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 Serious Madness

The plan was to leave early for our drive to Oregon. Alf wanted to avoid the rush hour. I wanted to get there quickly to see the autumn leaves. Every hour that went by meant another leaf was falling to the ground and I was missing the spectacle.

We were on time with our plans until I couldn’t find my wedding ring. I looked in all the usual places. Nothing.

Time was ticking. The cars were backing up on the freeway. I could feel them.

“Do you think it went out in the clothes we donated to the Cancer Society last week?” Alf said. ring

I stopped breathing.

“I usually check all pockets,” I mumbled.

I doubled my search efforts. Every closet. The seats of furniture. Under towels in the linen closet. In shoes. Under the bed. I discovered a pair of boots there, but no ring.

Maybe I did donate it to charity.

If I did, I was going to be mature about it.

I was going to Oregon.

I would call the Cancer Society to see if they found a ring. Maybe they were holding it. People can be nice that way. Sometimes.

I wasn’t going to worry about it.

If worse came to worse, surely our homeowner’s insurance would cover it.

So we got in the car and were almost out of the city when I said, “Stop! I can’t go. This is going to ruin my vacation.”

“Mine too,” Alf said.

We turned back home.

It was now 9 a.m. Smack in the middle of rush hour.

I re-doubled my search efforts. The more I looked in all the same places the more insane I felt.

“Have you checked the clothes you packed?’ Alf said suddenly.

No, I hadn’t.

I unzipped the suitcase, pulled out two jackets – checked the pockets – nothing.

I pulled out a third jacket. There was my ring snuggled in the pocket.

Alf and I were so relieved we felt like dancing the tango in the driveway.

Calvin says, “That’s what you get when you send me off to the doggie hotel and I’m not around to sniff things out.” beagle

Dynamite Comes in Small Packages

We had lunch with friends today. A young couple with their two daughters. Alice is 5-years old and brilliant. She showed off her nail polished hands and said, “I had them done by a professional.” Then she pulled out a snowflake from her pocket, unfolded it and announced, “See how symmetrical it is?”

I want to know what they’re feeding this kid to eat.

Her father asked Alf if he’d like to babysit Alice sometime. “She cleans toilets,” he said.

“You do?” Alf said.

“Yes, I do,” Alice said. cropped-img_0446.jpg

“I have six toilets,” Alf said.

Alice’s eyes widened. “You do?”

“Yes, and they’re all around the dining room table.”

Alice pondered that.

“Well, I have two,” she said rather seriously and then broke into a smile. “You’re a lot of fun,” she said to Alf.

This kid isn’t five. She’s twenty-five in kid’s skin.

Alice reads, writes, paints, and carries on a conversation better than some adults I know.

It doesn’t hurt that her parents are brilliant, too.

Calvin says, “If parents would only realize that kids are people, too. Just like us pups. We come out of the chute fully formed. Only our ears need growing.” beagle

 

Heaps of Thanks It’s Over

Thanksgiving is over. I’m relieved.

It was a meal that didn’t live up to expectations.

The turkey tasted gamey. It should have lived.

The dressing was flat. It never made the leap from blah to wow.

The apple pie was limp and fell into a heap when on the plate.

I cancelled the mashed potatoes this year. It was already a carb fest without them, why did we need more? was my line of thinking.

Big mistake.

Never mess with tradition.

The kids complained, my husband frowned, and the dog howled.

“There’s no place for the gravy,” my son, the traditionalist said.

“The turkey is naked without it,” Alf said.

“I came for the gravy, now where do I put it?” said my friend.

“The Pilgrims didn’t make gravy,” I said.

“They didn’t make cranberry and orange relish either, and I see that on the table,” said Alf.

I was skewered. In my own kitchen.

Calvin says, “You should have consulted me. I would have told you to skip the green food and make a mountain of smashed spuds.”

Give Mom a Kick-Butting Day

Mother’s Day is just around the corner.

That horrid one day of the year when families take mom out for brunch and fuss over her with eggs Benedict and Mimosas. Then she’s returned to the daily grind and all is forgotten.

I’m sure the restaurant industry contrived the holiday to beef up their bottom line in May.

What if mom doesn’t like eggs with a last name and orange juice spiked with bubbles? Maybe she prefers her steak grilled with a heaping plateful of shoestring potatoes and a large pitcher of sangria?

And please don’t give her a cheesy card with a sappy greeting that a computer spit out last century that you found in the greeting card aisle at the supermarket next to the artificial smelling air fresheners for the house. Definitely don’t buy one of those either.

Instead, head out to the mall and buy her an all expense paid shopping spree to her favorite shoe store. Or put her on a plane to a beach somewhere. Or give her a lifetime of body massages at the Holistic Health Clinic where Mai, the masseuse will be happy to walk all over her back.

Then install the dog in the pet hotel so she doesn’t have to walk him for a month.

Hire a private chef for the rest of the year and give her a break in the kitchen.

Oh wait. The kitchen. It needs a desperate overhaul before Wolfgang can cook there.

Maybe mom has a dream she’d like to focus on for a change. Provide her with the tools she needs. Lipstick, make-up, haircut and color, liposuction, a new wardrobe.

Singing lessons? Maybe she’s always wanted to develop her voice beyond yelling at the kids.

Calvin says, “My mom never got to develop herself. I know she had a secret nobody else knew. She always wanted to be an owner.”

Conversations on the Run8

When I’m out of focus, that’s when I’m most creative.

I saw another brother Grimm. There’s a lot of them.

Do you understand why this song won’t work on American Idol? Oh yea, it’s very dark. It’s a good Swan song. A good way to go out.

Not everyone can sing and dance. That’s why we have sports.

Have you called your mother lately? Me too.

Calvin says, “Funny, I have no desire to call my birth mother. I’m happy in my adopted family. New scents to chase everyday. Especially those diapers.”

 

Conversations on the Run6

He keeps going back to another conversation when he’s not winning one.

I never want to go to so many funerals in a row ever again.

Have you ever read a story out loud to your dog?

She scattered his ashes around the tree that he had planted last year which died.

Don’t lose your stomach lining over that.

Cut me in half and count the rings.

Every time someone in the family died, my mother scheduled a cruise.

Why does coffee have a table named after it and not tea?

Calvin says, “A coffee table by any other name is still a coffee table. Now a dog bowl by any other name is an ice cream dish.”