Just Novel Today

I am only half striking today..the housewife part. The “novel” part as I like to call it, can’t strike unless I am sedated, which in that case is that really striking?

What I am trying to do today is listen to women artists.

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through their music, in the words they write, and in what they say aloudIMG_5018.JPG

I will write today. Hopefully I can finish the new beginning to the novel and work some more on its sequel. After that I plan to jump back into reading A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab and be inspired by some of the stories in In The Company of Women.

Today’s protest is a hard one to go full force into. Most women can’t protest all of the labors they do in a day. Where do you draw the line? Even if one is lucky enough to have a job where they can request a day off, if you have a family you are part of or care for there is not time off. One can go into with good intentions, but life happens. Women hold many titles in their life and give a lot of ourselves into the people and world around us, often without appreciation. Hopefully with this day that might become just a little more obvious to some people who think women want an excuse to take a day off from work. I can tell you from experience there is no such thing, the work not done today will still be waiting tomorrow on the desk, in the house, in the office, in the schools- it doesn’t go anywhere it just grows.

So with the inconveniences that might come up throughout the day with the women in your life taking their work or domestic duties off, please remember that women contribute all we can to this world that still denies us equal rights, pay, autonomy over our bodies, and representation.

Two For One Fooling

Originally Written on April 2nd, 2014. I meant to post it up last year, but forgot.

I am not a big April Fools’ person, most pranks seem mean spirited so I haven’t really participated much in the day, until this year.  A few weeks back we made the flight arrangements for my little sister Firefly to come see us, but instead of telling her the flight details right away I decided to wait until April 1st to send her a fake itinerary.  I originally planned to enter in something about having to ride a burro at one point, but thought I might be laying it on a little thick.  So here is what I sent her.

Dear Firefly,

So we got the arrangements made for your trip out here. =) You mentioned that you didn’t want us to spend too much money on your flight, so I looked into it and I think I found a pretty good deal!

Instead of flying into Our Airport I found it is much cheaper for you to fly into Nashville, and it’s even less expensive if you take a red-eye.  So you would be leaving SoCal at 10:55 pm on the 18th and arriving into Nashville around 4 am the next day.  There is a connection in Tucson at midnight and then one in Houston at 2 am, but you only have a 15 minute and 20 minute layover, so you’ll be back in the air before you know it. Hopefully all of your flights will be on time, at that hour I’m sure there won’t be too many delays (unless there is bad weather).

Now once you get to Nashville you can take a shuttle to the rental car agency and drive here, it is only around a 6 hour drive and you get to see the lovely state of Tennessee on your trip.  It really is gorgeous.  You’ll have to check when the rental car agencies open, it might be normal business hours.  Now I remember from my younger days that most places won’t rent a car to you if you are under 25.  If this is still the case, you can take a cab to the Greyhound station, it looks like it’s only 15 minutes from the airport. There is a bus that leaves at 11:20 am that can get you here by dinner time.  I know that’s a while to wait but you can check out Nashville and you could spot a Country star at breakfast.=)

I promise when you get into town we will take you to whatever your favorite restaurant is, so start thinking of your favorite place and we’ll make reservations.  If you can, try to choose a place near the bus station. That would be great, we don’t want to be driving around in rush hour traffic, you know how the drivers are around here.

Your flight home will be a little less complicated.  Your flight going home is at 6:20 am and then you only have one layover in Tulsa, unfortunately it’s for almost three hours, but then it is a direct shot to LAX.  Do you think Mom or Dad or maybe one of your friends will be willing to pick you up at 4 pm that Tuesday?  If not we’ll get you a ticket on the Greyhound, I think the station is right there at the airport.

Hope you are having an awesome week.  I love you!  We’re so looking forward to your visit.  =)

Love,

Big Sis

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. April Fools’!

 

Apparently my sister believed the whole thing until she saw the April Fools at the end.  Her only indication that it might be fake is that I wouldn’t have checked on the hours of the Rental Agency ahead of time. =) My tell was that I wasn’t my usual thorough self.  Anyway I got her good and because she was fooled, she decided to read the email to my Mom.  Apparently Mom believed it too.  She shot her the famous Death Ray Glare at Firefly and threatened to call me at a “Non-3 Hour Time Difference Appropriate Time”.  Little Sis was able to mutter “April Fools'” before Mom could dial, thankfully.

