Archives for category: diary

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Today marks the one-year anniversary of when our family went from being the proud owners of two kitties, to the mournful owners of one. Losing a pet sucks. I’m sure there are plently of you out there who have had to endure the death of a furry friend, and know of what I speak.

It was a miserable thing to go through – finding your pet laying stiff in a ditch along the road. Putting her in a box, and burying her in the rain. Finding a heart-shaped stone the next day and putting it on her gravesite. I also put a 99¢ garden light from Walmart at the head of her grave.

You know something? That cheap little light has outlasted every other, more expensive light in my garden. Shine bright like a diamond, Olive…

The year has flown on by. Her brother Dodger spent a month looking around the house for her. But now he’s used to being the only kitty. We are more careful with him now, too. He cannot go out if the sun is down, or if we are going to be out of the house for the day. And even once the sun is up, I send up a silent prayer of thanks everytime he lopes back through the door.

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She wasn’t the most loveable kitty in the world, but I really miss her. While her brother is a big, lumbering, way too cute, dope of a cat, she was demure, aloof, and quiet, and would spend hours grooming herself. She like to sleep in odd places too.

Like in my in-box on my desk.

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or on top of our hot water heater…I actually cut her a piece of carpet and fit it on top so she would be more comfy.

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And I miss the way when you scratched her at the base of her tail, she would incessantly lick her shoulder. It was a total twitch she had – it you scratched, she licked, when you stopped, she stopped.

I miss hearing her give Dodger the business. He would come up to her and try to clean her or play with her, and she might let him…for a while. But when she tired of it, she got her bitch on and Dodger would be on the receiving end of a blow…and yes, I’ve seen fur fly. But then again, he’d tackle her a lot, so he usually had it coming.

Ah Olive. I hope you’re resting well. Know that for the short few years you were with us that you were safe, and loved, and that your family misses you.

I think I’ll plant something by you tonight.

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Baby Ads

Yesterday I began a post that talked about my first born and her short stint as a baby model. In the process I unearthed something that I had been searching for, off more than on, for the past 18 years. And it convinced me that there is a certain magic in this world – that unquestionably there has to be times when the stars line up and every thing just falls right into place.


In the spring of 1996 I remember watching an episode the Today Show where they did a segment on modeling agencies that dealt with average Joes. You know, the folks who get cast as grandmothers, neighbors and cab drivers in commercials and print ads. At the end of the segment, they mentioned that they were looking for babies.

I looked at my sleeping 7 month old and, let’s just say the proverbial light bulb went off over my head. I called the agency right away and was told to send in a photo and our basic information. Photos? I had a ton. You always have a ton of your first born child. I selected what I thought was a particularly fetching snapshot and sent it in.

A few weeks later I got a call from the agency asking if we could bring her in. My husband was very skeptical and insisted on coming with me. While I knew there were scammers our there, I didn’t think the Today Show would endorse a fly-by-night outfit, but I was prepared for the possibility of a “portfolio photo shoot” sales pitch (and the big “I told you so” lecture from hubby).

We arrived for our appointment, and as we were being lead through the office, a woman walked by, pointed to my daughter and said, “I want her at the Playtex shoot this afternoon.”

There was no talk of portfolio shots, no need to pay a fee, nothing monetarily upfront from us at all, and that afternoon we took our baby daughter on her very first job.

And like that I had entered the world of baby modeling.

At this point I had a full time job which afforded me very little flex time. But as a mother of a baby model you had to be ready at a moment’s notice to pack a diaper bag, head into New York, and find the shoot location – which was inveriably somewhere in Soho. Remember, no GPS or Google Maps back in ’96 – I had to leave in plenty of time to find what was usually some obscure street downtown, and then find parking close enought to where I wasn’t pushing a stroller across half of Manhattan.

Plus you had to have a happy baby when you showed up. This was the main reason why I decided to give modeling a try. My little girl almost never fussed and interacted well with strangers, which is key to the business. I learned that early on.

Do you know how most photo shoots went? You handed your baby to a total stranger who took her in another room. When they were done with her, they handed her back and paid you. If the kid is a superstar with mom, but a dud with strangers, you’re out of business. And as a mom? It was a real leap of faith, let me tell you.

