Two Nouns Walk Into A Bar

On a Saturday evening in mid-June at a Burgatory in a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA the most remarkable fortune ever was astonishingly bestowed on me.

Now, maybe, at the time, I thought this was so magical, because it came after a Morty’s Steakhouse burger, a margarita and an Eclair Don’t Care hard shake, which was waaay sweet and I would probably not order again.  Full disclosure:  I have had more margaritas than meat in the past few years, so perhaps I was meat drunk.

Or not.  Because I still think this was a way cool fortune sans margarita or meat.

An explanation should not be necessary as to why this fortune was so remarkable, astonishing or magical, but just in case you missed it– because I get to fill in my own blanks.  Now, spare me the “we make our own destiny” crap.  Please, let’s not get into a self-direction/freedom discussion.  This was magic.  This was power.  I was the tyrant, the dictator, the ruler of…myself.

I know God gave us free will.  I know Karma may accumulate and things will happen.  I know the Magna Carta allowed freemen to have peaceful and free “privileges.”  And I know the U.S. Constitution allows us to pursue happiness and free speech.  Yet this “fill in the blanks” fortune has some sort of mystical power given by an unseen, omnipotent oracle none of us Earth-bound mortals will ever understand.

Just so you know where I’m coming from.

But, holy crap, what about those blanks?  I needed a verb, an adjective and two nouns.  Two!  Four blanks– all mine.  Who knew owning emptiness was so wonderful.  I was fully embracing these blanks, gaps and voids in my future.

You will find a warm spirit under your smile.

You will build a strong love under your soul.

You will foster a kind heart under your love.

You will create a steady loyalty under your direction.

You will remember a sweet memory under your heart.

You will work an amazing miracle under your conduct.

You will keep a hidden secret under your gaze.

But the winner is:

You will witness a kinder world under your attitude.

It is all in your (my) attitude.

Be kind/get kind back.  And if I do not get kind back, be kind some more anyway.

Be tolerant/get tolerant back.  And if I do not get tolerance back, be tolerant some more anyway.

Smile/get a smile back.  And if I do not get a smile back, smile some more anyway.

A kind, positive attitude can be hard.  It can be scary.  It can be emotionally draining.  But then one day you may go to Burgatory and realize you get to write your own fortune–

how do you want that to be?

Blonde Factor

No, this is not the start of some dumb blonde joke.

Or maybe it is– a sort of genetic joke at my expense.

And I do mean expense.  $1380 to be exact.  Placed on a Master Card that may never be paid off, so the true life cost could possibly be…I don’t wanna know.  For an eye exam and 2 pair of glasses both of which have Crizel brand coating and polarization and no line bifocals.  AND probably some other stuff I let the guy talk me into that I don’t remember now.

This extortionist, I mean eye doctor, told me I have “Blonde Factor.”  Which I already knew, although the other doctor called it “Albino Eyes.”   Basically there is no color in my retina, which is in the back of the eye to receive light.  No color in the retina can cause light sensitivity, also called photophobia.

People with light color eyes may experience more light sensitivity than people with darker colored eyes, because they, the dark colored eyes, have more pigment to protect against harsh light.

MAY experience light sensitivity?!  Please.  Since childhood I have squinted so hard on a sunny day my cheeks ache.  It’s like I am standing next to a Super Nova– and that is with sunglasses on.

People with “Blonde Factor” may also experience:

  • strabismus– “lazy” eye       (yep)
  • photophobia–  light sensitivity       (yep)
  • impaired vision–  myopia or hyperopia      (yep)
  • astigmatism– either the cornea is irregularly shaped or the curvature of the lens is not right.          (yep)

Yep, that is where the aforementioned genetic joke comes in.

Oh well.  I can see–  really, really well in my really, really expensive glasses that I will be wearing for a really, really long time–  at least until the Master Card is paid off.


Gremlins and Guarantees

I have decided that gremlins, fairies or trolls (maybe all three) come to the house and drink the ink from our printers.  In my mind I imagine these little crazies frolicking from house to house here in our sleepy little subdivision, in some kind of drunken orgy, slurping up everyone’s printer ink.

What good are the cat and dog if they can’t catch these little demons?!

And speaking of the cat and dog– with just me here for weeks at a time– they are enough to make Gandhi, Jesus or Mother Theresa (maybe all three) turn into deranged sociopaths.


Imagine a slim, fair skinned fifty-something woman on a treadmill at a gym trying desperately to will her legs to run under a 10 min. mile while on the four televisions, so vigilant, perched on the wall in front of the cadre of treadmills and ellipticals plays the following:  We should “discover” Ghiradelli chocolate squares while “choosing our flavor” of Lay’s potato chips.  When we are finished snacking, Alex Trebek would like us to call about life insurance with a “rate lock” that is “guaranteed.” Somewhere during all this was an ad about losing weight fast that is also “guaranteed.”  Oh, and Fox News was waiting for a speech by Hillary Clinton which promised to “slam Donald Trump.”  (Well, at least that one is guaranteed).

Not really certain if there is something even vaguely profound in this.  If there is, it eludes me.



Lifting Up Someone Who Serves: Writing a letter to someone in the military

At the age of 20, after 2 years of community college, my daughter enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.

The Few.  The Proud.

Semper Fi.

And they mean it.

“Sometimes your letters are the only fuel to my fire.”

This was the last sentence of a letter written about a month into Boot Camp.

Since the American Revolution letters have documented the horrors and triumphs of war, as well as the tenuous bonds that tie humanity together.  All this always mixed together with an intense longing for normalcy.

A hand written letter can be a gift, a motivator, a cheerleader, an inspiration that is tangible proof somebody out there is rooting for you.

The slant of your words and the pressure of your writing on the paper, how you cross your t’s, how much (or how little) punctuation you use are all intangibles that show your personality and state of mind.

So.  Sit down and write.

Do not be afraid of that empty piece of paper.

I am often intimidated by the muscular guys lifting weights at the gym…sometimes so much that I do not complete my workout.

Do not let that paper intimidate you.

  1.  Always put the date, as this allows the recipient a point of reference.  Occasionally I also put the time of day.
  2. Salutations:  I don’t bother.  Why should “Dear Anne Marie” be necessary? She already knows who she is, and if she doesn’t know she is “dear” to me by now, then I have not done my job.
  3. The Body:  Write about anything.  The weather, your dog, a class you take, a joke you heard, what you cooked, what you didn’t cook, how you feel, how your fish feels.  It does not matter the topic.  The point is to give the serviceman/woman a snapshot of your life, of some kind of normalcy they are not experiencing right now. The following was part of the body of a letter I wrote my daughter after her request I send her “Gorilla Glue” for hair.  This paragraph is not deep or important, but I am having (what would be for us) a fairly unremarkable conversation with my daughter.  The paragraph will be important to her:  normalcy.

“I asked the girls at Ulta about “Gorilla Glue” hair gel.  They had not heard of it– though we had all heard of Gorilla Glue super glue– which I certainly do not recommend for hair. But since it never would come out, I guess that negates any “hassle” with styling.  For basically the rest of your life…  (heehee)”

4.  Closing.  It is best to end with something inspiring/motivating/encouraging.  We may not have enlisted in any branch of the military, but we still should task ourselves with lifting up those that have.

Be well.  Be fine.  Be strong.

Be diligent.  Be tireless.  Be studious.

Be patient.  Be tolerant.  Be capable.

Be your best.

This was the close of a letter mailed today.

5.  Lastly, keep the letter to 1-2 pages, as servicemen/women do not have a ton of time.  They just need fuel for their fire.

With Warm Regards, D.