Next year I think I am going to have to watch my back.

The First Half of January

Much like our little Groundhog friend I am poking up to see what’s going on.  January was a busy and very fun month.  My sister Firefly came to town on New Year’s Day and we crammed as much fun as we could into the two weeks that she was here.  The following two weeks were spent (happily) recovering from the weeks before.

This was the first time she had been out here during Winter.  In previous trips she always came at the beginning of summer, but she wanted to see our version of Winter.  So instead of watching out for thunderstorms while in the pool or hiking through the green in Pisgah, we found the perfect combination of layers to keep her warm outside and not overheated indoors and visited as many places as we could that did not require wonderful weather.  Thankfully almost every trip we went on had gorgeous weather.

Honey, being the wonderful man that he is, pretty much drove us across the entire state of North Carolina.  The first weekend we went to Asheville for a day trip. The sky was blue and the air was freaking cold, but we had fun.  The stores and restaurants were very crowded while the streets looked almost bare (everyone was inside) with of course the exception of French Broad Chocolate that had a line thirty deep outside.

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We promised Firefly as much chocolate as she wanted at another location if we didn’t have to stand in that line.  Perhaps next time French Broad.

During the week we went to coffee shops and book stores and of course a trip here is not complete without a trip to the Goat Farm, where Firefly got to hold a baby goat.

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The next weekend we headed to the coast.  Kudra and Porter were sweet enough to let the three of us stay with them for the weekend.  We just lucked out an Honey got to attend the local Beer Club meeting with Porter, while Kudra, Firefly, and I had a Girl’s Night with the female members of Kudra’s family down at the beach.

Kudra, Firefly, and I somehow pulled out a win on Heads Up, after trailing behind for most of the game against Kudra’s Mom, Aunt, and Cousin. There were a lot laughs and a lot of dancing, and even a few worm dances.  Some truths came out when Kudra’s cousin insisted that her Mom would not be familiar with the movie 9 1/2 Weeks and made her Mom skip the question, when it turned out the adults had all seen it together when it came out.  Haha.

And while they all seem to want to rock into the early hours of the morning, I was all ready to crawl into a ball by two am. Firefly and I made the plan to watch the sunrise over the ocean, since we were a few blocks away from the Atlantic.  Thankfully this time of year the sunrise was past 7, but it took us a lot of willpower to get our butts out of bed.  As luck would have it, it was a very cloudy morning and we didn’t really see the sunrise, but it was really cool just to be there with my sis and share that moment.  There is a picture of us there, but it will not be seen by anyone besides us because it is completely obvious on both of our faces how much sleep we got.  She as able to get a few extra winks when we got back to the house, while I stood outside on the balcony and breathed in some sea air.  Firefly really liked it there, it had two things she loves in location it’s in North Carolina and it’s coastal.

We spent another two days there and were fabulously hosted around the city.  As it usually goes on the visits out there, the time went by too fast and we justified pushing our departure time as far back as we could.

And of course when we got back I realized how quickly her trip time was disappearing.  As she gets older the conversations get more simple, but more complex. The days of her thinking I am on the “gown-ups” team, is less of the hindrance when we talk to each other now.

Firefly’s only disappoint in the trip was that she didn’t get to see it snow.  Which is a rarity here anyway, but of course the weekend after she left we got a few flurries in the morning and then full on snow a week later.  Maybe she’ll see it next year if she choses to spend her Winter Vacation with us.  If she does I am promising now that I will wait in line at French Broad Chocolate, even if it means I have to wear a parka to do it.

Two Little Happy Stories

Today I figure most of you will be reading about the horrible things that happened almost a decade and a half ago.  Hopefully you will also read about the acts of heroism and humanity that followed what happened.  I have decided to write not about that day but rather about a couple little times where strangers went out of their way to be nice.

This is a story from my first birthday in our new city.  I pulled it for privacy, but I think it is an appropriate story to share now.

