...quiet, about a lot of things...

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

In another man's shoes.

My thanks to V-Grrrl for nudging this specific memory to the forefront. She spoke about shoes, red shoes to be specific...which some how led me to thinking of Birkenstock...quite a leap I know...but, I blame my random brain.

I worked in a Birkenstock store in Westwood village, UCLA's hometown (sorta).I was living in an apartment off campus, though I actually went to school in the valley. College rents in Westwood were off the charts high. We lived within walking distance to campus, and for me walking distance to work.

The owner of this store was a woman named Louise, a beautiful ex model/playboy bunny. She owned the store, acting also as the buyer. We carried shoes, jewelry, funky clothes and metaphysical books. Turns out, Louise was a witch, REALLY. Very heavy into crystals, potions and the like. After being hired, I found out that while I was being interviewed for the job, Louise had been in the back, consulting her crystals
and reading my energy. Guess everything was in order, and I got the job, and with it my requisite pr of Birkenstocks. WHATEVER.

It turned out to be a very interesting job, for many reasons. The store itself was the size of a shoebox, and I most always worked my shifts alone. I remember writing long love letters to my then boyfriend, the muse. I was in my period of reading voraciously anything that was not required by college. Poetry, political essays,biographies. Anything but the assigned material. I had a kind of passive aggressive thing going on with college. The point being, my nose was always in a book. The store had a pretty steady flow of customers,but they always trickled in one at a time. When I went to lunch..(oh...memories of Good Earth soup and seven grain rolls...YUMMY) I would just lock up and leave a note. Louise was very cool about stuff like that.

One of the most memorable moments was when a middle eastern man came into the shop. He was replacing this old sandals. He was probably 50ish...with salt and pepper hair, soft almost black eyes and beautifully deep skin. I went up to the shoe loft storeroom and brought down two pairs of sandals for him to try. I knelt down in front of him and took them out of their boxes. I went to slip the first one on his bare foot. Before I could finish he stopped me with stern yet somehow gentle voice.

In a way that was, soothing rather than scolding, he told me that I was not to touch his feet. He said that women in his culture were never to touch a man, especially his feet. He fastened his own sandals,choosing only one pair, and asked if he may keep his old pair in the new box. He spoke to me politely, with much respect and kindness.

As he paid, I apologized to him, offering that I had meant no disrespect. He called me sweet child. He simply explained that I was a flower, not a prostitute. He smiled and left.

I'm ashamed to say, that this was one of my very first cross cultural encounters. It was a very pleasant one. While I do not agree that touching men..or men's feet makes women prostitutes or dirty, I did and still do honor that this was his belief. He enlightened me, without devaluing me, in fact he flattered me, in a very non sexual way.

That little store did have a good energy around it. Almost all came in with a smile...and almost all left happy. As for me, I'm glad I worked there for a bit...and as soon as I could, I trashed my Birkenstocks..the hurt my poor feet...and never did go with my personal vibe or eighties hair do. But I did learn some lessons that stayed with me. So, for a little shoe shop, that quite a feat.

(Oh so shameless and corny..I know, I know!!!!)
posted by wendy at 9:21 AM 6 comments

Monday, January 29, 2007

God Speed

God speed Barbaro. While the horse world has lost a great champion, I am sure that this was the best thing for him. Horses, especially thoroughbreds, are born to run. It is a blessing that they eased his pain. I will always remember this noble, noble horse.
posted by wendy at 3:48 PM 2 comments

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Makes a Mother proud

I haven't written lately about my girls. They are still alive, and growing further still away from the nest. This isn't a tearful, please don't go type of departure.It more angry and urgent than that. They are growing more disgusted with their living situation day by day. I am growing more disgusted with my dwindling role, less mother and more chauffeur and portable ATM. Teenage daughters are no picnic, I tell you.

