Monday, September 30, 2013

Table manners, it's a good thing.

Oh such silly, silly things happen to me.  Thank God I have a good sense of humor.  As usual, a recent outing spurred a memory buried deep within my subconscious.  It's not that I try to avoid these uncomfortable experiences.  I actually enjoy a good laugh and certainly love sharing the story afterwards. Perhaps it's the immediate horror of the incident which creates the temporary amnesia.  I'm not sure.  Either way, it's back and you, my dear friends and blog readers, get a front row seat to another one of my goofy adventures.

As many of you - my readers - know, I'm the fourth of five children.  As a family we dined out often, normally at diners or inexpensive restaurants.  Obviously feeding a hoard of seven can be pretty darned expensive; however, there were times we found ourselves at pricey four or five star establishments.  My parents enjoyed fine dining and taught my siblings and I while we were very young the proper etiquette for such places. If we so much as grimaced over a dish, we would be reprimanded or escorted out.

Ironically this is the very reason I have a tremendous dislike for seafood.  My father always insisted that I try whatever seafood du jour he was eating that particular evening and his trick was to tell me that it "tasted just like steak".  To this day there is no way in Hell I can be convinced that shrimp, salmon, shark, scallops, or lobster taste remotely like steak.  I will not eat fish in a box, I will not eat fish with a fox...

To bring on the wacky part of this weird tale; I find myself having horrendous table manners when I'm alone with my husband at elegant restaurants.  It's that naughty side of me which wants to shoot spit balls at him or just be inappropriate in general.  Perhaps it's a late stage rebellion for all those years I sat up straight, kept my elbows off the table, and swallowed my vegetables without so much as crossing my eyes.  So, dear readers, you can probably imagine my behavior at fast food restaurants is appalling.

One afternoon my husband met me for lunch at the hamburger restaurant right next to my work place.  This particular fast food joint was always packed with co-workers and because my lunch hour was short, I tended to cram food down my gullet and attempt talking to Eric at the same time.  At one point of the conversation, I looked up at Eric and something seemed odd.  Eric apparently saw it too because at the same moment he burst into laughter and spit the entire contents of his food into my face.  As I sat covered with my husband's half-chewed cheeseburger, I realized that hanging from my left nostril was an enormous onion dripping with ketchup.  I must have inhaled it with one of my massive bites of food.  I blew it out with a huge snort of laughter as it hit Eric's white, starched business shirt creating more hysterical laughter from both of us.

Oh my parents would have been so proud of their little girl.  

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How do you handle the banana peel?

I was talking with a good friend last night about life and the funny, quirky things I've been known to do, say, or even in general - just out of the blue - bizarre things that happen to me.  Ironically, I'm only 46 years old and regardless of what I tell my husband on a daily basis (that I'll be dead by next week), I'm sure I have a lot of additional strange experiences ahead of me.  I don't know whether to be worried or not; however, when I share these stories I find myself and the listener oddly entertained.  Life.  So curious.  Why aren't people laughing more or at least smirking?  I can't be the only one watching men in three-piece business suits running across five lane freeways and disappearing into the bushes.  There were other people staring in horror during rush hour with me.  Come on, anonymous lady going north on the 405 Freeway near Costa Mesa, California about ten years ago! We made eye contact.  We laughed out loud after we forced our mouths shut.  Oh well...

I have amazing friends; some of you may be reading this blog, some of you will never lift a finger of interest. Either way, I'm not offended.  To my readers in virtual reality whom I've never met, I consider you friends as well.  I have an odd way of becoming friends with people.  Some say it's not very safe.  I say, throw it up to the universe and see how it lands.  Yes I'm quirky, but then again, this funky throwing out a friend fishing pole business is how I've met some wonderful people. I wouldn't want it any other way.

Not counting my husband (because how can I quantify the best thing that's ever happened to me?), I have about three women in my life whom I can count on for everything.  What a gift.  This is the goofy part - they're all so completely different that they don't particularly like one another (Now girls...! ). I can say with utmost certainty, there will never be a get-together between the four of us (I'm giggling as I type this). I don't know what brought me to this paragraph but I guess I needed to say how lucky I am to have such three amazing human beings watching my back. Ladies, I adore you.  Thank you for loving me.

The fishing pole trick is unique because what happens is I'll go to the store for a loaf of bread and two hours later I'll come back with some one's email address or Facebook name.  For example, I'll find myself chatting - to no one in particular (I do this to entertain myself) - then, someone as crazy as myself will hear me muttering, respond, and start talking to me about her Uncle Harold's funeral in Iowa.  Eventually, we're laughing hysterically in front of the pumpernickel about how her Great Auntie Ethel slipped under the casket and pulled down the wreath of roses over her head.  Who knew funerals could be so funny especially in the bread aisle at the grocery store?  AND, what did this have to do with my personal chatter?  Absolutely nothing but it's a funny way to find a great friend.

I suppose in order to have a silly, interesting life one has to be open to the possibility of it.  I'm always looking for the next bend in the road, the next goofy thing to make me laugh, or the opportunity to make an ass out of myself.   Heck, I don't like being embarrassed but it seems like I'm always setting myself up for it.  When it happens - and it happens a lot - I'm prepared to turn it around, make a joke and laugh my ass off because seriously, we're all in this life together.  We all do stupid things.  We all need a good laugh.  It's how we handle the banana peels which gets us through the tough times.  Are we going to stay down and moan?  Are we going to get up quickly, look embarrassed and sue the offender who dropped the peel to begin with? Personally, I think we should hop up and down, screech like a monkey, and look for leftover remnants of the banana. Of course, I would do the latter but because I'm a geek, my ankle would probably be broken so I would just be eating and screeching like the monkey that I am.  