I was under strict instructions to have fun to day and enjoy myself, so I went to Dean & DeLuca to get a naughty coffee.  I was thrilled to see my favorite Barista was there and a to make matters better a divine smell filled the whole place.  I asked what it was and she said it was bacon, you think I would have known but really it smelled even better than bacon.  It wasn’t the fatty greasy bacon smell-it was just the good bacon smell.  At first I got a decadent Iced Mocha with whipped cream and decided to pass on breakfast.  As per usual it was wonderful, but as I sat drinking my dessert of a coffee, the bacon smell bewitched me to go up to the counter and order a breakfast sandwich.  The same Barista greeted me with a warm smile and took my order.  There was a gentlemen behind me in line that heard me tell her that the bacon smell had done it’s job and I wanted to order breakfast, he chimed in that he was trying to get out before he ordered a sandwich too.  I explained I don’t normally get the breakfast items there, but it was my birthday so I thought I would treat myself a little bit.

He exclaimed,”Happy Birthday!” and then looked at the Barista and said he was buying my breakfast.  I thanked him, but told him that wasn’t necessary.  He told me it was my own fault for mentioning it and said that was the end of it (with a smile of course).  I looked at the Barista for help but she just smiled at me too and took his card.  I thanked him again and sat down at my table.  I was seriously almost moved to tears.  The man who bought my breakfast came by before he left and we chatted for a few minutes about birthdays, what we did for a living, and our families.  He  kept himself at an angle that communicated he was not expecting to be asked to sit down.  Before he left I shook his hand thanked him again, he wished me a very happy birthday and left.

The Barista came by with my breakfast and said, “Sorry, I had to let him do it.”  I told her it was sweet and that people are so nice here.  She agreed and told me how just last week she had run out of gas on the way home and had to walk to a gas station.  She only had $5 on here so she couldn’t get the fancy reusable gas container but a man behind her in line heard this and bought it for her and added $20 to her gas tank.  He said the only condition was that she had to keep the container in her car and pass along the goodness when she could.  Can you imagine?

Before I left I asked the Barista her name and told her what I had been telling Honey for months, which was she was my favorite Barista ever (and I even lived with one for a time).  I told her that when I walk in and see her behind the counter it makes me so happy because I know I am going to get an incredible drink and wonderful service and I thanked her for it.   She told me I made her week.

I also called her manager later that day and told her the same thing, hopefully that will help make her month or maybe even help her get a raise-she deserves it!

 

Another time, during Firefly’s first visit out here; her, Honey, and I went out to dinner.   It was the dinner rush and parking was sparse, so Honey parked a few lots over in the shopping center from the restaurant. There was no sign of rain as we entered the restaurant, but like some Summer Southern storms do, one came out of nowhere… as we were walking out. We didn’t have jackets or umbrellas.  It was pouring, so much that it looked like it would never leave.

Honey, being the gentleman that he was, went off to get the car while Firefly and I waited under the valance.  After a few minutes, with the rain still beating down a car pulled up from the curb and a little old lady got out of the passenger side.  She had an umbrella over her head and the driver went off to find parking.

She looked at us, gave a little smile a slowly walked over to us, and asked”Do you have an umbrella in your car?”  I was confused by the question, but rep lie, “Yes, ironic right?”

She said,” You can use my umbrella to get to your car.”  Such kindness in one of the worse storms I had seen (at that point), seemed so alien back then.  I explained my husband was getting the car, but thanked her for the offer.  A few minutes later Honey’s car pulled up and we scrambled to get inside without getting as soaked as my husband looked at that moment.

He told me the strangest thing had happened.  As he was crossing the street a Jeep stopped next him, rolled down window, and a nice man offered to drive him to his car.  Honey decline he didn’t want to ruin this man’s upholstery because at that moment his car was only a few hundred feet away.    But he was also blown away at the kindness of someone who just wanted to help.

So there are two little stories of people being nice just to be nice.  Giving us, at the time, a feeling of welcome in our strange new land.

Netflix Shawl…Patent Pending

It’s getting to be that time again…it’s knitting season!  Reading Shawl

A few weeks ago I woke up with a new knitting idea in my head, but it was only August. My brain must have been jumping the gun, but when I looked out to our backyard I saw that the maple tree had been dusted with with red leaves overnight.  My brain must now associate early Fall with essentially tying a million little knots in a row.

