Lucie Plays Vanna White at Church

A month ago, Cindy, our church’s Welcome Coordinator, emailed me asking for help with the upcoming church photo directory.

I never know where my various health maladies are going to take me, so I rarely volunteer to help out.

The directory, though, is something that she and I have worked on in the past and I figured, “What the heck? No big deal. We’ve done this before, so it’ll be a slam dunk.”

Yep.

You’d think by this age, I’d know that nothing is a slam-dunk in my life.

I don’t have enough nonsense in my day to day existence living with the Princess and two wacked cats. I need a little more drama in my life to keep my blood pressure up.

We meet with the photo company’s representative and learn that everything now-a-days for church directories is computerized – from setting up the initial appointments for the photographs, to designing the actual church directory.

OK.

No big deal.

Technology comes as easily to me, as swimming to a duck with a 100lb anvil wrapped around his neck.

Yep.

Cindy’s a couple of steps more tech savvy than me, but between the two of us, we’re not exactly Silicon Valley’s version of Bill Gates and the late, Steve Jobs.

So, we decide that we need to get ourselves organized and agree to meet with each other a couple of times to set up a to-do list and get a handle on the situation.

After meeting a couple of times, I was feeling quite competent with what we needed to do and figured the cheat sheet that I meticulously wrote out and placement of the photo company’s web-site as one of my “favorite’s” on my computer would have me totally covered to do a competent job of signing up people after Sunday’s service in no time flat.

Uh-Hun.

You’d think as a retired teacher, with multiple years of teaching experience under my belt, that I’d know better by now.

Unfortunately, wisdom and intelligence does not come with the graying of one’s hair. If it did, I’d be a genius many times over.

Yep.

I got to the church early Sunday morning, so that I would have plenty of time to set-up, get myself settled-in and meet with Henrietta, the other sign-up volunteer, and I discovered that my oh-so-reliable computer (that the Princess lovingly purchased for me for my 60th) did not want to connect with the church’s Wi-Fi.

After an hour of repeated failed attempts by a number of the church’s tech gurus to connect me to our Wi-Fi, I decided that I needed to call the Princess and have her bring her Mac to the church.

Surely, the Mac would work and we would be good to go, as soon as the service had ended and people started heading into the social hall to sign up.

Uh-Hun.

Well, the Princess decided after 6 months of endless nagging by me, that this particular Sunday would be a great day to organize the garage.

And of course, being the little multi-tasker that she is, she threw in a load of laundry, turned on some ear-splitting music to keep her spirits up and the fleas at bay; and started to organize the disaster of a hell-hole that we sometimes refer to as a garage.

All the while she was home innocently singing and cleaning the garage, I was at the church, calling and texting her endless messages and thinking, “When I get ahold of her, I’m gonna ring her scrawny little neck. She’s gotta be taking a shower, but how long can a shower take for a 4 foot, 10 inch smurf?”

Seriously.

Che palle! (keh Pal-leh, loosely translated, “What a pain in the ass!”)

As luck would have it, our church’s Board President takes a crack at my computer difficulties and gets me hooked up just as the church lets out and our table gets swamped with eager attendees.

I started signing up my first parishioner, pressed the bottom to confirm the date, and whoosh, the information went into some tech cloud never to be seen again and my computer screen went totally black.

Madonna!

I had a table swamped with eager parishioners, a computer that I wanted to permanently bury, and a sign-up partner that was calmly and efficiently taking as many of the requests as she could, all the while politely dealing with a couple of parishioners that apparently fell asleep during our Pastor’s sermon on grace, because they weren’t exactly what you’d call graceful while they waited, don’t ‘cha know?

In the meantime, the Princess had gotten my messages and attempted to get ahold of me, only couldn’t because I had my phone on vibrate and conscientiously crammed into my purse while I attempted to sign-up people.

Not knowing what to do and knowing how I freaked I get when I’m “outta my bubble and stressed”, she grabbed her computer and sped to the church, bra-less and in raggy sweat pants.

She then attempted, once again, to get ahold of me by phone from the confines of her automobile. (God forbid someone spotted her walking toward the church with her ta-tas flapping in a stained sweatshirt and shaggy sweat pants.)

Failing in her attempts to connect with me, she decided that nothing was worth our church friends seeing her bra-less and looking like a bag lady, so she headed back home and anxiously waited for me to return.

In the meantime, I was into my Vanna White act talking up the photo shoot, while Henrietta did a stellar job in single-handedly managing the computer sign-ups.

