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My girlfriend recently opened a Shoppe. It’s quaint, eclectic and most of all fabulous. It has always been her dream and now it is her reality. It’s the type of shop you go in, look around a hundred times and still discover new items. On my most recent trip I found my monkey. It was on a coffee table behind a vase. I think he was hiding. There was something about him that instantly caught my attention. He’s carved out of dark mahogany wood which happens to me my favorite; I love the richness in color. He’s in a sitting position but his back is hunched. There is a smooth pouch on his lap. It reminds me of a kangaroo’s pouch. One arm falls to his side and circles around the bottom, no hand is visible. The design of the piece is fluent so you don’t really miss the hand. The other arm curves into the pouch as if the monkey is reaching inside for something. His face is serene. Eyes are closed, mouth is relaxed and he appears as if he is meditating. “I love him,” I called out to my friend. I held him for a moment and thought about where I would put him, “I just don’t know where I would put him.” I proceeded to say.  My girlfriend’s mother was standing behind the counter and laughed when I said this. “If you really love something you will find a place to put it.” Her words stuck with me. Instead of setting the monkey down, I kept him with me as I browsed.  I ended up purchasing him and knew the mother was right. I would find him a perfect spot. On the drive home I chatted with my sister-in-law about my monkey. “I think monkeys symbolize something,” I said. We both racked our brains but couldn’t recall what, if anything, they represented.  It was when I got home and spoke to my older sister the light bulb came on. I was so excited to show her my monkey and see what she thought. She held him for a second and studied him a bit. She handed him back and asked “What, do you have a monkey on your back?”  It was in that moment I knew why I was drawn to him. I recently quit smoking, which was no easy feat. I have always considered it my demon. I have heard other’s refer to the addiction as having a monkey on your back.  Aha, I was taking the monkey off of my back and setting him on the table to act as my reminder. I found him a new spot. I was still curious to know what a monkey symbolized. I searched until I found. A monkey symbolizes benevolence or charity and can ward off evil spirits. How perfect, my monkey is no longer my demon but the very thing that scares the demon away. There will be days I want to give in to my craving but hopefully my monkey sitting upon my coffee table will remind me of the great deal of time I spent trying to get him off of my back. It would be silly to ask him to jump back on and besides now he gives my home some character.  

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 Thirteen Things about Maribeth

Wow 8 things yesterday 13 things today. You are going to get sick of me. I will get back to real writing soon.

This week I decided to choose 13 articles of clothing or anything that has to do with attire that I remember loving or still love.

Here we go

1....Red and white leather Nike sneakers (I slept with them)

2....Coca-Cola sweatshirt (It was a knock off)

3....Jordache jeans (they were a hand-me-down)

4....Fake Jean pumps (heels) at thirteen I'm sure I looked ridiculous

5....Gap Jean Jacket (One of the best purchases ever made)

6.... Cut off jean shorts (I thought I was soooo cool)

7....Rolled up sweat pants (again cool)

8....A hand-made leather bracelet with my name engraved in it

9....Vera Bradley purses

10....Black and white saddle shoes (I still think these are pretty cool for little girls)

11....My b-day dress I wore for my 30th

12....A pair of black and grey Steve Madden slipper like shoes (I wore them to death)

13. A pair of Drew-cut pants by the Limited

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

I have been tagged by the Writer Mama

1. I am very down to earth and sometimes think I would have made a good flower child

2. My father is full blooded Italian and his parents had an arranged marriage which produced 13 children

3. I often daydream about having my first published book. I get inspired by women such as The Writer Mama. I hope my children witness me achieve my dreams so they know theirs are possible

4. I have never been on an airplane. I had two cousins that were killed by Mac trucks a few years apart. Thus, I am afraid to death to drive on a highway. I make a good passenger though

