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Friday, September 17, 2021

The Power of "Drawing Back a Nub"

When reading some Southern sayings the other day, I started to think about the short stories I'm working on. "Drawing Back a Nub" will feature stories about growing up with an old-school, down-home mother.

It has dawned on me that a lot of the parenting techniques my mother used back when I was a kid would land someone in jail today. Kids are so easily "traumatized" today that parents are cautious about "harming their psyche". Whatever. I'm not going to bash what other people do, but I know that nothing my mother did cause any trauma or harmed my psyche. She 'harmed' my backside with a switch plenty of times, but never without a reason or a positive result. And what are those results? Well, I've never been in jail, I am respectful to my elders, and I have nothing but good memories of the way my mother raised me.

One of the things my mother (and most other Southern mothers) was known for was a way with words. Here are some of the things I can remember Mom saying to me at some point during my youth:

  • "Girl, sit down before I snatch a crook in your neck." (How exactly does one 'snatch a crook' in someone's neck?)
  • "You better take your hand off that bone you call a hip when you're talking to me." (These days, I wish I could still find that bone under all this fat!)
  • "Sit your little narrow ass down before I pop a knot on it." (Pop a knot? On my behind? Wha???)
  • "Comb that part out of the middle of your hair, looking like Sister Tutta." (To this day, I have no idea who Sister Tutta was. Apparently she had bad fashion sense because she came up often in the critiques of my own hair and wardrobe choices.)
  • "I'll slap that nasty little attitude of yours across the street." (Well... dang!)
  • "I'll slap the taste out of your mouth."
  • "You gonna draw back a nub" was said if you reached for something you shouldn't be reaching for. That one is harsh!
When I was reading that article about regional sayings, I had one mystery cleared up. Apparently when my mother said someone was "Drunk as (or drunker than) Cooter Brown", she was speaking of a well-known town drunk. That saying was right there on the list I saw. (And here I spent years trying to identify which of my parent's friends lived under that Alias.)

I look at kids today and wonder what they are going to remember about their parent's discipline methods. I suppose most will involve having their electronics taken away. Maybe being restricted from surfing the Internet will be the biggest punishment. Huh. They have no idea! I think the worst thing my mother ever did to me was not to give me a "whooping" but to have me go out to the yard and pick out the switch she was going to use. 

There is "power in the tongue" as the Bible teaches. I know that is the truth. My mother didn't always speak "discipline", she spoke "love". The power of my mother's love didn't save any of us kids from making errors in judgment, dealing with heartbreak and heartache, or keep us out of every bad situation we got into. What her love did was keep us from giving in to any of that. When we fell down due to our problems, we never stayed down. When we lost one fight to get ahead, we didn't tap out. Our mother's love is with us to this day. She's been gone now for 20 years now and we still abide by her advice and guidance. There were a few times in my life when I had the chance to make a lot of money but I'd hear Mama's voice saying that "a lifetime of luxury in this life is not worth an eternity of regret in the next."

I WILL be checking out this site asap!
I remember this saying so well.

So, yeah, Mama could be rough on us. We got scolded and "whooped" with switches, and we were told when we were wrong. But we turned out okay. To be honest, the only trauma I suffer from today is being afraid of all the kids who didn't have a mother like mine.


P.S.: I wrote this post so long ago that I have forgotten where I got the list of sayings I mentioned. I just went and searched out a couple of sources that you might enjoy:

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Shoddy & Shady Products on Amazon...

 Amazon really needs to take control of its sellers' platform. I am aware that a lot of small business people rely on Amazon for most (or all) of their sales. As a customer who doesn't drive and lives in the boonies (really nice boonies but still...) I rely on Amazon sellers and their products. 

I rarely have really bad experiences with my Amazon purchases. I've gotten some subpar products (my fault, usually, for going cheap) and I've been disappointed by some misrepresented products. I hate when the product photos and descriptions make you think you're getting  "the goods" when you're only getting "the joke".

Her expression tho!

Recently though, I ordered something that was relatively inexpensive - just in general and not because I was being cheap. They are some green cardamom pods. I want to be able to grind and add the spice to my foods and non-Turkish coffees. I thought I'd get better quality of spice by getting pods. What a complete disappointment.

Here are the green cardamom pods from Haw that I ordered. The product photo they show looks good:

I enlarged part of the photo

Another reviewer supplied a photo showing what a good seed should look like. They also said that they had mostly good seeds.

First of all, I didn't know what I was looking for when I got the pods and could still tell that something wasn't right. The first one I opened was okay. Not as beautiful as that other reviewer's but... The seeds were a rich, black color and I could smell them before I opened the pod.

The first one looks good, if a bit dryer than that other guy's

 The second one was... well, look:

I thought that maybe it was going to be one of my few bad ones. Nope. That's as good as it got. The rest of them  - and I did sit and open almost all of them - were nothing as good as the one decent one. Most were like that one up there and the rest were worse.

I magnified some of the best ones

The best out of THE ENTIRE BAG!

Of course, I was confused. The worst ones had very little aroma and I think they had just absorbed the scent from the few good ones. An online source warned against eating any that looked "gray" or "fuzzy". Ugh! Don't have to tell me, sister. I kept aside the few that had some color and smell.

When I contacted the seller asking if these were supposed to be gray, they made it sound as if the black ones were bad. Huh?

Straight from their response letter

I went back and looked at photos from happy customers. Uh, no ma'am. And I said exactly that to the seller. They went silent. I contacted Amazon. It's not about the 7 bucks; it's the principle. They straight up lied to me. Amazon refunded my money and I have ordered some pods from another seller. Please, Lord, let these be better.

So I don't know if there is a better way to order this kind of thing online. Haw Traders (aka Brooklyn Store, Haw, and Haw Inc.) has a 98% positive rating as a store on Amazon and over 400 reviews for this particular product with 4.6 out of 5 stars. So... it sounds like it's pretty hit and miss and I was not up for a good hit.

As always, I will make a note of the business and seller (yes, I do keep a list on my computer) so that I don't purchase from them again. I don't mind getting a lemon of a product, but I hate when a seller won't stand behind what they are selling. 

I do wish that Amazon had a better way of dealing with these issues. I don't think that sellers are being held to a high enough standard. And I don't think that Amazon should always cover the refunds.

Whatever. Bezo's doesn't care. He doesn't have to shop on Amazon Just like Zukerberg isn't addicted to Facebook and Instagram. Smart peddlers never get addicted to their product. 

Again, whatever.