My girl got a handful of jobs. Once she was filmed for a Trane Heating print ad. She got paid for the shoot but didn’t land the actual print ad. She was also photographed for the box of a baby blanket by Playskool – that shoot took the longest, and while she got paid, we never knew if she made the box because I could never find it in the stores.

But I know she appeared in print one time. She had been photographed by Toys R Us, and months later while shopping for a present for my friends daughter, picked up the latest circular in the store. Flipping through the pages, I saw her…my girl in a red sweat suit smiling on a Winnie the Pooh blanket.

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I was eccstatic. I grabbed a giant stack of copies and began to show her photo to anyone who would look – right there in the lobby of Toys R Us. I ran to my sisters house to show her. I ran to the party and handed out copies of the circular to all my friends. I was probably super obnoxious, but dammit, I was a true-blue bursting with pride mommy.

Her next job was for Huggies – the big time. She nailed the go-see. They took two babies in at a time and waved a toy at them – my girl giggled and giggled while the other baby just cried. The day of the shoot she was super fussy – I think she was cutting a tooth – and even my level tempered little angel wasn’t in the mood to say cheese. I hoped that a nap on the way into the city would soothe her.

I was wrong. They took her in with a few other kids and she was handed back to me 90 seconds later. “Sorry, she’s not in the right mood today,” and home we went.

Shortly after that I pissed the agency off. I had agreed to take her to a go-see, but my boss was giving me crap for missing so much work. When I called them to cancel, they lectured me on the importance of keeping these appointments, so I told them I’d still go. I broke down and cried to my bosses who relented and gave in.

It was the last time the agency ever called. I think I got put on a list of unreliable moms or something. It was a bummer, but to be honest, dragging a baby into the city twice a month was difficult for a mom with a full time job. I guess the world of baby modeling is better suited for moms who can stay at home, or work and can afford a nanny.

She did model once more a few years later. I worked for a really rinky-dink ad agency and my boss landed a local mattress company’s ad campaign. They wanted a mother and daughter for the ad shoot, and I jumped right in and offered up my child, who would work for free. Although my daughter was beyond cute, the poster, which we have framed and hanging in our bedroom, blows – what designer with any self-respect uses Mistral anyway?

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That was her last official modeling gig.

As the years past, I’ve often wondered about the shoot for the blanket box, and if she ever wound up on the package. A cousin of mine called me about a year after the shoot saying she thought she saw her on a box, but when we went to look we couldn’t find any toy that had a baby who even resembled our girl.

Every couple of years I would Google “Playskool Blankie Blankie,” because that’s the name that was on the modeling work sheet for the product shoot that day, but came up empty time after time.

When the idea came into my head yesterday to write about her short stint as a baby model, I got halfway through the blog post and decided to look again. When my usual search query came up empty, I simply typed in “1996 Playskool blankets” and a few scrolls down, I came across this image.

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A “vintage” baby banket for sale on Ebay. I wasn’t 100% sure, because I couldn’t really zoom in, but thought that baby laying on the blanket is a dead ringer for my daughter, rosy Slovak cheeks and all. I took a screen shot of the image and emailed it to hubby – I was fully expecting him to scoff at it immediately, but he was also intrigued.

I contacted the seller who was nice enough to send me close up shots of both babies on the box. While the smaller inset photo is no way my child, the one on on the blanket?

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 12.24.11 PMIt’s her. After 18 years of wondering, I got my answer. She made the box.

I bought the item (duh!) and can’t wait until it gets here later this week. At first hubby wasn’t 100% convinced until I dug out baby photos of her in similar positions.

That, coupled with the fact that I remember that blanket from the shoot was enough to sway him. Plus, come on – a mother knows

I am absolutely astounded that I found this box. There was less than a day left on the Ebay auction, and if I hadn’t gotten the idea yesterday to blog about my foray into baby modeling, I never would have Googled this baby blanket in time to be able to purchase the item.

Isn’t it funny how the world can work like that sometimes? It’s almost inconceivalbe to think of all the things that had to happen at a very specific time for me to end up finding this item that I have been looking for for almost 2 decades.

Hmmmm – I think I’m playing the lottery tonight.

