Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tutus and Toe Shoes: A Magpie Tale

When she was little, she dreamed of one day becoming a dancer.  She pictured herself in tutus and toe shoes.  But when her mother finally consented to dance lessons, the teacher said she had to begin with tap shoes.  Heavy, clunky, noisy tap shoes.  This was not her dream.  She struggled through, but the joy was not there.  And so the dream faded.  And the little girl grew.

Graceful, she was not.  Long limbs and flat feet made her awkward.  The doctor prescribed corrective shoes.  Awful, huge, size 9 gray shoes that tied.  Never the dainty Mary Janes that the pretty girls wore.  And so she faded into the background of the fourth grade.  

Eventually, saddle shoes became popular, much to the relief of the girl.  But by then, her feet were swollen to a size 10.  Where saddle shoes looked cute on the other girls, hers still looked monstrous.  Light on her feet, she was not.  The square dancing they did in gym class was sheer torture. 

By the time she reached college age, her feet hurt all the time.  So she went barefoot whenever possible.  Dancing became free form, undulating with the beat at rock concerts.   At last, with feet freed from restraining shoes, she moved with the rhythm of the music.  

Disco came and went without her noticing.  No attempt was made to learn the synchronized moves.  While the disco scene passed her by, her feet continued to grow to a size 11, then 12.

Her dreams eventually turned to the romanticism of ballroom dancing.  Gliding across the floor with the one you love would be the ultimate in perfection.  But this dream was kept a secret as her Birkenstocks shuffled across the floor of the house.  When she mentioned that it would be fun to take dancing lessons, her husband scoffed, looking at her as if she were crazed.  So she settled for the occasional contra dance outing with her cousin.  A few years later her ex-husband would delight in dancing at his wedding with his much younger, much more petite, new wife in her size six satin shoes.

Nowadays, she watches as the little girls she teaches trundle off to dance class in their tutus.   And she mourns the loss of her dancing dreams.

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Willow over at Life at Willow Manor  has been providing inspiration for bloggers on a site called Magpie Tales.  A photo of an artifact is posted each week as a writing prompt.  Participants write a story or poem of its history and/or how the item in the photo came to be in their possession.  Be sure to check out the other fabulous writers participating in Magpie Tales this week.  You'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Destiny Awaits!

About two weeks ago, my bloggy friend, Eolist Petite honored me with an award:

I love you, too, Ms. Petite!  To accept the award I have to answer one teeny tiny question:

Ms. Petite asked "because i know that life is an odd thing and it takes us not where we want to go but where we belong... What /Who/ and/or Where would you be if you could choose your own destiny?"

REALLY?  I get to choose my own destiny?  What a blast!  And what better time to think about these things than on my birthday.

At 57, I guess there's even still time to change my real life destiny.  In my fantasy world, I would still be me, but I'd have a trusty companion who is not a canine.  Someone to talk to and laugh with and share meals and wine and a cozy bed with.  Somebody who would look beyond my appearance to appreciate who I am as a person and not judge me for being a bit off center.  I'd still be teaching and writing, but perhaps making a tad more money than I am now so I could eventually retire and spend all my time reading and writing, with a bit of travel thrown in every once in awhile.  And of course, I'd live in a little cottage somewhere, preferably near a lake or mountains.  Someplace that looks like this...

or this....

or perhaps this...

I'm not picky.  Nothing big or fancy, but just a cozy, quiet place.

That's not too much to ask for, is it?  A girl can always dream...

They Say It's My Birthday!

Today is my birthday!  Yay!  Going to a friend's house for dinner, then out with my peeps for wine! 

Life is good!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Forgive me...

Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned... It's been 12 days since my last blog entry.

Damned good thing I'm not Catholic or anything!  Nothing going on here to explain my absence this time.  Just a lack of inspiration... and the fact that my special writing chair kinda got buried in school stuff.  What can I say?  I am a cat lady sans cats, after all!  Every once in awhile things get a little out of control around here.  Teetering on the edge of madness, I tell you!  Madness!

