Saturday, January 19, 2019

The Best Gift to Give the World

I’ve never told anyone this story. I guess I’m a really private person. I don’t share things that mean a lot to me…only the inconsequential BS.

My husband and I always owned a motorcycle. My favorite was a Yamaha 1100. It was a big bike that you could ride comfortably for long trips. We would meet up with our friends, who also owned bikes, and ride up to Grapevine Lake on weekends. We’d build a big fire and roast hot dogs. We made so many wonderful miles and memories on that bike.

After our divorce, I moved into the same apartment complex as my husband and his new girlfriend. It was just my little quirky sense of humor. They were planning to get married so I thought, “Hmmm, moving in next door to them will be my special wedding gift.”

So my ex called me one day and says, “Hey, I just bought a new bike. Wanna go for a ride?”

I said, “Sure, I’ll meet you outside in a few minutes.”

So I put on my jeans and tennis shoes and went outside and he pulled up on a really nice dark blue Kawasaki 900. We talked about the bike and all its glory. People that love bikes will understand—we stand around a lot and discuss all the specs on our machines.

Finally I went over to climb on the back. I’ve ridden motorcycles my whole life…even in the coldest weather. If we were going on a long trip, I would just wrap my arms around my husband’s stomach and go to sleep and he’d wake me up when we got there.

I went to throw my leg over the bike and couldn’t. For years, my legs had been getting worse due to post-polio syndrome. My ex tried to help me but it was no use. Finally, after 10 minutes of trying, it hit me that I would never be able to ride a bike again. My legs weren’t strong enough to get on and off anymore.

I stood right there in the midday sunlight in the middle of that parking lot and cried like a baby. My husband got teary eyed too. “It’s okay. It’s not the end of the world. Bikes are dangerous anyway.”

He smiled and tried to reassure me but right then I knew that my life was going in a bad direction and I would not like the end game.

Right now, I’m a few years away from the end of my life. When you reach this point, you stop worrying about all the small stuff and just try to finish out your course with as much dignity as possible.

I don’t have time for regrets anymore. Every day where I can feel the wind on my face is a miracle. I don’t make excuses either for my mistakes. All I can say is what I always used to say each time I would reach the end of a long deployment.

I used to travel a lot and work disasters for FEMA. I’ve spent lots of time in little towns that were virtually destroyed by a big storm. No matter how hard the work was and how difficult the clients could be, I’d always say this one thing while driving toward the city limits and leaving to go home:

“Well, I enjoyed my time here.”

That’s all I have to say about my life and my time on this planet. I mostly enjoyed it. I learned a lot. I made some friends. I leave behind some family. And a whole lot of stories.

I tried to write it all down in case anyone wanted to see through my eyes what New Orleans looked like right after Katrina. Or what polio feels like. Or what it feels like when your family abandons you. Someday maybe someone will read the stories and they’ll feel something of what it was like to be me.

I always encourage people to write their stories down and leave them for their friends and family. Humans have always passed those stories on from one generation to another and that’s an important part of our culture and legacy.

Someday perhaps the humans won’t exist anymore. But perhaps an alien species will find some of our stories and they’ll read them and see what it was like to live on our planet—what it was like to be a woman or even a human being.

For a brief moment, those aliens will have some idea of what our lives were like. They’ll say, “Wow! It’s too bad the humans don’t exist anymore. They had a pretty cool culture. Wish we could have known them.”

Monday, December 3, 2018

Do You Like Urban Legends?

I like this one. It’s always been a favorite. And, I like to think this REALLY happened—you never know.

This very successful businessman was married and enjoying the Good Life. He had a beautiful home, great wife and a sleek gray Mercedes Benz. He had the American Dream.

But then he got bored and before you know it, he was involved with his secretary. Men get bored kind of easily sometimes.

He was being discreet at first but then he and his secretary got involved in Coke and glittery parties, and he was soon the talk of the town. He would be gone for days getting high, acting crazy at all the big parties in town with his buxom blonde secretary on his arm. He bought her clothes, diamonds and even a car.

The man’s wife was confused. She didn’t know what to think. When he did come home, they argued. She couldn’t understand why he had suddenly gotten bored with her and left for another woman and a completely insane lifestyle.

Finally, the man took his girlfriend out to Vegas one weekend. They started winning big and were having a great time. They partied night and day and spent hours at the roulette wheel. 