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As a parent, you are forced to attend a multitude of school events where you whittle the away the hours watching band recitals, talent shows, and peering at student art all the while secretly wishing you were at home with the remote in hand.

Okay, so Mother of the Year I am not.

When my oldest daughter was in 6th grade, she came home to tell me she’d won a spot in her school’s first ever spelling bee. Spelling Bee? Now here was something I could take an interest in. I’ve always been a halfway decent speller, and I took pride in the fact that my girl was good enough to have qualified for the finals.

We practiced during the weeks leading up to the Bee, and when that Friday night arrived, we drove to the school hoping for the best. Hubby couldn’t make it, because it was hockey season and that night he had to drive the Zamboni for the Richmond Renegades. Hubby missed a lot of these school performances…

There were about 10 kids participating – I think they were the top 2 from the different 6th grade classes. A few kids got out right away. My girl was sailing through the words she was getting, which were all pretty easy. I can remember each time it was her turn sitting there holding my breath hoping that she would not get something like “xylophone” or “chrysanthemum.”

At one point, she got the word “marmalade” and I was a bit worried. She wasn’t a jelly fan. She spelled out M-A-R-M-A-L-A-D-E, which was promptly followed by the tinkle of a bell. I remember thinking, “hmmmm. Last time I looked that was how you spelled marmalade.”

Should I say something? Was I really going to have to be one of THOSE parents? The kind who interupts an entire spelling bee? Luckily one of the other judges caught the error, and I silently sent up a “thank you” to the spelling bee Gods.

The bee went on for a good amount of time, partially because they didn’t know what they were doing. Kids were allowed to start over again if they felt they messed up, which you can’t do in the real Scripps bee. One annoying girl would repeatedly ask all the typical time-buying questions, like “can I have the word’s origin?” and “can you use it in a sentence?”

I was secretly happy when she finally got the bell.

The bee got down to two kids, my girl and a boy who had to wear hearing aids. At this point, while I wanted my girl to win, I would’ve been happy with either kid taking the prize. They went back and forth, back and forth for quite a while. I have to say, as a parent, it was tough to watch. Each word was like a bullet your kid had to dodge.

In the end, my girl won.

We don’t remember the word she won with – isn’t that stupid? But I’m pretty sure the boy messed up on the word “obstetrician” because it took him almost 10 minutes to try and spell it.

She won a medal, which she still has hanging in her room. My girl really floored me that night. I remember calling hubby as soon as we got in the car. I was so sorry he had missed it. His little girl had come out on top, and he wasn’t there to see it.

She went on to compete against the winners from other grades, where she lost on the word “stewardess.” Not only is that a sexist word, but we don’t fly, so she was pretty much clueless as to what a stewardess was.

She made the finals in the 8th grade spelling bee as well. She got out on the word “rhinoceros” which I didn’t know how to spell either. Oh well – sometimes you get the bummer word.

While we were sad that she couldn’t win again, nobody can ever take away that 6th grade win of hers, where she stood on stage and faced a dictionary full of words, and came out on top.

This is going to be an odd story to tell, because while I remember certain key elements about this particular weekend, I don’t remember a lot of the connective details. Stuff like eating dinner or who I roomed with, or actually studying the Bible – these points are really nothing but shadows.

When I was in my teens a few friends of mine asked me to come to a Friday night youth group at this church that was just a few blocks from my house. We were not a religious family at all – I believed in God, but had not attended church or even read the Bible.

I will fully admit that my desire to attend this youth group was more social than spiritual. However, there were worse places a teenage girl could be spending a Friday night. And who knows? Perhaps the Holy Book might really make an impression on me.

What made an impression on me instead was this kid Jeff from Tenafly. He was ADORABLE – curly hair and a crooked smile. Uff da. While he has absolutely nothing to do with this story, I feel compelled to mention him because it was my crush on him that pretty much kept me coming back to the youth group week after week.

It’s a cringe-worthy admission.

That winter the youth group was sponsoring a Bible study weekend up in Vermont. I begged my parents to go, and I still can’t believe I was given permission, but on a cold Friday night I was picked up, put in the very back of a station wagon, and carted up to some resort in Vermont.

