pawspauseprose

Life as it arrives and dreams as they happen


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Snickers in Bed

Ah, for the simpler times of mayhem.

When I was embracing the twilight of my 20’s, it was a non-stop treadmill of life.  I was divorced raising 3 young daughters, as I worked up the ladder of professional stiletto stabbing glamor.  What more could I have wanted?  That was easy- a Snickers bar.  Oh how I would look forward to a day, which came along rarely, when I was alone on a week day and could lounge in bed nibbling on a Snickers bar.  It was a simple fantasy in my then overly complicated life, and the thought of it is still an oasis in time for me now.

Today, I lay in bed long past 9:00am, window open to the cool breath of November air.  There is an equally cool place between the sheets for my feet and my faithful Fritzie, who is snoring in a sunbeam, and without warning I thought about that Snickers bar and laughed.  It was ironic you see, as I had nothing pushing my buttons to leave the silent sanctuary of my bed, and yet as with most days in my life now, that was exactly what I wanted.  Yes, Snickers bar be damned, I wanted to be rushed out the door towards a 15 hour day which most likely meant missing breakfast, lunch and too many cups of cold tea before I returned home after dark.    As they grew up my young daughters knew this life too,  and had no need for the Suzy Homemaker oven I treasured, they wanted business cards, huge fake cell phones of the era and briefcases, that sat open on TV trays in the living room, set up as their office space.  My high heels and old blazers on their tiny bodies were worn proud, if not far from chic.

The long hours that kept me from my daughters then, the birthdays I missed because I was out of town, and waking up in a new hotel room not remembering which city I was in, after one to many red eye flights, didn’t seem as horrible  now as I remembered.  After all, who in their right mind wishes to become the infamous frog in a blender? Actually, no one really does, it’s not the blender we miss, it’s the attention needed to be put into the jar, contained and prepared.  For lack of a better explanation, it’s just being needed in the way we feel we perform the best.

There is a short story, He’s at the Office, by Allan Gurganus that tearfully showcases this exact need and I know it will be my own epitaph as well when my time comes.  In my working days however, it was my “daytimer” which became synonymous with my life.  Just as now it is my Felix the cat, Mary Poppins over sized leather purse, which is isn’t a Coach but needs one for transportation.   My daughters always knew to find my daytimer if anything was needed, and so did my co-workers; so much so, I was hunted down once as I walked up the steps on a plane, because no one could function without the office bible I had created and carried.  How I loved being the go to person who could make anything happen.  I used to say the everyday was sometimes difficult, but the impossible was a piece of cake – Indiana Jones would be jealous, especially since in those days the web was still a mere tide pool without a surf, carbon paper was fearing the delights of Word Star passing by the  IBM Selectric and blackberries were for lunch, not containing all the media of a decade.

Even now, I love the need for a mission to find, solve or discover what no one else can, and it isn’t for accolades – frankly, most of what I accomplish is done matter of fact or anonymous.  It is just the personal satisfaction of the grail being found, of the journey, and of my ability.  Don’t get me wrong though, back in my youth, in business, it was a rush knowing one of the yellow bricks on the road to success was mine, and it helped blaze a trail.  I knew I was a part of  the process.  That is what I miss – and not just for me, but for the business world – their loss.  Steve Jobs knew the feeling, and it is now only after his death, we can see just how deep the roots from his apple tree grew, and into how many dreams, realities and lives it provided fruit.  Indeed, that is when you know you have made a difference, when you feel the unseen pat on the back and want to do even more.  So why then is it, no one makes much of an effort anymore?  Everyone is looking for a reality series, a get rich quick lottery style success and the least amount of effort possible for the maximum benefit.

As I sit here today, my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s are behind me, and the concept of running a professional Hail Mary not really in my future again, however, I would do anything to hear Tattoo announce ‘Da Plane” just once more.  Let me have a Fantasy Island 100 hour work week, holding a cracker jack prize of maybe one thing, that would ring the business bell and make a difference.  Sadly, I guess that will always be the difference between a daytimer and a day dreamer.