The guy was spending all the money he’d made and ruining the business he’d built. But he couldn’t stop. By now he was addicted to the Coke, the sex and the party lifestyle.

Then one morning he woke up to the hard cold fact that he was broke. The roulette wheel hadn’t been very kind to him. He’d lost thousands of dollars within just a few days. His girlfriend was threatening to leave him. He wasn’t fun anymore.

So he called his wife back home. “Honey, I need you to do me a favor. I know you don’t owe me a favor but if you would do just this one thing for me, I would be forever in your debt. Would you please sell my Mercedes Benz and send me the money? I’ll sign those divorce papers promptly so you can move on with your life—I promise.”

He finally talked her into it. After all, he WAS a good businessman.

A few weeks went by and finally his wife called and said, “Okay I sold the car. Where do you want me to send the money?”

He gave her wiring information to a bank in Vegas since that was the fastest way to get his money and get back to his party lifestyle.

His wife promptly went to her bank and wired the money she’d gotten from selling the Mercedes Benz.

A few hours went by and the guy called her very upset. “Hey! What’s going on here? I got the bank transfer but it was only $50 bucks. What happened to the rest of the money you got for my car? That car was worth $65,000.”

“I sold the car, just like you said. You didn’t specify how much to get for it so I priced it to sell quickly.”

“For $50 dollars??? Are you kidding me? You sold my Benz for $50? You Bi*ch! How could you do this?”

The guy kept yelling and cussing but the woman hung up the phone, went inside and made herself a nice cup of tea, then sat out on the patio of her lovely home watching roses bloom, very pleased with herself.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

The Case of the Stolen Scarf

Everyone has a funny/odd Thanksgiving story. I used to belong to the DFW Coffee Club. We’d meet for coffee every Saturday morning, sometimes breakfast as well. The club was run by a ditzy blonde woman who lived in a highrise in downtown. So she invited everyone to Thanksgiving at her house one year.

She forgot to mention that there’s a marathon race in Downtown Dallas each year called the Turkey Trot. They close off a lot of streets for the runners. So I baked mac ‘n cheese in a casserole dish and headed out to downtown all gaily dressed.

Every street I needed to turn on was blocked off with cops standing there waving traffic off. I drove around and around downtown until I was just soooo frustrated. Finally, I called the ditzy blonde and said, “How do I get to your building? Every street is barricaded.”

She says, “Tell them you live in the Mosaic building. They have to let residents get to their homes.”

So I found a cop and said, “Hey, I’m going to the Mosaic building and need to get through.”

He waved me passed, as I yelled out the window, “Where’s the Mosaic Building?”

He pointed and there it was right across the street.

Parking downtown is another story. They love to tow cars away so I knew I had to get the parking right. 

I called the blonde and said, “I finally made it. But where do I park?”

She gave me instructions to follow the signs for visitor parking so I did. At that point though, I felt like just leaving the casserole dish in front of her door, and going back home. I was already stressed and frustrated from driving around downtown for an hour, dodging Turkey Trotters.

Inside her apartment was a different story. She lived in a building that had once been some type of educational school. The admin area and classrooms had been transformed into apartments. They were very compact though. And laid out funny. The kitchen was open to the whole apartment but you couldn’t get 3 people in it.

The dining room was just a tall table that would seat 4 people. I looked around and counted 14 people. I knew we were in trouble. But I also knew there would be some food to eat because each person had brought a covered dish and the turkey was done. So that gave me some hope.

The ditzy blonde did what ditzy blondes do. She fumbled around the kitchen like she’d never been in one in her life. She was supposed to be finishing up the gravy while some guy peeled 10 pounds of potatoes. I helped the potato guy, then put the potatoes on to cook in a huge caldron.

Then I helped the blonde finish making gravy. Everyone was very nice and in a good mood. There were some snacks sitting around so we didn’t have to starve. But it did take a good 2 hours to actually get Thanksgiving dinner on the table.

One of the reasons was the fruit salad. The blonde had an aluminum pan 18 inches long by 12 inches wide by 4 inches deep. She had filled it with all types of fruit and nuts and now she was mixing in some whipped cream.

I couldn’t help myself. “Hey, uh, Jess … how come you’re making so much fruit salad? I mean, everyone likes it and all but you have enough for 50 people there.”

She looked up briefly. “This is the way my mom always did it. Besides, my daughter is coming over later.”

I smiled but had one of those freaky moments where you wonder if someone’s drunk, on drugs or what. She merrily finished up the fruit salad pleased with herself that she’d done it just like her mom and finally we all got to eat.

