Thursday, January 26, 2012

Detour...

  


Sometimes  I can be betwixt and between on how many details to 


include when relating a story to a lending ear.  Sometimes my brevity


leaves the listener with .. "is that it?"  And then other times I err on the 


side of my college roomie's way of storytelling.



Sue and I spent our four years rooming together.. we were the fortunate


few that actually liked and bonded with each other! Summers separated us 


but come September we met up again ready to unpack boxes and settle in 


to our new dorm room.  With the dust settled, we plopped on our beds 


ready to recount what we did while we were apart.  Or let me correct 


that.... SHE would do the recounting!  Sue (I know you're reading this, 


Sue, and don't worry.. it's all good!) could literally make a trip to 7-11 


for a slurpie sound like the greatest adventure in the world.  I would sit


entranced wondering why I led such a boring life!  That story would lead 


to another and another and after 2 hours she would pause, let out a sigh, 


and say... "So... what did YOU do this summer?"  I would be jolted out 


of my hypnotic state, think for a minute, and respond... "Just worked.  


Saw some friends. ... hmmm.. that's about it."   She looked 


incredulously at me!  I had failed in creating a world of adventures,


making her privy to them.  After a few moments she let it pass.  


Phew!  The truth is I happened to LIKE listening.. I felt more comfortable 


with that than talking.
  


Over the years I worked at honing my oral skills.  For instance, wanting to 


enrapture my guests at a dinner party, I would contribute to the 


conversation with an opinion filled with so many minute details that


one by one I could see eyes wander away from my direction.  Yes, I 


WAS painfully aware of it but I trudged on hoping perhaps one more 


additional detail would reel them back in.  Comical... not at the time..


but comical!  Once, I actually had someone tell me right in the middle


of all this verbage.. "so what is your point?".  You guessed it ~ only a 


man would be so blunt as to cut me off at the pass!  Perhaps a bit too


much wine brought him this courage but I have to say he was right.


Even I was getting a bit bored with myself.  




What was wrong??  I thought I could mimic Sue's ability to tell tales.  


Nope!  Not in me!  My stories only took one detour after another never 


landing at the climax. And you know what?  That is ok.  Because I now


have a forum to tell all of you things I have experienced, felt or 


done.  Blogging makes it easy to edit with the "delete" button.  Or I can 


just hit "save" for another time when I can be more descriptive or precise 


in my thoughts. And I am so thankful that all of you take the time to 


listen to me!  I am having the BEST time with all of this!!


Oh.. one more thing. My "editor", aka, husband, has just informed me


that this post has gone on a little too long.  Wha?????  and here I 


thought I was making progress!!  Oh, well.  



Friday, January 20, 2012

Press.. "Pause"


What a week I've had!  I was blindsided ... blown out of the water...


by two interactions with individuals.  Seriously.  I know I'm not the 


only one to have this happen to but when it does, my jaw drops 


open and I'm left dumbfounded.  It feels like in the movie, Private


Benjamin, where Goldie Hawn's platoon is reprimanded, having


to march in the pouring rain, in full gear, with all angry eyes on HER.


.. and words spoken with such disdain towards HER.


She's dumbfounded and whines, "That's SO untrue!!" to called out


allegations.  "I NEVER go to someones home empty handed.  People


LIKE me!""   That was exactly how I felt.  


Situation #1~ Last fifteen minutes, on the last day, of an estate sale.  


65 years of accumulation.  LOVE this!  And my question?  Would you


consider striking a deal on the sheet music that is still left?  Music was


this woman's passion as she had accumulated stacks of it.  There was


still a goodly amount left and a gentleman who worked there escorted


me to the room still holding these treasures... waiting for the right 


person to take them home.  


Gentleman:  "What do you want for it?" In a bit of a gruff manner.
Me:  "What are you asking?"  .. I needed to know where we were starting from.
Gentleman: "What do want to pay?" Ok.. starting to feel a bit badgered.
        {For your sake, I have not repeated this again two more times.}
Me:  "Hmmm.. I really would prefer you tell me."
Gentleman: "I need to know what you want to pay for it?" .. He's now tense.
Me: (hesitated).. "I'm not sure.  I need to go through the stacks."
Gentleman:  "$200!!!" He spat the words out as quickly as he wanted the 
                    money in his hand.
Me: shocked, amazed and felt I might have detected a bit of facetiousness.
                 "What about $20?""  If he can be facetious, so can I.
Gentleman:  Are you serious? We're done! I'm not talking to you!! 
                  Full blown anger.
Me: "Sir? Let's talk about this."  When someone explodes, I try to diffuse.
Gentleman: "We're done talking!!"
Me: "Sir, if you're not going to talk to me, I might as well leave."
Gentleman: "Good!  Leave!!"
Me: "But we're in the middle of a conversation."
Gentleman:  "No, we're not!  Leave!  Get out!  GET OUT!!!!!"


The woman in charge had heard the altercation and apologized saying he


had a rough day.  Hey, buddy, join the club!  I've never been thrown out


of any place.  Embarrassed, befuddled, angry, I drove back home.