I now have 7 names on my No Buy list - and, yes, I am serious. Lately, I have started checking if any products are available elsewhere and not made in China. Sounds unfair but the sellers are getting shoddy.

Okay, I am finished venting. For now. Let me go and make another cup of calming tea - minus the cardamom.


Monday, September 13, 2021

Your People, Not Your Feed

I guess this post is about how social media disconnects us. Let the rant begin.

I thought these were supposed to be sites that brought people together. I thought I would be able to communicate with people I normally would never meet: the person in Germany or Australia or someplace in Africa who likes coffee as much as I do or who can tell me about their school, church, or job. I didn't think it was going to be a place where I got to watch friends and family discuss so much useless crap while never talking again about anything of meaning and value.

If I scroll through another page of adult people trying to talk, act, or look like they did when they were 2 decades younger I'm going to end up having to buy a new phone when I throw mine at a wall. 

There was a time when the people I knew and/or loved had to have something to say to talk with me. Even if they were only telling me something about their day or their life or why they suddenly hate shopping at Krogers - they were talking to me. 

When people post something, they are talking to everyone. They aren't using the face I know or saying anything meaningful to the two of us. When people are talking to the world, they are putting on a face they want the world to see.

I can't remember the last time I talked to more than 5 people I love about a deep and personal thing. I find out about their child taking the first step when I see it posted online. I find out that they had a great time when they vacationed in Cabo or that the little one who was just a baby has now started school. 

When something really bad happens - someone is very sick or someone has died - I hear about that. I get a phone call or an email. But all the good, fun, crazy, and lightheartedly interesting stuff? I get that with every other Jack or Jill who has their face buried in their phone.

Some of the best times I remember from my youth involved being with family and friends. That is no longer a big priority for a lot of people.

Why work at getting together in real life when we "see" each other constantly on social media? Why make sure that this person or that person you know has heard about this or that thing in your life when you are just sure they already saw it on your "feed"?

I don't want to be a part of your "feed", I want to be a part of your life.

Please un-pout your lips, shut down the photo filter, stop being what you think looks good to and for the world, and come back to the people who love you and need you and really do care about you.

When I die (not that it will matter to me at that point), I don't want to be a sad mention on your social feeds. I don't want my obituary to be managed and published by Facebook or any kind of death-dot-com entity. I want to know that the people I know and love will be getting together or calling each other to talk about the 'me' they knew. I don't want to be remembered for how cute or not-cute I looked online. I don't want everyone scrolling their feeds to find and repost photos from my Instagram. I want the people I know and love to be talking quietly together about our existence as friends and family. 

I don't want to be the only one making an effort to have relationships with my friends and family that is not monitored, modified, data-fied, and cultivated for profit by some nerd with an algorithm. 

Is it nice to see photos and updates from people we normally would not see or hear from on a daily basis? Yeah, sure. There are distant aunts, cousins, and former school and work friends who I'd not be able to keep up with any other way. But for the people who should be in my life and privy to my important moments... If we need a social media site to be social with close family and friends, something is wrong. Maybe you don't want to make the effort to be more than a face in my feed. Maybe I need to learn to be okay with that. I have a family group on Facebook and that's the only "family" feed I plan to pay attention to.

So there. I think that I am going to "go dark" for a while. I am going to shutter Facebook and Instagram to everything but what it was meant to be for. To all the contacts I would never meet in real life, as Tupac once sang, "I'll be around for ya, keeping my sound in the ground for ya". (People who know me know that I'm the queen of misremembered lyrics!) To the people for whom I should rate more than a feed check-in, well,  I am going to either hear from them or not. 

My social feeds will go back to being for exploring and communicating beyond my normal circles. Now I am going to go and check in with my Facebook group that talks about coffee and nothing but coffee...



**I Tried** Turkish Coffee

 ... And what took me so long????

~ NOTE: I realized after the fact that I repeated much of the information here in another post. My brain is too weird right now for me to cross-check anything. So, here is this post and that other post... I don't know. Folks, this is my brain on sarc.~

I told someone recently that, since I can't travel the world, I will experience the various cultures through food and beverages. So you might be seeing more of the "I Tried" posts. I had already mentioned the coffee deal in one of my previous posts. 

The Turkish coffee I tried came in 2 blends - one with cardamom and one without. Since I had no idea what cardamom tasted like, I was a little hesitant on that one. I remember my mother - or some other elder relative - using cardamom back in the day for... tea? Or maybe for something medicinal? I don't recall. 

I was able to find both types of coffee in small and affordable packs before going too far out on a limb.

With cardamom

With the pot included

First, the coffee without cardamom:

I made it in the little steel pot that came with the coffee ($10 for the set when I got it).

(NOTE: The "pot" that comes with this set is stainless steel. Traditionally, the cezve (used in the Balkans, Russia, and the Middle East) or Ibrik or Ibriki ((in Greece or English-speaking countries) is made of copper or brass. Some of them are really ornate and quite beautiful. There are Ethiopian and Arabic coffee pots. This means I might have more coffee to find and try!)

 Big mistake to use the measurements that came with the coffee set. That bit of advice was given in a review from another consumer. I did as she suggested and looked around elsewhere for measurements. The one I used works for me. It is 1 heaping teaspoon of coffee to every 1/4 cup of water. 

Without cardamom

Other than getting the measurements right, the other trick to making a decent cup is to let the sugar dissolve before you start heating the mix. In my recipe, I substitute brown sugar for white/castor sugar and I also put warm cream in my cup before pouting the finished coffee in. You let the mix heat (on medium to medium-high) until foam forms. You spoon that foam into the cup and return the mix to the heat and let a second foam begin. You pour this very slowly into the cup so you don't disturb the foam. I learned that it's best to let the coffee rest a few moments so the foam settles a bit. I think this is to allow any coffee sludge to settle to the bottom of the cup.

The results are tasty. In my opinion, this makes a coffee that is not as strong as espresso but like espresso in the flavor punch. And caffeine. A small cup is all you need, trust me. Keep in mind that you are not using a filter. There is nothing between you and the coffee.

Now, for the coffee with cardamom:

I made this the same way. I was really careful not to overdo the coffee measurement. I had never had cardamom before (that I remember) but heard that it can be unpleasant if you use too much.

The flavor is hard to describe. It's slightly astringent (I think that's the right word) and is, to me, like a cross between cinnamon and clove. I don't really like clove - or thought I didn't - but I find I do love the taste of the cardamom in this coffee. It's not something I could drink a lot of in one day but I found it to be soothing. 

