Monday, September 26, 2011

Self Portraits at the Tax Office

I was number 48.
They were only on 21 at the Tax Assessor's Office.
They made us sit in pews like we were at a church meeting.
All facing the front like we were being watched.
And we couldn't talk on our cell phones.
Not at all.
So I did the next best thing.
The guy who was sittting next to me slid down to the other end of the pew,
after I took these self portraits.
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Don't make me go all "Terms of Endearment" on you.

My Dad had back surgery this morning.
As the nurses and doctors were bustling around preparing him for surgery...
What was I doing?
Taking pictures of course!
I mean why else would I be there?
Actually I can come in handy sometimes for other things as well.
Last night I lay in bed anticipating the 6:00 alarm and staring at the ceiling when my thoughts turned to another surgery my father had about 15 years ago.
He had prostate cancer and decided that the best treatment would surgery. I went with them so that I could sit in the waiting room with my mom who happens to hold the title of "Greatest Worrier in the World".
She has perfected the art of worrying and should teach college level classes at the local university.
There was 5 or 6 other families that were all there waiting for their family members to have the same procedure. We were all told that the nurse would come out when the procedure was begun and then midway through to give us a progress report and then towards the end when they were almost finished. Then the doctor would come out and talk to us about the surgery.
We sat anxiously waiting for the first report as did the other families in the room.
The first report trickled out to each family one by one and we all felt a little relief.
The second report came a couple of hours later like dominoes falling and as each family heard the news they would smile and look a little more comfortable.
That is except Mom and I.
We didn't get out second report.
We waited and waited and waited.
Every time a nurse would come in, we would be hopeful that she was looking for us, only to watch her pass on by.
As the nurses came to the other families to give a final report we were getting downright scared.
Finally a nurse comes up to us and says, "Would you follow me?"
She leads us into a small room that looks like has been set up to resemble someones living room. A tacky one at that.
My eyes scan the room and fall on the box of kleenex and a bible.
This can't be good.
I don't want to say what I am thinking of course because I am there to be the support person.
I am the designated "everything's going to be fine" person.
I try my best to reassure my mother who is at this point looking as frightened as I have ever witnessed.
Both of us are trying to figure out what will come next.
I reassure her again that I am sure that it will be fine.
But I don't know that.
5 minutes pass.
It seems like hours.
I keep saying the same thing over and over to my mother's concerns that my father has passed away.
"We don't know that! Everything will be okay."
Ten minutes pass.
My words are hollow and I have nothing left new to say.
Everytime I look at my mother's face I feel pain and that makes me
After the longest 15 minutes I have ever waited through I decide my mother has suffered enough.
I don't know if you have seen the movie, "Terms of Endearment"

But in a nutshell, Shirley Maclaines daughter is dying of cancer and is in a lot of pain.
When it comes to the time she should have another pain pill the nurses are not responding.
In one of my favorite scenes ever, she goes to the nurses station, pounds her fists on the counter and screams for them to get her daughter a pain pill.
It is all that she can do for this person she loves so much.
Take away her pain.
Well I quickly surveyed our "family room" and saw a door marked,
"Medical personnel only"
I got up and opened the door and came face to face with the big metal swinging door marked Surgery.
At this point there was no stopping me.
I pushed them open as hard as I could
And faced a counter of surprised nurses faces.
Before they could even speak I said something to this effect.
"My sweet mother has been sitting in this horrible room thinking that her husband is dead for over 15 minutes now and I don't care what it takes but somebody is going to go and give her information NOW!"
(I can't remember if I pounded my fists or not but I hope so)
The poor nurses were stunned and it took a moment for it to sink in.
"What's your Dad's name?"
John Lauck.
"Oh he is fine and in recovery. His doctor should have been already. He likes to talk to the family privately instead of in the waiting room."
Well la-ti-da!
Couldn't someone have told us that to begin with?
One of the best pieces of information I have ever been able to deliver was to my sweet mother that everything was fine, better than was great!
This morning the nurse told us before my dad went in that this doctor will take us into a private room to discuss the surgery.
It's a good thing they told me.
I don't think they want me to go all "Shirley Maclaine" on them.
Nobody wants to see that again.