The food was pretty good. The turkey came out okay. The toughest issue was that there was no place to sit and eat. Some people had to stand, some sat on the couch. 

After dinner, she tried to get people to eat some of that fruit salad so I had a small dish of it. I like fruit salad mixed with whipped cream but when I left, she was trying to get people to take bowls of that stuff home with them. I was certain that she threw most of it in the trash about 5 days later.

By the time I left her place and started home, the race was over and the streets were unblocked so driving wasn’t so bad.

I had worn a pretty Winter shawl to the party but forgot it, leaving it at her apartment. I was way too tired to turn around and go get it. All I could think of was getting home, taking off my shoes and bra and crashing in my recliner. That would be heaven!

The next time we got together for the DFW coffee Club, I asked her about it. “Hey Jess, I left my shawl at your apartment. Can you bring it next time we meet?”

She glanced up kind of nervous and said, “No you didn’t! I didn’t find anyone’s shawl.”

I was stunned. I knew I’d left it there so I guessed that she had taken a liking to the shawl and decided not to give it back to me. It was very pretty and ornate.

"Okay, well guess I left it someplace else," I half-heartedly murmured.

I never got the shawl back but then again, she could never wear it to our meetings because she knew I’d recognize it at once. 

A Nefarious Plan Unfolds

So when it came time to renew our memberships, she said she didn’t get my renewal payment and then removed me from the club. Now she’d be able to wear the shawl to meetings and no one would ever know she stole it from me.

Of course, that didn’t sit well with me. I’m the type of person that, if you tell me you want something or like something, I’ll give it to you. I’m not very attached to my stuff unless its something that belonged to my grandmother etc.

If she had just asked me for the shawl, I would have given it to her.

Once, my best friend, Beverly came over. I had just moved into a new apartment and she was complimenting my new furniture. She stopped when she saw one of the switchplates.

"Hey, that's beautiful! Is that vintage?"

"Yes, I bought two of them in an estate sale a few years ago and just never did put them up. They look pretty good, huh?"

"Oh my gosh yes! That ornate painting of red and orange roses on a white ceramic background is so exotic."

"You can have them if you want them," I told her.

She was stunned and speechless for a moment. "Oh no, I'd never take them. They look so good here in your living room. They go perfectly with your furniture."

I thanked her and gave her hug. Bev and I had been to so many garage sales, auctions, etc. in the course of our long friendship.

We had met at work when we were in our 20's. We were both skinny, but pretty...just a couple of dumb girls--one blonde, one brunette. 

She and I played lots of word games and board games during the course of our lives too. Only she cheated. She could read my mind and I knew it. I would try my best not to think of the cards in my hand but she knew. It was like she could just see what was in my head anytime she wanted to.

I didn't really mind though, because she knew all my secrets anyway. 

Well, at any rate, I never got the Christmas shawl back from Jess. And she never let me renew my membership at the DFW Coffee Club. 

I really do miss that group of people though. It's funny how they were taken out of my life.

That seems to happen to me alot though. Everyone I ever cared about was just methodically, with precision, taken out of my life. 

Just like a dentist extracts a molar from your gums, they were surgically removed and I was left with too many gaping, painful holes. And no warm scarf for winter!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Would You Buy A Giant Ice Cream Sandwich for $150?

I saw this on Facebook. It seems a woman was very wasted and she saw this bed online and thought it was a Giant Ice Cream Sandwich. 

So she bought it for $150. When she got it, she was very disappointed as you can see in her comment below.

Several issues here. First, somebody was willing to pay $150 for a giant ice cream sandwich. I wouldn’t pay more $80 bucks. Second, she’s only giving the bed review One Star simply because it wasn’t an ice cream sandwich.

You can’t really blame the bed. It knew it was bed and wasn’t trying to pretend to be something else. It was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The bed was for sale on line and woman was online, though she shouldn’t have been since she was so wasted. You should never give computers and credit cards to potheads –Just a Tip!

But she bought it anyway, they shipped it to her. Right away, she realized it was NOT a giant ice cream sandwich. Then she gives the bed a bad rating. Just wrong.

That brings me to my current topic. Things I’ve Bought Online While Wasted

I hope you’ll write one of these too cuz I know you’ve done this! Don’t lie!

