pawspauseprose

Life as it arrives and dreams as they happen


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An epiphany – The Glove DID fit, your Samba was a 40 and Gleeks rule!

The world we live in is not fair.  Okay, there I said it out loud, so cheer and take a big sigh.  The 800 pound gorilla has left the room – unless he is on a stupid insurance commercial with a lizard.  The truth is, that as a mother I taught my daughters to be themselves, not to worry about looks, do their best and they would be accepted in life.  I was only half right; I sent them off into the starting gate of kindergarten, no different than taking them to Vegas and rolling the dice.  Simply stated, the “X” factor is not true popularity, gorgeous looks, intelligence, athletic prowess or unexplainable ability (take that Simon Cowell) – it is as simple as the Golden Rule, you just have to be liked.

This being the actual secret for success in life, it merits looking further at what our definition for success really is for the American Dream or Nightmare, depending where you fit on the smile scale.  Case in point:  Dorothy found it when she clicked those red sequins to the curb finding love and happiness was always in her heart.   The night of her death, hanging over the freezing ocean, at 94 Rose tossed away a priceless diamond heart because it wasn’t money, but Jack who completed her life even though he never shared it with her.  So where does that leave the rest of us real people?

Sadly, we have no way to know and very little chance in changing where we fit in the acceptance circle.  The rules make no sense, timing is everything and looks truly don’t have as much to do with it as we may think. The most important lesson we need to learn is to accept who we are, and stop trying to figure out why or what we are doing so wrong.  The answer is simple – NOTHING!  Imagine an incredible food buffet.   No matter how hard the pastry chef worked, some desserts will never get selected and the boring macaroni and cheese will need at least 10 refills by the end of the evening.  That is the “Like Scale.”

Humanity has watched in pain as loving family members young and old disappear without a trace.  Why is it we cling to some and walk past others?  What makes the bespeckled little boy presenting a report on frogs, wearing a CSI shirt, a wealthy toddler beauty queen with ruffles and lace and the stunning blonde from an average home enjoying a sunny beach in Aruba important?  There were more than 600 abductions in lower income neighborhoods in the last three years from Chicago alone, so why them?  Easy, there is a connection made and we like them.  That alone raises them above the others and found or not we will never forget them.  They are the macaroni and cheese and chocolate chip cookies that find a comfortable home on our buffet of life.

This level of personal acceptance on whatever understanding or comforting level it resonates, finds us connecting, which in turn causes us to like an individual for reasons no one understands.  Ironically, we are more alike than we will admit, which snowballs into an acceptance reaction that no one expects.  Seriously, Mark and Chelsea danced their legs off only to loose at the last minute to Kirstie Alley? We all know the bloody glove fit ,even though the October verdict shocked America, and who can argue with 11 million Gleeks.  We like who we like pure and simple,  this of course reminds me of a high school prom date that shall go nameless, as I still shake my head at the “why?’ factor.

So as you start this week, have some self confidence and acknowledge your self worth.  Listen not to the words of a financially bred evangelist or the slick cover of a magazine with an airbrushed model, listen to your soul.  Sally Field will not be remembered for her entire body of work, she will be remembered by her words on Oscar night and as Norma Rae when she cried in shock saying, “You like me! You really like me!”  Indeed, she said what we all long to hear in our loveless lemming legion, and that was before we raised Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” to a new national anthem standard!   Cain and Abel are more than a biblical story regardless of belief, they are the blueprint for mankind and how we are viewed in life.  If you have any doubts on this, the next time you are on Face Book look for the little blue and white box marked “LIKE” – it is after all life’s exclamation point.


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Pardon me, but your plastic is showing

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Seriously it is all from the same blueprinted concept and in many cases the same material, which will end up buried underground in a slow decay process – not unlike the above ground survival concept we live each day.  Life isn’t swimming with the sharks anymore; you are now instructed to “think outside the box.”  What isn’t said is the box is plastic and made of materials that closely resemble the life you are already living.

Friends, family and relationships are more like chess pieces on life’s game board.  Plastic and formed in perfect shape, taking each move in stride until a checkmate shocks us both.  Living behind a computer screen on Face Book, My Space, Chat Boards and emails makes life so much easier.  After all, *HUGS*, BFF and Love ya are emotional signatures, pleasing to the eye and registering in the heart without even a plastic pretense of genuine touch.