Despite having made a personalized scarf for almost everyone I know there is always more things to knit.  This year I have started off with a “Reading Shawl” for my mom, which is pretty much just a big scarf. I made one last year for my Mother-in-Law and I hope at some point it will cool down long enough for her to use it. I could have called it a “Netflix Shawl”, but it just doesn’t have the same imagery… But in the case of both ladies, I think it will be used for both reading and the occasional late night flick.

I grew up near the coast and during the winter I was always cold, so I wrapped a large blanket around me as I walked around the house.  It was terribly awkward, but wonderfully warm. Hopefully the Reading Shawl will provide the extra warmth and improved accessibility to such tasks as making that second cup of tea or finding the wayward remote.

I usually start my projects in September, working my way to the holidays and then maybe one last project in the new year.  It’s incredible the difference a few weeks make. Right now I am knitting at angles that keep the finished product off me, because it is way too warm to have wool on my legs.  In the next few weeks my knitted rows per hour (KPH) will increase exponentially because I will be trying to cover myself with my work.  Such was the case with Honey’s Christmas gift last year, after I hit the two foot mark the rest seem to form in only a week.

Knitting is one of those things that provides a lot of relaxation for me, but still scratches that urge to  be consistently productive.

Over the long weekend we went over to the farm and while the guys were making beer I taught, Viv, how to knit.  Well at least I thought I was going to, turns out someone had taught her how to do it when she was kid.  I showed her how to cast on and make the the first stitch and then her brain rebooted all of the things she had been taught.

In my experience, just doing a square patch on the first day takes incredible concentration and usually includes one or two mistakes.  She knitted the whole half ball of yarn I had brought in one sitting! I left the knitting needles that she had learned on because I knew she would be putting them to good use. I was right, now she is totally addicted-apparently she has been staying up late the last few nights knitting. It is only a matter of time before all of the goats have a winter scarf and the dogs festive sweaters.

I told her if this keeps up we are going to have to a Knit-ervention!  Haha (slow clap).  Yeah, I watched How I Met Your Mother last week.  Sorry.

But getting her interested in it really inspired me. I think I have to up my game a little, learn some new patterns, maybe make some new items, use all of the knitting books Honey got me for Christmas.  But first I have to finish the project I already started.  I hear knitters are  for having many projects going at once and hoarding yarn for potential projects.  I am trying my best to fight that urge, but there’s so many pretty colors!

People Seem to Smile More When I Wear Red Shoes

Today I decided to wear my red heels, I think it has been at least ten months since I wore them outside the soft ground of my bedroom.  Back ten months ago I wore them out to do errands.  It was a particularly dull, gray day-just the latest in the line of gray days.  There wasn’t a chance rain, it was just going to be dull, so I decided that instead of my usual boots or sneakers that I was going wear my bright red heels.  They were festive, Christmas was coming and most importantly they went with my outfit.

Now I’ll admit I intentionally used a shopping cart instead of my usual basket to keep me upright and not make a scene. They’re only two-inch heels but when your usual shoe choice is between flip-flops or sneakers, you get out of practice quickly with these things.

I carefully clacked around the store picking up the items on the list in my brain.  The sound of high heels on concrete always takes me back to when I had Day Care after school.  I could identify my mom’s stride up to a 100′ feet away down the hall when she came to get me.  They were heavy, determined steps; probably tired from the nine hours of getting up and down in those horrible early nineties heels.  I always feel like a fake grown up when I’m in heels, it could be because of all of the wobbling.

I shuffled around the store and it just seemed like people were nicer (in a store that is regularly quite cutthroat) and then people met my eye and smiled.  Once I unloaded my groceries into the car and I began the walk back to return the cart, a woman called out to me and said, “Here, Hon let me take that for you, I’m just heading in.”  I thanked her and as I turned to leave she said, “Look at you in those red shoes, you are just too cute.” I laughed and thanked her again and then said something about adding a little flair to errands.