5. I envision myself waking up every morning to do yoga, but the reality is I do it once every couple of months

6. I love any type of hair accessory, especially hair bands

7. I have a collection of angels. Each of them has been given to me and represents the person who gave them

8. My mother’s family is rumored to be descendant’s of Ernest Hemingway(Which might explain my love of writing)  

I tag

Peggy @waitstress.com

Noelle @wonderfullifeofblog

Audrey @ Pinksandblues

Sometimes dreams feel so real that it’s hard to believe they’re not once you awaken. Last night I had one of those dreams. When I woke up my cheeks were damp from tears I must have shed while dreaming. I dreamt someone I loved died. I can recall the emptiness I felt when I was told she was gone. It was as if I was drowning, but the water I was swimming in was life. I panicked and grabbed at air trying to pull the reality that I knew back into the reality I was now in. The same way a person would grasp for air to fill their lungs. But the air this person gave me was gone and my lungs collapsed, metaphorically speaking. I sat up in bed reassuring myself. I was relieved to enter back into the world I knew. I remembered the last image I saw in the dream. It was the girl walking out a door, I only caught a glimpse of her. By the time I saw her she was already on her way out and I knew she’d never return. A sentence kept repeating in my head which prompted me to write the following poem.

I caught a glimpse of her, she didn’t see me.

She carried a bag and walked through the door, it was her exit.

She wouldn’t be coming back

Her silhouette glided

The light of her existence turned black.

Like a hole with nothing I am empty.I reached for her, she never knew.

She was gone. She passed through the door and entered eternity 

I recently joined Thursday Thirteen. It’s a blogging site that encourages all bloggers to list 13 different things about themselves come Thursdays. I had some trouble getting the code copied onto my blog correctly.

If you wish to visit their site to learn more about Thursday Thirteen click on the highlighted area

My First 13-I decided to list 13 writers I have been inpsired by. There is no specific genre -writers of all kinds have made me want to be able to do the same.

My List

1. Ernest Hemingway

2. Erma Bombeck

3. Edgar Allan Poe

4. Shel Silvestein

5. Mitch Album

6. Robert Frost

7. Ray Bradbury

8. Lois Duncan

9. Judy Blume

10. Francine Pascal

11. Sylvia Cassedy

12.Geoffrey Chaucer

13. Danielle Steel

As you can tell my tastes vary. These author’s at one time or another touched me with their words and planted a seed. A seed that continues to grow each day with each word I now write.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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Thirteen Things about YOUR NAME

1…. Start your list here!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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The one thing I enjoy the most about getting older is discovering me. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what it is that makes me, Me. I’ve taken many tests (color tests, personality tests, numerology-you name it) to try and come up with a sense of who exactly I am. I’ve always been pleasantly surprised at the end of one of these tests. Because they helped explain the person I already knew I was but couldn’t put into words. When you understand who you are and what makes you tick or smile, you live life a bit fuller. Recently, I realized that I am a true competitor. It’s not other people I enjoy competing with, it’s, myself. For as long as I could remember I always competed with myself. I challenge myself with the silliest unimportant things. An example of one of these situations happens while I am waiting tables. When I notice the customer is finished eating, I immediately ask if I could take the dishes away. Partly because I was trained to this (at the higher scale restaurant) and mainly because when they get up to leave the game begins. If I cannot clear the entire table with one swipe I get annoyed with myself. It’s not because I’m lazy and don’t want to return to the table to clear the rest. It’s because I know there’s a system that will allow me to completely clean the clutter in one shot. The cups we use are plastic and are easily stackable. The dishes all place inside each other neatly and silverware can be placed inside the red plastic cups. All seasonings can be placed in the bread-basket. If the basket becomes too full, I can stick a ketchup bottle or salt shaker inside my apron pocket. I bend my left arm and tuck the cups into the inside crease, which acts as a pocket. My left hand balances all dishes and with my right hand I gather all of the place mats, empty straw papers and any opened sugar packets. I throw all extra debris on top of one place mat and roll all of the garbage into a tube, which I then carry away with my right hand. When I see the table absolutely cleared I get a feeling of perfection. I walk away with a grin on my face. I just won the competition. Sometimes I even feel a bit smug. The times I begin to get over confident are usually shattered when one of the dishes fall to the floor turning every person’s eyes on me. I smirk then laugh at myself out of sheer embarrassment. My inner voice taunts me telling me I should have paid more attention to the way I balanced the plates. The funny thing is, I remember stacking the dishes and thinking I should probably fix this but then thought nah I’ll make it. The only thing I ended up making was noise. But I did learn another thing about myself. Sometimes I take shortcuts when really I should be enjoying the drive.  