Press Pause ~ When I stepped back from the situation, I could picture


how he had reached the point of having a short fuse.  I have witnessed 


people coming in at those last hours of a sale and try to get things for 


pennies.  Bargaining with an attitude.  Not a fun job.  Unfortunately, I


was on the receiving end of his frustration and was not given a 


chance to explain my response. There is no excuse for being rude or


mean-spirited but sometimes we need to step back and understand


where another person's frustrations stem from. 


Situation #2 ~  To reward you for reading thus far, I will make this


one brief!  I was in charge of keeping tally of a list of products being


introduced at a meeting.  Things were moving quickly and others at


the table were helping me with the count. But it got to the point where 


there were too many "cooks in the kitchen" and I received a verbal


lashing when I corrected someone.  It was pretty biting and again,


I tried to diffuse the situation.  It wasn't going to work.  I bit my 


tongue.  We hugged it out afterwards and that is where I realized I


needed to.....


Press Pause ~  What this person was personally shouldering at home


required strength that she had to give each and every day.  I don't know


if I could do it myself.  And sometimes, when an individual is doing so


much, it just takes one slight push and a fissure opens up to release the 


pressure. 


I don't like confrontations.. they make me horribly uncomfortable.  And 


I won't mislead you to think I am Mary Sunshine and don't dish it right


back at times.  It's awkward, and I don't enjoy it, but we all need to set


boundaries on what is an acceptable and unacceptable way to be treated.


At the same time, we need to dig deep and try to walk in the other 


person's shoes for just a moment.  We just might understand that it's 


not to be taken as a personal affront to our character. 


Two more days and this week is over!  I still might have another chance 


encounter as they say things happen in three's.  But I hope not.  My


poor little arthritic finger can't take much more!!!  All that pressing of that


gosh darn "pause" button!!!!















Friday, January 13, 2012

A + B = C????????



                                    Athletic shoes .. plus.......

          Bloated woman from eating too many Christmas cookies.. equals...

                           Commitment to get on this thing 5 x's a week!!

Oh, yeah!  I am committed to following one of my resolutions... which is, 

no more spending money on a gym membership!  I do not.. repeat...

do not.. like gyms!  I finally am ready to admit that and not see it as a

failure.  I mean, why pay money to run on someone else's treadmill

when I have a perfectly good quality one in my basement!  And a 

treadmill that can perform many functions, such as.......


                                     a storage area for boxes..


                           .. a place to let wet jeans dry after washing
                         Don't even entertain the thought of suggesting 
                                to put them on low in the dryer.
                                  Shrinkage, baby, shrinkage!

So, a new day begins with me totally in charge... ready to conquer the 

beast!  Eye to eye with it, I reach down to turn the power on ... take a

deep cleansing breath, and step, with renewed conviction, on the 

conveyor belt.  Whaaaaaaa????? The panel wasn't lit!  Hmmm... I 

stepped off and repeated the procedure again.  And again, the panel

wasn't lit!  It wasn't working!  Give me a break!  I realized I wasn't 

excited about this resolution but I was committed.  I now decided

to initiate another resolution for the year ~ don't see things as a 

problem.. see them as opportunities!  

Time to see this as an opportunity to get this hunk of junk out of 

the basement, turn this area into a den, and exercise outdoors. 

After all, I DO like being outdoors.  I was a happy woman!  Until.....

The phone rings and it's my husband.  Explained to him, with delight,

the new plans to transform the basement into a cozy den.  A moment's

pause on the other end.  "Did you make sure that the magnet was on

in the center of the panel?"  Typical male.  Needed to fix the problem!

I obliged.. saw that there was a magnet thingy that was NOT where it

was supposed to be.... and replaced it.  {Seriously, I thought it was a 

heart rate monitor or something along those lines.} Got back on the

phone... "It works."  For joy, for joy.  

So, the formula of A + B = C is back in play!  And I'm going to look

at this as a good thing.










Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Rest of the Story......

It is 8:30 pm........


I have three and one-half hours until MY new year begins!  Yes, I am


fully aware that it's the 7th of January and one whole week has gone


by.  But I don't start my new year until the last son pulls out of the 


driveway heading back to his destination ~ whether it's work in 


California, a condo in Charleston, or college in Ohio.  The house becomes 


quiet and I begin anew.  I tear sheets off the beds and put on fresh ones. 


I wash a load of towels.  I pick up a myriad of "stuff" that was conveniently 


left behind for me to put away.  And I head to the kitchen to purge the 


holiday goodies that now can be frowned upon as horrible to one's 


health!!  But give me a break!  Without them, holidays wouldn't be


complete... at least, not for me.  I think we all have that connection to


certain foods that conjure up a memory or two.  It could be cupcakes..




from a birthday party or, as moms, the 25 cupcakes needed for your


child's classroom party that you offered to bake.  It could be candy.....




that you got on Halloween as a kid or 12" diameter lollipops, swirled in


bright, eye-catching colors, found once a year at the state fair.  It could


be.......




cheesecake that you never had before until your boyfriend said it was


his favorite dessert.  Then you took that first bite and fell in love with 


it and him!  For me, these are what hold unique memories .......