And then I went home and I thought about what had just happened. It seemed like people had been nicer to me, smiled a little bit more in amusement, and engaged with me just because I wore red shoes.  How cool!   Footwear as a conversation starter, the possibilities were endless!

But, was it really the shoes?

Probably not.  I’m mean they’re cute, but they’re THAT cute. I think it was me, wearing the red shoes.  I’m sure I was more present because I was so focused on not falling flat on my face and making an ass of myself.  I probably made more eye contact to read where people were going, and I found myself smiling and then they smiled back.  It could be that I was smiling more because I was doing something a little different, something that was me.  I tend to hide me a lot these days from most people.  My husband and a few close friends still see me on a regular basis, and then new friends get little peeks now and again.

I’ve noticed since I moved here that I am not around as many people that outwardly express themselves (clothes, hair, tattoos, etc.), and that I don’t always feel comfortable doing it myself.  Which is pretty lame of me.  Maybe it was because I spent too much time with family when we first got here. They are pretty conservative (my cousin once apologize to me for a quarter inch of cleavage in the shirt she was wearing around the house, when it was just the two of us).  I say that the early exposure to the family (and only the family) might have shaped my willingness of expression because there are people here that have fun colors of hair, different stylized clothing, visible tattoos, and even the real rebels: the ones that wear red shoes. =P

People express themselves here and I need to get used to doing it again too.  I think (in part) I wore red shoes again today because I feel like I can’t express myself with words right now and I needed to let something out.

Lately a few personal situations in my family have come up that have challenged my default setting of politeness and only child compliancy.  I actually got a a chance to vocalize some of the feelings I had about a situation to one of the people involved, but I still held back a lot.  It’s not their fault I’ve spent most of my life biting my tongue with them, so I shouldn’t unload the lifetime worth of gripes into one conversation. But then something new happened, which made it pretty much impossible for me (maybe not for another person) to keep that dialogue open.  So pretty much I am having to take the high road and precede like everything is as it was, which is kind of the default setting in my family (I’m sure I’m not alone in this particular default with families).

I think I need to work on my communication skills, with everyone.  This blog has pretty much been abandoned for the last few years in part because of my shyness and discomfort with oversharing.  But I think it is helpful for working out thoughts in my head, keeping a timeline on what happens in my life, and it’s a way to share.  People seem to like me more when I don’t hide the goofiness that is me.

So… here’s hoping that I’ll pull out the red shoes again before Christmas.

The Time I Accidentally Walked into a Preppy Holiday

My body has been having a bit of a hissy fit with me lately.  Sometime last week my right knee started aching, a sustained dull ache that has now morphed into a feeling of broken glass.  I don’t know what I did to it.  It could have been the walks or the fact that it rained all of last week. It could been when I was rolling around on the garage floor the week before, painting the guest bedroom bookcase.  Whatever I did, I have royally pissed off my knee.  I am trying my best to make it happy and it seems to be most happy when I am sitting at my desk- so I thought I should use the time wisely and actually blog.

Sunday morning I woke up to my cat Bailey “gently” tapping at my head and eyeballs, like he does most mornings when I dare sleep past 7 am.  Sometimes I can tuck and roll and avoid him for another half hour and other times I relent and get up to feed him and Hitch.  That day I relented and decided to use the extra time to run some morning errands before everyone else in town woke up.  I needed to get some vitamins for my knee and some breakfast stuff anyway.  It was before 8:45 and it was ridiculously quiet, even the church crowd had not begun to trickle into the streets.  I was headed to Target for what I suspected would be a quick trip, but when I pulled into the parking lot I found all of the cars that had been missing in the streets.  The parking lot was full! I racked my brain for why there would be so many people, it wasn’t a holiday that I knew of.  There was a large church across the street so momentarily I thought maybe people park over at Target for the early service to miss the chaos that is the church parking lot, but I saw people coming out of Target. Huh?