Emergency rooms are filled with people waiting to be seen. As well as people waiting with the people waiting to be seen. On a busy night the brightly lit room can be the source for all kinds of characters. On Saturday night I observed many interesting people and wondered what stories they could tell. There was a teenager in a very short blue fleece robe. It was decorated with snowmen. Her hair was plopped on top of her head in a floppy ponytail. She struck up a conversation with another girl in interesting attire. The other girl was wearing baggy pants adorned with hot sauce bottles and a man’s loose-fitting white t-shirt. Because you sit in such close proximity of other’s in the waiting room you have no choice but to hear the conversations going on.  The girls talked about children and how many they planned on having. The robe girl said she would have seven. She didn’t care if anyone thought she was crazy. She wanted seven children because she was an only child and hated it. The hot sauce bottle girl explained she was pregnant but lost her baby. She was in the emergency room due to complications from a miscarriage. I listened a bit and played out scenarios for them in my mind. I pictured the robe girl with a screaming baby rested on her hip and another in a high-chair throwing food and wondered if she would really make it to seven. The hot sauce bottle girl had a bit of an edge to her. I envisioned her as the type of girl that ran the show and refused to take smack from anyone. What kind of mother’s will they become? I will never really know but I had fun making up a life for them. My attention shifted from them to an older man sitting by himself with his palm rested against his chin. I thought he looked familiar but couldn’t place where I saw him before. Worry and sadness painted his face. He was obviously concerned for whom ever it was he was waiting for. I later realized he was a customer of mine that frequently visited the restaurant. In front of him was a young couple. The boy scrunched down in his seat, his legs were spread out in a carefree fashion. He didn’t pay half as much attention to the girl as she did to him. She kept affectionately rubbing her hands against his legs. As if she was warning the other girls of his status. My eyes shifted to the floor and what caught my attention surprised me a bit. It was no longer faces I was studying. It was toes. Seven out of nine of the girls in the waiting room were wearing flip flops. There were casual flip flops, sequenced flip flops, flip flops with stripes and flip flops that have seen better days. And if there are flip flops then you know there must be toes. If you are going to wear flip flops I think you have an obligation to your toes or shall I say toe nails to keep them presentable. Don’t put flip flops on if your nails are curling past the skin of your toes. It does you an injustice. Wearing flip flops is like buying a house on an Avenue. You have a responsibility to keep them clean, primped and maybe even decorated. I know, the fact that you are in an emergency room may mean you didn’t have time to focus on what you were wearing. But keep in mind you probably will be waiting for hours. The other people in the waiting room with you have no choice but to focus on the other’s in the room at some point. I will remember the faces and toes of all of the people in the room that night. Mainly because of what they were wearing, whether it was a snowman robe, hot sauce pants or flip flops. They made a statement and didn’t even realize it. I wonder if someone else looked at what I was wearing and thought, what was she thinking? I was one of the two that didn’t have on flip flops. My toenails were not ready to be seen.  They needed an emergency room of their own, preferably one in a salon with a nice comfy chair and deep bubbly foot bath.  