MEMORY #1 – The Car Ride

When I say “the back of a station wagon” do you remember the ones that had the seat that faced backwards? Yeah, that’s where they stuck me. I was bundled up for the cold, but the car had the heat blasting, and it also had roughly 7 people sitting in it. I got very hot very fast. And I was riding backwards.

I think we were somewhere in Connecticut when I threw up.

I had complained of feeling sick, so they moved me into the back seat, but it was too little too late. While I did manage to get a majority of it out the window, we still needed to stop at a gas station to a) clean me up and b) de-funk the back seat of the wagon. Shortly thereafter they stopped for dinner, where I stayed in the car both too sick and too mortified to do anything more than sleep.

MEMORY #2 – Horseback Riding

The first morning of our retreat we went horseback riding. I was thrilled to be doing this, having never been on a horse other than your average pony ride. The handlers had asked if anyone had riding experience, and my girlfriend Pam raised her hand, and also offered that she could ride an English saddle.

“Hmmm” said my brain – Pam lived in a tiny apartment with her divorced mom and older brother – where the hell did she learn how to ride an English saddle?

This would prove to be troublesome for me down the line.

The handlers let us know that the horses had to be kept in a certain order – horse A (my horse) did not like horse F (Pam’s horse), so they should be kept apart. Fine. Off we went down the trail.

All was fine n’ dandy until I heard a ruckus kicking up behind me. Pam, with her crackerjack English riding skills, was having trouble controlling her horse. It was moving out of its place in line and making its way towards me. Me, as in the gal who is currently riding the horse that hates Pam’s horse. Do you see where this is going?

Once my horse caught sight of Pam’s horse, they both started to run…slowly at first, but before long we were pretty much at a full blown gallop. Now this is where the day really got fun.

My saddle broke.

All I know is that while we were wildly galloping across the field, my body started to slide to the left. The saddle was slipping, and my whole body listed – I only had one leg over the back of the horse and I was frantically attempting to hold on to anything. We were approaching a line of fence, and I thought I was a goner. If the horse tried to jump it, I was fairly certain my head would not clear. Eating barbed wire was not part of my plans when I woke up that morning.

Thankfully one of the handlers caught up to us and was able to stop the horse. Once my feet were out of those stirrups and set firmly on the frozen ground there was no getting back on. After shooting Pam a glaring look, I marched back to the stables on foot.

MEMORY #3 – The Song

My last memory of this weekend actually isn’t a bad one at all. It was Saturday night and we were having a Bible jamboree in the big hall. There were tons of other youth groups from all around the area, and it was a huge crowd. Again, I don’t quite remember how push came to shove, but somehow my friend Carol and I volunteered to sing as part of the evening’s festivities.

The musical director suggested we sing “You Light Up My Life,” a song that was hugely popular at the time. While it was a #1 song, I didn’t know all the words, and I have to say, it made me a little nervous – could I learn them all in the span of a half an hour? We practiced a few times, and then the show began. I was scared, but I had Carol to go out there with me – a partner in crime so to speak.

Ha.

Right before it was our turn she chickened out. I was left with the decision to cut and run with her, or go out there alone and quite literally face the music. I thought of the time the musical director had spent with us rehearsing, and thought it would be a douche move to bail on him.

So I walked out there alone. Me, in my Dorothy Hamill haircut, and sensible Sears clothing. I stood on the stage next to the piano and whispered to him “it’s just me…is that okay? Are you sure I can do this?”

He nodded and smiled and began to play. I got through the song – I remember being too afraid to look out into the audience, which was, in my mind, massive – like Carnegie Hall massive. Instead I just looked at the Musical Director and plodded my way through the song. I’m pretty sure I fucked up the lyrics at one point, but it didn’t matter.

When I finished, he smiled and winked at me, and said “Great job.” And then there was the applause. I remember it being loud, and I remember that it was the only time I could look out into the very large audience. Wow. I’d done it.

When I left the stage, there were lots of pats on the back and congratulatory comments from both friends and strangers. I’ll admit, it felt awesome – I was really glad I hadn’t bailed. And Carol? She was a little envious – and perhaps a bit regretful.

