Archive for March, 2009

Grandma Looking at Me

March 27, 2009

My Aunt Rose Audrey is in her late 80s. She is at the time in her life when she wants to see to it that each of us gets whatever keepsakes we may want from her home.

The one thing I have always wanted, is the single photo of my grandma, just the way I remember her. It is the one that hangs in my parent’s house. Each of my aunts and uncles have a copy.

It was taken in the 60s by my mom, in front of the fiberglass curtains at our house.  Never wanting to deprive anyone of the photo, I’ve not even asked about getting one.

Aunt Rose Audrey has that picture of grandma in her living room. On a recent trip, as I was walking down the long hallway from the back porch to the kitchen, I noticed the same photo sitting on the dresser in the back bedroom and asked if I could have it.

To my delight, I was able to take it home that same day.

Now grandma’s photo sits in my living room next to the television.

She smiles the same loving smile that welcomed me all my life. 

And she smiles my Baglady’s gentle and loving smile. Because, you see, she was the inspiration for the character.

If I could have one wish for each person in the world, it would be for you to have someone like my grandma in your own life; a person who always loves you unconditionally, just as much thru all your trials as thru your accomplishments.

Fortunes without a Cookie

March 20, 2009

Isn’t that a neat title? Kind of cryptic. It makes you wonder what the blog will be about.

Surprise, surprise! The title is it. Unfortunately I have no subject to match it. I’ve got a bunch of titles for new books, too. No content, just the titles.

Writer’s block, you might ask? Maybe.

Or… maybe I’m just finally ready to let you in on my ‘quirky side’, as my sister calls it. Sonja would be so much better at telling these stories than me. So, I’ll tell a quirky story about my family instead. Because, (secret revealed) our entire family is… shall we say… unique.

We’ve always been atypical.

Imagine this.

In the 1950s our mom and dad had what seemed like, on the outside, a normal relationship; 1 car, 5 kids born in 6 years, dad worked and mom stayed home washing diapers, cooking and cleaning. 

But guess what else.  

While dad was at work, mom remodeled the house. I don’t mean that she hired it done. Mom tore down walls and rebuilt others.

She studied Uri Geller and the Roswell incident. We did experiments with small pyramids and their preserving powers. 

Mom studied the Bible and metaphysics.

Think of it, a family of 7 on a butcher’s salary. There wasn’t extra money for anything. But I don’t ever remember hearing the words, we can’t afford it.

No, we heard that “Your father is on an economy drive.”

 Same message, different energy.

Cool, huh?  

We learned to be resourceful and find ways to make money if we wanted something.

With 5 kids eating everything in sight dad did figure out how to preserve a treat just for him. He bought coconut cookies. He was the only one in the family who would eat them.

Smart dad.

So, let’s see. I actually may be able to tie this back to the title in spite of myself.  I got the cookie. And, you know… 

Without a doubt, my family has been my truest fortune.

 

Miss Goody-Two-Shoes Goes on a Rampage

March 15, 2009

Many of you know me as a person who is prone to looking on the bright side. Look out!

As you may know, I live in a 100 year old Victorian home. In a house, you can imagine, that occasionally may need work.

“To be expected,” you might say.

And I agree.

I keep up with it, if I know something is amiss, I get ‘my fix-it guy’ (The one who fixes all things broken in the house).

Well, last month I was only home about 5 days.

While I was away the heat was turned down to just above freezing.  I was more than shocked to get a gas bill for $290.00.

My personal opinion was that the unit had epilepsy.

By that I mean that it goes along working just fine most of the time and then, Whammo!

All of a sudden there is a glitch and it stops. Then, when it corrects itself, it starts working again.

Since I wasn’t at home anyway, I could put up with the heater not working. But… when the gas bill was outrageous and the heat still was not working…

Now THAT’s a problem.

So, I called in my guy. And he called in another guy.

They decided that the lack of a cold air return for my first floor system was the problem. I’d known I needed this done for several years but had tried to get along without it.

However, since they believed it was the reason for the high utility bill, I finally acquiesced to the solution.

Even though the solution cost me almost $600 (more than my normal full year in gas bills), the prospect of an even higher bill this month while I am home made me bite the bullet.

“So,” you may ask, “what’s your beef?”