The car I parked next to had it’s lights on, but didn’t seem to have a passenger.  When I got out to look at the license plate to report it in the store, I saw that a teenage boy was sitting in the backseat with his feet up clicking away on his Smartphone.  I preceded inside and saw a few women coming out with bags of Spring colored pillows, once again I thought holiday I was not aware of where entertaining is involved?   I saw a ton of women inside, mostly mothers with teenage daughters.  The line for the Starbuck’s that’s inside Target was over a dozen deep, something I had never seen there.  It led me to wonder if maybe there was some sort of Mother/Daughter thing going on for one of the schools.  A cashier at a grocery store last week had mentioned it was Prom at his high school that weekend.  Maybe it was some kind of Post-Prom ritual that exist down here to keep the kids in line.

I went to collect my shopping list items and every so often I would see a group of females chatting (some with raised voices) and waiting to talk to employee after employee  I heard bits of conversations about emails and online this or that, and that they couldn’t find something.   Maybe it was a Flash Sale?

Since none of things I usually get there seemed to be on this sale I picked up my vitamins and breakfast stuff and waited in line to be checked out.  I noticed the carts around me were full to the brim of some very (ugly) bright colors and patterns on clothes, purses, and pillows.

The couple in front of me seemed to be on the same early morning quest I was on.  They too had a small basket and not one pastel colored item was in it.

“Do you know what’s going on?” I asked them.

The cashier said, rather exhaustedly, “The Lilly Pulitzer line was released this morning.”
As apparently I was supposed to know what this meant I looked back to couple in front of me and said, “I’m sorry, who?”  They both burst out laughing.  The husband said he didn’t know, the wife had heard of her before but didn’t know why it was happening here.  They had the same theory about the church parking lot overflow and like me expected to have the store pretty much to themselves.  We all talked about the hilarity of us all accidentally walking into a mob on what was apparently some sort of historic shopping experience with no idea it was even happening.  I guess a good comparison would be going to see a movie on the day a Star Wars or a Harry Potter movie comes out, with gaggles of people in costume camped out and you go to the box office and ask for a ticket to see “Ghost Dog.”

With this new knowledge I looked around at the other shoppers and now I could see the frenzy in their eyes and satisfaction from their finds in their carts.  I saw a few things wrung up and I will be quite honest, it was not my cup of tea.  Loud, ugly patterns that made the shoppers coo over each other’s purchases with a fake enthusiasm of jealousy.  It was kinda sick.

As I was being checked out a women pushed her overstuffed cart of 60s-LSD-trip-hullitations-from-your-mother’s-house styled items into my side and kept going like she had just hit an orange cone in a driving simulator.  I didn’t yell, but I’m sure I made a noise because it caused me to shift all of weight to my jacked up knee and every time I have had to do that it has not been a silent action. It was her daughter, who couldn’t have been more than 15, that apologized to me and asked if I was okay as her mother hauled her items onto the next conveyer belt.  The daughter told the mother she had hit me, the mother yelled back an aloof apology that made me want to blurt our that it was I who was so sorry to have interrupt her path to a consumeristic orgasm with my mere existence-but I didn’t 🙂 Instead I collected my bags and maneuvered around all of the other carts and made it outside, only to find more women hoisting their purchases out of their bags to show their friends and neighbors that they had (coincidentally) run into, thus blocking another escape (I mean exit).

I got home and filled Honey in on my adventures in English Muffin procurement and looked up this Lilly Pulitzer, who I found out is known as “The Queen of Prep”.  It explained a few things, but I still don’t get the obsession.  Then throughout the day I saw the reports of the chaos that had ensued at the store and the website over the release and making fun of the people that bought the items (which I know I totally just did too).  And while I tease I feel that I must add this… All of us get excited over something or someone, and that’s okay.  We’re all a little different in what will make us wake up early on a Sunday morning to enjoy.  But I think we need to remember in our excitement that it is just stuff when comes down to it, and that we should not get so taken away in the frenzy that we forget ourselves.

In a few months when the items that Mother I mentioned bought are pushed to the backside of the closet or the pillows get stained, they will be gone and replaced.  But I have feeling the impression of the fashion trends of Spring 2015 will fade much faster in the daughter’s mind than the memory of her mother hitting someone and not caring.  It may be subconscious but more than likely it will be there. Like I mentioned there were a lot of mothers and teen daughters there and I’ll bet all of the daughters were noticing how their mother’s were acting in the situation.  So take from that what you will. 😉