Those are the three big memories from that weekend. We might have gone skiing, but I don’t really remember. I also remember I made the trip home without throwing up, which was a personal victory for me.

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “I Have Confidence in Me.”

Are you good at what you do? What would you like to be better at?

I always knew my talents lied in the middle of the road at best. In high school I was nowhere near the most talented artist, although I tried hard. I had an art show my senior year with another girl and I’ll be honest, her shit blew mine out of the water; Like, my stuff was flopping and dying on the beach.

My mom was proud though.

Ditto in college. I was super average as an illustration major. My photography was average, my sculpture was average, and my figure drawing was average. Once I graduated with a BFA I had one job illustrating a cartoon for a magazine and I decided I hated it.

So, I went into graphic design – we’re talking T square and triangle, waxers and Bestine. I worked for Tiger Beat and Right On! magazines for over three years, and had moved up from beginner fledgling to Art Director, and I thought I was hot shit. So hot that when the magazines got sold to a firm on Madison Avenue, I didn’t take the offer to stay on as Art Director. I’d find something else.

It took me years and years to find another job in design. But I did, and I was always good. Maybe not great, but good. And in some cases good could seem great. While I may not be the best designer, I always managed to be way better than the person before me, making me appear great.

I spent over 12 years working for one newspaper – Again I started as the low man on the totem pole and worked my way up to the position Art Director. The paper looked tons better under my averagely skilled hand – plus, I was fast. Sales agents used to clamor for me to do their ads – I was in high demand. I was also reliable – working nights and weekends if need be to meet our weekly deadline. I was hot shit again.

And then they fired me.

Once again, our paper was sold and after 2 years with the new owners, they budgeted me out. They had younger designers with fresher ideas who would work for a lot less money. I collected unemployment for almost a year, and had trouble getting hired.  I thought with all my experience someone would snatch me right up, but I guess a middle aged designer with little html experience wasn’t all that hot after all.

During that year I watched my newspaper, with a sinking heart, deteriorate each week I saw it on the stands. Those young fresh designers didn’t give a hoot about my crappy little paper, and as a result it was thrown together last minute. But that was a good thing.

Turns out complaints were coming in from advertisers about the shoddy quality of the paper. I was asked to come back on a freelance basis just to design the covers and the edit. That was over a year ago, and I still do it today.

I also work close to full time for a real estate firm handling their graphic design and marketing materials – once again, while I’m not great, I’m better than the person who had the job before me – way better. My speed and ability to learn new programs quickly made me an office favorite once again. I was able to take on tasks that others no longer had time to do.

I got a raise after one year.

Last week my boss, who used to do marketing for Calvin Klein, gave me an ad to design that required a lot more design acumen than your average cut and paste. I was afraid my average design skills would shine a giant spotlight on my utter medicority. I worked hard on it, and sent her a proof with little confidence that she would like it.

The next day she came to my desk and told me how impressed she was with the designs I came up with. I’d hit it out of the park.

So, I might not be big ad agency material. I might never be good enough for Glamour or Time or Entertainment Weekly. I’ll never win any print design awards, and I certainly don’t make a lot of money…I doubt I ever will.

But I’m good at what I do. I might doubt myself at times, but in the end I get it done well.

Vintage-Ski-Styles

When I was growing up in northern New Jersey our town’s Rec Center used to hold ski trips. The kids would meet in front of the Rec Center, board a bus and head up to Vernon Valley for an afternoon of skiing. There were times where my mom and I, while running errands in town, would pass the Rec Center and I’d watch all the kids lined up with their bags and their skis waiting for the chartered bus to pick them up.

And I was so envious of them.

I grew up in a pretty wealthy town. We were not wealthy. We weren’t on skid row or anything, but there was no extra money to be spent on nonsense like lift tickets and ski rentals. So, Rec Center ski trips were out of the question for me. I acted like I didn’t care – like those kids were all assholes.

Some of them were. But a lot of them weren’t. They were kids I ate lunch with, or might walk part of the way home with. But they could afford to go on the Rec Center ski trips, and I couldn’t. So like any brooding teenager is apt to do, you viewed them with a cool loathing rather than blatant envy.