Hard to see the foam that's left

Because I am very conscious of how anything could affect my kidneys, I looked up some things on cardamom before I bought this coffee. This little blurb here from NetMeds sums up most of what I found:

Cardamom helps to eliminate waste through the kidney and act as a diuretic. It combats infections and helps to cleanse the urinary tract, bladder, and urethra by removing the accumulated calcium, urea along with the toxins. Evidence shows that the essential oils and biochemicals present in cardamom provide detoxifying effects.

I rejoice. Finally, something I happen to love that is good for my kidneys. I will be talking with my doctor at the next appointment but, in the meantime, I plan to have at least 1 cup of this coffee every day.

So overall, I think what I like about Turkish coffee are the preparation and anticipation. The coffee smells really nice - especially the cardamom blend - and it doesn't take long to make. From brewing to serving takes about 6 or  7 minutes. I did have to learn to get my stove set on the right temp. Medium to medium-high is what most instructions suggest for brewing. Well, that is different on every stove. For mine, it's just between the (funny enough) 6 and 7 marks. I'm told that letting the coffee boil will make it bitter. So it's a little bit of a balancing trick.

I am still learning little tips and tricks as I go. For instance, my foam game is sad. One of the decadent things about Turkish coffee is that nice layer of crema on top. Well...

That foam is... so sad you can see, my foam is barely there. But I am getting better. My morning cup had a bit more foam and I was so excited that I gulped it down without getting a photo!

Another thing I learned is that some people prefer using a copper or brass cezve for better heat conduction. And using a wooden spoon is supposed to be better than using metal. The list of tips just goes on and on. I will be learning for years.

I have already started making adjustments to my coffee. I add fresh nutmeg and, sometimes, just a tiny bit of unsweetened cocoa. I have found that nutmeg enhances a lot of types of coffee. The cocoa is delicious with the cardamom coffee. What I am surprised by is that, unlike with most other brewed coffee, I can drink Turkish coffee sans sugar or cream - as long as I add the nutmeg or have the cardamom. 

It's interesting to me that you can make Turkish coffee with any type of medium to medium-dark roast - as long as you get the grind fine enough. What makes it brew up the way it does is the grind. Look at how powdery this coffee is ground:

It's just above being as fine as flour. If coffee wasn't gritty, this would be like talcum powder.

Anyway, if you like Cuban-style or espresso blend coffee, you might want to try Turkish. What I appreciate is that it's not as scary (for me) to make as is espresso. I'm a little terrified of those Moka pots. Like I was with pressure cookers before the Instant Pot. 

I don't ever use affiliate links on my blogs so never fear if you want to check out the items I bought. They are affordable and perfect for trying out the coffee before splurging on larger amounts.

The best thing about the 2 small packets is that they contain enough coffee for several cups. No one likes to splash out for something they might end up being disappointed in. 

About the cezve itself. The one I got did come with the Mehmet Efendi coffee and, surprisingly, it works really well. I do want to get one that is a) made in Turkey and, b) is made of tin-line copper. There are some beautiful ones out there. For now, this stainless steel one does what I need it to do. Also, I found that it's excellent for making hot chocolate. I used some unsweetened Hershey's and added a little bit of brown sugar before brewing. It was ready in just about 5 minutes and was the best cocoa I've ever had. I put the half-n-half in my cup before pouring in the chocolate so my drink was made mostly of water and chocolate. No milk skin on the top and fewer calories than if I'd made it the way I usually do. Guess how I will be drinking my chocolate from now on?

I will have to let you know how things turn out when I try brewing these Turkish coffee blends in a drip machine and with a pour-over system.


P.S.: I did try the coffee in the drip machine. Results were... meh. It was good coffee but not as good as it was when done on the stove. When I don't feel well, I will use the drip machine but only then. On the other hand, I tried using some of my Naviera Cuban coffee in the cezve and... yeah, baby. It was good stuff. I had to grind it finer, of course, but it was worth it.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

UPDATE **Culture Curious** Coffee, Coffee, Coffee

Here in the United States, Seattle seems to be the coffee hub. However, I have never, ever liked Starbucks. Whenever I visited Seattle, I tried to avoid the franchise. I would instead stop in at small and independent cafes. Being from Anchorage, I was spoiled. You couldn't drive more than 4 or 5 blocks down any well-traveled street without seeing a coffee set-up. (Check these images and see if I am lying.) I'm not talking just cafes or shops. I'm talking about little trailers converted into coffee drive-throughs. Almost any morning commuter had a couple of favorite coffee stops.

No matter where I am in the world, nm favorite coffee place of all time will always be Kaladi Brothers. They had a cafe not far from where I lived where I spent a lot of weekends. My coworkers and I made a habit of stopping in to pick up bags of coffee for the office.

Now here is something about Alaska and Alaskans: it is a friendly place with a lot of friendly people. You can end up in an hour-long chat with a stranger you ran into at Walmart or in the aisles of Costco. We love to meet and greet and we have generous hearts. 

Recently, I was trying to choose a coffee to buy online from Kaladi Brothers (yes, you do need to go over and check them out!). Now that I am such a coffee wanna-be-hipster, I was having trouble deciding what to select first. And I wanted to check on shipping. I emailed them. Someone emailed me back. Both of us being long-time Alaskans, we continued having a multi-email conversation over several days. I had to catch up on how the town has been doing and my correspondent got to hear all about Iowa. I could never stop mentioning how I love Iowa but miss Alaska. A few days later, I got a package that made me teary-eyed. It was a box full of 6 different blends of coffee and a Kinto Slow Brewer Mug.

That was just so I could feel a little closer to home. That's how we Alaskans look out for each other. 

So, yeah. I am an Alaskan so I love my coffee. 

As someone who never traveled much outside of the USA and who can not travel much now, I like exploring the best ways I can. Thankfully, we have the internet and libraries, and people we can turn to. 

Recently, since I was bitten by the java bug, I've been interested in how and why other cultures enjoy coffee. I thought I would tell you about the coffee I have gotten to try so far. All without leaving my little cubbyhole of an apartment in the Midwest.

Cuban Coffee - 

To me, Cuban coffee is about flavor and a cultural style. I always imagine pretty women and strong, handsome men - or wise old men and women - sitting over small cups of coffee in cafes and kitchens. To me, Cubans are like Southerners and all about family and community.

wonder what everyone's chatting about?

