Yesterday I went shopping.
My husband came with me. This is not my preferred method of shopping.
I like to shop alone. I like to take my time looking, trying on, comparing. I may return to the same store an hour later and try on an outfit again. This is my right. I don’t take it well when someone might look at his watch and roll his eyes. I’m not naming names.
I was shopping for sweaters. It’s cold. I want new sweaters.
I am easy to please. I want warm. I want cozy. I don’t want thin, but I don’t want bulky. I want cool and funky, but not teenager. And I want something different from what I already have.
How hard could that be?
I was gracious about my husband tagging along. Because we went to the mall. And he can park.
I had to go to the mall because I wanted to check out a store whose clothes look very very cool on its website. But what if it’s all photography, and the clothes are really dumb? And the only store within 50 miles of me is at the dreaded mall. And my husband can park. He can park his truck in a space the size of a bathmat. So I let him come.
And he was really good. He followed me and stood at a comfortable distance from me, and watched me fondle sweaters.
I was contemplating a burgundy pullover. It was long, tunic-style, which is my current love. But it was a little too thin. Not lush enough. I want lush.
But I was thinking about it anyway. Because the color was nice.
And Hubby finally came over.
“That’s okay,’ he said. “But I bought you a sweater that color last Christmas. And you told me you loved it. But you never wear it.”
Well, now that is totally possible. I have an item or two (or twelve) in my closet that I told him I loved but I may not have been telling the exact truth.
But honestly, I couldn’t remember it. And I have a memory for clothes that, with all modestly, is unsurpassed. I can describe the dress I wrote to my National Honor Society induction in 1969. (yellow, billowy sleeves, very short, floral border at the hem)
But a burgundy sweater just last Christmas? Or red? or cranberry? or wine? Or the year before?
I drew a total blank.
“You gave me a burgundy sweater?”
“Yes, I did. It was some kind of dark red. And it had a really fancy pattern in it.”
“The only sweater I remember from last year was the Ralph Lauren. Longish. V-neck. Cabled. I wore it this week. Tuesday.”
“It’s navy blue,” I added.
“Yeah,” he said. “That’s the one.”
I received an interesting email yesterday. I believe it came from the same gentleman who needs me to help him get four million dollars out of Nigeria. Currently, he wants to employ my services to sue a client for breach of contract.
I want to do that. I want to sue someone. I want to defend someone. I want to prosecute someone. I want to be an attorney.
And I have the experience.
I’ve seen every one of the 456 episodes of “Law and Order” at least five times each – and that’s 2,280 episodes, not even counting all the S.V.U. and Criminal Intent episodes. And my overall legal education is even more vast – I go all the way back to “Perry Mason” in 1957. And then there’s “The Defenders,” “Arrest and Trial.” “Owen Marshall, Counselor-At-Law.” “The D.A.,” “Ally McBeal,” “The Practice,” “Boston Legal,” and “The Good Wife.” And a dozen other shows that I won’t even count, because I sometimes fell asleep watching them. But do you know how many house of legal procedure I’ve absorbed?
You only need 90 hours of classes to graduate from law school. I’ve got 25 times that in Law & Order alone!
I could SO sue someone.
And I could be a doctor too! Why, a few years ago, my brother-in-law phoned to say he was on the floor with excruciating back pain. And I said, “Kidney Stone!” And I was right. Of course I was, thanks to: Ben Casey, Dr. Kildare, MASH, Medical Center, Northern Exposure, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, St. Elsewhere, ER, and House. Medical shows are extremely educational: My mother was a nurse in the newborn nursery, and one day many years ago she asked the doctor to come see a baby that had a rash. The doctor took a look, threw up his hands, and said, “Egad! It’s Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever!” – which was the previous night’s mystery illness on Marcus Welby, M.D.
I could also be an Olympic judge. Or any judge, for that matter. I’m remarkably judgmental. But Figure Skating is my forte. I understand the balance between technical difficulty and artistry. Unlike my husband, who excels at judging the ability of costumes to ride up and reveal a good portion of ass, I know what a triple sow-cow is – although I admit that may not be the exact spelling.