I did eventually ski though. While I might not have been able to go on the Rec Center trips, my Junior year in high school I became friends with this guy Paul whose parents had a house by Hunter Mountain. Ah Hunter… One of Upstate New York’s finest ski lodges.

For the next 6 years or so, Paul would call me on a random Thursday night and say, “We’re heading up to Hunter tomorrow…wanna come?” It wasn’t always winter either. Sometimes we went up in the summer and attended a festival at Hunter Mountain. Sometimes we just went up for some R & R. But if it was winter? We went skiing.

I was never a great skier, but I learned how to hold my own on the intermediate slopes. I only rode an actual ski lift a few times and dreaded/planned my departure from the chair the entire way up. My trip down would take my about 25 minutes as I would slowly shoosh my way down making a very wide, very horizontal path.

Susie Chapstick I was not.

I remember one weekend a whole bunch of us went up to Paul’s house. It had snowed gangbusters the night before so conditions were going to be phenomenal. The day turned out being a real keeper – temps hit the mid 50s; folks were skiing without coats. We went back to the house, put beach chairs in the snow and drank a case of beer.

It was AWESOME. I left Hunter in February with a sunburn.

My best ski trip ever though, was when I was in Austria. When I took my semester abroad, our school sent us on a ski trip to Semmering. Having not skied in a while, I decided to use the free ski instruction the lodge provided. Our teacher’s name was Norbert, which I found humorous…were his parents undecided between Norman and Burton?

Nobert? He turned out to be a real perv. While doing snowplow turns down the bunny slope, he would shoosh up behind me, wedge his skis between mine and push his pelvis against my ass in very firm, very suggestive manner. It wasn’t just me… he did it to all the girls. He got very drunk at the lodge party later that night and tried very hard to grind us a wee bit more on the dance floor.

But during that day, as I made my way down the slopes an hour south of Vienna, I thought about those kids that used to go on the Rec Center’s ski trips. I could never go, but here I was in Austria. AUSTRIA. On skis. Me.

Beats the hell out of Vernon Valley.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Opening Lines.”

What’s the first line of the last song you listened to (on the radio, on your music player, or anywhere else)? Use it as the first sentence of your post.

Trip, Stumble & Fall

That’s the first line of the last song I listended to. I hadn’t heard that particular Mamas & Papas song in quiet a while, so I Spotified it, and was glad I did. So glad that I purchased it on iTunes this morning. But this blog post is not about the musical stylings of The Mamas and The Papas. It’s about falling your ass down.

Now let’s talk about falling…I’ve done it a few times in my adult life and I wouldn’t file it under the “good times” category. In fact, it sucks. It’s embarassing and painful, and something totally foreign to the average adult body. Kids fall – kids who run amok and risk life and limb climbing and jumping…they fall. Not me. Well, not often anyway.

Below is a post that appeared in an earlier blog that is now defunct. However, it’s one of my sisters’ favorite stories from that blog, so I will share it again with my Typical Tracy followers.


FALL FROM GRACE 
Originally published 9.14.10

Yesterday I left my office during lunch to go for a walk. I began on a route I had never taken before, and as I looked around at office buildings and unfamiliar scenery, I spotted a Coke bottle cap on the ground.

I am always on the lookout for coke bottle caps. Each cap contains a code that is worth points on their website. Our family collects these points and trades them in for stuff. Over the past few years we’ve obtained a toaster, a set of pans, a t-shirt and a free ticket to Kings Dominion. So I bent over to picked the cap up.

It was at this point that my day radically changed.

I’m not quite sure what happened to be honest with you. My feet hit some imaginary rope strung across my path. I tripped. I stumbled. And then I fell.

I remember trying to recover from the stumble. I remember attempting to right my body as I careened wildly towards the ground. My attempts were fruitless and I landed with a hard thud in the street. Not on the sidewalk, mind you, but in the street. You know, where the cars are?

I did not put my hands out. I had my cell phone in one hand, and the blasted Coke cap in the other. So I landed hard on my left forearm, while my right hand, conveniently shaped like a fist as I strived to hold onto that cap, punched me square in the mouth.

Dazed, wincing, and mortified, I popped back up on my feet and continued walking like nothing had ever happened. After a few seconds I sneaked a peek behind me and was relieved to see that nobody was around. Had I really been spared the added humiliation of witnesses?