But last night, I caught a brief yet poignant glimpse of Rachel. Not the little imp she used to be. I saw the powerful woman she will become. She had attended an Amnesty International meeting at her school. She had invited me along, but I'm far enough down the depression hole right now as it is.

She came in when she got home. She sat on the bed and broke down. She wept. No crocodile tears. No manipulation. She wept for people she does not know. She wept because she felt futile uselessness of not being yet ready to help. She wept at herself, her spoiled self. She wept for her nation of violent obsession and blind eyed betrayal. She witnessed hatred and evil and waste.

I was so proud of her I could burst. I did not try to talk it away. I honored her pain. I told her she will help to make it right. I told her to fight the hatred in her own heart. I told her that Mother Teresa and Ghandi stilled found joy in a world swollen with suffering.

She asked me this question: "Who are WE to live this life, while others are forced by birth to live in suffering?"

I did not know what to say. "We can only walk our paths with dignity, compassion and integrity. We must celebrate our blessings. We must be open to loving one another, not just the victims, but the villains. Nothing comes from nothing. Nothing ever could. But everything comes from believing."

I didn't tell her not to cry herself to sleep. I knew she would. My baby left me today. She started her journey to save the world. Watch out, she will blaze a trail so bright. She will blaze a trail so bright.

(Edited to add an email I recieved from rach, last night.)

Hey everyone,

Yesterday I saw the documentary Invisible Children about child soldiering in Uganda. Please take the time to see it! You can buy it at www.invisiblechildren.com. It will change your life! It certainly changed mine. If you've already seen it, see it again! Really, I can't emphasize the importance of this issue. The movie speaks for itself, and for the children in Uganda. Please, please, please, be a responsible, compassionate human being and help this horrible situation!

posted by wendy at 9:22 AM 5 comments

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Ahh Winter!!!!

Guess what...it's SNOWING!!! again....

First a pretty picture of the chaste beauty.

Now, one I call "St. Francis up to his eye balls"


Up to his Eye balls Part II

For another post on Balls....I mean nuts...see yesterday's post. HOW BORED AM I!!!
posted by wendy at 8:14 PM 5 comments

Saturday, January 20, 2007

I'm Going Nuts

Oh, this phrase applies to so many things.

First thought is of a a boyfriend I once had. (You know him, I've introduced him before...remember THE DEVIL, also known as the comedian.)Well, little Timmy had quite a well honed and twisted sense of humor.

He found out that I am allergic to nuts, well peanuts, to be more specific.This odd fact amused him immensly. He promised that when I died, he would attend my internment, even if we hadn't seen each other in years. He would hire the Planters Peanut man (ya know the big giant peanut dude with the top hat)to do a tap dance on my coffin before I was buried.

Timmy then broke into fits of laughter, and offered a tight little soft shoe preview..which, was pretty good, I may add. His father had been a big vaudevillian in the day, and had taught Timmy well. (I have already mentioned devil...and twisted.) But you know what, to this day I still grin when I see the Planters guy on a TV commercial. Our little morbid joke. I'm sure wherever he lurks now, Timmy still thinks of me to when ever he eats a peanut.

Speaking of peanuts, there is a little girl in one of the class rooms I visit, who is allergic to peanuts. She is in second grade. The other day I went to enter the class by the front door. There were no less than six 11x14 brand new laminated signs proclaiming a PEANUT FREE ZONE. in different languages, with visuals (the poor offending peanut) and a startling stick figure image of a choking child.

They had been placed on both door of this classroom at the insistence of the little girls mother. The student had been diagnosed only weeks before. Mom had done "her research" on the Internet and found that her daughter may be susceptible to peanut particles in the air. Parents are no longer allowed to bring in any home baked goodies for treats for birthdays and such, for fear they are somehow packing concealed peanuts.

I carefully entered the hot zone, I, um mean class room. I found the teacher teaching, and the little girl, who I then recognized, sitting in the far left back corner. She was safely by herself. Last week I remember seeing her sit in a group happily playing Go Fish. Looks like those days are over.