I have tried more than a few brands of Cuban-style coffee. My favorite of all is Naviera Cuban Style Dark Roasted Coffee. I think the thick taste and creamy feel of this coffee comes from the added chicory. And I do love my chicory in coffee. It comes in a 14-ounce brick for around $9 if you get it on Amazon. The Naviera website offers free shipping and promotion discounts. (By the way, I will probably never again buy Cafe Du Monde with chicory now that I have tasted Naviera. CDM now tastes like really bad water to me now.)

The other Cuban-style coffee brands I have tried were either decent or horrible - in my opinion. If I am in a hurry to buy some, I will get the good old standby that can be found in most local stores: Cafe Bustelo. It's cheap and strong and - again, my opinion here - tasty. But it's not a rich and satisfying as Naviera. Cuba Mia was bland and horrible. Kahwa was decent but I won't be running to buy more anytime soon. I could not wait to order more Naviera. And I can't quit talking about it either!

Espresso blends - 

The Bustelo, Kahwa, Naviera, and Cuba Mia can all fall into this category but I really think of them differently. Now, Medaglia D'Oro is the one espresso blend that I really disliked. It wasn't horrible or anything, but it was so "blah" and forgettable. On the other hand, it's ridiculously cheap so... I think that it's a coffee that I would need to make as a pour-over or in an actual stove-top espresso maker to appreciate.

Turkish Coffee - 

Now, this is a really new area for me. When I think of Turkish coffee, I imagine wizened bedouins getting the flavor of the coffee just so. I don't really think of one cultural style because I can picture everyone from Turks, Greeks,  and Africans making and enjoying this coffee. The idea makes me want to visit some exotic place and sit in a plaza having coffee with the locals.

I have only tried 2 brands -  or types - of Turkish coffee. I tried the first one after learning that it is a brand that is both well-known and well-loved by people who drink Turkish coffee. The Mehmet Efendi Turkish Coffee came up on almost every list I checked when looking for recommendations. 

Nice set if it wasn't so beat up

The other Turkish coffee I chose was for health reasons. I have always heard that cardamom is a spice with health benefits. I can remember my mother using cardamom once years ago - or maybe it was some other elder woman in the family? I have no idea what it tastes like but I heard that it's a popular addition to Turkish coffee. So I got a small packet of Elite Turkish Coffee With Cardomom. 

Because I didn't go completely authentic with the espresso by purchasing a Moka pot or other specifically-made brewer (too pricey), I took the chance with Turkish coffee. Actually, it was easy to do so because one of the coffee packages includes a little stainless steel pot. 

And... for the future?

Sometime in the future, I hope to try coffee from other places around the world. I have been compiling a list from some online sources:

This NPR article was interesting. I found it while trying to understand if there is a difference between Turkish and Greek coffee.

I will be blog more of these Culture Curious posts for things I find most interesting to investigate. When I try something new, I will post under the "I Tried" heading. Right now, it's all about coffee but later, I hope to get into a lot of areas. 


Friday, September 10, 2021

(Repost) The Great Alcan Adventure: The Slow Goodbye

(This is a repost from 6/1/19 about one of the times my family left Alaska. Temporarily. Now that I live in beautiful Iowa and think of it as home, I will always and forever love my Alaska. Maybe not Anchorage or the crime but...) 

Okay. So I checked and saw that I left off last time telling you all about the snowfall that hit on the day before we were set to drive out of Anchorage.

I have to pause to tell you a little side story about me and that damned Subaru.

Not only were we leaving my brother and the SIL, but we were also leaving their newborn - my then newest niece. She had been born small and had issues with her esophagus. Something about it needing more time to fully develop. My mom, sister and I hated that we were going to miss her first months of life. Then - just before we were due to leave - we had a little family scare. We thought it was a big emergency but it turned out to be a little one.

On my last Friday at work, there had been a going-away celebration for me. I really loved the people I worked with and (as you will see later) they kind of loved me too. Because of the party, I got home about an hour later than usual. This was great because I'd missed the normal traffic and I was a lot more relaxed once I got home. That's such a good thing because my nerves got a great workout about an hour later.

Since most of our belongings had already been shipped off to Arizona, we were living like campers. The kids thought it was great and we all were having a nice bonding experience. All we had were pallets to sleep on, food and beverages in coolers, and the house phone that was going to be turned off on Monday. What a blessing it was that we had left it on because it rang while we were getting the kids washed up after dinner.

I don't remember now which one of my brother's kids called but they were pretty frantic, telling me to get there. I could hear my SIL in the background just freaking the hell out. All I could make out from the call was that something was wrong with "the baby". I yelled for them to call 9-1-1 right now. (Tells you something about our family dynamic that the kids called us first instead of emergency services.)

And then this is where I relayed to my mom and sister that we had to get to my brother's house right now. I think all they probably got from me was that something was wrong with the baby.

Now, here comes a lesson in the way the human brain works.

My mom, sister, and I leave my teen niece with the twins and run for the car. I have ZERO ideas about how I was the one who ended up in the driver's seat - may be just because I had stupidly grabbed the keys???

Listen, I jumped behind the wheel, started the car and drove like a maniac all the way from the Northwest side of town where we lived to South Anchorage where my brother and his family lived. The three of us jumped out of the car and ran inside to see that... the baby was now fine. Apparently, she'd had some baby slobber slide back down her throat the wrong way. The doctors had warned her mom and dad that it could happen. They'd also told them not to panic when it did. There were ways to hold the baby that would clear the passage - WHILE SOMEONE CALLED 9-1-1. I remember that that had been the most important part of the instructions.

We were all so relieved that my niece was okay that we didn't give her mom much of a hard time about calling us instead of the ambulance. She thanked us for getting there so fast. And then it hit all of us at the same time. Everybody looked around at me in amazement.

My mother would always tell this story later and remind everyone that "my baby drove the hell out of that car."

I never did drive a stick shift as smoothly as I did that day. As a matter of fact, my sister ended up driving us back home that night. Isn't the human mind a strange thing?

Anyway, back to the main story.

The drive down the Alcan started off kind of rough. I was really worried about that snow. My sister and I had just gotten the hang of driving our new (old) stick shift car on dry ground. Okay, let me quit lying. My sister had gotten the hang of it. I was just managing not to hurt myself while driving that Subaru.

