Whatever It Takes

cropped-photo143.jpgA colleague at work decided to host an English tea party for all the women in the office. She draped the common room with streamers in pinks, yellows, soft greens, and lavender. The tablecloths were pink with white polka dots. Her finger foods included an English trifle, thumbprint cookies with a cherry jam center, cucumber and butter sandwiches without the crust, caramel pecan brownies, and lemon bars. Toward the end of the party, one woman disappeared and returned with a strawberry shortcake and candle in it. It turned out it was the organizer’s birthday.

“Oh, we had no idea,” said one co-worker with a furrowed brow.

“That’s okay. This way I got you all to come,” said the organizer.

Calvin says, “Clever. For my next birthday, I’ll invite all the neighborhood dogs for a bone barbecue. Tell me if they wouldn’t all come, well maybe not that boor Nigel, with a stomach that drags on the ground, who stays up barking all night believing he’s the neighborhood ninja defender.” beagle

A Good Friday

I love when police officers ride the subway in the mornings.

Immediately everyone calms down and there’s peace in the car.

These officers usually travel in pairs and stand close to one another by the door as they chat.

But you know they’re not really chatting. They’re checking everyone out.

This morning another pair showed up.

This time it was a tall officer with his Westminster-Dog-Show K-9 companion.

Nobody looked at the officer.

We took a collective breath of admiration for the dog.

He was simply gorgeous. And friendly. But that was camouflage.

I wouldn’t want to smell like a bad guy because that friendliness would turn into a growling mass of teeth.

So I got up from my seat one stop early and walked over.

I had to.

“How old is he?” I asked.  IMG_0970

“He’s seven,” the officer said. The dog looked up at me and then lay down. Phew. I passed the bad guy test.

“Was he brought over from Germany?”

The officer shot me a look that said, How did you know that? “As a matter of fact, yes.”

“Do you speak to him in German?” I asked.

“No, he speaks English,” the officer said.

Of course.

The dog continued lying down and looking very relaxed, to keep everyone on board oohing and aahing over him.

I said thank you while I kept my hands in my pockets to keep from reaching down and scratching him behind the ears. Sweet and lovely as he was, I also know he’s trained like a ninja and I didn’t want to see that side of him.

But he did make my morning commute oh so sweet.

Calvin says, “Somebody has to play bad cop. Glad it’s not me. I’d just sniff out everybody’s lunch.” beagle

The Friendly Skies Are Cheap

Flight attendants these days are not a happy bunch.

I noticed on a recent flight on the hipster airline with the purple cabin lights that the 20-something flight attendants were less than overjoyed to be serving us.  cropped-photo7.jpg

Not once did we get a smile with our no-frills cups of water and no peanuts.

They served one round of drinks and went to their jump seats for the rest of the flight to read their e-books. I suppose they would have paid a little more attention to us if the weather had turned turbulent or a bagpiper had walked down the aisle blowing his pipes.

I noticed the same behavior on the flight back home.

And this from an airline that prides itself in innovation and creativity.

I noticed another thing. This airline flies Airbuses and they all need oiling. Every plane I’ve been on squeaks and moans and makes swirling noises like a giant cake mixer. This is especially true at take-off. Landings aren’t any quieter. The landing gear comes down with a thump. First time I heard the racket I wanted off. Now I’m used to it. What is it about European aircraft that they make so much noise?

A flight attendant friend says it’s the low pay that demoralizes everyone.

That may be true. One flight attendant on another carrier makes so little money that she is forced to live in a flop house with 26 other attendants.  Others can’t even find flop houses because they’re all full and sleep in airline lounges, except they’re not allowed to, so they sleep on the floor in the gate areas.

That’s just not right.

If McDonald’s pays $15 an hour, why not the hipster airline? Oh wait. That is the base pay. You get a raise when you turn 102.

Calvin says, “Kennel workers make more than that. That’s why I don’t fly. I like hangin’ with the ground squirrels.” beagle

 

 

 

 

Hurry Up and Win!

I’m holding my breath for Sunday’s final match for World Cup supremacy.

The match between Argentina and Germany should be a nail-biter.

Okay, I know. That makes three posts on the subject of the World Cup.

I’m not obsessed.  Sock It To Me

Really I’m not.

“Yes you are. Tell the truth,” Calvin says.

“Okay, I am.”

Here’s why: Argentina, besides being my birth country, needs a shot in the arm of inspiration and positive world attention.