Monday, September 19, 2011

My Dilemma

Well I told you I have a dilemma with my new job...right?
Here it is in a nutshell.....
I am sure you are scratching your head and wondering if I belong in a nutshell.
I have spent the past 25 years either listening to Disney soundtracks or giving up control of my car radio to the frantic fingers of my teenagers whose attention spans rarely ever let me hear what I wanted to listen to.
But no more.
I am in my car, well Bill's car, alone with nothing but the real estate signs rattling in the back.
So I turn on the radio.
My music of choice?
Er...well...mmm....okay okay.
I ADMIT IT! I like the current music and I like rap!
And by that I don't mean that I like to appear really cool in front of my kids or their friends by cranking up todays current hits and dancing in a style that they think was invented at the age of dinosaurs.
I mean I "secretly" like it and would rather not anyone know it.
After all I am a mature woman and proud of that fact.
But I am a product of the 70's and the disco beat still runs through my veins....
I wasn't born an old lady you know.
I once "got down" to the likes of the Earth Wind and Fire, the Commodores, Brick and the very infancy of rap music.
And even though the kids of today wouldn't admit it the beat is really still the same.
My problem is that since I have so much time to drive and think.....
I also have time to pay attention to the lyrics.
I mean...I knew some of them were not that great but I started to see a horrible pattern developing. A message woven like an ugly tapestry through the pounding of the mesmerizing beats.
Women are only used for one thing.
Guys should really just push that agenda until they get what they want.
The messages though repugnant to ME don't change my views but strengthen my desire to eradicate them.
I remember the first time I actually listened to the lyrics of "Tonight" by Enrique Iglesias.

I know you want me
I made it obvious that I want you too
So put it on me
Let's remove the space between me and you
Now rock your body
D#$@ I like the way that you move
So give it to me
Cause I already know what you wanna do

Here's the situation
Been to every nation
Nobody’s ever made me feel the way that you do
You know my motivation
Give in my reputation
Please excuse I don't mean to be rude

But tonight I'm loving you
Oh you know
That tonight I'm loving you
Oh you know
That tonight I'm loving you

I couldn't believe that given his "reputation" and knowing his "motivation" that ANY woman would want him. He does say "excuse me and I don't mean to be rude" and all but seriously!!
Enrique!....I don't care if you were the last man on earth and I was twenty years younger and the worlds fate depended on us procreating would I EVER let you come within 10 feet of my you international twerp!
It goes on to say a bunch of more offensive things which I guess are supposed to make a girl swoon.
Is this really how young girls expect to be wooed?
(I know using the word wooed here is a dead give away that I rode a dinosaur to school but it is a perfectly good word and by the sounds of our society needs to be not only brought back but defined!)
Ne-Yo's current song takes it even a step farther with the lyrics...

excuse me
but i might drink a little bit more than i should tonight
and i might take you home with me if i could tonight
and i think you should let me cause i look good tonight
and we might not get tomorrow

grab somebody sexy tell ‘em hey
give me everything tonight
give me everything tonight
give me everything tonight
give me everything tonight

Should I count myself lucky that you started with the word "excuse me" and were honest about the fact that you are drunk and did you REALLY just say that there might not be tomorrow?
Wow someone else used that line in a really popular book.
It's called the BIBLE and his name was Satan.
So thanks but no thanks....(see I have manners too)

And Maroon 5's new one...Moves like Jagger

I don't need try to control you
Look into my eyes and I'll own you

With them the moves like jagger.

