Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fast Friends

I have a new friend.

We met a bit over a year ago, but didn't start spending time together until this spring. In the past few months we became fast friends. The type of friend you connect with right away - feel an immediate, improbable bond - you finish one another's sentences within days of knowing one another.

The sort of friend who is easy to spend time with, because you somehow agree on everything, from sharing a soda (real Coke please, no diet) to where to sit in a movie theatre. Or you agree to meet up a street festival - and find that you're wearing the same style sundress! (different prints of course - but exact same style! Because what else would you wear to a street festival on a hot summer day?)

Beyond that, we respect one another's differences.
Going into them here might get too personal - but I had to laugh when I told her about a sewing project I'm working on. She rolled her eyes and declared me "one of THOSE people!" expressing her envy of my creative side.

By way of explanation I told her it's because in high school, when my classmates were taking pre-calculus - I was taking second year sewing.

As I revealed this, there was a small spot inside of me that was prepared for ridicule. Instead, I felt relief when she said, "I can guarantee that over time, you got more use of your sewing class than I did from pre-calc!"


and we're right back to understanding one another!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dog Days of Summer

I have but two grievances about Denver. I really love this city, the weather, the stunning lack of mosquitoes, the weather.

The two things that bug me about living here:
1) Summer is too short. It usually takes until June to warm up - and by mid-September it's chilly. Coming from Nebraska where the heat of summer blazes from Mid-April to the end of October... three puny months just isn't enough!

2) All the freaking dogs! I read once that Denver has more dogs per-capita than it has children. I believe this to be true. But allow that to roll around in your head. More dogs than children.
That means most households have two dogs and no kids. Instead of DINKs (double income no kids) we have DITDs (Double income two dogs)! The longer I live here, the more I look at dogs with disgust.

Don't get me wrong. It's not the dogs that bug me as much as the dog owners. In my condo building we have 22 units. 8 of them have dogs. (have mercy, I just did the count and was surprised it was only 8 dogs. It feels like I live with 18!!) These dogs bark at the drop of a hat. They run and jump on people. They have taken over the courtyard. It's a mad house!!

I don't understand how anyone takes pleasure in having a dog that isn't properly trained and socialized. Why wouldn't you want your dog to be a good citizen? A dog that is a joy for other people to be around.

On the first floor, there are two little yippy dogs and real dog (laborador) just moved in.
The first yippy dog barks when anyone gets their mail, opens the front door, or walks up the stairs. Seriously. That's at least 22 people coming and going every day. I can't believe this dog still has vocal chords (and I am very tempted to snip them myself!).

What if I had a tantrum every time someone came in the front door? Don't you think they'd send me to the looney bin?

The first yippy dog sets the second yippy dog off barking... and now the new dog joins in. I may as well live in the animal shelter.

Yesterday I went out to the courtyard to soak up some sun, and one of the neighbors was out there with her yippy dog and the Golden Retriever she was watching for one of the neighbors. The Golden jumped up on the hammock I was lying in not once, not twice, not even three times... but at least FIVE! Knocking me out every time!!
When I told him to sit he just ignored me! I raised my voice asking, "Why doesn't this dog know commands?!"

Someone please tell me - why would you have a dog and not bother to train it?
That is very much like having children and allowing them to grow up to be dull, stupid BRATS!

Tips for dog people. If you don't want other people to hate you - please try the following:
- Teach your dog to sit on command. Any one's command.
- Teach your dog to stop within at least 3 feet of another human (or dog) unless invited to approach.
- Teach your dog not to jump on people. You may enjoy being part of a pack - but some of us are wearing nice clothes, thank you very much.
- Keep your dog on a leash and teach it to heel. That means the dog stays in close proximity to you. Your dog should be able to heel even when not on a leash. Learning this will make all the steps above that much easier to accomplish.
- Pick up your dog's doodie. If you don't like this duty - don't have a dog. This is non-negotiable.
- Ask your neighbors whether your dog is quiet when you are away at work or out on errands. If the report reveals that your dog barks for more than 10 minutes upon your departure... this means your dog is a nuisance. Buy a shock collar or citronella collar and use it until your dog is trained not to bark. It works. Do it. I don't care if you think it is cruel or not. Forcing your neighbors to hear your bundle of joy bark all day is cruel and unusual punishment as well.

Please, if you are going to have a dog make it a dog that isn't a nuisance to everyone but you. You owe it to your dog. If it could speak, it would tell you it wants to be a good citizen.
Doing less than this is lazy and inconsiderate and dare I say... cruelty to animals.