Everyone hated when it was my turn behind the wheel. It wasn't that my driving was that bad, but I had to have complete silence. When my sister was driving, conversations could be held, music could be played, the kids could sing silly little songs. I, on the other hand, could not handle distractions of any kind. One of the things I hated about that car was that I couldn't listen to the radio while I drove. I'm too easily, well distracted. If there is a conversation, I must be a part of it. If the kids sing, I find it too adorable not to join in. But music is the worst for me. I am the person that cannot help dancing a little even if I just hear a catchy product jingle. So, as soon as I took the wheel, the twins took a nap, my older niece pulled out a book, and my mom and sister shut down like they'd been unplugged.


Anyway, we got to Whitehorse and spent the night, thinking that we would stop every few days, long enough for mom to stretch out and get some rest in a bed. Well, we got about 60 miles (I'm just guessing) out of Whitehorse when the craziest thing happened. The entire chassis dropped from underneath the car.

Thankfully, my sister was driving when it happened and she had felt a slight shaking just in time to pull off to the side of the road before CLUNK. Yeah. I didn't even know that was a thing that could happen - to drop the whole bottom of the car. It happened.

My niece and I had to hike back towards a closed-for-the-season campground we'd seen. I don't know how far back. It might only have been maybe three miles, but in my memories right now, it seems like it could have been ten miles.

We hopped the fence of the campground, hoping that there might be payphones. It turned out that there were caretakers living on site. They only spoke German. I knew 2 German words: bitte and Guttentag. However, I was fluent in charades. They called for a tow truck and a second vehicle to carry our family. At least I was able to say "thank you" in their native tongue.

We spent a couple of days in the same Whitehorse motel we'd just checked out of while mechanics figured out that the car was (and I am serious here) repairable. They said that some bolts had vibrated loose but they had soldered them.

Of course, I had called the brothers and discussed the situation. We had options of buying a car in Canada or getting on a plane. One of the brothers was insisting that he should fly into Canada and drive us the rest of the way in a different car.

If my mother didn't believe in the power of prayer (and if we didn't trust her belief), we would have either been digging into our budget for another car or plane tickets. But we Conway chicks were tough and we didn't want the boys in the family to forget that. We decided to keep driving in the Subaru.

There is a reason you see a lot of rusted out Subarus on the roads in Alaska. Believe this or not but we had no more trouble with ours (and, as a matter of fact, we gave that car to Arizona friends who might still be driving it to this day.)

We really didn't have to worry anymore about the Subaru breaking down. We did, however, almost slide her off the edge of a cliff. I can't even remember where we were in Canada when that happened but I remember that it was pitch-black nighttime. I also know that it's a good thing my cool-headed sister was driving and not me. And that there was only the slightest bit of slick snow on that part of the road.

What had happened was, we had started up one of those steep inclines that curved. We were steering around the curve just as we were getting to where the incline was about to level out. There was no guardrail to the driver's side of the road where there was a deep drop - which I why I used the word "cliff". On the passenger side was a slight ditch. In that ditch is where we saw the headlights of an upside down car.

We were startled and my sister's first thought was that people might be hurt. She slowed down enough to glance over but then our car started to slide just a little.

If we had been in an automatic transmission, my sister would have instinctively known how to turn with the slide and get some traction. Being in this new (to us) stickshift, she panicked a little and we were just... sliding.

I have no idea how she got hold of herself long enough to think, but she did. Somehow, she got traction and the Subaru whined a little and then the wheels caught and we made it the rest of the way up the incline. All of this happened within the space of maybe four or five seconds. A very long four or five seconds.

Have you ever caught your breath and forgot to breathe again? I think that's what happened to all of us. I know it's what happened to me because I was about to faint before I remembered to take a breath. My mother was the only one who just sat there, arms crossed under her breasts, eyes closed and (I'm sure) praying. When we made it up that hill, she just said, "Oh, thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Lord."

We were still really worried that someone might have been seriously injured in that other car. I mean, how the hell had it flipped like that? I was trying to remember if the wheels had still been spinning.

Just maybe a mile up the road, we saw a little shack-like motel or inn that had a light on. We stopped there and my sister and I went in to see about calling for some kind of emergency service or something. Guess what? The people at the desk told us that they knew about the wreck. The driver and passenger were okay and had been driving drunk.

I was pissed. Why the hell hadn't the drunken fools turned off their headlights? Why had they been driving drunk on such a bad stretch of road? (Not that anyone should drive drunk on a good stretch of road, but...) And, by the way, who the hell did you call if you got hurt out here in the middle of nowhere?

When we reported back to my mom, I was still really mad. Then she pointed out something I had thought about. Wasn't it a blessing that we hadn't been in the wrong spot when that car was careening around on a dark mountain road?

Okay. Score one for Mom.

The rest of the trip through the Yukon and into British Columbia wasn't too bad. There was that one long stretch between Watson Lake and (I think) Ft. Nelson that will make you happy to have a gas can. A lot of smaller stations and businesses shut down for the winter season so fuel stops have to be timed really well.

And then there was the time I was driving one morning and made the entire commuting population of a town hate me.

I can't remember the exact place but I was driving out of one little community and toward another one that was maybe 10 miles ahead. And because it was really early and still dark, I wasn't driving so much as I was creeping like an octogenarian with bad eyesight. I think I was going maybe 35. In my defense I was tired and the road was all gravelly and rutted. In addition to all that, there were all these blinding headlights behind me. At least it was quiet because everyone else in the car was asleep. Until my mother woke up.

She looked back at the lights behind us and asked, "What's happening?"

Happening? I had no idea what she meant. My sister had woken up now and she looked back at the lights behind us. She commented that it looked like we were leading a funeral procession.

Apparently, I might have been slowing up the morning work commute for some folks. And this time there was no nice lady riding behind me with her flashers on...

As soon as the little gravel road turned into a two-lane street, I couldn't even get over into the slow lane before cars beat me to it and started zooming past.

You know that stereotype about Canadians being some of the nicest people ever (I see you, Keanu). Well. They weren't very nice to me that morning. As a matter of fact, I've driven my bougie ass through gang territory in Oakland that had friendlier people. Shit.

There's really not much else to tell you about that drive. We didn't run into very much snow, thank God. Unlike back in the early seventies, most of the Alcan was paved - or at least not hobbled together with gravel and mud. The Alcan is an incredibly beautiful experience. I highly recommend it as a bucket list item. Kids will see so much natural beauty that they won't mind being in a car for days and days. I, however, have done that drive more than enough times and the only way I would ever do it again is if I was madly in love and the object of my affection wanted to drive it. And I do mean he'd have to be ready to do the whole damn drive!

