chips and dips. On my way to the wine isle, I couldn’t help but notice that soda was on sale for one-third the regular price…on this sacred day ONLY! I paused at the fantastic savings, then came to my senses, remembering that I was in a mine-field without a cart!!! I reluctantly passed up the bargain of the year; maybe the century which pained me greatly.

I reached the checkout/goal line and sensed the tension. The pressure was mounting as the clock ticked closer to kick off time. The fans were on edge. I jumped out of my skin when I heard the scream. A woman clad in a blue football jersey was pointing and shouting, “She has too many items in her cart for the express line!” I expected the people behind her to tackle her to the ground.

My head spun around to take note of where I was in the queue. I had to make a snap decision. Do I go off sides or stay at the one yard line? I went for the extra point and stayed!

Let’s just say there was pandemonium at Pavilions; football style!

After I recovered from the excitement at the market, we headed to our event. We knew only a few other guests, so we kept to ourselves and grazed through the food lines. The beautifully decorated home had large television screens mounted on the walls of several patios and family rooms. The comfy leather sofas, chairs and footstools were positioned so that each one faced the plethora of screens, but I couldn’t keep my eyes off the food.

The tables were adorned with a myriad of colorful salads, sandwiches oozing with cheese, hot wings and fall-off-the-bone ribs.  That was just the appetizer table! We were in “Better than Football Food Heaven!”

This was the first weekend in months, maybe years that we just planted ourselves, relaxed and enjoyed a really entertaining football game. What! The word enjoyed and football in the same sentence! Who am I?

This was a banner day for me; I felt so American, actually watching quite a bit of the game. Our fellow fans were happy that the ever-winning Patriot’s lost this time around, for a change. So it seemed that all was good in the “Super Bowl World” again, with the exception of the traumatized lady in the market and the football player with the concussion that will suffer from headaches for the rest of his life.

The best part of my day was spending it with Terry. Well maybe the Banana Cream Pie and hot Chocolate Chip Cookies also had something to do with it!

 

Check out my new webpage livingunstuck.us – My new book!! – Living Unstuck – Finding your Joy!

 

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