So, as morning begins it’s fade into afternoon, I will at some point walk down the hall to the overly stuffed room of toys, movie memorabilia and technology referred to as “my office.”  My laptop will greet me with emails and journeys across a search engine landscape, where all my questions and ideas will be answered.  I’ll hold bored meetings there with Fritzie, as he sleeps under the 1950 kitchen table which serves as my desk, after being retired as my mothers kitchen table.  Later, I may refill the cold cup of tea from earlier in the day, check for actual mail outside, listen to more than a few hours of CNN and hope somewhere in my Facebook corporation, someone will need something that I can solve.  It may not be the pace I miss, but it is the pace that makes my heart beat and my mind content.

I know there is someone snickering because I miss business life #101, but bar none, it is the ultimate rush when you  know you’ve made a difference, in not just the world, but in yourself as well.  Don’t take for granted, ignoring what you have to offer, we’ve all been granted this life to experience and make a difference.  And frankly between you and me and  Harvey  Mackay,  who by the way also understands my logic,  Mars candy isn’t blind – even if their Snicker loving sharks munch on Steve, instead of teaching him how to swim with them.   So listen to what you know you can do and find a way to make it happen, if not for any other reason than the value of a Snickers bar.


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Keep in Step or fail trying

Life is a series of steps – there are the ones you take when you first walk,  beginning your journey.  There are 12 steps you take when you try to walk away from your journey, and there are step families forcing you to step up to the plate, step back and sometimes just step in it.  Indeed, even a step ladder can’t help some of us reach and grasp onto life’s obvious decisions, making them work as they should.  That is when you just need to step away.

The once called nuclear family imploded or exploded depending upon your emotional opinion years ago.   I have been blessed if you will, to be one of those divorced individuals who once tried to keep in step as a stepmother.  The experience was brief, but lasting.  I watched and learned as my stepdaughters played badminton with the shuttlecock of a man who was their father and my husband.  The experience was not pleasant and looking back so many years later, I am amazed at the self restraint I had at not completely stepping over the deep end.  My  daughters carry damage from this one time stepfather as well, wondering I know,  if I had lost my mind at the time and also, feeling as if in my personal quest, I had side stepped my responsibilities as their mother.  I hope they forgive me someday; the experience was enough punishment for me.

However, some marriages take steps that do not include additional children.  These relationships either bring new life into the world, or try to keep the life going where it has already taken root.  The second time around, I opted for this step, and I married a man who had never had children and hoped there wouldn’t be any root rot.  I suppose as far as stepping in it goes, this was a minimal mess and after almost 20 years, life has continued for all concerned and the girls bloomed.

Looking at remarried partners though, it becomes a step-to-step match, and it isn’t as easy.  Ironic, how we worry about the parenting, when it is the cohabitation with our ex, that is the true step, that  slips most of us all up.  Stepford is more than a successful script, and the husbands and wives who live it are enough to make me scream!  Sibling rivalry has nothing on watching real dad vs. step dad or the internal bitch slapping match of mom vs. step mom, as all wear the mask of perfection, hoping to gain the ultimate prize as preferential and/or popular parent.  Who knew all the time spent in worry over how the children would accept the relationship, the real worry was how the new relationship would go after the children like a Wonka ticket – and trust me there is no gold involved, just the shaft!

I wish in the great all knowing marriage manual of life, there was a paragraph spelling out that just being yourself, was the greatest gift you could give to your new spouse and their children.  The need to open an emotional candy store with a gold card is never a good option and the resulting decay lasts forever on everyone involved.  Showing the children respect for their natural parent may take some doing, but it will confirm the quality of person their parent married, and will keep channels of communication open that only benefit the children everyone loves.  I realize some people have managed just this, stepping into their relationships with this common sense and personal self esteem, making it a wonderful journey for everyone – not sure if I hate, admire or envy them.