Fun fact: One of my Iowan neighbors actually helped build the Alcan. When he found out I had moved here from Alaska, he was pretty psyched. He actually wrote a book about the Alcan.

The best thing is, when you are driving the Alcan out of Alaska, it gives you a chance to do a slow goodbye. It's like getting that last sweet and lingering kiss from a lover. I want all my goodbyes to be as beautiful. To this day, I miss some things about Alaska. Most of the family memories I have were made in that place.

The people of Alaska are a big part of the state's beauty, More and more lately, that is fading. Back then though, people who moved there became infected with the friendliness and laid-back attitude that is being Alaskan. The company I worked for there had come up to expand on their hubs in Portland, San Francisco, and Memphis. After just months of the transplanted employees being around us Alaskans, they fit in perfectly. As a matter of fact, I didn't last long in Arizona that time around (another story for later maybe) and ended up going back to the same employer after less than a year and a half. The company was one that I was associated with for a lot more years. Some of the people who moved to Alaska to work with that company stayed after the business was sold and incorporated into what is now FedEx Trade Networks.

Just to make you understand why people love Alaska the way they do (if they do) is to show it to you. It's a gorgeous place. And it's one of those places where you don't have to be rich to enjoy the loveliness. Even with the unzoned, unmatched architecture of Anchorage, you can ignore the manmade ugliness just by looking up at the mountains. Just a ten-minute drive out of Anchorage in any direction and you are in the middle of postcard territory. Seriously. Let me share just a little bit of the view.

This is Beluga Point - just about a 5-minute drive heading out on the Seward Highway.

I'm a horrible photographer and even my bad shot can't kill the beauty in that pic. I took the next one a few years ago just holding the camera out of the car window.

My niece - who still lives in Anchorage (and is a much better photog) took these recently to post on her Instagram:

While out walking her dogs

Just on a drive somewhere in town

 And this beauty right here. I think my niece was on her way back from a fishing trip. Tell me this isn't postcard-worthy. (And don't steal the photo like I did.)

I think you get the idea. Basically, you can live in the poorest, most run-down and depressing part of town and still be just a glance up or a short drive away from magnificence.

That beauty was one of the reasons I was sad to be leaving Alaska. That and having to drive that damned car.


Thursday, September 09, 2021

(REPOST) On a Personal Note

(I am re-posting this one because I was just reminded of how powerful depression is. I don't want anyone to ever think they are "the only one" or that they cannot come through this. Life is full of trials. If you suffer from depression or any other mental troubles, see a doctor. Call a hotline. Reach out. Do something other than giving in to the darkness.)

I've been doing so many product reviews that it's been a long while since I shared anything else here. With spring peeking into the windows of my apartment, my depression is easing and I thought I could talk about that struggle.

It's a serious business, dealing with depression and anxiety. It's even more serious (for me at least) as you age. When I was in my 30's, I could ward off "the blues" by focusing on family and friends. We always had a gaggle of babies and toddlers around and my mother and sister were still here with me. Now, I feel quite alone. Here's the contradiction: I am a loner by nature. I like being alone. My best friend is the same way. We once lived together for 5 months and were perfectly happy spending at max about 20 minutes a day together. She says that we are able to entertain ourselves with our own thoughts and imaginations. Blessing and curse.

The other day, I found myself wanting to get on a plane and get to Arizona as fast as possible. I have some family here, but Arizona is where the babies are. The smile and trust of a baby is a magical, mysterious kind of medicine. Babies don't care about your past. They don't ask you tough questions about the mistakes you made. Babies don't know that you've ruined marriages and relationships. Even older children - the ones who have only ever seen the you that you are now - don't want to talk about what you did wrong to be alone. They just want to be your friend. They want you to be their protection. They want your hugs and bedtime stories and attention.

Of course, I didn't run off to Arizona. Instead, I locked myself in with my plants and the radio and books. I prayed and cried and apologized to my past. I cooked food that I wasn't hungry for. I made bread and cakes that I gave away to my neighbors. I lay in bed and ached with a craving for I know not what. I scolded myself and I talked to God, making promises and asking questions and listening for answers,

When I get really deep down in the darkest blue of these moods, I will aim my pity outwards - but in a mean and backhanded way. I will talk to the muted screen of the TV, preaching to the seemingly morals-free and happy living people I see there. 

...To the girls with their asses hanging out of shorts and lips twisted up for duck-faced selfies: "You life-wasting piece of ignorance."

...To the celebrities parading their wealth and extravagance: "Really? You needed a diamond that large when there are hungry children in the world?" 

...To the product spokespeople: "Keep your iPhones and Androids and your supplements for a flat tummy. Sell me some peace, some quiet, some hope in mankind."

And, sometimes, while I watch the world spin around in the madness that is, I feel hopeless. I will silently scream into the void, and wonder if that scream is heard in another realm.

While living through this insanity, I at some point, found myself asking some actress in an old black and white movie about my theory of sadness. "Why is it that our laughter is so much louder than our tears?" (By the way, she didn't have an answer. She got killed by the man she was in love with but who was in love with another woman.)

I usually come out of the worst of this mood after talking to the TV. There's nothing like talking aloud in empty rooms to make you look down and realize how close to the edge of madness you are. When pieces of your sanity start to break off and crumble down the mountain, you begin to remember how you cherish the safety of the steady ground. That's when I will stop talking to myself and start playing music.

Music is powerful - either powerfully good or powerfully bad. When David played for Saul it was to soothe. David - loved by and in love with the Lord - had that holy blessing that Saul no longer did. The music was his sharing of a balm.

I never listen to certain music when I am in my blues. No Bird York reminding me of being In the Deep. Otis Redding making me lonesome for my father's history with his Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay on the dock. Such stuff but stuff that tempts me back to the gravelly edge of my sanity. 

When I need healing, I listen to Dora Pickett singing James Cleveland's God Is or Big Daddy Weave singing about being (thank Jesus) Redeemed. These are people - with all their flaws and, surely, their own hidden struggles - who are loved by and in love with God. They have blessings in their songs.

I, too, am (thank Jesus) loved by and in love with God, but in my darker hours, I need that holy balm. Music is like the laying on of hands - God's or Satan's. (Trust me, you don't want to listen to the angry anthems such as Tupac's Holla If Ya Hear Me or Fight the Power from Public Enemy after reading a news piece of another black kid being choked out by a cop. And, if you still doubt the power of music, think of how many babies were conceived while their parents got warmed up by Marvin sing about Gettin' It On. When Beth Hart sings Tell Her You Belong to Me, I want to sit in the dark with a glass of wine, smoking a cigarette, and cry about some imaginary man. Powerful.