We finally got the last of the parishioners signed up and I looked at Henrietta and commented, “You’re totally amazing, Woman! No matter what anyone threw at you and how crazy it got, you remained totally cool-headed and calm.”

“You’re amazing. Simply amazing,” I continued while shaking my head back and forth in total disbelief.

“What do you do for a living that has you so level-headed and calm in the midst of pure chaos?” I innocently inquired.

Without missing a beat, she slowly turned her head, calmly looked at me and matter-of-factly stated, “I work as an intake counselor for the mental health clinic at Stanford Hospital.”

Uh-Hun.

Yep.

I’m thinking maybe she’s  good at what she does, People. What do you think?

Have a great day and I’ll catch ya next adventure looking at life from my shoes!

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Lucie Does Facetime for the First Time!

So, I’ve read a lot of books on writing lately and decided that Julia Cameron’s suggestion to solicit a friendly reader to read my writing and tell me what they like and what they’d like to see more of was a good idea.

I decided to solicit one my blog followers that has similar pieces as mine and dropped her an email asking her if that’s something that she’d be interested in doing, and lo and behold, she actually said, “yes!”

Both of us aren’t exactly tech geniuses, but with the help of grandchildren and significant others, we figure out that there’s a thing called facetime on our Apple phones and computers and that we can talk to each other and actually see each other on this facetime thing-a-ma-bob.

“Great,” me thinks.

So, after she stopped wrestling with a rotten head cold that she had picked up on an out of town visit, and I stopped tap-dancing with some weird stomach bug that I had recently acquired, we finally set up a date and time.

And I was tickled pink.

Finally, after all this time, I was gonna meet one of the writers that I actually admired and emulated.

“This is totally cool,” I tell myself.

Then it dawns on me.

What does one wear to a “face time viewing” for the first time?

I’m usually in raggy sweats and a stained sweatshirt, while I bum around the house. And I rarely comb my rat’s nest of a hair-do hair in the morning, unless I have an appointment.

Surely I can’t look that scruffy on the first viewing.

If I scare the hell outta her, she’ll never wanna be my writing buddy. Maybe a clean turtleneck and a pair of pearl earrings will do the trick. It’s supposed to be in the upper 70’s today where I live, but hopefully I won’t be sweating too much so she notices.

Hm…I’m not into make-up and lipstick, but after dancing the tango trots for a few days, I was looking a little peaked and thought that maybe a touch of lipstick and a little rouge would help make me look a little less dauncey.

Cazzo!

Get a grip, Lucie!

You don’t wanna date the woman, for Chriminy sakes! You just wanna have her as a writing buddy.

I’m setting up my computer and getting everything ready for the big event, when I notice a familiar smell wafting through the house and discover that our cat, Molly, who was not too pleased with us for having an over-night guest stay with us last night, has peed on not only MY bathroom rugs, but the Princess’s, as well.

Yep.

Swell.

So, now I’m sportin’ a clean turtle neck and one of my better pair of sweats and end up with two stinky sets of bathroom rugs to wash before Janet calls to facetime with me.

Cazzo!

Forget the rouge and lipstick!

I’d better get those rugs into the laundry before Janet calls and thinks I live in a barn, for Pete’s sake.

And then it dawns on me – unless this facetime app has some serious “smell-vision”, I was good to go.

Yep.

That’s life in my shoes today, People!

Hopefully yours is less odiferous than mine was today.

Have a great day and I’ll catch ya next adventure, looking at life from my shoes.

Lucie bakes her first (and last!) birthday cake!

I hate cooking.

And I like baking even less.

But the Buddha belly and I are strong advocates for eating.

So over the years, I’ve become a quasi-good cook – out of simple necessity.

Years ago, I naively volunteered to bake a cake for a friend of mine, who’s the female version of the Cake Boss (only sweeter!).

Exactly why I volunteered for such a self-defeating, herculean feat, I have no idea.

But volunteer I did.

I never baked a cake before and figured my Mom’s stand-by Duncan Hine’s yellow cake mix would be the easiest way to go.

“After all,” I reasoned, “What could go wrong with a simple box mix?”

“It’s a pretty straight forward recipe of eggs, water and oil. You mix it all together, dump it into a pan, slide it into the oven and voila!”

“A cake fit for a queen!”

Yep.

Well, I learned that night that it’s important to have all of the ingredients before you start making it, or you’re liable to find yourself scrambling downstairs to your neighbors to borrow some, if you don’t.