Even though my background may be a bit more limited. I could also conduct an orchestra. I’ve watched the Boston Pops. I could wave a baton around in time to the music.
And I could write TV commercials. Have you any idea of how many I’ve seen? My parents bought their first TV in the late 40’s, and their most precious baby, the 1951 Sylvania, entered their lives the same year I did. I’ve done the math, I estimate that I have seen 1,839,600 commercials. I have the format down pretty well: Mom is smart, Kids are sassy, and Dad is a Doofuss.
Getting back to my first love, the practice of Law.
I only need to choose what type of attorney I want to be.
But on thorough reflection, I have concluded that TV lawyers are pretty much all the same. I have the potential to be extraordinary. I need to be more than a television lawyer. I need to be a movie lawyer.
I want to be as classy and honorable as Gregory Peck in “To Kill A Mockingbird.”
Or perhaps I can have the redemptive determination of Paul Newman in “The Verdict.”
Or the understated humorous logic of Spencer Tracy in “Inherit the Wind.”
But when all is said and done, I vote for DRAMA!
I want to be Al Pacino!
“YOU’RE OUTTA ORDER!!!! YOU’RE OUTTA ORDER!!!!
Exaggeration is pretty standard in Marketing. “Puffery” it’s called.. Of course you are going to say your product is the best. Even regulatory agencies say that a certain amount of Puffery is perfectly acceptable.
But with so many products and so many messages all screaming for our attention, it seems that Puffery is getting a bit crazy.
This week, I’ve seen internet ads and marketing emails that may just a tad inflated:
Even though I am only a few months away from retirement, I still open the emails that promise me great jobs. Just curiosity and habit, I guess. And I received one the other day offering me “Terrific Controller Jobs in Your Region.” And among the terrific jobs listed was this Controller position: Receptionist for an Electrical Contractor.
And most of the emails I receive guarantee I will Fall In Love… with makeup, clothes, bus trips, chocolate (well, chocolate is very lovable, so that one isn’t Puffery). Today an email promised me rompers and jumpsuits that I will absolutely love. Well, I haven’t got the coordination to use the ladies’ room in a jumpsuit. And there’s just something about a 63-year-old in a romper that makes me think, “maybe not.”
Classmates.com tries very hard to flatter me. “Jeepers, Your profile is getting attention!” they said yesterday. Well, I jumped right over there to see my multitude of admirers. My page had gotten ONE visit.
And marketers are trying to help me take advantage of unique opportunities. “Perfect Weather for Free Shipping!” Well, free shipping is very nice, but I’m not sure what weather has to do with it, or whether they can guarantee weather that’s perfect.
If they can’t entice me with bribes (20% off, buy one get one half off – keep trying guys – how about 40% AND perfect weather?), they sometimes resort to threats. “Last Chance to Subscribe!!” Um, really? If I decide to subscribe next week, you’d say no?
And then there’s the hyperbole just to get you to click on the article. There is so much to read on the internet – they really have to grab you and lure you to come on over.
Today I saw this one:
“This Simple Trick For Butternut Squash Will Change Your Life”
Now I like butternut squash as much as the next person. So there may actually be a few scenarios where a butternut squash could change my life.
- I could cut one open and find a four carat diamond.
- I could trip over one and break my hip.
- I could add some arsenic and take care of some of my less desirable relatives.
- I could find one that would multiply like a biblical miracle and I’d never have to cook again.
- I could plant the seeds and get a Jack-in-the-Squashstalk vine, and I could climb it and steal the Giant’s chest of gold, or his favorite pig or whatever it was.
- Or -
- It could be a very very attractive and special vegetable, and I could fall in love with it, and leave my husband, and run off with it, and become Mrs. Nancy Butternut.
Now THAT would change my life.
I pride myself on having a very good eye for color.
A classy love of monochromatic design, an understanding of bright and complimentary colors, and even a finely tuned ability to mix patterns with panache.
I can discriminate between the subtle tone variations – a discriminating palate for the palette, so to speak.
But many years ago I made a ginormous color mistake.
My husband and I bought a house when we got married. It was an 1840 farmhouse, although all the land except for 2 acres had been sold off long ago.