Chasing an American Dream usually means having a plastic credit card somewhere in your pocket and purchasing physical and emotionally attractive items more often than not, man-made for our viewing and listening pleasure.  Does this complete us? Possibly, some can walk away with lasting gratification, but the majority of us just reach for the mail order catalogs, coupons, EBay or a trip to the local mall to “become” the person we know others think we are suppose to be.

Tupperware arrived in 1946 as weird white gray plastic boxes with the raised image of a seal on the lid.  This reminded us of the tight locking “seal” when you “burped” the box removing excess air for a tight fit.  By 1950, unhappy housewives using far too much hairspray and looking for guidance delighted in this nonsense with coffee and cookies.  I have to admit, I had two bridal showers that consisted of nothing BUT Tupperware – talk about a harbinger of fate that I didn’t acknowledge.  About that same time SWAK (sealed with a kiss) another emotional non-committal signature precursor to email started.  I think of that “sealed” and the plastic image “seal” and laugh at the correlations of hot air, assumed security and physical lock up – no different than what awaits us in life.

It’s 2011 and I realize I’m not Chicago, but seriously does anyone really know what time it is?  Life passes us 24 hours at a time towards inevitable death waiting for us all and yet we walk towards it in stepford steps, plastic smiles and plastic emotion not really giving anything to one another or even sadder not taking back anything for ourselves.

Pay it Forward became vogue in recent years along with Random Acts of Kindness.  Why should these even need to be discussed?  Reaching out in warm and honest compassion to someone whether they are a stranger, friend or family member should be as normal as taking a breath.  The Golden Rule has developed into an Exception to the Rule, and found itself safely stored water tight without air until the time is right.

Future archeologists, should they exist, will find our civilization as one very well preserved.  Plastic cased computers have emails holding our feelings, digital images on plastic USB drives, things that gave us happiness sit on plastic shelves, our bodies hold plastic joints, contacts, veneers and injected plastic to accent parts or erase wrinkles and when the last gasp of air is gone, we are securely sealed into an air tight containers with lots of *HUGS* from those who knew us (those however will never be seen).

I refuse to be preserved, which is probably why I literally walk barefoot through life most of the time, experiencing the sensation if I am alone or not, and I  have been taken advantage of and used more than I want to admit.  Life lives around me and I live in it, recognizing the unburped air all around which on occasion does go stale. I reach out to people whether I know them or not and take back and treasure each encounter.  I just wish there were more of them.  However, those I do keep are in a special airtight, secure and easily accessible place – I call it my heart.


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Yup, got it right here

I loved  “Let’s Make a Deal.”  Carol would walk past the Monet mystery curtain, smiling, so unaffected and as normal as a next door neighbor.  What was waiting?  Was it a Zonk or a life changing treasure?  Monty walked the crop  rows of costumed people offering cash for impossible items in a woman’s purse.  Okay, I have to admit this developed into a disorder for me as an adult – I have that purse.

Never wanting to be unprepared for life, my purse contents grew and grew.  When I was first married, my husband, a police officer would toss in keys, hand cuffs, wallet and on occasion his off duty gun if we were somewhere with the kids.  I used to have this warped fantasy of him needed to defend us and reaching in grabbing an unloaded tampon in the heat of the moment.  Regardless I was prepared!

As my daughters grew, so did my purse, a Felix the Cat journey to the unknown.  Wooden spoons for discipline, snacks, tiny toys and books, radio, mini TV and later make-up, shampoo, hairspray, nylons –   Anything that could save the moment.  On occasions away from home, I realized I could live just fine with everything stashed in the pockets, boxes and bags that were inside and often did.

There have been humorous moments, like post 911 airport security, when I turned over 3 pair of small scissors, forgetting the 16” razor sharp shears in the bottom (my husband was in tears laughing at the search from a distance).  There was also the time I needed to explain why a woman of forty needed a folding saw and ax – easy I explained, “Things happen.”  Dexter would have understood and I have really used them in merit badge capacity, so there.

Now that I am a grandma, the need for practicality (and wheels) in my purse is a reality. I do have little toys I secretly leave on the tables of good children in restaurants; drink mix packets and tea bags to change water to beverage and save a little money now and then and my tools of course, basic rule of life, “Never trust a woman without a tool box.”  The makeup and vanity items are down to lipstick, black pencil and foundation and some hairspray, and  the medical cabinet aspect has increased, as things continue to fail now that the need to keep them decorated is fading.