Thank you.

Stepping off my soapbox and signing out.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Personal Preference - or Prejudicial?

Am I a bad person if I don't chat with the woman who is giving me a pedicure?

I broke down and got a mani-pedi the other day because - let me tell you - all 20 nails were looking nasty! Every attempt I made to remedy the nasty has just made it that much worse! For me, nail care is outsourced. I just can't do it alone.

As I sat in the huge massage chair beating away at my shoulder blades, two older women came in and I noticed they were pretty chatty with their nail techs.

It made me think... am I rude for not making conversation?
I'll admit, honestly, that half the reason I don't chat with them is because I can't understand them. I get the impression that they don't understand me either. The Korean to English translation being what it is.

But more to the point... when I'm paying for a pampering service I don't want to make chit-chat. I want to be pampered and relax.

When I get a massage, I don't chit-chat with the massage therapist - and we both speak English. In fact, when I started going to the spa (courtesy of gift cards from Mr. Burns) they had me fill out a form stating my conversation preference (and fragrance preferences which I REALLY appreciate). They understand that you're there to relax - and that they are there to facilitate the relaxation.

But now I wonder, when I stick my nose in all those glossy magazines that I don't get at home - and enjoy the pampering - maybe from her end of the big massage chair - it looks like I'm just stuck up and think I don't have to talk to the sweet lady rubbing and buffing my feet.

Yikes! I'm nicer than that.
But I'm there to relax. Is my introverted time offending someone else? Should I chit-chat anyway?

What do you do?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Faith, Fear and Reality

I know my strengths. I know my weaknesses. I know my limitations.
Sometimes I project my physical limitations on our Lord God. Probably not a bright idea.

This weekend I had a chance to talk with Mr. Burns and told him about my realization that I don't need perfect faith. Just faith. Like in the story of the woman of faith who reached out to Jesus for healing. I told him that I understood that I only have to believe.

He was happy to hear this because... well... our experiences with faith are different.
The fact that I am 39 years old and still want to have a baby (or two) doesn't bother him. He believes that God will give to me what He gave to Abraham and Sarah.

Sure. I still believe in miracles but I know too much.

Think of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden - once they gain knowledge their faith is shaken. When they had nothing but their belief and confidence in God to provide for them, they were fine. But a bite of the fruit from the tree of knowledge and poof - they ruined it for all of us!

Today we know way too much.
Science and experience tells us that a geriatric pregnancy has risks. Risks for mother and child.

When I was in my 20s - I met a group of kids with Cerebral Palsy for the first time. I'll admit that I was apprehensive about even being with them at first. I was there in an observation capacity. After spending only an hour with them... they wouldn't let me leave without hugs all around. They were so sweet.
I realized as I left, that they were constantly happy. Always smiling. Just enjoying life. They were beautiful. They weren't bothered with trivial things like paying rent or even their grades. It occurred to me then, what a life of bliss! Of course it's not all sweetness, but my impression at the time was that they weren't really bothered with petty details and that's a good place to be.

A few years later, I encountered another child with Cerebral Palsy. It was then that it struck me, the sort of thought that really feels like it's from God... That my child would be just like her. It didn't scare me. It was sort of a fact. An acceptance rather than dread.

And maybe that's why my dreams of motherhood have been delayed.
At my age, the likelihood - if I should ever get married and be blessed with a pregnancy - of having a child with Cerebral Palsy is high. If that thought was from God - I'm very likely to fullfill it.

And while I would accept that if God has that in my life path, I'm a little scared of it. There is no chance that I'll have a child before I'm forty. I'd be sixty-years-old by the time my child starts college. If I have a child who would be dependant on me for life, I may not even be able to give that child a suitable amount of parenting before I'm gone!

So, as I think about this way too much... I start to think... maybe I shouldn't even seek marriage. As a Catholic, in marriage (or out) I must be open to any child God sees fit to give me. And I would be, but the result of that could be overwhelming.

Just look at all those facts - all that knowledge that gets in the way of my faith!

I yearn to have faith like the hemorrhaging woman. Simply knowing that if I come to Jesus - He will give me what I need. If He gives a child with special needs - He will also give the strength and the patience and the longevity to care for that child.
I do believe that.
But sometimes reality gets in the way. Reality and fear.

Note: This post is about my feelings and fears. I do not wish to offend anyone or misjudge their experience. I pray that any parents of special children who read this will see my heart and maybe offer their experiences to me. But please, please do not judge me as uncaring or heartless or chicken, rather see my heart where it is. As a woman struggling with faith and reality who thinks WAY TOO much!