Here we are the day we became homeowners.
We pulled out the overgrown shrubs and planted healthy small shrubs and lots of myrtle. Then we spent the next two years turning over my paycheck to the mason who re-pointed or replaced the entire foundation, 3 feet at a time.
Then finally, finally, we were able to think about painting. I didn’t want a beige house. I wanted a cheerful house.
I wanted a yellow house.
And so I looked at hundreds little cards with paint chips.
I held all those little cards up against the house
And I picked the perfect color for a cheerful house.
It was called “Cheerful.”
The thing is that my ability to visualize color was impaired in putting that little inch and a half against a three-story house.
And cheerful came out a little brighter than we expected.
Sort of like this:
I’ve heard this color called “School Bus Yellow.” We tended to call it “Highlighter Pen Yellow.”
Why, you may wonder, didn’t we just stop once we had 8 feet done, or 20 feet, or one side?
I have no friggin’ idea.
We told ourselves that given some time and exposure to sunlight and air, that the color would “calm down.”
But the paint company guarantees its paint for a reason. It stayed nice and bright for YEARS.
Our neighbors told us that they needed their sunglasses to drive by.
Moth and ladybugs and insects we didn’t recognize stuck themselves to the clapboards.
My brother called and offered to send me some tickets to the opera that he was not going to use. I asked him if he had the address handy and he said,
“I just figured that if I wrote ‘That Yellow House in Plymouth’ – the mailman will know.”
He was probably right.
We held out for five years waiting for the paint to fade. Then we finally gave in and repainted – a light yellow color called something like “Subtle.”
I’d like to say that we missed Cheerful. But in truth we did not. And we were rewarded because when we put the house up for sale, someone eventually bought it.
But I was reminded of it today, when I drove down a road near my current home, and saw that some nice folks have put up a sweet picket fence.
The neighbors must be enjoying it.
I’ve always tried to be considerate of those who are less fortunate than myself.
People are born with different levels of ability, and then there are environmental advantages or disadvantages that affect how well we all understand and perform. And so ordinary activities of daily living can be a challenge for those not as blessed.
And sometimes I forget that, so I have decided to try harder to be more compassionate.
For example, as children, lots of us had a hard time differentiating between right and left. I remember the nuns were very keen that we made the sign of the cross with our right hands, and I used to have to surreptitiously pretend to write in the air, in order to confirm which one exactly was my right hand. This pencil-test was valuable for the Pledge of Allegiance as well. But I’ve realized that some poor souls still have left-right confusion. This results in the inability to recall what side of the car the damn gas tank is on.
And speaking of cars, many people have a lot of important shit on their minds when they drive. They need to concentrate so hard, they may become unaware of visual and audio cues. And that’s why it may take ten miles or so of highway for these overly-burdened folk to switch off their turn signals after changing lanes, despite the click-click-clicking noise or the flashing light on their dashboards.
We make cruel jokes about uncoordinated people being unable to walk and chew gum at the same time. But this is obviously a serious issue for some. We see the sorrowful evidence all the time. And yet there is no fundraising event for these afflicted humans to help them close their mouths when they walk.
Disorientation is a rampant tragedy. I believe someone should invent in-store GPS for the directionally-challenged shopper, who cannot seem to remember in what aisle they found the product that they have since decided they do not really want to buy.
Public bathrooms are a terrible source of confusion for many. It was a sad realization for me that so many women in my own office cannot flush a toilet. Some major part of their education was dismally neglected in their young formative years. I won’t add a photo here…(you’re welcome)… but I will illustrate the enormous bewilderment experienced by many as to what exactly to do with ladies’ room trash.
And finally, I grieve for the persons unable to comprehend spatial relationships. Especially when travelling, these folks are so overwhelmed by the mysterious phenomenon known as Flight that they become totally unaware of trivial things like the size of baggage. In particular, they are no longer aware that their bags are physically larger in length, width, and depth than the compartment intended to hold those bags.
Pray for these people, for as they walk down the narrow airplane aisle they tragically lose all conscious knowledge of the appendages of their body. including – as horrifyingly improbably as it may seem – their forty-pound backpack .
