We've never been to Anguilla. Up until a week ago, I'd never even heard of it. John had though. A good friend (with whom he also used to work) used to vacation there. And apparently, this friend still has strong connections with one of the leading developers on the island. So, not only did John apply for a position blindly through a website, but his friend also contacted the developer to put in a good word for him. Right now, that's about the strongest thing we have going.
I would roll my eyes and sigh, but you have to admit, there is one heckuva "Wow"-factor there!
John's interview went very well. They have a couple more hoops for him to jump through before they're prepared to make an offer. And John needs to consider what it will take to make Richmond our home. There's not a single piece in this whole puzzle with a "Wow!"-factor, but that in itself might be the key to longevity this time. Who knows? (Do you know? If you know, please tell me!)
Meanwhile... ever heard of the island of Anguilla?
John has an interview today, so we had to go out and buy him a new suit last night. It appears that leaving a suit hanging in the closet for a month or two causes it to shrink. Who knew?
At one of our local department stores, as we were perusing through the racks of suit coats that were all too small, John came to a personally disturbing realization. (Just for the record, I came to this realization much earlier in the process, and let's just say that my suggestion for solution was not well received.) In a last-ditch effort to avoid reality, John found a gentleman working in the department. "Do you have any bigger sizes?"
"No, sir. Everything we have is right here in this section," the young man replied. Checkmate for reality.
John stared at the racks of seemingly elfin clothes, heaved a sigh of resignation, and in a haunting voice asked, "Is there a big & tall men's shop around here?"
"I don't know," the kid turned and pointed, "But, we do have some tall selections along the wall."
Even John had to laugh as he admitted, "Dude, look at me. My problem is not that I'm too tall."
A few years ago, through a series of disturbing events involving a very bad haircut, an even worse dye job, and a certain unscrupulous hairstylist claiming he was gay, I ended up the tearful owner of a couple of salon-quality products. One is Hemp Seed Shampoo. The other is it's mate - Hemp Seed Restorative Conditioner. Both are made by a company called Alterna. And both were immediately shoved to the back of the bathroom closet where they were forgotten much more quickly than the aforementioned hair massacre.
Recently, I ran out of my favorite salon shampoo and conditioner. Now, I will be the first to admit that the products I choose to use are relatively expensive. However, no matter what the well-meaning people at Suave say, there is absolutely no comparison between the hair products I endorse and the crap they produce and bottle. Therefore, I was facing a bit of a dilemma: Do I splurge a little and purchase the shampoo and conditioner that I know will leave my hair silky and shiny? Or do I practice what I preach (to John), and suck it up with inferior products that *probably* will not kill me?
So, I'm in the salon... just kidding.
In the midst of making my decision, I went to the bathroom closet to refill the soap dispenser in our bathroom. And what should I find behind the ginormous bottle of soap refill? A very dusty pair of bottles containing salon-quality shampoo and conditioner! Yay!
That is how I came to be using hemp seed products on my hair. And for those of you thinking you just found the magic ticket, and you might enjoy smoking some shampoo, or adding some conditioner to your next batch of brownies... think again. It says right on the bottle:
In light of my last post, coupled with the fact that I do not currently have dental coverage, I decided I should probably start taking better care of my teeth. I now do stuff like floss - every day! And I found the coolest toothpaste: Colgate Luminous Enamel Strengthening in Paradise Fresh. I chose this particular paste for a number of reasons:
1. Colgate is a trusted name in toothpaste. I believe it is recommended by 4 out of 5 dentists.
2. No other toothpaste in my line of vision claimed to strengthen my enamel.
3. It had a picture of a diamond on the box, and diamonds are a girls best friend.
4. The box is purple and shiny. I may have actually made up the other three reasons.
The flavor is the main reason I will continue to purchase this particular toothpaste (at least, that is, until they quit selling it because, like everything else I think is fabulous, nobody else will buy it). It is called Paradise Fresh, but I felt like I recognized it as something else. It took me a couple of uses to pinpoint it: Grape!