It’s a country which has a long history of government corruption and mistreatment of its people. And yet, it keeps getting up and forging ahead in spite of its misfortunes and financial reversals.

Argentinians are tenacious people with indomitable spirits. They’re strong, passionate, and intelligent.

And they’re very good at soccer.

Here’s their moment of world attention and I’m cheering them on for an extraordinary finish.

Won’t you join me?

Calvin says, “Not me. I can’t wait for it to be over. Then you’re all mine again.” beagle

 

 

 

The Rumble Under My Feet

My sister, who lives in Los Angeles, was rocked awake this morning by a 4.4 earthquake.

“Our cats levitated off the bed, helicopter style, with fur on their backs straight up. Impressive!” she said.

Then she added, “Keep those emergency supplies well stocked! This is California!”

And Kentucky, and Oregon, and a slew of other states that are not immune these days from the earth moving under people’s feet.

I grew up in earthquake country.  Floorless roller coaster

I can sense an earthquake before it hits. There’s an eerie feeling in the air, and everything grows quiet. The birds stop chirping, the weather is warmer, and oftentimes a dark cloud hovers over the city.

Not sure if that was true of Los Angeles this morning, but I wasn’t there.

As a child, as soon as the floor began to rock and roll, my father would run into the living room and hold onto the crystal vases that lived on top of the bookshelf.

My mother hovered over the parakeet as the bird flapped around the cage panting it’s little heart out.

My sister and I looked on in wild-eyed amazement at the floor until it came to a stop.

I lived through the 1989 earthquake. I was home with my children. The garage door was open and Calvin and I were checking the freezer for dinner when all of a sudden the driveway transformed into a corkscrew roller-coaster track.

Calvin’s fur stood straight up, his ears flapped back, and he bayed. Then he fled into the house.

Calvin says, “I didn’t flee. I hid under the bed covers because I was dizzy.”

beagle

How Old Are You Behaving?

“How old are you really?” my friend asked recently.

“You know my age,” I said.

“On the inside. We don’t see ourselves through the lens of our real ages,” she said.bougainvillea2

She was right.

My internal age is 17. When I lived an unfettered, idyllic life of narcissistic bliss.

I was also prone to shyness. Caught unprepared I’d blush the color of a bougainvillea.

I still do.

It can creep up on me when I least expect it.

A heat wave starts in the back of my neck, spreads to the front, then travels up my chin, nose, cheeks, and forehead. There is no controlling it. It has a power and speed all its own.

What’s worse, everybody notices and stares at the color change happening to my face. 

That’s a double embarrassment, and lasts an eon.

I want to dive under the table.

Funny. These episodes usually sprout during meals.

Maybe I should stop eating.

Calvin says, “My internal age is 1. I’m all frolic and wiggles. Take me as I am.” 

beagle

A Little Child Shall Lead Them

I had an interesting ride home on the subway this week.

My car was packed. Lots of people standing. A young mother and her child in a stroller came on. She positioned herself by the door and hung on.

In no time flat her baby boy, no more than 2 years old, began bellowing.

She ignored him.

His voice got louder.

The mother looked down at him and just stared.

The child began to yell. Big goldfish tears ran down his cheeks.

Mom stood there motionless.

Tension was rising in the car.

The kid was screaming even louder.

Out from between people’s legs a little girl, dressed in a pink hat, emerged and stood in front of the boy. She looked up at the mother as if to say, “Aren’t you going to take care of this?” She held in her hand a large opened bag of Cheetos and offered it to the boy. photo(131)

Instantly he was quiet.

He shoved his arm into the bag, extracted a Cheetos, and began to chew on it.

The little girl disappeared.

Mom never said a word.

The subway car made it’s routine stops, people got off, the crowd thinned out, a seat became vacant and mom sat down.

The little girl appeared again and offered the boy some more Cheetos. He plunged his arm into the bag and retrieved another one.

Mom never said a word.

I went back to my book and when I looked up again, Mom and son had gotten off the subway.

I’m not going to comment on the mother. For all I know she wasn’t the mother, but a babysitter. Or if she was the mother, she was in a frightful state of mind. Probably numb from the struggles of life. And in her shoes I would have reacted in the same manner.

What did make an impact was how a simple gesture of kindness can affect a whole lot of people.

It also showed me how powerful a child can be in the midst of a tense-filled moment.

Calvin says, “If I had been there that little girl and I would have wolfed down that bag of Cheetos together, tossing the occasional one to that boy.”beagle