When there was a break in the action, I asked what the heck was going on. Had the little girl been sick, or had a scare??? The teacher with tears in her eyes, said no. The mother had just"decided" that this was in the best interest of her daughter, even though she had two epi-pens at the school. The teacher had been ordered to comply...or else.

I walked over to the girl in the corner. She looked so sad, so changed. She was now scared of school, and probably of me too, and her friends and food!! We chatted about math, and I reminded her to carry her ten to the next column. And then I whispered that I was allergic too...and I was fine, I had even been to Europe and gotten married and had kids. The peanuts hadn't gotten me...and they wouldn't get her either. She smiled at me.

"This is nuts" I thought as I left her room...
and drove home to meet Mags who was in a truly foul mood.

After about an hour, I finally got the 411. She had been messing around with friends in the lunch line at school..and had accidentally kicked one of her male friends in the....um..nuts.

This particular boy and she have a history of being friends, and rough housing quite a bit. She's told me that he has "punched/tapped"her in her boob on more than one occasion...as they are messing around on the bus. Don't think I let that one pass...but these are hormone ridden preteens, not yet into petting...but obviously full of...energy.

I asked her if he was OK, and she told me, through tears, that he was. He hadn't gone to the nurse, and has remained on his feet through the incident. OY!! After about 15 minutes I thought I had covered all the points in my "keep your hands(and feet) to yourself" speech. I told her she must take responsibility for her actions, even if accidental. She must apologize. She told me she had, again and again...and he wasn't in the mood to accept.

I left to pick up Rach, get dinner, and then went to bed early, after 2 Benadryls, with horrid cold and a headache.

At 9:30, Rach woke me up and handed me the phone saying it was some lady..and it was important. I sat up in bed, removed my retainers, (yeah, I wear retainers..what of it?) and said hello to the boys very pissed off mother. Seems her son had to go to the emergency room...with a bruised testicle...OY OY OY!!!

Seems the boy told his mommy, hours after the fact, when she got home from work, that Maggie had marched right up to him in the lunch room, in front of the teachers and staff and all the students and had purposely kicked him in his...um ..nuts.

Nutty, I tell you N U T T Y.
posted by wendy at 1:43 PM 4 comments

Monday, January 15, 2007

Cover Me for Poetry Thursday

I had written another poem quickly today...and then hit the wrong button and POOF it was gone!!!URRRRRRRGGGGHH... So heres an even quicker cover to Canadian Geeks line

and you call me destructive..

Where do you send
my thoughts you
erase, when my
fingers trace
the line,
but hit the
wrong button?

I am clumsy,
but harmless.

That's more than
I can say for you.

You delete
my pain
with a brush
a mis-stroke.

It was a bad poem,
filled with
pity and self hatred.
not affirming
at all.

Still it was mine.
and my fingers
took it away.

or was it you
inside this machine?
Are you the coward
that stole my strife,
by lying and blaming me?

and you call me destructive.

wlf 8:54

More at PT

Thanks to Geek Inc for the line....and the totally un expected(bad )poem that resulted.

Below find the poem based on the line I submitted. I wrote the line first, then the poem. Quite an interesting exercise.

Line: If digging in my purse, don't you dare judge

No Trespassing

If you dig in my purse
don't you dare judge

the remnants
of my functions
my life wadded,
and stuck to
chewed gum in wrappers.
Or wrinkled tissues
holding faint kisses
from failed attempts
at glamour.

you could try
to trace my trend
of wishes, like
elk trails in
a forest,
by lining
up small paper
proofs of
spanning long
into delusion.
You say surely
I have found what
I was looking for.

But you are wrong.
For though it all
seemed strong enough
to build a bridge
spanning to desire,
the stuff was weak.
I fell straight through,
somehow voiding
any warranties.

(My dreams
are too heavy
for bargains
to bear.)

