Friday, August 22, 2014

The Butter Files: Back to School Shopping

My youngest starts school next week.  We have not bought one single practical thing.  We have bought a very exclusive set of Pokemon cards and a Pokeman Ball.  You can't start school without some winning Pokemon cards, according to littleb.

When I was a kid we went back-to-school shopping every August. One year, my step mom gave my grandmother some money and asked her to take me shopping.  I loved my grandmother to pieces and we were both quite happy with this arrangement.  We hopped in the car and headed for the K-mart.  We bought the obligatory under garments and socks, gotta have those, and then we started perusing the aisles for clothing in my size.  Everything was boring.  There wasn't anything special enough for the third grade.  Not until, that is, my eyes lit on something that stood out.  Something in the purple family.  I separated it from its dull pedestrian neighbors and held it up against my body.

It was purple pant suit perfection.  The entire garment was constructed of the finest machine knit fabric that Taiwan could produce.  Even then I could spot a quality garment.  The tunic-styled top was purple with a gold belt knitted into the waistline.  How practical!  The pants were, you guessed it, purple.  I couldn't believe my luck.  How could this fashion-forward treasure still be hanging on the rack at the end of August?  It was fate, obviously.

We bought it immediately.  It took all of the rest of our money and my grandmother paused, but I wheedled and pushed.  I needed that pant suit like a chimney sweep needs a chimney. That pant suit was my ticket into the elite world of Mrs. Yates' third grade classroom.  This much comfort and style would propel me to dizzying intellectual heights, and the stretchy knit fabric would allow me to run faster than a fifth grader on the playground.   I was finally ready for third grade.  "Bring it", my 8-year-old inner twerp proclaimed.

I was perplexed when my step-mom didn't seem to consider our shopping expedition a resounding success.  I proudly emptied my one small shopping bag on the couch and held up my first-day-of-school ensemble.  She seemed confused.  She looked at the bag. Then she looked at my grandmother. Then she looked at the bag.  Then her face kind of fell as I stood there, beaming, with the purple pantsuit clutched against my skinny frame.

I was intuitive enough to know something was wrong.  I was smart enough to keep it to myself. No need to stir up a nest of hornets which might, possibly, result in the return of my outfit, so I just stood there, resolutely, beaming and petting my tunic. I pointed out how the belt was built into the garment, how the color was so grand, and how warm the knit fabric would be in the crisp fall weather.  I willed her to see how this outfit would make me a better third-grader.

On picture day that year-in fact, on most days that year-I was a pig-tailed, fleet-footed, speed-reading, rock-stealing, purple-wearing beauty.

I think this must be the way littleb feels about his Pokemon cards.

Chicken out

P.S.  Sorry.  Those records are sealed.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I talk to dead people....

No, I still haven't heard from George, but I do talk to dead people all of the time.  My parents passed away a few years back.   When they were still alive we lived several states apart and I did not see them often-a few times a year.  In addition, we are part of an older generation who didn't communicate regularly.  It's partially due to a lack of technology during my young adult years, combined with long-distance phone charges, but even so,  it wasn't our way to be in constant contact.  Things are different now-I talk to my older kids who have flown the nest most days, at least by text.  If I had called my parents daily, however, they would have been a little perplexed and possibly annoyed.  I can see them thinking, "Yes, it's a nice day but what the hell do you want?  I'm busy here, for Pete's sake!"

Now that they are dead, however, I talk to them all the time.  I talk to them about my kids, the family, decisions I'm considering, the song on the radio, memories, lessons learned, and the direction I'm traveling in.  Literally.  I am always asking them to help me get un lost.  My father is especially good at party tricks, so for awhile I'd ask him for stuff, needing the constant reassurance that he was still paying attention.

"Dad, if you are there, can you give me a Jim Croce song?"

"Hey, Dad, gimme a sign, gimme a sign!"

"Okay Dad, this is totally random, but how about a good deal on cream-colored, 3-inch heeled pumps?"

In death, as in life, he has never let me down.   I've stopped asking for things, though, because one day it occurred to me that there may be a cost for these things that I'm not aware of.  No, I don't imagine there's a monetary exchange system where they are, but I can imagine some kind of energy exchange, and I don't want to tax his resources

Grieving is personal and different for everyone.  Talking to my dead people is what comforts me.  It's also quite handy when I'm talking myself into something.  A purchase, perhaps,  or an extra slice of pizza.  I could call my husband, step mom, or my best friend, but they might have an opinion.  An opinion that may not serve my purposes.  My dead people, on the other hand, want me to have these things. If they didn't, I assume they would send a sign.  In fact, they are a lot less judgemental now than they were as mere humans.  I've heard heaven does that to a person.

