Category Archives: Uncategorized

Captain of the Universe

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To The Super-Cool Man Driving The Fabulous, Dark Blue, Convertible Porsche —

 

 

Thank you!  Words nearly fail, but I will try to come up with a few.  Thank you!    

 

As soon as I saw you, I could tell that you were super-cool and important, just by looking at you and your car.  I  could tell that you had someplace very important to go and very important things to do when you got there.  In fact, you might very well have already been conducting some sort of very important business (possibly in the financial markets?) on your phone (hands free, of course) as you sped along in your very impressive vehicle.

 

And there I was, at 8:30 in the morning, sitting in my car, stopped at a crosswalk , waiting for a pedestrian to cross.  There you were, driving down the street behind me, in your shiny, fine-tuned machine.  No, not driving.  Racing.  You were RACING down the street in my residential neighborhood, in a vehicle that exuded power and all kinds of masculine charisma.

 

At first, I didn’t notice you – I was focusing on the crossing pedestrian that, as it turns out, was a friend, and you were behind me.

 

But then, I sensed you there.  I looked in my rear view, and there you were, like some sort of jungle cat, speeding along behind me, growing larger every instant.

 

Thank you!  At that moment, thanks to you, I was able to experience something we so seldom encounter now, in our modern lives.  I was taken back to our primordial days on the savannah.   I felt the intense adrenaline rush of pure fear of the oncoming danger.  You were not stopping or even slowing down.  You were going to hit me.  This might be it!

 

And then, you swerved, demonstrating the impressive handling of your automotive miracle, as well as your masculine calm and control, in your mastery of the situation. You moved into the turn lane next to me while slamming on the brakes.  I watched as the pedestrian experienced the same rush as me, as she saw you coming and stepped back, her eyes round with awe (and fear).  

 

 

Thank you!  She and I, thanks to you, had the opportunity to experience the delicious throb of the adrenaline as we realized how close we came, and then realized we were still alive.  Too bad that you did not come along just a few minutes earlier, because then you might have been able to share this life-affirming experience with some school children, crossing on their way to school.  Oh, well, their loss.

 

You then, rolled down your window and apologized — apologized for putting us all in danger, apologized for being thoughtless and self-absorbed.  And asked if we were ok.  You asked if we were alright after this thrilling, exciting, terrifying experience.

 

Oh wait, that’s right! This last part didn’t happen.  You did not apologize.  In fact, when I pulled forward, even with you, you gave me a bored, irritated gesture to go ahead.  “For God’s sake, move along, lady!” you seemed to say.

 

In fact, maybe I should apologize to YOU.  As I said, it was perfectly apparent how important you are.  You CLEARLY are more important then the pedestrian and me, as well as everyone else on the road.  It was probably quite galling to you that people like us were holding you up in your progress through your very important day.  It must be incredibly irritating to have mere mortals like us doing annoying things like crossing at the cross walk and, God forbid, stopping for those crossing in the crosswalk.

 

So I apologize, and thank you for this life changing experience.

 

Trust me.  I will never forget you and your awesome blue Porsche.

 

 

 Sally

 

 

 

P.S.  Please make sure that you always have collision insurance.  Thanks again.

 

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Baby, The Rain Must Fall

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As it turns out, for me, the rain has to fall on the first Monday of summer vacation.

Thanks, Mother Nature.

Have I mentioned that I live in California? We don’t cotton much to the idea of rain in June in these parts. We find it highly disruptive of our blue sky, sunny and warm-every-day summer plans.

I mean, really! How are we supposed to go to the pool?

This morning, the title of this post popped into my head about the time I actually realized that it was raining.

As an aside, this is another thing we do in California. We completely ignore the weather report that suggests it will rain, instead focusing on the picture of the sunny tomorrow we have in our head. This makes California a very interesting place to live, as we spend much of our time in shock and disbelief of the reality that is hitting us in the face. As in “It is raining! Can you believe it is raining? I just cannot believe that it is raining in June! On the first Monday of summer vacation! Can you BELIEVE it? Wow. Rain. In June. Unbelievable!”

Anyway, back to the title. This comes from a poem, right? One of those things from my English Major-y past bubbles up from the recesses of my brain. Longfellow?

No, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was just not the “baby” type.

Steve McQueen movie? Ah, that’s it. He was much more the “baby” type.

 

 

 

But don’t call him no damn good –not in front of her!

And why is Lee Remick hanging on to that post? Is it because someone is calling Steve McQueen no damn good behind her? Who knows?