Some music. A lot of prayers. Just desperately holding on to the hem of Jesus' garment to keep from falling... That's how I push through.

So, I am coming out of the dark. This time. Like I said, spring has been leaking in between the slats of my window blinds. Sun and hope. Warmth.

Spring is my favorite time of year. Probably because I lived so many years in Alaska. Spring has always, always, always felt like the dawn that comes after the long night of winter.

In another few weeks, I will have more plants and herbs to calm myself with. I will be able to walk down to the lake and breathe in air that's not biting me with icy teeth.

Once again, I have come through the struggle and I have regained the ability to hope. Maybe this will be the season that I will fall in love, or in like. Maybe this is the season that I will be able to finish working on the book. Maybe is a good word because 'maybe' does not mean 'never".


Friday, September 03, 2021

Angering the Hormone Fairy

 No kidding. Either I really have ticked off the hormone fairy or my inner child has escaped again. Or - and this scares me a little - the Mental Pause Fairy is back to visit.

I knew something was up when I was more sweaty than usual. It's humid here so "sweat" is the new normal. But this was excessive, especially one day when I realized I had not sweated so much since a certain Mother's Day I spent in Phoenix. For the past several days, I have either been too hot or too cold; too chatty or too leave-me-the-hell-alone-y, and either crying at every minimally sad thing I see or laughing until I cannot breathe. 

I took out my garbage the other day and noticed that someone had tossed a bunch of household items - seat cushions, ratty Tupperware, and some old-man clothing. I broke into tears right there next to the dumpster because I decided that another of my elderly neighbors had died. That happens too much in this building and it's heartbreaking to watch families discarding their loved ones' things.

So maybe my menopause has only been in hibernation? I thought I was over "The Change" but maybe not? Maybe my sarcoidosis triggered something? Or the medications? That could be. 

A couple of weeks ago, I went through a horrible bout of feeling all out of sorts. My fatigue was raging, my brain went haywire, and I was super-clumsy. I had to do a lot of re-posting of old stuff because I could not string together more than 5 sentences - out of my mouth or on paper. Not being able to communicate is tough.

The worst thing about my problem in communicating clearly is that my very best friend in this life happens to be struggling with some kind of dementia. She's almost 80 but was so sharp until recently. Of course, I still call her a couple of times a week - that will never not be a thing - but... Our conversations are like a verbal Picasso or Escher creation. 

Ever since I was diagnosed with sarc, I try to be super-aware of my moods. I'm already temperamental and have crazy cat lady tendencies at times.  That's not fun for other people. So when I am being really weird, I make every attempt to keep to myself. I don't even like to be around my loved ones when I am feeling "some kind of way". It's not good for relationships of any kind.

The other day, I got so mad at one of my brothers that I felt nearly homicidal. The feeling only lasted for about 5 minutes, but so do some cyclones. And it was all over a fan. Yes, a fan.

I have a ceiling fan in the living room and in the bedroom. My apartment holds heat as if it's the center of the world's climate crisis. I don't spend a lot of time in the living room. I might sit there to watch something that happens to look better on the television than it does on the small screen of my laptop. But I'm not big on watching television so I spend most of my time in the bedroom. My writing desk is in there and, of course, the bed. The ceiling fan in the bedroom is decent - if you position yourself right dead-center underneath.  I don't sleep in that position. For that reason, I have a tower fan that stays next to the bed. 

My tower fan is so important to me that I made sure to get one that looks nice. Since it's going to be there until I move or die. I've had it since-

hold on while I check the buy-date on Amazon

-about 7 days after I moved into this place. So 4 years come July.

I run that fan all night every night, no matter the season. After so much use, it's starting to slow down. It doesn't cool the air as well or blow as hard as it once did. I've always cleaned it pretty regularly with those magic duster things and canned air but that's no longer doing the job.

Because my brother has a shop vac, I asked if he could take the fan home and blow it out for me. That was on a Monday. By Wednesday, I called to ask if he'd blown out the fan yet. No. He didn't want to simply blow it out. He wanted to take it apart and oil it and make sure that it was really clean.

I know my brother. He so much like my dad and was going to become a NASA project manager of cleaning that fan. I might not see that fan again until the Lord returns.

To speed things up, I told my brother not to worry about taking the fan apart. Just blow it out and bring it back. Please, I begged.

Thursday, I called my SIL and found out that my brother had indeed taken the fan apart. He was in the process of cleaning it but wanted to make sure to oil it well and, while he's at it, replace a couple of the scr-

I think I must have burst a blood vessel at that moment because I saw a flash of bright white light. People say that you cannot do a "slam down" hangup on a cell phone. I disagree. I hit the End button so hard that I hurt my finger.

I guess my SIL relayed all this to my brother because he had the fan back in the next couple of hours. 

Am I ashamed of my childish and entitled behavior? Over a fan? Yes, yes, I am. Will that stop me from acting like a crazy woman the next time I get irritated? It's going to depend on these hormones.

And, ladies - I'm talking to any of you who still have a working uterus - here's something you might not know: the process known as "The Change"? That can go on for many years. Many. Years. 

I had been told this once but I guess I forgot. It's not a simple one-step process, the whole Menopause thing. (They should, by the way, use my term "Mental Pause".) There are 3 stages and 4 categories to this madness. I'm pretty sure the categories are similar to those of hurricanes. I don't know, but the stages? 

  1. Perimenopause  - I hit this at around 52 years old - after I thought I had hit it at 50. Scary to think I could have still gotten knocked up at that point in my life - especially because of the spouse I was with. 
  2. Menopause - This is your last period. And you won't know that - until you don't have another one.
  3. Postmenopause - This is it. You are done. At least, I thought so. Apparently, my hot flashes haven't met the doctors who claim I should be done with hot flashes. Or flashes of cranky and of crazy. Apparently.
Those 4 stages? I call them the Ghosts of Past, Present, and Future.

Am I happy to be without the worry of monthly periods? Yes, of course. But no one told me that for the first several months of not having a period could be so weird. For one thing, I still had cramps. And I still felt nauseous. It was as if my body did not want to let go of the misery of having a period.

Anyway.  Since I seem to be having some of the symptoms of this hormonal madness, I went back to some of the remedies for it. I am drinking more water, I am trying my best to stay in bed for at least 8 hours - even if I'm not sleeping. I also try to eat more yogurt and tofu. Someone told me that soy would help during menopause and I think it did. I can't remember now. But I did pull out this old cooling pillow from storage...