However, my purses aside, I also carry a smart phone.  Monty Hall has seen his $100 bill offer develop into something he could never have remotely imagined.  All my life I was prepared for what might happen, but now with my mighty little 9oz phone I know why and when things do happen.  Smart phones have added the cherry on  top of the physical and emotional baggage in my life.  In a few short minutes, I can jump onto a browser and find out enough current news, history, philosophy, comedy, literature and personal opinion that would have once filled a first semester of college 30 years ago!  I can also send the electronic equivalent of several letters and a few “walkie-talkie” texts, keeping in contact with family, friends and people who know me just as a screen name.

We have reached a level of human ability and knowledge not even considered in those late night televised Twilight Zone episodes, that faded into the American Flag signing off the broadcasting day with a test pattern (remember it would ruin your eyes if you watched it disappear into the pin point of light it did, when the air waves went silent.)  In fact 12 years ago when my daughter would wake me up with call at 2am from a bar, because she needed a trivia answer (did I mention my brain is over stuffed as well, with that I might need it someday information?) I thought just her having a cell phone ready and not needing to carry the dime in her wallet as I did, was a marvel in itself – who knew?

So to see people who are “bored” and “uninspired” I want to scream – and yes the full Edvard Munch vision , which you can grab your phone and find at:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scream.  There is no excuse, no reason and no rational explanation to be unprepared for life or not to have one.  Carry your life in a bag if you want like I do for creature comfort, but don’t ever take lightly that you carry the wisdom of the world with just a click of a button and can change your life, destiny and the moment with just one search.

Yup, you got it right there – just remember to use it!


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Dust or Suit – the jacket is the same

Growing up I knew uniforms.  My father was a policeman and later I married one.  My uncle was in the Air Force and everyday at noon the mailman dropped off the day’s letters in navy blue, as dad enjoyed his lunch.  The first major job in my life was for the NFL where linemen to tight end all had a uniform sending them into glory. Respect and authority however weren’t always what they seamed.

Don’t get me wrong, they all looked great, but who hasn’t heard “clothes don’t make the man?”  I guess that is why I loved my father best when we were fishing or when he was puttering in the garage – but then again, he ‘was” a man, and didn’t need uniformed behavior.

Books are the same way.  I remember buying hard back (good grief did I remember that phrase?) with the slick dust jack covers reflecting light, with artwork or foil stamping (yup been published and know what that is!).  Those covers dressed up even the worst story and looked great on a coffee table.  It was only years later after I acquired a very special first edition, that I laughed at how unnecessary those covers were.  Holding that first edition, one of several yet to come, I read each cherished word again and let them all paint the Sistine of my soul, touching those places I kept for myself.

It was the word that made the book.

Yes, I climbed up and down the professional ladder of success, accepting the acclimated access pass in the form of Dior, Coach, Chanel and Casini and looked damn good doing it.  But I remember coming home and the briefcase sat by the door, my nylons became jeans and bare feet returned to their natural habitat – that was when I was at my best, I was a mom.  The grass may have been greener in my wallet then, but I never lost sight of how wonderful it smelled after the rain or having just been mowed.  Once during a board of directors meeting, I set a vocal opponent straight, pointing out I was a mom who worked, I was not a working mother – there was a difference and I was proud to know it.

A favorite cartoon clip from “Dexter’s Laboratory” called “NRFB” should be mandatory adult viewing.  An anonym “Never Removed From Box,” is a secret club handshake, known to bring the strong to their knees and rattle EBay for hundreds.  It is you see, a collectors term used like the suit a man or woman with plastic ideals might hide behind.  It implies power and demands ownership.  Not at all unlike the slick selling cover on a crummy story you can’t realize until it is too late and you have bought it.  In reality however, it’s just an old doll stuck to a cardboard liner, fading and aging every day.

As age spreads across my horizon (and my hips), casual Friday and telecommuting have taken over the power suit and books have become digital, with fonts not fronts sitting on a PC or reader not a coffee table. The Twilight Zone where I visit frequently, reminds us beauty is in the eye of the beholder and such is the Aesop for humanity.  Who you are is what makes you important and what you give of yourself everyday to those around you in life.  So I live each day to the fullest, not NRFB hoping for my value to go up.  I’ve taught my daughters to pay it forward, not look for the pay check, and that looking the part, is the easiest way to fall apart.