Monday, July 13, 2009

I Need to Stop Shopping Anyway

What does it say about a person when they begin to wear only neutrals - in place of all the color that same person wore and wore well?
Is it a mood change? A sign of getting older? Am I becoming bland?

Suddenly everything in my closet is black, white, brown and grey. I am really attracted to grey right now. I do think grey is this year's black. It's cool, sharp and dramatic without washing out your complexion (when you are pale like me). And brown? Well, brown is just so rich and warm I can't resist it.
Then there's black and white. They're neutral and safe.

When did I start playing safe?

When my nieces once asked me my favorite color, I couldn't pick one. I like them all. All except pink.
I love to wear orange. I used to love to wear red - because it makes my eyes look even more blue. And needless to say, blue looks great on me.
I stopped wearing red over the past year or so. (Maybe because Mr. Burns doesn't like red?)

When I went shopping this weekend to buy a few tops to go with some bottoms that I ordered recently... I was mad at myself when I left the mall with two white tops, one black one and one grey!!
I did get one blue one. But I don't like it, I think I'll take it back. For some reason this shade of blue looks cheap to me.

And. Did I need the tops? Not really. Except for my endless quest to find shirts that stop somewhere around my waist!
Why is it that all the shirts now days are so long... you couldn't tuck them in if you wanted to? What is up with that? To wear them untucked... I have to bunch them up around my waist... making my tummy pooch look even bigger. Whose idea is this?

You know what I think about that? I think the long shirts are for people with hips. The shirts just skim over their hips and look all flattering. But when you are a stick figure like me, with no bosom and no hips... it just looks like you're wearing a tent. Not flattering. I'm tempted to start cutting all these shirts off and re-hemming them!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

I'll Be Your...

My friend and I got tickets to a movie premiere screening last night. A romantic comedy. Fairly predictable. Guess how it ends...

As we left the theatre, on the down escalator... my friend sighed and said, "I'm going to die alone."
I understand just how she feels. I turned to her and said, "No you won't. You'll have me - at least."

"No." she protested, "You'll marry Mr. Burns and I'll live in your back yard and be your old maid."

"Is that mandatory now? Are we assigning old maids to couples?"

You know. It's not a bad idea. Everybody needs somebody!!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Mega, Super, Huge - What's Wrong with Being Small?

Seems like my 'bulk' supplies tend to run out around the same time around here.
The laundry detergent, the stash of bathroom tissue - that sort of thing.

So at the grocery store yesterday, I scanned the aisle with my favorite detergent to see if it was on sale. Because I live in a small condo, I buy the smaller bottle so that it fits in the little lockers we have in the community laundry room. It's nice to not have to lug it up and down three flights of stairs or take up precious space in my home.

Back to the price, it was impressively low. But upon reading the fine print, it indicated that the low price was offered only if I bought three bottles.

I instantly thought, "Where am I going to put three bottles of detergent during the 5 months it takes me to go through each bottle?!"

Sometimes I do buy the two for one... so maybe I could fit all three of them in the little locker but then there wouldn't be room for the other bottle of detergent for fine washables and dark colors.
Seriously, if I had that much room for detergent, I'd buy the big bottle and use one plastic jug instead of three. Wait a minute! Why are they encouraging people to buy three small bottles instead of one big jug!

Ack! I just left the laundry aisle... bemoaning our wasteful society.

Then I spotted my favorite brand of bath tissue. I could choose either 12 double rolls or 6 mega rolls. Yeesh.
I live in an old, charming, vintage building - my TP holder can't hold a mega roll, it wouldn't be able to turn over.

Why can't it just be normal sized? I hate that I could save money buying the 24 roll package. Where am I supposed to store that?!

I move down the next aisle and eventually make my way to checkout.

As I'm moving my produce purchases to the check stand, I make a little chitchat with the man checking out in front of me.
I place my mushrooms -for salad- on the conveyor and the man exclaims with disbelief, "What are you doing with just 2 mushrooms?!!!"
I am a bit startled but I look up to see him triumphantly, holding up a plastic wrapped container of white mushrooms.

I reached for my pat answer, which I have borrowed from Piglet, wise little critter that he is...
"Well, I'm a Very Small Animal. I only buy food I can eat before it goes bad."

The unspoken addition to that answer is - hey, I'm being optimistic that I'm even going to try to make salad - odds are it's all going to go bad before I eat it!!
And I think, "Why are you judging my food purchases?"

I realize, the stranger wants me to buy in bulk.

Whatever happened to just having what you need?