Here’s my Top 3 List of Stuff I’ve Bought Online While Wasted

  • Kope Luwak Coffee-$139 for 8 ounces. The most expensive coffee beans in the world. Made from beans that have been eaten and pooped out by small tree dwelling animals.
  • All 4 seasons of a British comedy called, “The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.” $45
  • A Special Sports Bra-$39 – Bought the wrong size. For some reason I bought a size 54G when I actually only wear a 46DDD

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Why Didn’t God Put Women in Charge?

I’ve always had some very strong opinions about this. Why did God put men in charge? They don’t care as much about dirt, filth and pollution. They tend to make war when they disagree about something instead of trying to settle things with diplomacy.

Men are responsible for evil things like prostitution, perversion, porn, child trafficking etc. So why would you put a gender in charge that would create and propagate those types of destructive behaviors?

My opinion: God wanted the human race project to go on for a pre-determined length of time. If he had put women in charge, there would rarely in history have been any wars.

There would not have been such widespread sexual perversion and this would have greatly reduced things like disease and broken families/people.

Without the cost and negative effects of things like war, sexual perversion, disease, broken people/families, imagine how quickly our species might have advanced.

Women would have built clean neighborhoods and priced things fairly. Their primary goal would not have been profit, as with men. Their goals would have been improving family life and helping people to be the best version of themselves.

Most women are all about strong family values. They see the value of marriage and family. They have a “nesting” gene that draws them to build a wholesome home where kids could grow up mentally and physically strong. Things like guns would not be prevalent in any society because women do not get the adrenaline rush of killing things that men get.

We believe that if you need to kill an animal to eat, then fine. Do so in a humane manner. But needless killing is despicable to most women. We abhor violence and evil. We understand that it damages a society and a people to allow murder and violence.

With women in charge, our entire world would be clean and efficiently run. We would never have allowed inventions like nuclear weapons or nuclear power plants. We would have found other ways to deal with those needs.

Wisdom says that destroying the planet your species lives on is insane. A big earthquake or hurricane that hits a nuclear power plant directly could poison the air, water and soil for hundreds of years. It just doesn’t make sense to develop destructive technology.

But men did so because it paid well. Things like weapons and war have made many men into billionaires and the money was more important to them than the safety of their neighbors.

This is still going on today. The influential men in our government are receiving millions of dollars in bribes from the NRA so they will NOT change gun laws. Meantime, a school shooting occurs each month where dozens of kids are killed. It’s just a matter of time till it comes to your child’s school.

Here’s what the world would look like if women were in charge.

Towns would be clean, safe and beautiful. Homes would be well-constructed and completely safe for families.

Due to the lack of expensive wars, the progress of human kind would have flowed much smoother and faster. By now, we would have prolific space travel. We might have colonies on a number of different planets.

Our geniuses would have come up with incredible inventions that we can’t even imagine. And we would have many more geniuses. All those people that were killed by disease and war might have lived and gone on to produce amazing art, music and technology.

The difference that women would have made is incalculable. We are much kinder, gentler creatures – or we used to be. We’ve been greatly affected by all the above mentioned events. Even female leaders in government and industry strive to become more like their male counterparts because they want to be respected.

Women often don’t believe they can succeed without becoming just like the men they sometimes hate.

I hope God will consider re-creating the earth and mankind once this current Age is over and the world finally ends. This time, I would like to see women in charge of everything with men as their subordinates.  Until then, we can only speculate about what it would be like. I think it would be so much like heaven that people might never want to die and leave the earth.

But then, women would probably come up with some unique formula that eliminates disease and causes us to live for hundreds of years.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

“Please Be Fresh!” I Screamed At A Loaf of Bread

Lest you think I’m crazy, let me tell you the backstory. I discovered Croissants a while back so I try to get them at least monthly.

For this week’s menu, I bought a big hen to boil and make chicken salad. I bought lots of fruit. My menu plan was a chicken salad sandwich on croissant and a bowl of fresh fruit each day. This is one of my favorite meals.

I ordered my groceries from a new place this time: – They promised great prices and free delivery on all the products I know and love. I shouldn’t really fall for these marketing ploys since I often write these ads myself for a living.

Anyway, when the store employee went to gather my groceries, he marked the store as “OUT” of croissants. I’ve never been to Walmart when they were completely out. They usually have 4, 6, and 8 packs of large and small croissants. My Shipt shopper would have notified me by text message so I could make a different selection, but this guy just skipped it.

So that left me with a big juicy chicken that was ready to be made into chicken salad and no bread for a sandwich.