Why is it so difficult for the spouse to understand the “X” in ex-wife or ex-husband?  We walked away from them for a reason!  It is our children we never step away from and in fact loved them enough, to walk a new person into their life, to help mold the adults they would someday become.  Divorce is usually the first step in the right direction for a new beginning – but it never ends up being seen that way through green eyes.  We slip on a ring for hope; we shouldn’t have to step into a ring for the love and acceptance of our children, hoping to just survive.

This past week, our extended family welcomed a new baby – the best celebration any family structure will ever share.  I wonder though what steps he will have to take in the next 18 years, as he reaches life’s milestones with pride, and also those needing comforting.  Sadly, I see him having to choose who to please first, so they will think they are the best grandparent all the better for being in his life.  I pray he kneels instead of steps, and finds faith in himself above all, leaving the rest of the people in his  life  two stepping around his decisions, as well as their own egos.

The journey of a child to adult is shorter than we will admit, and the steps it takes to get them there are hard to erase and their imprint remains long after they have grown.


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Ewoks Battled Endor, but Pandora just rocks

One of my prize possessions in the 70’s was a turquoise AM radio, which reminded me of a plastic transistorized square five inch sandwich.  There was nothing better than having music in the palm of my hand anywhere I went – except somewhere in Kemmerer, Wyoming on fishing trips, where there was minimal coverage and a running serial about “The Tooth Fairy.”   The impact of those happy waves into my teenage and then adult years truly left behind more than an Arbitron.

Reel-to-Reel tapes, 8-tracks, and cassettes, littered the personal duffle bag of my landscape, reassuring me I was never alone.  Brother Louie and Brandy, who was after all  a fine girl, were the family and friends who took me to Funky Town and gave me an Operator after the Airplane turned into a Starship.  Amazing though how something completely invisible, is not just a powerful part of our lives, but also a financial industry that would leave a void none of us would recover from if it disappeared – and that includes those of us who only live Day by Day in faith, praying there will be Joy to the World (and not just from a bullfrog who also incidentally “was” a good friend of mine.)  How odd we all can relate in a single understanding to this invisible force of sound, but at the same time consistently fail to reach out physically face-to-face, in our need for one another.

I thought maybe it was  basic choice, as some of us can’t accept some of the Footloose and vast selections offered at the bandwidth buffet.  So I looked at the ten “stations” which Pandora created for me in no necessary order, by my song taste on my trusty Blackberry. Ironically though, that should not to be confused with the search for mankind and compassion, which made millions because we desired a blue awakening on Pandora.

Precious and Few

Whitesnake

Rock Me Tonight

Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis

Get the Party Started

What the World Needs Now

Enya

Starship

Slayer

99 Miles from LA

I looked at that list and saw myself.  I saw my youth and romantic dreams, my survival and drive, as a single working woman, and mother.  There was the love and connections to an era I still live in,  albeit  vicariously through my elderly parents, and the hope and devotion which comes with my faith, keeping me grounded and appreciative of each day.  I don’t need a bucket list to help me accomplish a goal; I have a broadcasting list, which commemorates where I have been and how I came through even if some days it seems more Tutti than Frutti.   I did get  Satisfaction, and it was not invisible.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all sampled from the beats on the buffet, taking not just the comfortable flavors we already know will satisfy us?  How wonderful the communion of understanding can be, when we see the world through another’s ears, notes not needed.  Maybe that is why Christmas resonates in us all, not because it registers with cash, but in the simple chimes in Carol of the Bells or even as diametrically opposed as that reindeer laying out poor grandma.  No words needed, we look at one another and the moment, memory and intent, all resonate in perfect harmony – same can be said for an ice-cream truck but that is a different tune all together!

Before I leave this life, I can say I listened to radio, recorded radio, rocked out to radio, worked in radio and eventually wrote two novels tied to radio.  I guess instead of a triple AA rating, I have more of a CC music factory rating – and regardless of the letters, I already know the notes, and the harmony is in my humanity, no matter how I listen to it.

The words of mankind say music soothes the savage beast, but I would be happy if it would just smooth the way for more direct understanding and compassion.  We’re all in this life together,  and it would be nice to live it with one another  even if it is with head phones,  as long as our heads aren’t in the sand.


