Thursday, July 31, 2014

     I just ordered the pair of red shoes that have been popping up on every effen e-mail I’ve written or received since I clicked on them in 1974. All right, already. I bought them, now leave me alone. (You know, I don’t mean that.) A thought occurred to me after ordering these jewels and realizing that 87.6% of all my birthday cards had stilettos on them. Aha. The SHOE has more meaning than a vehicle for my antics. It represents something about me, about life, about the universe. Yup, the humble stiletto speaks today.


“As I stand below you today, I come to model the four most important traits of one’s character. I have sought to embrace these traits over six decades, yup, six, Virginia. They stand for all I stand for. In my journey from floor scratching to butt-kicking, I believe in these pillars of wisdom with all my sole. They are my crutches when my feet don’t touch the ground. They are my mentors which I sometimes ignore (while online searching for the next bargain). They are the labels that can never pale before Ivanka, Michael, Stewart or Manolo. They are what I aspire to be and what I choose to believe and celebrate.

S = Sensitivity
I believe if people were more sensitive to others and to the environment, we would live in a more genteel socity.

H - Humility
I believe that if people would resist selfie-ing and look to others-focusing, we would be less narcissistic and more campassionate. 

O - Optimism
I believe that if we look for the good, the smiley faces on car bumpers, shower tiles, cloud formations, the pay-it-forward moments, there would be more cheer in the climate.

E - Empathy
I believe that empathy, not sympathy, is a trait that must be taught early on. When we sympathize, we say, “Oh, you poor thing. Too bad, you can’t handle that.” When we empathize, we say, “I understand. I ‘ve been there. I’ve walked in your shoes.

     Now I didn’t slide out of the womb with this revelation. Nosirree. I had to learn it, and I’m still learning it. All I know is that my shoes have taken me on an incredible journey on this planet and I ain’t done yet. I have stood tall in my 4” stilettos, and I’ve taken them off and gotten on my knees. I have looked down and judged when I should have been looking up and thanking. I have climbed mountains in wedgies, walked miles in Trumps, but I’ve learned that the shoe is just a vehicle to take me to places where I will pause, observe, reflect and absorb. Life is no Shoe-In; it’s a footpath to purpose.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

                                                         the QUEEN’s budget

BUDGET August, 2014

Money for household                          NM (Not Much)
Money for clothes                              MOM (Most of money)
Money for gas ETGTM (Enough to get to Mall)
Money for food WLO (Whatever’s left over)
Money for meals out MWB (Mr. Wonderful’s budget)

As Ocar Wilde once said, “Anyone who lives within their means lacks imagination.”

Monday, July 28, 2014

                               by Sandra Moulin

He laces them up, soles down
He stands tall with pride coarsing
through veins on alert 
for what’s to come

His heels beat in perfect rhythm
to numbered commands in cadence
as sweat pours from young brows
intense and focused

leather entrenched in mud
explosions deafen 
a boot flies off
another buried

soles face heavenward from bended knee
next to brothers silenced
the shine is gone
a nation mourns

a single horn 
sends all soles to touch
the hallowed ground
for which his steps echo into eternity

Sunday, July 27, 2014

     What do you see? Some people might see a manhole cover. I see a waffle face with a sewer nose who has a bandaid on the right side of his chin. 

     What do you think of when you see a manhole cover? Do you hold your nose? Do you wonder who’s living down there? Do you think it’s a hideout for spies? 
     I think of what it would feel like if people were walking over my face everyday. I would come to know the difference between a toddler’s tap, a large man’s thud and a struttin’ stiletto. I would hear only a few words of conversations, and I would come to recognize the same accents, even though I wouldn’t understand them.

     Do you fear manhole covers? What do you fear? Explosions? Hidden criminals? Underground tunnels housing runaway squirrels? 

   I fear my heel will get stuck in one of the eyes.

   Maybe it’s not a sewer; it’s a REWES:)

Saturday, July 26, 2014


                                                BREAKFAST with Mr. Wonderful

     Having breakfast at the hotel with Mr. Wonderful is like watching a bad stand-up comedy routine. It takes me about two minutes max to get my food and put it on the table. I then go fill up my coffee cup, sit down and eat. Mr. W. is still over at the bar agonizing over his choices. He can be seen standing at each station for what seems like a long time to yours truly as he scrunches up his face in deep-choice-mode. Finally, he decides to go for the mini omelette fold-over that has been steaming in the silver vault for at least 24 hours. He gently places it on his paper plate as though he were delivering it on fine china at a gourmet restaurant. Putting it just the right spot on the plate, he continues to the toaster. He considers each of the bread choices and settles on the whole wheat. Down go the two pieces into the two-slot 1950s-version appliance. (Meanwhile, the soggy omelette is getting cold). He finds the butter and puts a dollop on each piece of toast, and brings the entire plate to the table. He sits down and takes a bite. I am finishing my meal by now trying to hold back the guffaws that are choking me as I try not to open my piehole. I turn to say something to him, and he’s gone. I look back at the breakfast bar, and there he is pouring his juice. He comes back to the table and takes a swig of his juice and a bit of his foldover. “This was obviously the wrong choice,” he confesses. I zip it and pretend not to hear him as I am engrossed in CNN’s discussion of the new $700 i-pod. I look over, and he has disappeared again. A few seconds later, he returns with another plate with a hard boiled egg rolling around on it. He begins to peel the egg. The shell comes off in 783-centimeter bits, and he is beginning to seethe. I am beside myself now because I know what’s coming next. This time, I had to take a photo of the peeling process. Fortunately, he is laughing too. I reach down to put my cell into my purse, and when I come up, he’s gone. Of course, he is. A few seconds later, he comes back with his water and his tea bag. The tea has to steep for a few, so by now, the toast is cold, the foldover is half-eaten, the egg is still half-peeled, and the Montel Williams show comes on. I groan quietly. “I think I’ll go up to the room. Are you coming?” I say. “I’ll be right up,” he says. 