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Pregnancy and Garage Sales -- Same Thing!

I need to write today.  It hit me like a hammer in the head while I was peacefully enjoying my quiet bubble bath (I hate it when that happens)!  I get comfortable, the water and suds envelop me when suddenly a surge of ideas start rolling across my belly folds.  Dammit!  No more relaxation for me. Scrub, scrub, scrub, shave, knick, shave..out of the water like a hurricane.  Did I even remember my deoderant? moment please...

Okay, I'm back.  What is so important that I risked smelling like a freight train by bedtime tonight?  Two things; pregnancy and garage sales.  Confused?  You're allowed to be; however, I promise by the time I'm finished you just may claim an understanding to how my mind works.

Many of you, my dear friends and blog readers, know that I am the mother of two adopted, special needs boys.  Over the years, I'm certain I've mentioned that my husband and I couldn't conceive children of our own.  We've known it from the start of our marriage due to Eric's benign brain tumor and it's location on his pituitary gland.  I don't believe I've ever mentioned though that had Eric been perfectly healthy, I most likely would have had difficulty becoming pregnant as well.

You see, the Baxter side of my family; my mother, sisters, aunts, and cousins can pop babies out like bars of soap (a bit too graphic)?  I, on the other hand, in all my "baby making years" have never used protection.  I believe when I was a little girl, my uterus was crushed in an accident.

I was at a relative's house when older cousins left an exercise bicycle on high after playing on it.  I couldn't have been more than four years old when I scrambled up on the seat, hit the "on" switch, and fell between the bars.  I screamed for what seemed an eternity before an adult found me being crushed. Because my great-aunt felt terrible and I merely looked bruised, I wasn't taken to the hospital.  I can't say for sure this is why I've never been able to conceive but I'm guessing it may have something to do with it.

I was laughing just last night with my husband at the idea of my ever being pregnant.  First of all, my boobs are already huge.  The thought of them becoming engorged with milk gave me pause to think that one, I would never find a maternity bra large enough for my girls and two, I could feed the entire infant population of Kenya. Good Grief!

Also, I'm already a living, narcissistic nightmare of indecision and late night cravings for my husband.  The poor man!  Add pregnancy to his already relentless evenings with me...

9:00pm  Bri and Eric Watching TV

Bri:  Gosh, you know - I'm not hungry but that Whopper looks really good right now...

Eric:  Do you want me to get you a Whopper?

Bri:  It's too late for a Whopper, but you'd do that for me?

Eric:  Yes, because I know if I didn't you'd complain until I did.



Bri: Would you get me a Blizzard?

Eric:  What kind of Blizzard do you want?

Bri:  Never mind, it's too late for a Blizzard.  I'm already a fatty.

Eric:  Do you still want a Whopper?

Bri:  No.


Bri:  Will you make me some Cinnamon Toast?

And I'm not good at handling babies either...ESPECIALLY NEWBORNS!  Fahget about it!  They scare me to death.  They're too fragile.  I'm a bull in a China Shop.  I'd drop him/her/it on it's head.  Six month olds will either let me hold them, scream the minute I do, or barf on me.  No thanks.  I'll let Grandma hold them.  Four year olds are interesting because they have a lot to say.  I love this age but I can only take them in small doses.  I've taught six and seven year olds catechism.  These kiddos are like little ducklings; still a little nervous around grown ups but they love to play with us.  Once they hit eight, I'm done with them.  I would resign my "mama" duties once that sassy business kicks into gear.

Deep breath...what does all this have to do with garage sales?  Okay, I'm getting there.

I'm not a collector of things, I never have been.  After my dad had his stroke and my parents needed to sell their big home and downsize, they had a massive garage sale.  My dislike for "collecting" really took hold.  I realized that morning and afternoon, as strangers offered pennies for precious items my mom and dad held dear, that I would never hold on to anything after I passed; that I would give it away while I lived.

When my father eventually passed away, my mother gave me the ring he wore every day.  It was intended for my husband but I knew Eric wouldn't wear it.  It was more of a keepsake than anything else. So instead it sat in my jewelry box.  Could I have given it to my oldest son when he came of age?  Sure but he barely knew my dad. It wouldn't have meant anything to him.  Last Father's Day, at brunch, I handed the box to his grandson, Glen. My dad played a huge role in raising him.  When Glen opened it, it took his breath away.  The ring was where it needed to be.

A couple days ago, I contacted my ex-husband's niece.  We're still close - in fact, she still calls me Auntie Breezy.  When her Uncle and I married, we had a fairy tale wedding; the dress, the church, the big reception, everything.  I still have the fine china, crystal, and even my wedding ring and pictures.  Yes, I suppose I could sell or use them, or at least get rid of the ring - but I didn't.  It's time to pass them on the three little girls (now women) whom I still love so very, very much.

I will never ask my boys to stand outside a garage and say, "I remember this" only to have a stranger offer $2.00 for the memory.  My memories are tucked inside my mind and hopefully will live on through my children, nieces, nephews, and the people I've touched throughout my lifetime.  When I go, I want nothing more than kind words and my ashes scattered beneath my husband's willow tree.

Finally, last question..did I want biological children?  This note was found in my treasure box, written by me, Maria Bryant, and dated April 5, 1988.  After I post this blog, it will be shredded.  Seriously, there's no need to keep it anymore.

Kathryn Chelsea
Jeremy Drake
Joshua Truman
Jaqualyn Mariea
Gwendolyn Heather

And perhaps one day
As I sit and listen
To the children's laughter
That laughter may be of my own
Their little hands
And childlike ways
Are of my creation
This is my silent dream