After two days of beautiful weather, last night it got cold again. I turned the thermostat up and later on went downstairs to find the first floor all nice and cozy.

(The reason I say the first floor is because my house has several different central air units. The one on the first floor is the one with the problem.)

I was happy and thought that the problem had been solved.  But, this morning I went down to find the temperature was only 55 degrees, the new thermostat (part of the fix) was set at 68.

The heater was not running. No hot air was coming out of the registers.

The epilepsy has returned. 

I’m $600 down, might have another gas bill close to $300 this month, nothing is working any better.

It is really cold down there… and…   

Oh, did I mention that the cold air return they put in required them to saw an 18” square hole into the 100 year old lath and plaster wall?

@#*^%$#@  

If you have never dealt with the dust raised by such an act then you have no conception of the kind of clean up required.  Don’t even think about comparing it to sheetrock dust.

Sheetrock dust can’t hold a candle to this. An 18” hole cut out of sheetrock would have taken about 15 minutes to clean up.

EVERYTHING on the entire first floor and the stairway to the second floor was covered with the finest particle dust known to man.  

Imbedded in every piece of furniture, clinging to the walls, enhancing every cob web in the corners of the ceiling, laying in the folds of all the cascading draperies, encrusting every silk flower arrangement, every piece of pottery, the table, the candles, grandma’s antique glassware, the area rugs, the hardwood floors, the fancy woodwork, and all the indoor trees and plants.

And that was only the dining room!

The living room, kitchen, bathroom and family room were covered too! The mess rivaled the damage of the great dust storms of history, completely held within the confines of one house.

I spent the entire last two days cleaning up this dust and I’m not done yet. 

The family room is still barricaded off as if it is a toxic dump site. Even walking thru the room with dust that fine would cause a flurry that could re-contaminate the rest of the house and undo the progress I’ve made thus far. I have paid my dues.

From now on, anyone who says I haven’t done my part to clean up the environment will be shot.

So, to finish this episode of the saga at hand…

It is Sunday, but I called ‘my fix-it guy’ anyway.  I just rambled off this entire litany of woes to him.  

Hearing the tears in my voice, he promised to call the other guy and come and look at the heating unit that has cost the national debt and still won’t keep the house warm. 

 I gotta go now. This guy does so much work for me that he has a key to the house. I have to go downstairs and make sure he doesn’t come in thru the family room and raise the dust.  

Who are we Really? Or We’ve all got our Quirks – Here’s some of Mine

March 6, 2009

My sister is always telling people about my quirks. She starts out…

“Here’s a funny story about Pixie.”

 

That in itself is a story because most of the people who know me have no idea about my nickname.

 

As it turns out, way before Dr. Spock and Star Trek ever came on the scene, I might have been the first Vulcan.

 

Hahahaahahahahaha 

 

You see, I was born with pointed ears. So, from day one my family called me ‘Pixie’. Even though my ears rounded out like a normal human before too long, the nickname has stayed with me forever. All things considered, why wouldn’t I have the right to be a little bit ‘quirky’ now?

 

Maybe I was never meant to be a cookie-cutter version of everyone else. I’ve spent a lot of my life feeling like I was outside of ‘normal’. (Whatever that is)

 

For example, I was a big business owner for over 20 years. But, having grown up in a working class family, I identified more with the people who worked for me than I did with other executives. And, of course, the people who worked for me did not identify with me at all. They saw me as a big wig, different from them. The other business owners saw me as an equal, and I did not identify with them. I felt caught in the middle, belonging nowhere.

 

As my 20 year marriage was dissolving, I recall a pivotal conversation I had with my, husband.  Lamenting over the life I had led, I said to him with longing in my voice, “I just want to be like other people.”

 

He responded emphatically, “No matter what you do, Dina, you will never be like everyone else.”

 

I didn’t really appreciate his comment at the time. However, in the last 15 years, I’ve come to accept myself for who I am as well as fully relish the unique aspects of each person I meet. Not only that, but to actually love the fact that everyone is truly wonderful and enchanting in their own way.

 

This is what Rose tells us all in “The Bagladys Guide to Elegant Living”.

 

Thank heaven we are all different. What an interesting world those differences have made. My only wish is that all of us could drop our judgments and just enjoy the richness found in all of our unique ways of being.