By the way, this is how my brain works. There is all kinds of stuff floating around in there, some of it pretty cool, a lot of it kind of useless. And there is no organization in there whatsoever. Well, actually, there is organization, but it is so cattywampus that it makes sense only to me.

For example, Steve McQueen and Longfellow are in the same file.

It is labeled “Rain.”

Go figure.

Anyway, I know there is still a Longfellow connection (just minus the baby).

Here it is:

THE RAINY DAY

HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;

It rains, and the wind is never weary;

The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,

But at every gust the dead leaves fall,

And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;

It rains, and the wind is never weary;

My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,

But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,

And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;

Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;

Thy fate is the common fate of all,

Into each life some rain must fall,

Some days must be dark and dreary.

That Longfellow was a pretty perceptive fellow.

I have several friends and family members who are going through days that are dark and dreary, with those rain clouds pouring down right on their heads. It is without rhyme or reason, with no regard for whether it is the first day of their summer vacation or not. And just to be clear, I am not talking about rain. It sucks.

Puts my rainy Monday summer day into perspective.

Thanks for making me grateful for a little rain, Longfellow and Steve McQueen!

And, really, can you believe that it rained today?

Sally

What Have You Been Up To?

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You might think, based upon the title, that this blog entry is going to be an explanation of what I have been doing in the period of my 6-month plus radio silence.

You are wrong.

Instead, I am going to talk about two of my least favorite words in the English language.

Up to.

These two innocent words can be so sneaky when used together.

Up to.

You see, I like to shop.

No…I LOVE to shop.

My husband does not understand this at all.

To him shopping is not a pastime.  It is a necessary evil.  Like pumping gas or standing in line at the post office.

He just does not understand.

He does not understand the thrill of the hunt.  He does not understand the heart-pumping excitement of finding an item that one has been stalking for months on the (be still my heart!) CLEARANCE RACK!  Marked down!  And with a big sign that really gets one’s blood up – 50% OFF!   Fifty percent!  50%!   5-0! OFF!   One of the BEST  phrases in the English language!  Why, they will have to practically pay us to take the object of our hunt!  WE CANNOT LET THIS GET AWAY!

My husband just does not understand how this experience feeds some primitive need — serves some primal instinct.

Like the lioness on the African savannah, we circle our prey, slowly, stealthily, careful to not alert any of the surrounding predators of our target.

And then …. we pounce. We have it!

We have captured our elusive prey!  We have winnowed out the weak member of the herd!  The one that is 50% off!

We proudly carry our catch up to the cashier (well, not in our mouths like a lioness, but still with the same air of satisfaction in having achieved our ultimate, inborn, carnal purpose).

And then … up to.

Not 50% off.

UP TO 50% off.

We have been outflanked.

Our prey is not the weak, 50% off link we had thought.  Our prey is a decoy.   It is only 25% off.  The prey gets away (because there is no way we will make a purchase at less than 50% off), like a gazelle bounding away across the plain, free to be stalked again on another day.   And the lioness prowls home to her den, empty-handed,  muttering “Up to! Grrrrrr.”

This is why I hate the phrase “Up to.”

And still, due to my long absence you might be compelled to ask, “What have you been up to?”

Isn’t it obvious?

I have been at the mall.

Sally

When Will I Ever Learn …?

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My September 11

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Yesterday caused a lot of memories to bubble up.  The vast majority of these were memories of the suffering and pain of others.  You see, I, like most of us, experienced September 11, 2001 as an observer.  Most of the tears I shed were for the pain and suffering of others.  I wasn’t there, I didn’t lose anyone I knew.  My heart broke for those that did, but this was not what changed me.

 

Fear.

 

That is what changed me.  I believe that it is what changed all of us.  I also believe that it was the part of the whole experience that we most wanted to forget.

 

My September 11, 2001, started when I got my two-year-old son up and brought him into bed with me after my husband left for work.  This was pretty typical.  I wasn’t working that day (back then I had my own law practice, but only worked part-time), so we could laze in bed for hours after my early-rising husband left.

 

Some time later, the phone rang.  It was my husband.  “Turn on the TV,” he said.  “Something has happened in New York.”

 

A plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.  It was awful.  My brother was a pilot for United Airlines.  I found plane crashes particularly upsetting.  This was reportedly an American flight.  It was just awful, but I was relieved that my brother could not have been involved.