 I am not embarrassed to say I love to waitress. I don’t feel inferior to those who have careers rather than jobs. I have the ability to carry on an educated conversation without sounding like I am pretending to know something. Which I have to say is a pet peeve of mine- A person who knows a little bit about something but tries to incorporate their knowledge of that something into most conversations. All that shows me is, they don’t know much about anything else. I know a little bit about a lot of things. And I have learned from the people I have waited on. They have taught me things I would have never learned in school. Lessons they learned from living life. A sweet man in his eighties instructed me to cherish all moments with my children. He told a story about dates he took with his daughter when she was a little girl. First he would take her shopping for a pretty dress. She would come out of the dressing room smiling. She would twirl around and loved a dress that would fan out and spin. From there they moved on to dinner. I could see the adoration in his eyes as he told the story. What I didn’t foresee was what he would tell me next. At eighteen his daughter was hit from behind by a Mac truck on a highway and she was killed. Remembering those dates with his daughter is what kept him going. When I get mad at my children and find myself annoyed I think of the lesson he taught me. He also advised me that my son will treat his wife the way he sees his father treat me. He said the best thing a father can do for his children is love his wife. I love that, and you better believe I passed that lesson right to my husband. An older woman who comes in solo most of the time educated me on the love a child has for their parents. From her I learned you are never too old to love your Mommy and Daddy. She is well into her seventies and loves to tell me stories of her youth and the time she spent with her parents. Her father taught her to garden and every time she speaks about him she refers to him as– my daddy. At first I thought it was odd that a seventy some year old woman would refer to her father as daddy. But then I saw in her eyes a little girl. The little girl she once was told it. I have waited on well educated people and people with no or little education. I am not knocking education because lord knows it is important to have. But education does not make you a good person or a smart tipper for that matter. I have had doctors tip me less than the men who mow their lawn. I have had teenagers tip me more than two of their teachers. I learned a lot about people from being a waitress. I know when to walk away or approach a table cautiously. When I see a certain glare in a woman’s eye directed at the man across the table. Every once in a while I am still fooled. And it can go either way. The couple who is dressed impeccably and speak so kindly and compliment the service I give hand me the bill with an embarrassing tip. I was sure they would have tipped well. Why you ask, because I fell for the polished well spoken version of a customer. In the end they didn’t pay well. I am ashamed to say I have looked at the man with dark blue mechanics uniform, dirty fingernails and thought “This one won’t be good.” It happened to be the best tip of the night. Most restaurants don’t require a degree upon hiring but I can guarantee by the time you leave a waitressing job you will be well educated in life.I do have a degree but waitressing is what allowed me to be home with my children and that is what is important to me.A friend of mine directed me to the writing below a while back and I loved reading it. It is about a Genius Waitress written by Tom Robbins. I wish I wrote it      

Of the genius waitress, I now sing.Of hidden knowledge, buried ambition, and secret
sonnets scribbled on cocktail napkins; of aching
arches, ranting cooks, condescending patrons, and eyes
diverted from ancient Greece to ancient grease; of
burns and pinches and savvy and spunk; of a uniquely
American woman living a uniquely American compromise,
I sing. I sing of the genius waitress.

Okay, okay, she’s probably not really a genius. But
she is well-educated. She has a degree in Sanskrit,
ethnoastronomy, Icelandic musicology, or something
equally valued in contemporary marketplace. Even if
she could find work in her chosen field, it wouldn’t
pay beans–so she slings them instead. (The genuis
waitress is not to be confused with the
aspiring-actress waitress, so prevalent in Manhattan
and Los Angeles and so different from her sister in
temperament and I.Q.)

As a type, the genius waitress is sweet and sassy,
funny and smart; young, underestimated, fatalistic,
weary, cheery (not happy, cheerful: there’s a
difference and she understands it), a tad bohemian,
often borderline alcoholic, frequently pretty (though
her hair reeks of kitchen and bar); as independent as
a cave bear (though ever hopeful of “true love”) and,
above all, geniune.

Covertly sentimental, she fusses over toddlers and old
folks, yet only fear of unemployment prevents her from
handing an obnoxious customer his testicles with his
bill.