Wet breathless
with regret,
I gather floating pieces
of flimsy broken promises
forming a moist ball
of debt as I wade.
I stuff this down deep,
past the keys
and the lip balm
to a dark corner
in the back,
where only my
fingers can find it.



posted by wendy at 9:54 AM 8 comments

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Cold as a Witches Tit for poetry thursday

So, PT this week wants cliches. The title of the post just leaped at me as I left work today. Arctic frickin blast. Why did I leave California???

I'm betting all creative juice is frozen in my peripheral capillaries, but I'll make an attempt at a thaw.

Tales Told

Once, I was
a little girl.

A mother
wore a habit
of stiff
and flawless
With a halo
of white
like wings
from her
and beads
a crucifix
swaying as it
brushed where
her hips
or legs could be.

"When God closes a door
He opens a window."

Visioning so many doves
bursting free from
glass white panes,
I believed.
He will open a window.

Many prayers later
as that door
slammed shut,
I was prepared
to feel the rush
of wings.

There I waited,
for days,
until at last,
I smashed
the glass

wlf 7:32

Go to Poetry Thursday to read some more.


posted by wendy at 7:13 PM 10 comments

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Bazooka Joe...for poetry thursday

They had a cool idea over at PT....I like this idea of Poetry and a Gum ball. Sadly, I didn't do the research I was supposed to...(big surprise!!!). So instead I'll try to blow a bubble as big as my head.....watch this.....

Gum Ball

A child
Money lacking,
with happiness
only one
nickle away.

Life could
be sweet.
with bubbles
that broke
on command.

(never to
by mistake
in ones hair.)

the flavour
would last
your jaw
was sore.

But the pink
was always
the glass.

wlf 8:15am

IT should be interesting this week!


posted by wendy at 7:53 AM 9 comments

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Another Cliche

I just watched a movie...a very bad movie..that I laughed and cried my way through...shamelessly.

Not a big SNL fan...(of late)...there were whole decades that I did not watch.

This silly stupid movie with Al Franken, made me weep. Stuart Saves His Family pokes fun at every co dependant wretch of a person on the planet. Ahh,these are my people, the dysfunctional.

So much of this movie made me chuckle. Some lines were priceless...like.."My father had lived through the great depression....his mother's."

There is a scene of an intervention going nowhere...and then this movie, this seriously stupid movie did something RARELY done. It left things without the perfect ending. With Stuart babbling on about "that it wasn't perfect,but that was progress, and that's OK" and that "the attitude of gratitude not being just a platitude."

This is both sadly trite, and simply true. How many nights do we tell ourselves what we need to hear, to get through the night.

I've attended a 12 step program, ALANON and never really "worked" that program. I never had a sponsor. I went to meeting only sporadically. But when I needed one, I could always go to a meeting to feel human, and not so alone. Not so alone in the midst of a bunch of strangers. Pretty miraculous.

My family priest sent me to my first meeting. I met him, through my husband, before we married. I was scared, to chat with a priest, informally, but that is was the priest wanted before he would consent to marry us. So I went without Michael, and sat with Father in his office. We talked for about 10 minutes, when he took my hand gently, looked me in the eye, and asked if one of my parents was an alcoholic. I was stunned. He explained that I had apologized at least 5 times since I had sat down to speak with him.

I'm catholic...I thought that was the drill...but he was right about me...so I went.

It was filled with slogans and platitudes and cliches. It was a room filled with people, alike and dislike me, trying to make it through the moment. Trying to come to grips with the fact that their lives were not perfect, and try as hard as they could, they could not fix (fill in the blanks....). It may have been a lot of things, but I didn't care. Any port in a storm. I laughed and cried at those meetings, and welcomed strangers into secrets my best friends didn't know.

In in the end,...it wasn't perfect...but it was progress, and that was OK.It had to be.
posted by wendy at 7:44 PM 4 comments