My first edition?  It was the Velveteen Rabbit, quickly followed by the Steadfast Tin Solider and both stained and faded cloth covers are always within my reach, as well as my family and friends – just like me.


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When it hits 451 Fahrenheit we all die

I have a Kindle.  Nifty little bag of Steven Hawkings it is, and yet a bit Captain Kirk all at the same time.  I always hoped for a tricorder someday to analyze my aches and pains in a brief moment.  However, having the world according to my brain with a month battery charge is almost as good.  The overall health of my living self is still being monitored in part, as I carry the New York Times best sellers 1 to 35 each week from room to room.

When Bradbury offered up his living book, I was in awe of the vision.  At the time I was good for Flanders’s Fields, The Road Not Taken and several Hawthorne chapters, which I know bent me over to the dark side of life.  After all, once your faith is gone what is there for a good man?  And certainly everything in life is a pearl of a great price.  Nevertheless, to take in an entire book, breathing, eating and sleeping, to become the brittle pages for all eternity (without dropping acid) is just incredible!  Now that me and a few million others have a Kindle, I am sure the concept will become more ancient and in time forgotten as we actually do carry the library with us, available from $.99 and up, unless you visit the dark side and find a torrent (which has nothing to do with a copious outpouring) and then you fly free in first class looking over your ISP for big brother.

All things being equal however, I still find comfort knowing in Flanders Fields the poppies blow -between the crosses, row on row, and they have been doing it since 1915.

The first book I downloaded was of course Bradbury.  Call me a creature of habit or one who prefers the worn socks to new, what mattered was it was there.  We could become together, two era’s with the same goal – keep it alive for the living and those yet to be born.  Life is the same.  There is nothing sadder than living a life you pass from, with only dust and a few dreams scattered in your wake.  There is a time and place in this world for a bookmark, but there are no words for those who become one.

When my life ends, I know there will be far more between the row and row and I smile.  I may not have been a full color illustration or even a complete chapter, but I was words to the pages of my life.  The words varied along those roads in my life from innocent exploration to sensual adventure and even a little Wall Street crime and punishment.  The point of my pen is, I will leave a mark.  I was here.

My children avoid my marks now, my grandchildren have yet to experience them all and who knows what still lies ahead.  Regardless, I have committed my life to memory, chapter and verse and placed it in pictures and writings, tchotckes, scraps of paper and more than a few odd toys and I visit them often.  Those who clean up the ashes of my existence will see first hand, that I lived!  I hope they laugh and cry and maybe find some of the meanings I treasured – before putting it all on EBay, as they wonder why I never was on Hoarders.

Someday all bindings fail, the batteries no longer charge and all that is left is what is written, either in ink or breath.  I know behind me waits a library of life to pass on and pass over but never to just pass by.

After all, I am not now nor was I ever just a bookmark.


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One lump or two in your Dorian Gray?

The time has truly come when I would welcome a jury of my peers.  I don’t necessarily need a trial for something I am sure I have done at some point, but I would welcome with open arms and kill the fatted calf for an evening of discussion and laughter with people who have lived, loved and taken a few notes over the past 40 odd years.

I recently made a reference to Dorian Gray in a discussion about of the shape of world outlook and mankind in general (I know a sign of age – but it is still true).  A young woman overheard me, and was delighted to offer her own comment on the subject.  “Oh I just love that tea! I heard it is Queen Elizabeth’s favorite too.  Do you like it with sugar?”  She beamed at her tie in to not just the recent royal wedding, but also I fear an “adult” conversation I was having.  I decided to take the completely neutral route, smiled and told her I always drank my tea without sugar.  She smiled and turned back to her own conversation which I am sure was discussing how someone thought the big whopper was a 50’s singer that died in a plane crash and a certain burger chain should sue.  Sigh.

Ah for my peers.  Nothing is more stimulating to the human condition than offering body, mind and soul into conversation and experience, where you grow and bloom from the exchange.  However, the world is evolving into a computer screen solitude where facts are a Google away (yes I used that as a verb) and youtube offers news reports, movies, stupid pet tricks and moments from past, present and future with just a click.  I remember being told self stimulation grew hair on your hands – in this case it just causes it to fall out, as we age every day alone in front of dim lighting and LED pallets.  I think there is more to the lumps than I want to admit.