Chicken out

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

All aboard the yellow submarine....

Three odd things have happened.

The first odd thing is that I seem to be dressing like the Beatles, circa their Nehru jackets and love beads stage.  I'm not sure why this is and I didn't recognise it until the second thing happened.

The second odd thing is that Ringo Starr came to visit me in a dream.  Maybe you're saying, "What's so odd about that?  I dream about Ringo all the time." Maybe you were a swooning fan back in the day.  Or maybe you are a retro Beatles fan now.  I am apathetic towards  the Beatles.  I never understood the attraction.  Ringo dropping by for a visit?  Out of the blue?  Well, that's weird for me. That's like having a rabid dingo show up in my dream.  I just don't think about Ringo Starr or dingos.

The third odd thing that has happened is that my i-pad seems to have adjusted its spell check to the English version.   It wants me to type an "s" where there should be a "z" and to put "e" where normally I'd type "a".

What is the meaning of all this?  I don't know.

Well. Actually. I do have a theory...

I think George Harrison may be trying to channel a message through me.  As I mentioned, I've never been a Beatles fan, but I did have a favourite Beatle, just the same, and it was George.  George was rather beautiful and wrote most of the Beatles songs I did actually like.  In my humble opinion, George was the real talent in that foursome.  Also, he is the Beatle credited with their Nehru jacket phase.  It makes sense that if George were trying to channel through me, I might suddenly develop a fondness for Nehru jacket dressing.  Why he would send Ringo for a visit and not come himself is a bit of a mystery.  Is the message I'm meant to deliver intended for Ringo?

I'm not sure what it all means but as soon as the message comes through, I'll be back to let you know.

What is it George?  What are you trying to say?


Chicken out

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I've had my fill of shrimp dip...

My  sister makes a great shrimp  dip.  She brought a bucket of her crowd-pleasing shrimp dip to my party and now she wants to leave.  She wants me to keep the left over shrimp dip but she wants her tupperware.   She wants me to drop everything and search the cupboards for a bowl for her shrimp dip.

I do not want the shrimp dip because the vacation house does not have a garbage disposal.  I know this shrimp dip is going to end up in the garbage.  I do not care how good this shrimp dip is, we've all had enough bloody dip.  Just because we are vacationing  on the ocean does not mean we want to smell rotting shrimp dip all week.

"No, that's okay", I say, "You take it. We've got a lot of food already."

My sister insists I keep the shrimp dip.   "I can't bring it home.  I'll eat it."

My sister seems to be implying that if she eats the shrimp dip, she'll get fat, but if she leaves it here and we eat it, no one will get fat. Apparently, this excellent shrimp dip becomes magically void of calories when left behind.

"You  know what, I can't seem to find a bowl.", I say.

"Found one!", she yells, waving a cereal bowl over her head.

"But I don't have any Saran Wrap.", I say, "Just take it with you, honestly, it's so nice of you but we have plenty of food."

"Oh.  I think you could just leave it uncovered in the fridge until you get some.", she says.

"No, it might spill.  Better you should take it with you."

"Oh, look!", she says, "See this plate?  I'm going to put the plate over the bowl, and then I'm going to put the bowl in the crisper, that way  no one will knock it over by mistake.  Problem  solved!"

"Okay."  I sigh, resigned to shrimp dip smelliness, as the voice inside my head screams, "For the love of Pete, I don't want your fucking shrimp dip!  Why come you cannot hear me?"

"I just know how much everyone loves this dip.", my sister says, oblivious or triumphant, I can't tell.  "In fact, let me write down the recipe for you.  Do you have any paper?  And a pen?"

I'd share the recipe but I seem to have misplaced it.

Chicken  out

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hello Monday

It's not so good to see you, Monday.  I liked last Monday better.  Last Monday, I didn't get rudely awakened at 5 a.m.  Last Monday, I didn't make a work lunch or go to work.  Instead, I hiked to a lighthouse and combed the beach for sea glass. Last Monday, I didn't catch up with a single client but did catch up with friends and family.  Last Monday I didn't log into my fitness pal.  Instead, I ate cheese, chips with dip, and drank all the wine I could handle.  Possibly a little more than that.  And Monday?  Last Monday I didn't once think, "Can't wait for Friday".  I was only thinking about Monday, glorious Monday, with a whole week of vacation still left to enjoy.

So you see, Monday, I hope, that it's not personal.  First day back to work Monday can't possibly compete with first day of vacation Monday.  But still, you're not so bad.  Really.  You look cute today.