I glanced at my elbow and forearm to assess the damage. Dirt and gravel was intermixed with bits of loose skin and blood. It hurt so bad I was surprised you could not physically see stars and lighting bolts radiating from it. I ran my tongue over my lower front teeth. Yep, they were still there, but man, did my lip hurt.

As I continued my walk, I replayed the mishap in my head. I fell in the fucking street. Hard. I am grateful there were no cars coming. Or a bus. I am glad all I did was skin my elbow and punch myself in the face. I could have broken a bone or knocked out a tooth.

Who falls down like that? What am I four years old?  I wasn’t skiing or mountain biking. I was close to standing still. Who does that?

Apparently I do. And let me tell you, falling down is no fun when you are, well, chunky. The thud was not a pleasant one. I’m wondering if the U.S. Geological Survey saw a blip on the Richter scale in Virginia yesterday. I cringe just thinking about it.

Today I am very sore. Not just my skinned elbow and forearm, but a variety of muscles are angry with me today. I am keeping my arm wrapped intermittently in an ace bandage. Funny how few of my unfriendly co-workers have asked about it. But that’s a blog for another day.

Be safe everyone, and watch your step for goodness sake.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Me Time.”

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I spend not just Saturday mornings, but every morning with a little “me time.”

My weekday wake up hour is 4:45. I get up, make some tea and spend an hour catching up with the world. I check Facebook, and see if anyone read my blog. Then I get a little work done until it’s time to wake the family and get ready for school and work.

I swear, if I don’t get this hour and change I’m useless. There are times I’ve forgotten to set the alarm, and I wake up with just enough time to get everyone fed, dressed and out the door, myself included. I am useless on those days. There’s something about that hour with my cup of tea and some mindless web-surfing that puts my moon in the seventh house.

Weekends are even better. I usually get up around 6 am, hours before anyone else in my family begins to stir. Sometimes I get up even earlier, but only because my kitty needs something…and when he needs something he will not let me sleep. He had me up at 5:30 this morning.

But  it’s fine because I get a lot of work done in the morning too. That’s also “me” time. I work best early in the day, so I get the majority of my freelance design work done before 9 am. Then the rest of the day is mine.

Another source of “me time” is my daily walk, which surprise, surprise, I also like to do in the morning. I walk at least once a day for two miles or so…I put in my earbuds and listen to a podcast or a book or just some music – I block out the world and give my body a little “me time.”

You have to carve out these precious hours for yourself, especially if you’re a mom – because God knows you’re not likely to get it when the rest of the world is up and at ’em.

45 art

I was introduced to a ton of music when I was a young child compliments of my Aunt Carol’s collection of 45 records. They were stored in boxes just like the ones shown above, and when we were in the mood to jam to some tunes, my sisters and I would pull the boxes out from the cabinet in the “stereo console,” find as many insert adapters as we could, and stack ’em up on the turntable.

david-bowie-space-oddity-picture-sleeve-45-original-1973-rca_8096841Her collection was impressive. She had a ton of Beatles singles, not only on the Capitol label but also on the Apple label. There was lots of Elvis, which my sister loved. Me, not so much. She had a lot of odd tunes; weird little ditties that had to have been one hit wonders. She also had a fair share of surfer music, which I still find odd. And as long as we’re talking odd, she had the 45 to David Bowie’s Space Oddity. That’s a record I can’t see her buying at all – that was a little far out for my Aunt Carol.

Part of the beauty of these records were the labels. Decca, Bell, Atlantic, RCA – many times it was the easiest way to find your favorite songs in the boxes and boxes of records. Those labes were so recognizable – if I wanted to find “Knock Three Times” by Tony Orland & Dawn, all I had to do was look for the silver Bell label. I might find the Partridge Family instead, but that was fine too.

mOg1os7DgpqHlW686dyIRhQMy favorite of all the 45s was one by Gary Lewis and the Playboys. It had not one but TWO songs on the same side – “This Diamond Ring” and “Little Miss Go Go.” Everyone knows This Diamond Ring, but the best was when you got to the little known song two. Little Miss Go Go is just a kick ass song.