 

It was terrible to see, the flames and smoke marring the blue sky.  Those poor people.

 

I held my sleeping son closer.

 

Then, before all of our eyes, a second plane hit.

 

This was something different all together.

 

That was when I started to feel fear.  Someone was attacking us.  It was on purpose.  And all of those people in the towers.  People were jumping.  How terrified would you have to be before you would jump?  I was sobbing and clutching my son.

 

Then they announced that the second plane was a United flight.

 

Could it have been my brother piloting a high jacked plane?  What would he have felt?  How scared would he be right up until impact?  Oh my god.

 

Then they came on with more news.  Another plane had hit the Pentagon.

 

I kept thinking over and over, as I looked at my son, “You will live in a different world.  The world will forever be different now.”  We were being attacked, and who knew when it would end and where it would stop.

 

By this time, there were so many horrors, I don’t remember in what order they happened.  One tower collapsed, clearly burying so many people inside, including the firefighters and police officers who were there to help people.  Another highjacked plane crashed in field in Pennsylvania, this one another United flight.  The second tower collapsed.

 

I watched it all, in disbelief.  It just couldn’t all be happening.

 

At some point, my mother called.  She had heard from my brother.  He was safe, and in San Francisco.    I was so relieved.  This made me feel guilty.  Clearly so many people had died.  But not my brother.

 

I stayed glued to the television.  For days I watched the hundreds and hundreds of stories of horror and loss and heroism covered by the press.

 

We learned that a college student who worked at our local Chilis was on one of the flights.  A local man was one of the heroes on Fight 93, and one of the pilots grew up nearby.  Theirs were stories among thousands.  Too much to comprehend.

 

My brother was grounded in San Francisco for days.  I took my son and we drove up to see him.  He was staying at the St. Francis on Union Square.  The city seemed empty.  Union Square was vacant.  I had never seen it like that.

 

When we met him in the lobby of the hotel, he was standing holding a piece of paper.  It was a fax from United, listing the United personnel who had been killed.  The co-pilot on one of the flights was someone my brother knew.  My brother had been one of his flight instructors in the military, and they had become reacquainted when this pilot had joined United.

 

I had never seen my brother look like this.

 

We went to get something to eat, though nobody was hungry.  We went to The Cheesecake Factory.  It was completely empty.  We ate without tasting the food, but we were glad that we were together.  My son was a good distraction since, at two, he had no idea what had happened.

 

Eventually, a day or two later, my brother got in a plane and flew away.  I don’t know how he was able to do that.

 

After that, I just remember days and days of tears and fear and, mostly, the numbness.  People vacantly walked through the grocery store because they had to get things, but they couldn’t remember what.  It didn’t seem right to talk.  We just did what we had to and got out as soon as possible.

 

We didn’t know what else would happen.  We were afraid to go to public places or to gather in groups.  That year we were afraid to trick or treat on Halloween — it just didn’t seem right.  We didn’t want to take the kids to Halloween gatherings at the mall or downtown.  At some point, Anthrax scares started. It was all very bewildering.

 

I worried about the world in which my son would live.  Would he grow up afraid?  He wouldn’t remember any of this, but I just assumed that more incidents would happen and that the terror would go on and on.

 

Gradually, though,  the fear was buried.  Our ordinary lives went back to the ordinary.  I know I started to worry less about how our lives had changed, and more about the day to day things.

 

After the first of the new year, I got pregnant.  I started to feel hopeful about things.  We were no longer afraid to go out.  Gradually, we pushed all the fears down inside, and could read about the war on terror without shaking.

 

My nephew (the son of my pilot brother) joined the army and went to Iraq.  Mercifully, he came back.

 

Now, ten years have passed since the attacks.   Our lives have changed in innumerable ways, but, as it often is with fear, not in many of the ways I feared.  My children know about September 11,  but it is a distant thing to them.  They don’t worry that it will happen here.  It is something that happened a long time ago.  They know about “the war” but don’t feel affected by it on a daily basis.

 

And, when my son watched a program about September 11 yesterday, he saw about specific loss to those many, many families directly affected.  He did not understand that, at least for a time, we all lived in incredible fear.  But I remember.

Long Time, No See

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Ok.  I admit it.  I dropped the ball.

 

It has been a while since you heard from me.

 

You probably hadn’t noticed.