I have always considered my childhood to be an extraordinarily happy one.
I was wandering around Pinterest and I came upon this:
And, oh my, I realized that I had a very unhappy childhood. Because I wanted a canopy bed so much. I wanted a canopy bed a lot more than I wanted a baby brother.
But did I get a canopy bed?
My parents denied me my fondest, girliest desire. And not only that, as a second choice, I asked at least for white bedroom furniture. And did I get that?
I got bunk beds though. And as a consolation, I got the top bunk, so I could pretend I was the princess and the pea. But is that a canopy bed? No, it is not. Actually the lower bunk is closer to a canopy bed, but my brother was only three, so he was not allowed on the top. (and I was afraid he would pee on me anyway, if he slept up there.)
And a canopy bed is not the only thing denied to me by my very cruel parents.
I wanted a pony.
No. (Second floor apartment)
I wanted a kitten.
No. (To my mother, a kitten was even worse than a horse.)
I wanted ballet lessons.
No. (My mother absolutely refused to spring for the endless expense of costumes that are part of dancing lessons.)
Since I couldn’t have actual dance lessons, I asked for tap shoes.
No. (umm,,, Second floor apartment. It is totally unfair to use that reason twice.)
How about wearing my white patent leather first communion shoes all year round?
No. (Didn’t go with knee socks. Or snow.)
I wanted a Girl Scout uniform that dated sometime after 1947,
No. (Think of this one as ‘vintage’.)
I wanted long curly blond hair.
No. (Barbershop for skimpy-haired Nancy)
I wanted to go to boarding school.
No. (The tuition for Catholic school is plenty, thank you. My parents didn’t say – come to think of it – “We’d miss you.” Hmmm.)
And – almost as much as I wanted a canopy bed, I wanted this:
This is Chatty Cathy. You pulled a string at the back of her neck, and she talked. She TALKED. She said ELEVEN different things. Really original stuff, like “I love you!”
And did I get a Chatty Cathy?
My mother said, “Absolutely not. You can make your dolls say whatever you want. Use your imagination!”
And I’ve been inventing stories and making characters talk ever since.
On second thought,
Thank you, Mom!
This being Election Day, it seems an appropriate day to ask my readers this week for a HUGE favor: (besides voting… please vote!)
This week- (Nov 3 -8) – Goodreads is accepting nominations for its Choice Awards for 2014.
They allow write-in nominations, and the top FIVE vote-getters become official nominees. They combine votes with number of ratings in order to pick the top 5.
One category is:
BEST DEBUT GOODREADS AUTHOR OF 2014
A nomination in that category would mean so much to me, and could significantly boost the success of my novel.
So please, PLEASE, if you read my book and liked it:
1. Go to Goodreads.com and register if you are not already a member. Goodreads is a book review website owned by Amazon.
2. Give “Just What I Always Wanted” a nice rating. The reviews on Amazon have been amazing (thank you), but I could use some additional ratings on Goodreads in order to qualify.
Here’s the link for the Ratings. Goodreads Rating for “Just What I Always Wanted”
3. Then: Go to the this link for Best Debut Goodreads Author of 2014 and write-in:
“Just What I Always Wanted”
NOTE: You have to register with Goodreads in order to be able to write in a vote.. otherwise you get the 15 predetermined nominees, but not the space at the bottom for a write-in. But registering is EASY!!!
It’s a long, long, LONG shot – but Life itself is a long shot – so – why not???
Thank you !!!!
The Guilty Pleasures I recently confessed to are harmless enough… just a lapse of taste rather than judgment.
But we all do some things where our normal good conduct goes slightly awry.
And confession is good for the soul.
So let me confess to some slightly less than perfect behaviors:
Guilt Relief In Thirty Seconds:
We have cats. Cats puke. Sometimes when I walk into a room and see that one of our cats has thrown up, I turn around and give my husband time to find it instead.
My toaster oven does not cook very evenly. When I make toast, one slice is nicely toasted, but not the other. I usually give my husband the other.
When I buy something new, I don’t wear it right away. I put it in a drawer for a couple of weeks. When I finally do wear it, if my husband asks, “Is that new?” – I say “No, I’ve had this for a while.”