Dorian Gray was able to cast the evil from his being into his portrait and live as if nothing was wrong and he was a virtuous man.  That premises is not so far fetched anymore.  Chat rooms of beautiful people behind fake photos, ages older and profiles of misinformation are the norm now.  Interaction between even family and friends is on Facebook or through email the majority of the time and a few quick phrases can avoid anything resembling what is real good or bad in your life.  What is truly sad, is the receiving party doesn’t usually make much effort themselves to check back  accepting what is given.  The population has all signed into a home network shopping cart, buying paint by number portrait kits for computer room closets.  We had the Bay of Pigs, now there are Wiki leaks – says it all doesn’t it.

Ignorance is not bliss. Not having a personal awareness of the world on any level, political, entertainment, religious, sports and of course human interest is a waste and not haring it first hand with others is truly an abomination.   The terms that came to mind when I wrote that were “soylent green” and  “meat head,” but I know there are only a few who would understand and far more who would assume they were  accessories for Lady Gaga.

“And that’s the way it is”, “Good night Chet” and even “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking!”  Were solid parts of conversation and reassurance in my life.  They generated material and news to laugh and talk about and also to think about.  How wonderful it would be again for a conversation maybe only half as over informed and overly analyzed as we now  have with the Internet and 24/7 news channels.  One with the human touches, and sharing personal insight and emotion again.  After all, that is what we remember in the long run, much more satisfying than turning off a screen and going to bed.

So yes, my Dorian Gray does have a couple lumps, taken them over the years but grown from them, and I will proudly offer them up against your Gym Tan Laundry and angry birds on the Fox network any day.


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And the Oscar Goes to…….

I admire people who have enough life for a biography, and wonder about those who have too much ego for an autobiography.  However, I think the true way to go is to hire a screenwriter! This is the way to view your life.

Recently I curled up with my Kindle and we shared a best seller which frankly should have been kindling.   My jaw dropped even farther, when I watched the movie made from it and what a screenwriter created.  Seriously?  As grandma said you can’t make a silk purse from a pigs ear and boy they got it wrong on all fronts!

Many years ago I read two books from new authors at the time.  One was a “firm” offering, with great plot, character development and action around every corner.  The other, a “shining” example of nightmares at their best, with characters I still see in dark shadows and original concepts that were just darn perfect!  When I heard they were headed for “the big screen” you can bet my hot buttered attention I was there and I waited with baited gummy bears to get my ticket.  Sadly, they both had been made into works of fiction far different from what the authors had planned; with so many drastic changes to the plot one of the two writers actually had his name removed from the credits!  That was my only applauding moment.

Ironically, there are many people in my life who are also screenwriters and they don’t even know it.  They rewrite life’s history on a daily basis and do it so well; they actually believe what they have produced.  I guess if it works so well in the movies why not slide it over into life and avoid all those messy details you might have to explain to your children someday.  For me though, I would like to think when I have passed from this stage and gone into my eternal production I will leave behind some great plot development, touching characters and even a few light hearted comedy skits remembering me well.  That will be biography enough for those I loved, and maybe in time they will recognize similar instances in their own life and smile.

But with the internet and all the average screenwriters deleting moments, changing themes and making moments completely disappear, who really leaves anything behind anymore? At least anything true to the original and worth holding on to – even photographs are now altered from location to appearance.  I could actually leave a “lasting” image for my great grandchildren showing me with no wrinkles, no gray hair at 90, standing in front of the Eiffel Tower with a bouquet of roses and a small cat. Only problem with that is I earned those wrinkles and gray hair, it made me into the mother and grandmother they knew, I’ve never been to Paris (yet anyway) and I hate cats and roses.   Guess I will need a stand in.

Somewhere in all the technology we love there has to be a stage left where the screenwriters can quietly exit and reality can resume the role.  I don’t want the sphinx in Egypt to have a nose job, I like wondering about the magic bullet or why Marilyn Monroe took a long nap.  But most of all I like knowing that someday the details that hurt or embarrassed me in life, might shed light on who I was to those I loved and might even help them in a similar situation.  That will be my biography and I will gladly autograph it with all my heart.