 

What have I been doing?   Umm.  I don’t exactly know.  I mean, I’ve been conscious most of the time, and I haven’t suffered any sort of blow to the head or trauma induced amnesia or anything.  But I still can’t really come up with a super compelling list of really obvious achievements that have kept me from my newish blogging endeavor.  Nor can I even come up with an uncompelling list.

 

I’ve just been busy.

 

Right this moment, I feel the way you do when you are a stay at home mom (which I am) and people who have known you to work in the past  say things like “Now what do you do with all of your time?”  or “What have you found to keep yourself busy?”

 

I just love when people say stuff like this to me.

 

Especially older people.  For some reason, older people say this a lot.

 

And people who don’t have kids.  Maybe the old people who say these things are just far enough away from having kids that they don’t remember what it was like when they were raising them.  The people who don’t have kids just don’t have any idea.

 

They don’t know the secret.

 

Kids are black holes.  They can suck in all of the energy around them and it just disappears.  They can rip a hole in the time/space continuum.  They can bring matter and anti-matter together which can cause an explosion that endangers the very existence of the universe.  You know, all that stuff that happened on Star Trek.

 

I’m no Carl Sagen.  But I know this is true.

 

Luckily, kids only have this impact on their own parents.

 

It isn’t just the kids, though.  It is everything that comes with them.  It is the soccer practices and the batting lessons and the homework and the school paperwork and the grown out clothes and the new clothes they need and the stories they want to tell you and the stories they don’t want to tell you and the playdates and the heart breaks and the pierced ears and the new bikes and the name calling and the squabbling and the tattling and the messy rooms and the picked up rooms and the school lunches and the forgotten PE clothes and the achievements and the failures…

 

I had better stop.  That sentence is a run on.

 

It also might, in itself, cause a rip in the time/space continuum.

 

Oh, wait.  It already has.  Suddenly it is time  to go pick up my daughter from school.

 

To be continued …

 

… in  Long Time, No See II, wherein I describe why it is absolutely worth every moment of intergalactic instability because having kids is the best thing on earth.

Sally

That’s Why It’s Called A Reservation

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I’m mad.  That might be too strong.  I’m frustrated.  Not strong enough.  I’m pissed.


That’s it.


Let me share the source of my frustration.  (Maybe that was right after all — saying “let me share the source of my piss” just doesn’t sound right.)


I decided I wanted to buy a reasonably priced (that is for my husband), small (also for my husband) chest to put  on the landing at the top of our stairs.  I had been looking for one for some time, but hadn’t found one that was just right.  Then, the other day, there it was,  in the window of a nationally known retailer that shall remain nameless.  Oh, all right.  I know you really want to know.  It was Pier One.


The chest is perfect.  Right size, right price, right color.  I even like it.  Dare I say it?  I actually think I am in love!


Anyway, there I am, dream chest before me.  Of course, I have the kids with me and I am driving my convertible VW Beetle.  Not the time or circumstance in which to buy a chest, a dream one or not.


I have come across this dream chest a few days before my kids go back to school.  I am occupied with other things.  I do not manage to get my chest for a few days.


School starts.  Yeah!  I have time to  discover that Pier One (since we are naming names) has a wonderful and handy new program whereby you can pick out things online (say, for example, your dream chest) and then pick them up in the store.  How miraculous!


What do you know?  There is my lovely dream chest online, and, of the stores in my area, there is only one that has it in stock.  And it is at the store nearest me!  Hallelujah!  And, dream of all dreams, it has gone on clearance!  Further price reduction!  I reserve my own special dream chest.  We are meant for each other and I am happy.


Now, a few logistical issues arise.  I still cannot pick up my chest in my Buggie.  We also have a Suburban, but one of my college-age stepsons calls, and he has need of  it.  He must be put off, however, because I need it to pick up my dream chest.


The second day of school, the sun rises and I awake, anticipating the perfection that will be my landing, once I have my chest of dreams.  Every time I walk by its spot, I picture it there, and think about how happy we will be together.


I clear out the Suburban (because its main purpose is to serve as supplementary storage), and I am off to Pier One, all anticipation and exhilaration.


It is like the predictable plot of the Victorian melodrama.  I don’t need to recount every step.  You already know what I find when I get to the store.


They have already sold my dream chest to another.


But really, they assure me, I did not want that one.  It was scratched and damaged, and I am far better off to be without it.  It would have only brought me grief and pain.


They can, however, introduce me to a new dream.  And they will use their new online system to put it on hold for me.  In Fremont.  Which is 45 minutes away.


I will let you know how that one turns out.   But I am no longer in love.

Sally