What I do love about this blogging community, though, is that people check up on me whenever I go missing.  My greatest fear as a cat lady without the cats is the scenario in which I finally meet my demise through some incredibly klutzy move inside my house and nobody finds me for days.

I know what that's like from personal experience.  Long ago, when the ex and I moved to Canon City, Colorado for a year, we lived on the cheap.  I worked as a kindergarten teacher's aide half days and the ex taught silkscreening in night school and worked on his photography during the day.   It was a great life.  I'd go to school in the morning and then we'd go up into the mountains to hike or ride bikes in the afternoon. 

Surprisingly, we were able to make ends meet.  Because the wiring wasn't quite right in our apartment, our average monthly utility bill was $1.89.  Seriously!  Even at 1976 prices, that was ridiculous.  We went next door to the utility company and were able to pay our bill in spare change.  But it was the cheap apartment itself that made our meager paychecks last from one week to the next.  Our rent was $85 a month for a three bedroom, two bathroom apartment that was half of an 19th century duplex house.  A double garage was also included. 

So, how does one get a large apartment at that price?  When the previous tenant has died there... in August... only to be found two weeks later.  Even with the best of tidying up, the smell of death remained.  Not the roadkill type of stench, but the aroma of special chemicals used to eradicate the smell.  Plus there was a stain on the hardwood floor in the parlor where she met her demise.  Charming, to be sure and a turn-off to most potential renters.  Intrepid bargain-hunters that we were, though, it didn't bother us in the least.  Maybe because we were used to the accoutrements of death from living in close proximity with a medical examiner.

We would sit in the parlor at night, communing with the spirit of the previous tenant.  Just to show her good will and all.  Wouldn't want ghosts pissed off at us.  We wanted her to rest in peace.

Funny thing, is... nobody ever wanted to come visit us.  We kept inviting my sister-out-law and her husband over for dinner every week, but they always declined... suggesting that they feed us, instead.  I wonder why?  Somehow, I don't think it was our cooking.

Still, it was one of my best years ever.  I was young and in love and living the dream of every hip, with-it kind of 70's pseudo-hippie. 

Good times... good times!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tag, I'm it!

I was tagged twice this week by some exceptional boggers...   Annie, also known as Eolist Petite, and Keith, otherwise known as iDifficult.  They both captured this award from our mutual friend, Indigo Roth and deemed me worthy of the recognition as well.  Since they each gave me a different question as part of the award, I shall address each one separately.  (That way I don't have to think as hard and they'll also get full value from their tags.)  Today I shall step up to the challenge posed to me by iDifficult.  Here goes...

Mr. Difficult would like me to "Name seven fictional cars or other vehicles you'd have liked to have driven and explain why."

1.  I'd definitely want to pilot the Wayback Machine.  Move over Mr. Peabody!   Break out the horn-rimmed glasses and I'm ready to speed back in time in that bad boy!  I love historical fiction, so in this case I could make up my own!  First destination:  Ancient Egypt!  (Now with invisible zebras!)

2.  Next on my list would be the Nautilus.  I loved the way that big eye opened up in the side of the olde timey submarine originally piloted by James Mason as Captain Nemo in the Disney version of Jules Verne's epic story, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.    Although, since this question comes via iDifficult, it would probably be a giant squidrel that would attach itself to the outside of the Nautilus.

3.  A jet pack would be a nifty vehicle to use for riding around town.  Remember James Bond in Thunderball?  I could beat the traffic down below and speed to wherever I wanted to go.  I'd probably need asbestos underwear, though.

But seriously, how cool would that be? 

4.  And that video clip reminded me of another vehicle I'd like to drive... the Jetson's car!  "Meet George Jetson!  Jane his wife!  His cool flying car.... " (I really think the car should get more credit in the song.)  

