The Paper Dress

I was one groovy chick, back in middle school. I was the first to wear bell-bottom jeans. I saw them in a fashion magazine and made my poor mother go on a hunt for a pair, a quest not unlike that of Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail. She finally snagged a pair and I proudly wore them to school. The reception was the same as if I had arrived bare-bottomed: no one understood bell-bottoms and the consensus was that I looked stupid. My vindication was slow to arrive, but it did. Within a few months, ALL the cool kids were sporting bell-bottoms. So there!

This was the time of macrame belts, tie-died tee shirts, go-go boots. Everyone had the soundtrack to Woodstock  and it was the rising reign of Aquarius, of the hippies. I embraced this look with all my heart. In fact, I was so experimental that several friends later confessed that they had thought I was from some weird foreign country, if not from a completely different planet. I did like my beads and my fringe.

My birthday was coming up and my mom and brother had a surprise in store for me. They had been secretly collecting Campbell’s soup can labels so that they could send away for something that they knew I would totally dig. It was a screen-print paper “pop art souper dress from Campbell’s” and looked like one big Andy Warhol painting of soup cans. Did you catch that? It was made of paper. It was the most far-out dress that I had ever seen. I loved it.

The first thing I did, of course, was to take a pair of scissors to it and chop it off into a micro mini dress. Was I wearing white go-go boots? If not, I certainly should have been. And then I sashayed off to the bus stop, where I made quite the impression with the boys. “paper???” “your dress is made from paper??” “like, I could tear it off you?” (ergh: had not thought about that frightening scenario).

Although I was too cool for school, I still got on the bus when it arrived. I sat down on the ancient buckled leather seats and heard a sound that made my heart stop. R-R-R-R-I-P!!! NO!! I had just ripped the dress the minute I sat down. The bus went crazy. As we pulled up to the school, the boys were hanging out the window screaming “we got a girl in a paper dress and it ripped!!!!!” Had it not been so humiliating, I would have reveled in the  reception I received as I stepped off the bus. I was famous! Everyone wanted to see this paper dress, especially the now air-conditioned back side where my underpants could be strategically viewed. Someone from the Administration ran up and wrapped me in a blanket and hustled me off to the Infirmary. The secretaries tried everything to save my dress: staples, scotch tape, packing tape. They did what they could to preserve my dignity and then sent me off to class. I doubt that I learned a single new fact that day, other than the obvious: paper rips. I was constantly applying more scotch tape to fresh rips all day long. That dress never saw a second wearing, and was probably tossed in the trash when I got home.

I just googled that dress and discovered that at one point it was selling as “rare Vintage pop art” (vintage??? ow, that hurts) and someone actually paid nearly $7,000 for it. Wow. I could have been a bazillionaire if I had only left the dress safely in its plastic bag. But, where’s the fun in that?

Don’t give me a dirty look b/c your dog is a jerk


We own a very sweet-tempered dog. She is a mix of Australian Shepard/ Catahoula Leopard hound, which is fancy talk for “very pretty dog with interesting markings.” When I walk her, she is non aggressive and totally ignores other dogs. She likes people better, because they pet her and make a fuss over her. Her name is Cali.

I don’t know what it is about Cali, but her mere presence is enough to drive some dogs insane with rage. The owners always assure me that their dog is gentle, but one sniff of my dog and the other dog just becomes completely deranged and screams (not an actual scream, but it is something beyond normal barking) and totally transforms into a monster. Now here is the interesting part. Instead of apologizing for their little Woofy trying to kill my dog, they give us a dirty look! It becomes MY dog’s fault that they cannot control their beast. We have watched as a team of yip-yappers totally roped their owner’s legs in a tangle of leashes; another dog pulled so violently on its leash that it knocked over their little girl who began to cry; and another dog turned Jekyll & Hyde within milliseconds, baring its fangs as it jumped poor, oblivious Cali. But do these dog owners apologize? No! They give me the stink eye and mutter something about my dog. Yes, my dog … the one that is busy sniffing at a pile of leaves and completely ignoring their dog and its tantrum.

Stop it. Stop it right now, I say. Acknowledge that your dog is being a complete jerk for no apparent reason. And then, go enroll in Dog Training School.


Criticize yourself!

I was out walking the dog, one beautiful sunny day. I began to form a great big smile as the cutest sight approached me. It was a father and son, on a bicycle ride. The dad was on his great big racing bike with all of its fancy gears; the little boy was on his tiny two wheeler that may or may not have sported training wheels. The father was criticizing his young son. “Come on, T.J. You have to stay with me or you will get lost. Let’s move it.” Continue reading

Clean Up in Kindergarten

The event that would soon make my name as a substitute teacher synonymous with “Clean Up in Mrs. G’s Room” was percolating, just waiting to happen. I was subbing for a fabulous Kindergarten teacher. I knew that I would have a great day when it began in her room. It was guaranteed success.