I like to write (in my head) during a long drive. When I get a good idea, and I need some alone-time to think it out, I watch for a new BMW, or Ford, or …well, any car, really, and I say to my husband, “What do you think about that model?” And while he goes on and on about cars, I have at least a good half-hour with my thoughts.
The above sins are not even original sins. I first blogged these imperfections three years ago. But I felt the need to purge myself again. And to fill up another post.
And finally, let me confess that I wasn’t even quite honest about my Guilty Pleasures. Yes I love cheap drugstore makeup. And I tend to go a little overboard. But I may have misled you on the quantity. Because I posted this photo of my makeup shelves:
But I feel bad now, because I was a little dishonest when I took this photo. I have a tad more makeup than this. So here’s the real photo.
All done, thank you. I feel better.
Time to give away 2 signed copies of “Just What I Always Wanted!”
Let’s make this giveaway in honor of Carlos, the story’s strange little dog. Comment with the name of your pet – real or imaginary – and at the end of the day, I will draw 2 names to win books!
PS -The Kindle promotion from a few week’s ago was a great success, so with a lot of hope and a tiny bit of trepidation, I’m asking for reviews on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Reviews are incredibly important to a book’s success!
Several years ago when I first joined Facebook (maybe the word ‘joined’ isn’t quite right – how about ‘was sucked into’?), I thought that I was supposed to post interesting ideas and clever, intriguing thoughts. I didn’t know that all you had to do was post a iPhone photo of your dinner.
But life is so much easier now that I know. Sometimes I even post an iPhone photo of myself eating dinner.
Yes, Facebook is a piece of cake. (or souffle in the above case.)
But I was looking back to my early, earnest days, and I found a list I had drawn up.
My Guilty Pleasures.
Everyone has them. Stuff you secretly love, but your impeccable good taste makes you ashamed to admit to.
Here’s my list (slightly updated where I have new embarrassing affections):
1. Movie: “French Kiss” – corny and implausible, but oh, the setting. And I love the terrible casting of Kevin Kline as a charming French thief. He certainly charmed me.
And let’s add some runners-up here too: “Pretty Woman” (because I believe in Cinderfuckinrella) and “Against All Odds” (because Jeff Bridges looked like this)
2. TV Show: Back then, I said “Dancing With The Stars.” But I’ve rather lost interest lately. Well, to be honest, it’s because we really don’t watch anymore; my husband is boycotting, since the firing of Brooke Burke, who he would marry in a split second, if he wasn’t already married to a spectacular person (but he’d think about it). So now, I would have to choose “Say Yes To The Dress.” Where else can you see a bride-to-be try on a skintight strapless sequined mermaid gown in blush pink that reveals her many tattoos, while her mother says, “You look so classy!”?
3. Book: Yes, I am now reading the Pulitzer Prize winning, “The Goldfinch,” but in all the past ten years, the book that I read without stopping for things like eating and sleeping was “The Da Vinci Code.” I admit it.
4. Food: Hot Dogs. Horrible food; horrible for you. Always loved them; always will.
5. Snack: Potato Chips. Not only do they go with hot dogs. They go with everything. But I don’t buy potato chips anymore. Because I can eat the jumbo sized bag all by myself. But my mother buys me chips, and I eat them at her house. She obviously loves me.
6. Money Waster: Drug store makeup. Sure, I have expensive makeup and imported face creams. My favorite lipstick cost $24 a pop at Sephora. But that doesn’t stop me from trying NYC lipstick off the rack at Walgreens for $2.99. Every week. My bathroom cabinet looks like this:
7. Time Waster. My original guilty pleasure was online Mah Jongg. But I’ve come so far. I’ve been through Candy Crush and Pet Rescue, and still managed to write a novel. How I don’t know. Well, actually I do know. I hadn’t yet discovered La Belle Lucie. Or Polyvore. Or Pinterest. Or Twitter.
8. Song: What makes me smile when it comes on the radio? “Sugar Sugar” by the Archies. It’s not even a real band, for God’s sake; it’s a cartoon, for crying out loud. and I love it.
I’m so ashamed.