5.  My next choice would be a glider, although it's not fictional.  Soaring quietly over the earth, catching the air currents would be pretty awesome.  However, I'd probably be scared shitless, which means I'd need to take along some clean underwear for tidying up later.  (Perhaps the asbestos underwear that accompanies the jet pack could do double duty here.)

6.  A hot air balloon like the one in Around the World in 80 Days would be another choice.  Those Montgolfier Brothers had the right idea!  I'd be scared, but I think I could handle it.  

7.  And finally, since I haven't had a mid-life crisis yet, I'd like to get behind the wheel of this little number....

 I always thought it would be cool to have a little roadster, ever since I read Nancy Drew books back when I was 12.  Nancy Drew was definitely quality fiction!  Look out, Ned Nickerson!

So, that's it for the seven vehicles I'd like to drive.  

Meanwhile, Ms. Petite still wants to know  "What /Who/ and/or Where would I be if I could choose my own destiny?"  Heavy!  Tune in tomorrow to find out my response to this burning question. 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Yeah, About That Eyeball In The Refrigerator... A Magpie Tale

My father-out-law had a full career as a Medical Examiner.  His work would keep him busy 24-7, which made hanging out with him interesting, to say the least.  Sunday dinners were invariably interrupted by calls from the morgue.  Since our choices were to go along to the morgue or walk home from the restaurant, we usually tagged along.  That was my entry into the world of sudden death.  The phrase "I see dead people..." no longer phases me.

Back at the house, you never wanted to open any envelopes laying on the kitchen table.  Trust me, you don't want to be looking at 8 x 10 color glossies of various crime scenes over breakfast!  My sister-out-law and I used to hold them up to the light, looking at them from the back side to get a preview of how gross they might be before actually looking at them.  Next to my father-out-law's recliner in the family room was a tome entitled The Medico-Legal Causes of Death... heady reading for anyone suffering from insomnia, since it included some incredibly gnarly photos of dead people. 

Then there were the little artifacts of death laying about the house.  I remember the day he brought home a pair of boots from a guy who had been electrocuted.  The resulting shock burned quite a hole through the insulated bottom of the boots... fascinating!  (Remind me not to rely on insulated boots in a watery basement.)  Another afternoon, my father-out-law brought me a skull in a box.  Since I love jigsaw puzzles, he thought I might want to take a stab at putting the pieces back together for him... the deceased had been hit with a ball peen hammer and he was getting it ready for trial.  Oh, yeah... just how I wanted to spend my afternoon!

Back in the old days, when "chain of evidence" regulations were a bit looser than they are today, he used to "bring his work home" quite regularly.  Which meant you never knew exactly what you might find in the fridge when you opened the door to get a Dr Pepper.  

Nah, there weren't usually eyeballs in the fridge, although he was on call to remove eyes from donors for cornea transplants.  But, another aspect of his job was drawing blood from people facing DUI charges... before the advent of the breathalyzer.  Waking up to vials of blood in the fridge wasn't all that unusual if he had gone out on a call after the lab closed down for the night... not surprisingly, the most active hours for inebriates.   Must be why the science experiments currently percolating in my fridge at home just don't bother me all that much...

So whenever I see photos of body parts, it reminds me of my father-out-law and the adventures in death we used to have.

Good times... good times!

Postscript:  My father-out-law's been retired for many years now, but he's still remembered fondly by many in the community.  Why?  Because the key to his successful career as a Medical Examiner was that he was such a compassionate man.  He was most often the one who delivered the awful news to the loved ones of the deceased.  He sat with them as they absorbed the news and helped them contact relatives and make the needed arrangements.  He stayed until he knew the survivors were well taken care of.   You just don't find people like that too often anymore.

* * * * *

Willow over at Life at Willow Manor  has been providing inspiration for bloggers on a site called Magpie Tales.  A photo of an artifact is posted each week as a writing prompt.  Participants write a story or poem of its history and/or how the item in the photo came to be in their possession.  Be sure to check out the other fabulous writers participating in Magpie Tales this week.  You'll be glad you did!
Related Posts with Thumbnails