The children and I had been enjoying a morning of cutting, pasting, singing, and snacks. Then, Diego stood up, looking a little green around the gills, and whispered, “I feel wobbly inside.” I made a mad dash for a garbage can to catch the “wobbly”, but he couldn’t wait. He showered the floor with puke. I froze. And in that instant, the entire classroom ran to his side to see why he was crying and to inspect the mess he had made. Before I could shoo the children back to their seats, the moment of ignominy occurred. First, Darcy squealed, “Ewww!! I hate the smell of puke! It makes me –” . Yes, Darcy, we now know what it makes you do. Darcy’s puke quickly co-mingled with that of Diego. I was trying to use the intercom to call for a janitor, but two more little inspectors erphed into what was morphing from a small pool to a large pond of puke.

There was only one thing to do, and I did not care that it wasn’t our turn because I was willing to face the consequences. We needed to hit the playground asap, before anyone else had the chance to be sick. Mr. Bradford, the janitor, showed up with his mop and bucket, expecting to have a small mess to clean up. When he saw the disaster that I was leaving him to face, the look he gave me could have vaporized me, had I not rushed out the door, shouting “Thank you!!” over my shoulder. He never liked me after that day.


Dining al Fresco w/ a lizard


Today, I am home. It is a sunny Saturday, and just as I am about to begin mindlessly shoveling spinach-kale salad into my mouth like a hungry hungry hippo going after marbles*, I stop myself. With great exaggerated purpose, I push back from the kitchen table and march myself and salad out to our patio table that overlooks a pond. I sit, smiling in contentment, while marveling at the exotic birds that my family can’t readily enjoy in St. Louis or Portland, unless they were to visit the zoo.

I soon notice that I have company. One of the battalions of small lizards that populate the area is watching me eat. Perhaps it was a “large headed anole”, but that would be confirmed only after googling. He might very well have been a relative of, or an actual, Rescue Lizard. It is my self-assigned duty to pounce on the baby lizards and miniscule frog infants that loved to follow us into our nice, cool home. I crawl around, cupping my hands to capture them, only to have them frantically trying to flee. How they tickle my palms!  The operation is a success if I manage to trap the little guy and set him/her/it safely back outside on a broad leaf. It is a sad day, however, if they are faster and run behind a bookcase. They are now doomed.

So, there I sat with my new acquaintance and shared a Moment. Each of us was enjoying the gentle breeze as we basked in the sun. I marveled at the creature’s ability to remain so immobile. Little majestic lizard posing for its portrait. That sort of composure is unimaginable to me, even during yoga, when I am one big squirm that cannot be contained no matter how many ohms are sounded out. Yet, this tiny creature stays frozen in position like an accomplished Yogi.

Lunch is over. I gather up my bowl to return to the coolness of my condo. But then I turn back, wanting to leave a tiny piece of lettuce for my new BFF. That was when I realized what sparked his motivation to remain so calm and still.

He was dead.

How rude.

And suddenly it was all too clear; the parallels to our country. Our entire world! You think you’re having a discussion, but the other side isn’t listening. Or alive, for that matter.


*FYI = Hungry Hungry Hippos is a children’s game.


today i am channeling e.e.cummings’ disdain of capital letters and simultaneously participating in wordpress’s daily word challenge: use the word “simple” for inspiration. here we go. warning: gross exaggerations and complete fabrications to follow.

oftentimes, i simply forget my place in life. i think that it is my duty to inform the grocery shopper in front of me how to determine if they belong in this line, “it’s quite simple: simply count your items and if they exceed 10 (why, look: you have 27 items) then you move your cart out of the express lane and over to another lane. you see how simple that is?” other times, it would be more simple to ignore their selfish act … or, in my deepest dreams, i throttle the idiot and stuff their body into their shopping cart and complain, “look! this is simply unacceptable: they have 28 items! someone call the manager.”

or perhaps i am trying to pay attention to my husband’s explanation of a tax law; it simply cannot be done. my brain puts up a force-field and if new information cannot be whittled down to its most basic, simple component, then i am hard-wired to fall asleep.

my needs are simple: chocolate, cuddles, and something to write with/about/for, and to hell with dangling participles. yes, it is that simple.



It’s NOT the end of the world as we know it

Rudeness is rampant! Fear is on every street corner like those bums who try to hit you up for spare change. Democrats boycotted the Inauguration, which, come to think of it, seems only fair since Republicans boycotted respect [R-E-S-P-E-C-T] for former President Obama during most of his State of the Nation speeches. Those rude boys just sat on their big fat rumps and refused to stand during ovations. They didn’t have to applaud: but they did need to stand up in respect for the office.

Trump snubbed Hillary on his walk to the podium … didn’t even acknowledge her! no handshake, no nothing. That is the definition of “rude”. You can check Webster’s.

Our citizens are rioting in the streets. Stop it right now. The election is over. We now have a new president. This is not some third world nation where coups are a matter of fact after every election. We have class. America is already Great. Everybody, please calm  the **** down and go grab a cold brew. It’s the WEEKEND, for goodness sakes. Save it for Monday, when everyone is already cranky.