     I have now completed my floor exercises, taken my shower, put on my clothes and make-up and done my hair. The door opens. “That breakfast was crap. Why did I choose that omelette thing, and why don’t they peel the damned eggs?” he whines.
“I don’t know, sweetheart,” I say clenching my teeth and forcing a smile. “I don’t get it either.”

Friday, July 25, 2014

                                            Mon Héritage Français

From a former student:

"Well, a blog is social media, a personal blog is anyway, but I do some other social media things too. My latest big news on Facebook is my friends list. My 2 favorite teachers from high school sent me friend requests. How cool is that? When I was in high school I was a renegade. I was defiant and a had a huge wall in front of me to protect me from my own teenage insecurities. I wasn’t a troublemaker, not really, but I pushed established boundaries. There were two teachers who really saw through my teenage façade and pushed me to break past my own boundaries. They saw potential and nurtured it. I don’t know if they foresaw how truly influential and precious their influence on me would be for the rest of my life but when I got a friend invite from my broadcast teacher and then my French & humanities teacher those were acknowledgements and rekindled acquaintances that I treasure! Justin Verlander could follow me on Twitter and it wouldn’t mean as much. If you like how I turned out, thank my teachers, a couple of them especially."

Il y a trente ans, il y avait une jeune étudiante dans mes classes de français et d’humanités. Elle était très douée, mais elle avait une attitude différente que les autres. Elle n’avait aucune intention de conformer--elle semblait à l’aise dans sa peau. Selon ce qu’elle a écrit, il se peut que j’aie eu tort. Elle n’était jamais impolie ou méchante, mais elle avait ses propres idées et une façon unique de se débrouiller. Je l’ai toujours aimée, et elle était inoubliable. 

Les profs peuvent toucher les vies de leurs étudiants, et nous n’avons aucune idée. 
Je me rappelle les premières années de ma carrière quand mon seul but était de parler français mieux que les autres profs et de présenter mes leçons d’une façon créatrice. Comme mon étudiante, je ne voulais pas être “comme les autres.” Il se peut que ce soit la raison pour laquelle elle m’a intéressée. J’aime ceux qui ne veulent pas être comme les autres. 

Après quelques années, j’ai appris que le sujet de mon enseignement était beaucoup moins important que mon enthusiasme et mon attention à chaque étudiant. Je suis très fière de ceux qui sont devenus professeurs de français et de ceux qui parlent même plus courament que moi. Je suis contente qu’il y a quelques étudiants qui habitent en Europe et qui parlent français dans leur carrières. Il y a même deux ou trois qui se sont mariées avec les français. Tout ça me rend très heureuse. Mais ce qui est plus touchant, c’est qu’il y en a comme celle ci-dessus qui disent que j’ai fait une différence dans leurs vies. La leçon pour moi:  ce n’était pas ce que j’ai su; c’était qui j’étais.

Mon enseignement me manque toujours--neuf années après la retraite car il n’y a plus de vies à toucher. Je compte, donc, sur mes étudiants de continuer à trouver leurs propres façons de toucher les vies. J’ai confiance en tous, et je sais qu’il y en a qui le font déjà.
                                                               Angers, France, Leçon pour les profs 1983

Thursday, July 24, 2014

WHAT the Smucker?

When you get to be my age, every week there is some effen flyer in our mailbox offering “fabulous deals” for rest homes. WTF? I have no desire to rest. Resting is for dead people. Now sleeping--yes, resting, no. It does beg the question though: Where will I be laid to rest? I am much more interested in where I will get laid, but that’s another blog.

I have been thinking about two venues, however. One is “the pearly gates.” What on earth (or in heaven?) is a pearly gate? Is it a gate made of pearls, or a gate where once you enter it, you get pearls. I could use a nice strand, as I never got one from Mr. Wonderful or the guy before him, or . . . never mind. I put in “pearly gates” on the GPS just for the hell-of-it the other day, but all it gave me was an arrow pointing up with a question mark next to it. Anyway, assuming I don’t get there any time soon, I thought about the second venue: the Smuckers Jam Jar.

On the Today Show, (that I watch out of the corner of my eye while I’m writing these absurd ditties) they have a segment where they honor those who have passed the 100 year mark. Good old Olga Jones has her photo right smack dab in the center of those preserves. I wonder if the idea came with the whole “preserved” concept. Anyway, I do not EVER want to be on this jar. Not because I don’t just love Smuckers. I do. Not because I don’t think it’s wonderful that people live to be that old. That’s great. I just don’t want to be around that long. It’s really overkill.