It would take a little more than you prancing around like creepy Mick Jagger to control me and you would NEVER even have a shot in you know where to own me.
Now I don't like to get on a soapbox about things like this and  I am past the point where I could be influenced by this pap, but, I still feel guilty.
I teach a Sunday school class of 12 and 13 year old young men and young women that might not exactly know who they really are yet and lyrics like these could really mess somebody up.
I don't want to become a crusader for better music since that rarely ever works.
I still remember a stake fireside when I was a youth were they tried to explain the impact that music was having on our teen age minds.
When they brought up the lyrics to "Momma's got a squeeze box", and said that there was a "double meaning" to it, we actually could not contain our laughter.
Laughed out loud there sitting on the church pews.
We thought that they were just so not with it and we were so impervious to any effects from music.
Now the lyrics to songs are not even encoded with secret messages about sexuality.
They just come out and boldly demand it.
(Well they do say excuse me and I don't mean to be rude)

And so I worry about the young people who are constantly barraged with these messages.
And I wonder what more I can do......
And I wonder if that means I have to stop listening to it too.
P.S. Excuse me Rihanna!! I don't mean to be rude but you are nasty.

Friday, September 16, 2011

New House...New Job....New Me!

So hard to know where to begin after my blogging absence.
There have been so many changes that have happened.
Should I start with the one that I get the most questions about? chunkier highlights?
I'll save that for another day.
Let's talk about my new J O B!
Yes a JOB!
(Not that the last 25 years of raising children, running the house, chauffeuring, volunteer work, church callings, and assorted miscellaneous duties have been all fun and games)
But someone is going to finally compensate me with cash dollars for my time.
p.s. the photography doesn't count until I make enough money to cover the cost of my equipment and therefore make it from the minus to the plus column.
It kinda just fell into my lap.
I was talking to my real estate agent Bill Moore about our house that we are trying to sell
(Did I tell you I have a NEW house.....different post than today though)
He asked me if I knew any young people that could use a part time job as a runner,
I didn't.
But I jokingly said that if he didn't sell my house quickly then I would certainly need him to hire me.
We both chuckled.
And that was the extent of the conversation.
That night as I was thinking about the day, it struck me like in the cartoons where the mouse hits the cat with a frying pan....
I could be a runner!!!
(Now to all those who know me and are snickering at the thought of my job title having the word "runner" in it, I want you to know two things...First I am a new woman regarding exercise....another post for another day AND Bill has upgraded my title to "Courier" in deference to advanced years of maturity)
So I emailed Bill and asked for the job.
It's actually perfect for me right now.
It is very flexible.
I get to take pictures of houses. Love that of course.
And the one part I thought I wouldn't like.....
the driving
is actually turning out to be one of my favorite parts!
Who'd have thunk it!

I get to drive a Scion with Bill's face on it which can sometimes attract some stares.
I get to use my new muscles placing and removing heavy signs from our Houston drought parched soil.
I get to see different parts of the city.
Today I saw a HUMONGOUS cross I never knew existed.
I get to listen to music on the radio.
I never know what my assignment will be or what danger lies ahead.
Kinda like a real estate James Bond.
 This was a fun sign to retrieve.
All in all it has been a really great fit for me.
I only have one dilemma...
And it has to do with the music......
And that my friends will be my next post.
I'm going to need your help on this one.
(Someone asked me if it was embarrassing to drive a  car with advertising and I said, "Heck no! It could always be worse.)
P.S. If you are looking to sell or buy a house and want a great real estate agent call Bill Moore
        Need the number?
        It's right on the car!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Missing you.....

(head nod)
What's new?
(awkward silence) it's been awhile.
(head bowed a little, eyes staring towards my feet)
So um...I don't know if you are still interested or whatever...but...
(looking up at little while fidgeting with my keyboard)
I did a few things this summer....
(awkward pause #2)
I mean if you are interested....
Um, that is..... unless you are following some other blogger.
Which I would sooooo totally understand....TOTALLY.
But you know whatever, cause no big deal.....
It's just that I moved unexpectedly, went to Europe, got two new jobs, lost 50 pounds, climbed a mountain, changed my perspectives and decided to go "chunkier" on the highlights on my hair.
But no biggee...
It's just that I had a story or two....
(blushing a little bit)
I missed ya'll.