In keeping with the surfer-style music, my sisters and I used to love “Surfer Joe” by the Surfaris because it was a story song – you know those…like “Billy Don’t Be a Hero” or “The Night Chicago Died.” You can’t beat a good story song.

Another favorite of ours was Dizzy by Tommy Roe. My sisters and I would spin round and round while the song played so we could be dizzy right along with Tommy.

We always had to play Tracy by the Cufflinks. While I’m glad I have a song named after me, I wish it wasn’t so über dorky. And speaking of dorky…that lead singer? Yikes.

When it came to name songs my sister Judy had “Hey Jude,” but my sister Wendy had nothing. So, she adopted another 45 favorite of ours, “Windy” by The Association, as her own. Then Springsteen came along and put her name in the best song every written. Sigh. And I’m stuck with the Cufflinks.

Typical.

There were some real oddball songs too. One was “Surfin’ Bird” by the Trashmen. I don’t know who had the idea to put that record on for the first time, but I do believe after hearing it, it was the first time my tiny little brain registered a thought along the lines of what the fuck.

That wasn’t the only song straight out of the WTF Files. An insanely bizarre 45 is “They’re Coming To Take Me Away (Ha-Haaa)” by Napoleon XIV. It’s hard to describe, but as a small child I always found it creepy as hell. His voice changes pitches and there’s a siren in the background and this stomping/clapping back beat throughout the whole song and his voice echos and it was just really, really sccaaary!

And I can still remember all the words. What was even more wacked out was the B-side; it’s the same song played backwards.

My sister Wendy thankfully still has all these wonderful 45s because she realizes the value of them…not just on the commercial market (although it would be fun to take them on Antiques Roadshow), but because they were a real part of our childhood.

One day I’ll have to blog about MY 45 collection…and how I don’t have it anymore. See, my husband isn’t quite so sentimental about old 45s.

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People are annoying me.

In most cases, I know it’s not them, it’s me. My moon isn’t in the 7th house or something, and little things make me want to bitch-slap random strangers.

Take yesterday. I had to make a quick run to the store, and everytime I needed to get something off the shelf or in a cold case, someone was in my way – in my way and not moving. Like the dude with the handtruck full of granola bars blocking all the other granola bars.

Or the old lady that was standing right in front of the Lean Cuisines carefully reading the back of the package. As I stood staring into the case trying to see what they had she did ask if she was in the way, but I told her she was good, because I didn’t really know what I wanted. In those cases, when I am the dope in the way, I move anyway because I know eventually I will be in the way.

She didn’t move. I had to open the next door down and snake my hand way in from the side to get the item I wanted.

But today I got annoyed at someone and it was 100% not my fault. I got assigned to design a gift certificate placard for an upcoming charity event. I work it up quite nicely, and sent a proof to the person for whom it was intended. They email back and ask if it’s 8.5 x 11. I email back, it sure is. They email again saying it looks great. I reply that I have some nice cream card stock I can print it on. They say wonderful.

I go downstairs to the printer, put in the special paper, come back up to my desk to print it, go back down to retrieve the print and bring it to their office. She looks at it and says to me, “Oh, this is horizontal. All the other placards are vertical.”

I inwardly roll my eyes because the proof I sent was clearly horizontal, and reply “That’s an easy fix. I can make it vertical if you’d prefer.”

Then she says, “Can we get any photos to jazz this up?”

I say, “I tried several times to contact them. Nobody ever returns my calls or answers my emails, and the photos online are too small to use.”

To which she replies, “Well this won’t do at all. It needs to be fancier…more attractive looking. You can take this back.”

As I take the finished, now rejected product out of her hands I’m inwardly thinking, “Am I high, or didn’t you just see a proof and approve this thing? If it was not what you wanted why did you approve it? Now I wasted paper and ink and time running up and down the stairs WHEN YOU JUST COULD HAVE TOLD ME RIGHT OFF THE BAT THAT IT WASN’T WHAT YOU WERE LOOKING FOR!!!!!”

Like I said, people are annoying me.

I’m going to make her wait a day or two before I get her another proof. Maybe until Monday. I think I’m suddenly swamped with more important jobs.

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