Last night before bed, I took extra care with my prayers. I asked for more patience. For my friends and family so they don't kill me while I'm like this. 


Tuesday, August 31, 2021

(Repost) My Beautiful & Silly Family: The Ladies

 (I am continuing with these repostings until I get new ones written. I told you I didn't want this blog to be all about reviews and nothing but. This is one from June of 2019 that I love because it has to do with the people I love: my sisters - of the bloodline or of the heart. I hope it makes you smile a little.)

(One of my play nieces told me that it would be cool if I put up a video for each post. Sounded cool. Go support an artist.)

I can NOT dance but I fell in love with Kinjaz & Jabbawockeez
after seeing the Jabbas' "Dreamz" show in Vegas. 
The choreographer for this performance
 is Keone. He and his wife are some badass dancers.

Today I feel especially blessed to have such a wonderful family. I mean, don't get me wrong, I have some family that I am embarrassed to claim, but... family is family and I could have done worse.

say "Cheese"

I think that the one thing my family has been blessed with is a sense of humor. The women in the family are definitely funnier than the guys, in my opinion.

This morning, I was talking with one of my nieces who still lives in Alaska. We talk almost every other day. She drives me crazy, I drive her crazy, and we love each other to pieces. She is also one of the funniest people I know. When I was telling her about the little mayflies that swarm around the back entrance of the building I live in, she teased that I was missing the Alaskan mosquitos. I asked if they were already getting bad up there this season. Her response: "One of them is knocking on my car window right now."

One time not too many years ago, this niece and I were at Walmart (as we were just about every other day) and somehow we got onto the subject of cheese (don't ask) and how many different varieties there were. She started goofing around and saying the word "cheese" with an accent somewhere between classy and drunk. I cracked up every time she said it until people around us probably were wondering if they needed to call Security. We carried on like that for at least half an hour because giggles never get old.

I have another niece who is just as hilarious. I always love to hear her tell about the first time she went to meet her then fiance's family. His whole entire family was there - from a great-grandmother down to a pre-teen cousin. It was a family get-together kind of situation and even though my niece is used to large gatherings because of our family, she was still nervous. I mean, this is the family of the love of her life, right? At dinner, my niece was glad to see that apparently, her future family-in-law could cook good food. Eating would give her something to do other than be nervous and she dug right in, picking up a dinner roll and dipping it into some gravy. She tells how, just as she had her mouth full with the first bite, she realized how quiet it had gotten. She looked up to see that everyone was waiting for her to join hands with them and say grace. She says the worst part was she had to finish chewing before she could join in. She and her husband are still together all these years later.

My other niece - who is the mother to that little piece of my heart that I call DJ - tends to have a potty mouth. She and her family were still in Alaska when I was about to move here. In the weeks before I left, I would remind my niece to watch her mouth in front of DJ and warned that he would start to repeat her swear words at the worst possible time. She was a stressed mom of two, trying to hold down the wife gig while working parttime in real estate. She was not doing well with cleaning up her language. I was over storing some of my things in their garage one day when I hear DJ getting scolded for something. I was too busy to pay much attention but when I went into the house, he ran over to me, just sobbing his little heart out. When I asked what was wrong (because I'm the fun lovable aunt this time around) he admitted to whatever bad thing he'd done. To quiet him down, I told him there was no reason to be so upset. These are the exact words he said to me in a very earnest voice: "Uh huh because when daddy gets home, he's gonna tear my ass up." I know I am a strong-willed woman because I managed not to fall out on the spot laughing. My niece heard for herself and couldn't deny that she was famous for using that threat. By the way, DJ's dad is a big old softie who only has to use his "daddy voice" to enforce the rules. My niece did learn a lesson that day though.

You've heard me talk about my sister. She was such a hoot. I have so many stories about her I don't know where to start. She was one of those people who could make you laugh just by the way she changed her expression. And whenever we were people-watching, she could look so innocent while she had me cracking up with comments she'd make. She also made up words that somehow made sense. For instance, she'd describe a fussy person as being "persticular" or a "sticular". Makes sense, doesn't it? She was also brutally honest. I remember once when I was wearing long braids and made the fashion choice to tie a bandana around my forehead one day. I really thought I was cute as could be until my sister asked why I was walking around "looking like a pirate." On the other hand, if my outfit was on point, she'd be the first to compliment me.

My sister and I had a mutual girlfriend (let's call her Liza) who was always doing something different and daring with her hair. You could see her wearing a short bob cut in the morning and by dinner, she might have curls down to her butt. If someone asked, she always said it was her hair. She rationalized that it was her hair since she'd paid for it. One time when my sister and I were out and walking somewhere downtown with Liza, my sister suddenly got so tickled about something that she stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and doubled over laughing. She was laughing so hard, she could hardly breathe. Liza and I had no idea what was so funny and we had to wait while my sister got herself under control. When she did, she stood up holding up one of the weaved in braids that had come loose and fallen from our Liza's head. That set it off and there we were, three grown women, standing on a street corner in downtown Anchorage laughing like loons. I'm pretty sure we made an impression on the tourists.

Liza once shaved off all her hair except for a little tuft at the very top that she (having been 3 shades darker than I am) dyed bright yellow. I don't know what style she was going for but my mother started calling her "Baby Buddha". Liza didn't care and I always admired her confidence.

My best friend (and surrogate sister) is unintentionally funny. When she gets excited or mad she has trouble finding the right words. She called me one day to tell me how busy she had been taking care of some business downtown. She was telling me that, to top everything, she'd had to use an inconvenient parking spot. She couldn't find one on the street and had to use (her words here) "You know - that place where they stack the cars". We are so connected that I knew right away that she was thinking of a parking garage.

My friend and I have cellphones and landlines. We call each other on whichever phone happens to be most convenient. Once when we were talking I could tell that she was distracted and rummaging around for something, She said she has lost her cellphone. She went on and on about not replacing it if she couldn't find it because she hated her service provider anyway and she was always losing the damn thing and blah blah blah. As she went on and on, I glanced down to see which number she was calling from. She was looking for her cellphone while she was talking on it. I almost didn't have the heart to tell her.

I can't tell you how much I love that I have (or had) these women in my life. Just thinking about them today has made me feel happy inside. I think I will go call my best friend now because we have a lot to laugh about.


NOTE: Mentioning "today" is not accurate since I am having to rearrange the scheduling of this post. My bad.