She doesn’t mind a little good-natured flirting, and
if you flirt with verve and wit, she may flirt back.
Never, however, never try to impress her with your
resume. Her tolerance for pretentious Yuppies ends
with her shift, sometimes earlier. She reads men like
a menu and always knows when she’s being offered
leftovers or an artificially inflated souffle.

Should you ever be lucky enough to be taken home by
her to that studio apartment with the jerry-built
bookshelves and Frida Kahlo posters, you will discover
that whereas in the public dining room she is merely
as proficient as she needs to be, in the private
bedroom she is blue gourmet virtuoso. Five stars and
counting! Afterward, you can discuss chaos theory or
the triple aspects of the mother goddess in universal
art forms–while you massage her swollen feet.

Eventually, she leaves food service for graduate
school or marriage; but unless she wins a grant or a
fair divorce settlement, chances are she’ll be back, a
few years down the line, reciting the daily specials
with her own special mixture of warmth and ennui.

Erudite emissary of eggs over easy, polymath purveyor
of polenta and prawns, articulate angel of apple pie,
the genius waitress is on duty right now in hundreds
of U.S. restaurants, smile at the ready, sauce on the
side. So brush up on your Schopenhauer, place your
order–and tip, mister, tip. She deserves a break
today.

Of her, I sing.

Tom Robbins

It’s that time of year. The heat from the sun is suffocating and back yards are filled with screaming kids. You need a break from the heat. Something that will cool you down and calm down the kids. Hmm, what could that be? A pool you say? No not a pool. Shade? Getting close but not quite. I’ll give you a hint. It requires standing in line and making a choice. Okay, I made you wait long enough. Ice Cream! Summer is not summer without a visit to your local ice cream parlor. The options are endless. There is something for everyone and every taste. Chocolate, Vanilla, or maybe a twist. If you are the daring kind and like adventure, you could opt for the dips. They come in all flavors. The kind that harden before the girl hands them over. The coating cracks with the first lick and melts deliciously into a wave of flavor. Sugar cones, waffles cones, pretzel cones all make delicious edible dishes for your ice cream. If you’re not into soft ice cream there are flavors galore in the hard ice cream category. A few of my favorite are butter pecan, mint chocolate chip and of course pistachio. I guess I’m most easily tempted by an ice cream of a different color. When your not in the mood for a traditional ice cream you still have options. Milkshakes, malts, italian ice,slushies, chocolate covered strawberries or banannas and the very popular gelato are all fun selections. For me nothing can beat a sundae. It’s a bit of everything thrown in one dish. You can custom make them to fit your cravings. I know flurries, blizzards and all these chilly named mixes come close, but they are not the same as a sundae. Where I live there is an old fashioned ice cream parlor. It’s opened all year long. So whenever my desire for my special sundae pops up I can take a short drive to fullfill my yearning. Although I’ve considered many times to try a different sundae I stick with my old trusty favorite. Are you ready, it’s a doozy, I made it up myself. Well not completely but I did alter it. I think I have made the girls cringe many times when I stepped up to the counter to place my order. I have it down pat and the words roll off of my tongue perfectly. “I will have a… Chocolate marshmallow pecan sundae, with extra pecans and dusty road topping please,” Without fail each time, the girls eyes widen and her mouth drops and then I remember I forgot the most important thing. “I’m sorry but can I also have extra whip cream.” I hate that I have to make someone else want to run when they see me coming. But, my sundae has to have all of the above to merit my consumption. Unless it’s perfection the calories or the pound I gain will not be worth it. Okay now the fun begins. I told you mine now I want you to tell me yours. Leave a comment and let me know what your favorite treat is at the ice cream parlor. Is it a Bananna Split, or a Chocolate Peanut Butter milkshake? Whatever it may be post it here. Everyone and Anyone is welcomed. The more the better. Help make this a fun read. Enjoy the rest of your summer and hope the lines aren’t too long at your favorite ice-cream joint.