So finally after a few days of trying to make do, I ordered from Shipt. I asked for croissants but noted that if they were out, just bring a loaf of Mrs. Bairds bread. So she brought me a 12 pack of mini croissants. I was so excited. Finally, I could get my chicken salad on croissant. I went to work peeling apples and washing grapes for my fruit bowl (my life is so simple and boring).

Then I opened the package. These croissants had the gray look of bread going bad. I checked the expiry date. It was the 25th and that was yesterday. So I knew the croissants were very close to growing their own hair.

*Deep Sigh* - I made a sandwich anyway with them but it wasn’t great.

Last night 7-11 sent me an email telling me I could get free delivery if I’d sign up for their new service. 7-11 has bread and milk, I thought, so why not? I signed up and then today I placed my order.

A young guy brought me my stuff from 7-11 just a few minutes ago. I was kind of impressed because he didn’t have to call me to find my apartment. This complex has no sign on building 7—only on buildings 6 and 8.

Delivery drivers usually call me and say, “I see building 6 and building 8, but I don’t see building 7.”

Of course, I’m a smart ass, so I typically reply, “Well, just think about it a minute. Where do you think the builders would have put building 7? Do you think they just forgot to build it? Or could it be between buildings 6 and 8?”

Just because there’s no sign, doesn’t mean there’s no building. I’m deeply concerned about the intelligence of our young generation.

Anyway, I took the bag of groceries from the dude, thanked him and then laid it on the kitchen counter. I pulled the bread out, which the guy had tried his best to crush, and that’s when I yelled, “Please Be Fresh!”

It was. The expiry date was November 5th so I quickly made myself a chicken salad sandwich before anything else could happen. It was good.

I ordered Cheetos too. Why are Cheetos so addictive? They must be coating them with some kind of orange colored cocaine. I ordered a Pepsi too but don’t tell my doctor. He gets a really ugly look on his face if I mention drinking any type of carbonated beverage. Then he reminds me that all cola products have 16 teaspoons of sugar.

I tried my best not to think of his words so I could enjoy my Pepsi! But it didn’t work. I only drank about a third of it, then put the rest back in the fridge. At least I got my sandwich though. I’m thinking of throwing all those croissants out in the courtyard. We have lots of birds and rabbits here.

They probably don’t know or care about expiration dates. I envy them!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Blackberry Jam, Tomatoes Grown in Raised Beds, And Other Things Grown on a Farm

All my life, I’ve been a farmer at heart. I recall being 8 years old at my Granny’s farm in East Texas. Me and Grampa would walk around the yard and pick up string. (I still have a ball of it) But in springtime, we’d go out by the abandoned house that was on our 54 acres and me and Grampa would build a raise bed to grow tomatoes alongside one side of the house.

This bed ran for about 20 feet and was about one foot off the ground. Grampa used the side of the house for the back side and then long boards like 1x12’s to go down the front and the ends were just built out of scrap wood. Once you get the boards up and fastened together, you attach them to the house so they’re stable, then you can start filling them with soil.

The soil on my Gran’s farm is sandy loam, so we had to add some store-bought soil to get it right for tomatoes. Once you have all soil in the bed, then fertilize it. Mix it all together and water it real good. Then the next day, you’re ready to plant your little tomato plants or seeds. If you start early enough in the season, you can get seeds to do pretty well.

Grampa put together some pieces of old window glass to make a covering for the beds. He said this would keep out insects and create a sauna-like atmosphere where the plants would grow much faster. He was right. My grandpa knew everything about farming and I was always tagging along, saying, “Grampa, why are we doing this? What’s this for?”

Glad he was patient. We grew some pretty delicious tomatoes for a few years there. They were so yummy. There are NO tomatoes today that taste as good as homegrown. Today’s tomatoes have thick skins you can’t eat, the insides taste funny…I just don’t enjoy them at all.

But If I ever buy my gran’s farm and move there, I’m going to build raised tomato beds, put glass over the tops to keep insects out and create a moist humid atmosphere. And then my tomatoes will taste like they did in the olden days. We always had such a big crops of some of the things we grew that we’d have to can them.

Granny would make jams and jellies out of the blackberries and strawberries. But she would put up the peas and tomatoes in Kerr Jars. I’ve forgotten a long time ago how to do that so I just blanch mine, then cool them and place them in freezer bags. I think they taste just as good and keep for just as long.