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Bring it Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack……

White noise, I think the first time any of us gave it thought, was during the first scare your pants off movie “Poltergeist.”  Little Carol Ann watched a white static filled television screen and looked at us with a devilishly innocent grin.

Personally, I realized the mass marketed necessity of it on a business trip, when one of my companions produced a small box that made – get ready for this little money maker – STATIC!  Okay, it also made ocean sounds, whale songs and heartbeats, which seriously creeped me out more than the damn movie.  I guess white noise became marketable when someone realized the beauty of silence after electricity goes out and all you hear is the sound of mankind.  Heck, why not just ask Simon and Garfunkle? They figured out that quality years ago!

In our home, white noise is a battleground, where an osculating circular blade fan runs 24/7.  I have never been overly fond of fans, and having to listen to it in the back of my brain non-stop during the night, hoping not to wake up with a headache doesn’t make it any better.  Nevertheless, after passing the age of 49, and enjoying personal power surges of sweat and frustration, I have become friendlier with the cool air offerings the fan hands out, along with the noise.  So, as I lay here listening to the fan,  it comes to mind all the life getting  blocked, along with the help from high tech double pane windows we installed last year.  When did static become something we prefer over life

As an original Saturday Night Live supporter, I shunned away from the new version with its foul humor and minimal skit gags.  However, recently there was a skit that was neither ethnically or correctly labeled as:   “Brown Noise,” which left me thankful my texting smart phone had taught me how to ROTFLMAO.  The difference between Richard Pryor’s honky flavored exchange with Chevy Chase on “white sounds,” and this “soulful” brown noise, was just that – soulful.  The premise was sounds from a noise machine that mimicked those  heard through very thin walls in a government housing community or cheap apartment.  The point that seemed lost, was those are truly sounds of life and home, filling a tired soul and offering a normal person slumber from a comfortable place – not from a growling black and white vision of static.   I found it in JMHO that the show got it right.  Add one of those popular plug-in oil scent machines with an apple pie or cinnamon spice and you are that much closer to a week-end at grandma’s and not Bernie’s where most of us reside after a long 12 hour day.

The show left me  knowing of course laughter is the best medicine.  It also reminded me there is enough static noise in my life, be it white, texted, emailed, spoken or otherwise.  I miss hearing the world from an actual window, with a hint of sunshine and clouds and not version 7 with a cloud that uploads.  There is something to be said about being awakened by the sound of a random telephone ringing down the street, a train moving along miles from view and the laughter or voice of a child beginning another day in a life of wonder or even a curse or two when a lawnmower doesn’t work or a dog has gone running for freedom.  It appears we have all forgotten how to turn off our lives and minds, as we were intended to do in preparation for a new day.

In the 70’s when cults were all the rage it was not uncommon to hear that someone had been “De-programmed,” and had later returned to normal.  As I see it being programmed is the new normal and frankly I am tired of it.  I welcome a day of quiet when the white noise is just turning a radio dial across a few moments of static, to find a local symphony of sound to break the silence.  People working in their yards, children playing and traffic as it crosses the lines and stops at the signs both near and far.  These are the moments that our imagination builds upon and our soul relaxes with on any given day.  I can’t imagine a poet giving rise to “humming motors and electric static that comes on the little cat’s feet” or “I think that I shall never see a keyboard as lovely as a tree” and Mom’s apple pie is not a pun for a mathematical equation.

Today I will make a point of identifying a perfume, locating the bird I hear singing and as always walking barefoot across the landscape of my day.  When it’s time to go to bed, I will open the window and the let air refresh my body and sound in a deep breath.  I hope there will be at least one star or guest planet on the horizon giving me an Elizabeth Taylor worthy sparkle.  Then finding the perfect cool spot on my pillowcase textured with at least a hundred washings I’ll shut my eyes.  Tomorrow is yet to appear so I’ll give it some imagination and not cut it short before it begins ,with a static wasteland.