                          Donuts!  And let me tell you why........


~ During an election year, our town set up two tents on the green in the


center of town.  Voting took place in the Community Hall across the way


and as people left the building they would head over to the tents for 


coffee and donuts.  And guess who's bus stop was at the green??!!


Woohooo!  Fresh baked, plain raised donuts that were handed out to us 


for the asking!  A slice of "Mayberry" memories right there!


~ My brother was coming home for a short leave from the army. He 


was due to arrive 6 am in the morning at the train station and we had


to leave the house at 5:00 in order to pick him on time.  I was so 


excited to see him in his uniform!  It was winter.. pitch black out.. few


cars on the road .. and the first time I had been up at that hour. The


only light around was coming from the donut shop that mom pulled up


to where she bought a dozen donuts for us to eat when we got back 


home.  I distinctly remember chocolate glazed donuts.. the best I ever 


had!


~ College.  Plump, jelly-filled powdered donuts whose dough was tinted 


green for St. Patrick's day. I had spent the night at my sorority sister's 


house on the way to my own home in Connecticut.  Her dad had gotten 


up early to share this yearly occurrence of green donuts and was so tickled


about it!  I can still see the brown paper bag they came in and the ghastly


looking contrast of green dough with oozing red jelly in the center!  I


miss her... 


~ And the most favorite memory is one when the boys were little.


Sundays meant picking up a dozen donuts, and with the newspaper


tucked under my husband's arm, we headed to the park.  The boys


would dash between the swings and the open box of donuts thinking


this was the best thing since Christmas!  I thought so, too! 


There are more stories to share but I think you've gotten the point! Food


matters, whether healthy or not.  So, as the spinach dip is being 


replaced with cut-up celery and carrot sticks, I'm wondering... do you


suppose I will get a memory or two from them?  BLEH!!! Not a chance!



Thursday, January 5, 2012

Just Looking....

                                   481 King Street, Charleston, South Carolina

Lucky me! New Year spent in Charleston.. land of amazing eateries and 


gourmet delights!  Lucky me because I was on vacation and that meant I 


didn't have to dread January 1st .... the first day of clearing out the sugar 


from my diet {..NOOOOO!!!}, finding that treadmill buried under piles of 


clothes {did you know it makes a great place to drape your jeans to air dry 


after washing them?}, and all those other dreaded things I must do to get 


in shape as a result of the holiday poundage that grabbed hold of my 


waistline. I could walk into this shop, Glazed Gourmet 


Doughnuts, www.glazedgourmet.com, with a smile on my face and 


not have a single guilty thought screaming... "Walk away from the donuts! 


Walk away from the donuts!"  And walk away I did NOT!






These gems are freshly made, no preservatives, unique flavors paired


together in ways you have never tasted before. Gosh darn.. I wish I could 


remember what these were called... cranberry something.  I was just so


enthralled with their eye-catching color and plumpness that my mind


went numb!  And these....






on the left is maple glaze with real bacon bits ~ on the right, berry filled with 


crumb topping.  And these......






raspberry glaze made from fresh raspberries.  There are so many others


to choose from such as ricotta strawberry, sweet potato with crumb 


topping, meyer lemon pistachio, and my favorite ~  the goat cheese


lavender that, upon biting into it, oozed with a fresh berry filling.  I die!


So why am I being such a meany and tempting you with these delights?


Because the rest of the story is just as sweet as these confections.  This


tiny gem is owned and operated by a young woman, Allison Smith...






... a graduate of the Culinary Institute of Charleston. Allison realized that


there was a niche that she could fill and proposed the idea to her family.


Their reaction?  A whole-hearted, resounding "go for it!". Amazing, right?


She is now a small business owner who followed her passion.. followed


her heart. You can taste that in every mouthwatering bite!  And 


who stands beside her doing the supporting role?  Her mother!  You are


embraced by her warm smile and friendly "hello" as you walk through the


door.  I just love that!  I just love stories of following your creative dreams.


I just love stories of families that hoist you up and support that dream


through every step of the way.  Not all of us are that lucky!  Not all of us


take that giant leap of faith.  And it's a shame as each of us have been


given gifts that need to be shared.  We have heard that said before.  I'm 


not saying anything new. But maybe it's just that once in awhile we


need proof that dreams do matter... we need to see it with our own eyes.


I'm reminded of a poem that sits on my desk as I write this.  Part of it says..


                                                For games can't be won
                                                Unless they are played.
                                                And prayers can't be answered
                                                Unless they are prayed.


So Glazed gave me so much more than just a bite of sugary heaven.  It gave 


me a lesson in life.  And next time I am in Charleston, I will visit again .. 


I will sink my teeth into the best, gosh darn donut I have tasted!  And as


the flavors swirl around in my mouth, I will be reminded, once again, that


dreams do matter ~ for ALL of us!