In a conversation with my little brother Karl recently, he complained that he needs to see his dentist to have a cavity filled. As per our usual schtick, I made a sarcastic comment alluding to the whining men do when encountering even minor pain. And then he revealed to me something quite startling: this was my brother's first dental cavity. He's thirty-freakin'-one years old!
This news kinda bums me out. Here's why: Without getting into a scientific explanation of genetics, I think I can plainly say that we inherit a number of traits from our parents. And they inherited a number of traits from their parents. So it is safe to assume that many of my personal characteristics were seen before in one of my grandmothers. I had two - Grandma Alice and Grandma Esther.
Grandma Esther was very smart, and had a love of words and puzzles. I'm going to flatter myself here, and tell you that I inherited these traits from her. She was also quite well off in the chestal (I would not recommend trying to use that word in a Scrabble game) region, and y'all who have met me can attest to the fact that, physically speaking, I should fall over forward.
Grandma Alice, on the other hand, was a slight thing, with a peaches and cream complexion. Whereas, I'm pretty sure I saw my dermatologist driving a Ferrari the other day. For some strange reason, she never had hair on her legs. I however, have to block out time nearly every day to deforest my soccer calves. And, when she died at age 95, she still had her own teeth. Up until my brother's recent dental revelation, I thought I might have managed to pluck that winner from the family tree.
But alas, it seems that the only thing my Grandma Alice passed to me was my nose. A nose which Karl once (unflatteringly) characterized as "Roman".
I first met Debbie when I started working at my former place of employment. I happened to be hired as her daughter's boss. Deb also worked there, and within a month of my being hired, she and I were sent to a two-day convention a couple of hours away. She was a little nervous driving in the city, so I offered to drive. Being a non-smoker, I requested a non-smoking car, and told her that I would be happy to stop if she needed to smoke. I also told the company President that I would be willing to share a room with Debbie, but I would not stay in a smoking room. She ended up having to pay for her own room. About a month ago, Deb confessed to me that her attitude when we left that day was something to the effect of: "Who the Hell does that little bitch think she is telling everybody what they're going to do?"
But, when you put two Chatty-Cathys in a car together for two hours, bonding is bound to occur. And for us it certainly did. Debbie shared her life with me. There were many stories of ups and downs with her wonderful husband, two beautiful daughters, and one grandson (at that time). And I opened up my world to her as well. I think her favorite statement of mine was in response to her asking if John and I wanted children. "No," I told her, "Neither of us wants kids. We have enough animals to take care of already." She reminded me of that comment every time she saw JJ. Then she'd tilt her head and smile, and tell me how precious he is, and that I make a good mom.
I've been known to call Debbie my mom-away-from-home. She was always there for me if I had a problem or needed advice. And I was glad I could be there for her, too, when the smoking caught up with her, and she was diagnosed with lung cancer. The original diagnosis was grim, but she was a strong fighter. And with her victory over the deadly disease, she gained two additional sources of strength.
The first was all of her friends and family who quit smoking to support her. She told me recently that she truly felt that the Hell she went through with the cancer and chemotherapy was worth it if she could help save the ones she loved from the agony of the same fate. And those who continue to be smoke-free will, in turn, carry her memory in that action.
Debbie's second source of strength was God. She learned that she had nothing to fear if she put her life in God's hands. And in that two years that she remained cancer-free, she spread the word of her miracle to anyone who would listen. When the cancer returned, she told me that God wasn't failing her. He just had another plan. And she would trust Him to take care of her.
I think He did. She was not sick for very long this time, and wasn't in a lot of pain. Her family had enough time to prepare themselves, and find peace in her passing. And near the end, she had just enough strength to convey her wishes to her loved ones: After the memorial service, there is to be a giant party. Rather than mourning her death, Debbie wanted us to celebrate her life.
God saw she was getting tired and a cure was not to be. So He put His arms around her and whispered, ‘My Child, Come Home with Me.’ With tear-filled eyes we watched her slowly fade away. Although we loved her deeply, we could not make her stay. A Golden Heart stopped beating, hard-working hands now rest. God broke our hearts and proved to us, He only takes the best.
I was in K-Mart a while back, and I heard this song coming through the intercom system:
Jessie is a friend, yeah, I know he's been a good friend of mine But lately something's changed that ain't hard to define Jessie's got himself a girl and I want to make her mine And she's watching him with those eyes And she's lovin' him with that body, I just know it Yeah 'n' he's holding her in his arms late, late at night...
Only it wasn't Rick Springfield.
And there was no music.
And I'm pretty sure that guy isn't allowed in K-Mart any more. (They didn't even let him finish!)
Sometimes I worry that I will forget some of the crazy things my son does. I was reminded of one this morning, as I found myself standing at the bottom of a flight of stairs with a basket of laundry in my hands, and JJ at my feet.
My first inclination was to wonder if I could get the load of laundry to the next floor and return before JJ began his inevitable unassisted ascent. That little voice in my head did it's job however, and reminded me that JJ has a tendency to get a little distracted on the stairs, which usually ends in him trying to sit where there is no floor. And I would be very upset if my little dude fell down and broke his proverbial crown.
My second option would have been to put the laundry basket down, take JJ upstairs, put him safely in his crib, and return for the laundry. And I am waaaaay to lazy for all of that work!
So I went with option number three: Lay JJ on top of the clothes in the laundry basket (they were clean!), and take them up together. And that's when I was revisited by a character JJ used to assume all the time. John and I nicknamed him: Baby of Stone.
His act requires him to lay stiff as a board, expressionless, moving only his abnormally huge eyes. It seems to be some sort of defense mechanism for JJ whenever he is uncertain in a situation. He used to perform Baby of Stone whenever I would take him into my former place of employment. I always chalked it up to nervousness from being held by so many adoring women.
The only thing I can liken Baby of Stone to is a possum playing dead. Or maybe one of those fainting goats. By the way, I researched those fainting goats in order to give you a point of reference. I found the IFGA. That would be the International Fainting Goat Association, of course.
First, I want to throw an industrial-sized thanks to the folks at Lipstick to Crayons for recognizing my awesome skill at leaving a comment on their blog, and rewarding me with a toy for the cutest kid on the planet. For those of you who have to ask which kid that might be, go away now, and don't bother coming back.
Scratch that. It's probably not in my best interest to alienate what few readers I have at this point, huh? Okay, stick around. But know, for future reference, that JJ is the cutest kid on the planet. As his mother, I KNOW these things.
Now, I would like to thank all of you who, probably despite your better judgement, chose to encourage my rambling by leaving me a nice comment - or in some cases, a comment. I can now say, without question, that I have fives of readers hanging on my every word, or at least, reading what I write. And that's a conservative estimate. It may actually be tens - as I have noticed that NONE of my family has left a comment.
Gee, you move 1500 miles away, and suddenly you're forgotten. Instead, your parents adopt your best friend from across the street as their new daughter. And she doesn't leave a comment either!
Hey, I'm just kinda wondering who's reading this little cyber-ramble. Drop me a comment to let me know you're out there! C'mon, give me a little self-esteem boost. I'd like to say that there will be prizes involved, but... there won't be.
FYI - you do not need to create an account to leave a comment. There is a fabulous little button on there named Anonymous - or, I think you can use Nickname. Just be sure to tell me who you are (or at least give me a clue) in the actual comment. ;)
It is now 2008. And with this new year brings the opportunity to, once again, begin the attempt to be something different than we were at the end of the old year. Like a size 6. Or employed. Or a non-smoker (you know who you are ;).
Good luck in your endeavors to create your own change. And I wish you great success in making the changes that will benefit you most. I also wish you success in realizing that failure to change some things isn't necessarily bad.