And that, People, is where the story gets a little kooky.

I only had a couple of hours to get the cake baked, cooled and frosted before my friend picked me up to drive me to said birthday girl’s house; when I discovered that I didn’t have any eggs.

I didn’t want to waste time to go to the grocers to buy them, so I slipped downstairs to my friend’s flat and discovered that her kids were home alone, while she went on a quick errand; and they had just smashed one of the front door windows while playing indoor broom hockey.

Being the responsible friend and neighbor that I am, I didn’t want to leave the hellions with broken glass in the door and on the porch; so I ran upstairs, grabbed a pair of pliers, a broom and dust pan; and quickly headed back down to tidy things up and make everything safe, again.

Not exactly the female version of “Tim the Tool man”, I took the pliers and grabbed ahold of the bottom, broken piece of glass; and while yanking it out, accidently grazed the fingers of my right hand against the serrated edges of the broken glass protruding from the top of the window pane, and sliced-opened the top of my four fingers.

So now, on top of broken glass all over the porch and inside the entry way, I’m presented with a screaming munchkin that’s thoroughly traumatized by all the blood from my cut and I’m seriously thinking, “Well, isn’t this a swell kettle of fish I’ve got myself into? The oldest kid is already in weekly therapy sessions-maybe their therapist has a group discount for the whole brood of little buggers?!”

Swell.

I calm-down the small fry, grab a roll of paper towels, start wrapping my hand in it and continue cleaning up the broken glass, when it slowly dawns on me – “Lucie, you’ve just gone through half a roll of paper towels in a short time and your bleeding is out of control. Unless you want to faint in front of these little rascals, and send all of them into extensive therapy (well into their old age), you’d better get your uncle on the phone and get some assistance.”

So, up to my apartment I scooted, and call him I did.

My uncle, who lived a block away from me at the time, listens to me rattle-on about my “bleeding to death” in front of these kids, and then calmly says to me, “Lucie, you’ve got a whole half-a-roll of paper towels left, right?”

“Yes,” I nervously answered.

“Well, relax,” my uncle calmly says.

“Make your cake, and if you’re still bleeding by the time you finish the other half-a-roll of paper towels, call me back, and I’ll take you to the ER for stitches.”

Uh-Hun.

“Great,” I’m thinking to myself. “Nice to know my uncle’s got my best interest at heart. Let’s hope to hell these paper towels I’m using are the more absorbent brand, or I’m up the proverbial creek without a paddle!”

I make the cake, throw it into the oven, and discover (to my dismay) the two eggs that I borrowed from my neighbor, glaring back at me from the top of my kitchen counter.

Lovely, just lovely.

After all this, my cake is “egg-less” and my fingers are still bleeding.

Swell.

In the meantime, my uncle apparently reconsidered his sage medical advice and comes shuffling into my apartment to make sure I haven’t bled to death, only to find me teary-eyed and totally stressed-out, ‘cuz my cake is missing eggs; I can’t get my hand to stop bleeding and my ride is supposed to pick me up shortly and I don’t have the birthday cake made.

Long story short – my uncle gets my bloody hand under control, we got another cake mix and I mix together another cake in time for my friend’s pick-up, but did not have the time to put the frosting on because the cake was too warm.

“Not to worry,” my friend, Judy, assured me when she discovers my dilemma.

“While I’m driving,” she continues, “you stick the cake out the window, cool it off and we’ll slap-on the frosting and birthday greeting when we get to Rosie’s house and everything will be hunky-dory.”

Yep.

Everything was the bee’s knees, until Jute hit a pot-hole and sent the cake flying out of the pan into the air; forcing me to lean out the window, juggling the pan back and forth, to catch it on its way down.

Swell, just swell!

So, now we’ve got a car that needs a front end alignment, a cake that needs some heavy duty culinary repair work and me with a bandaged hand that was still dripping blood on everything and anything and badly in need of some medical attention.

Cazzo!

Could anything else go wrong that night?

We got to the house in time for me to whip together the frosting, when my other friend came strolling into the kitchen where I was working my magic; eyeballed the cake and the frosting that I was making, and says, “What the hell happened to the cake?”

“And,” she continues, “What ta shit is with the ugly pink frosting?”

Madonna!

Just when I thought things couldn’t have gotten any worse, I discovered that my fingers had been bleeding through the bandages into the vanilla frosting.

Yep.

While I tended to my bleeding hand, I got my friend to make another batch of frosting, minus the added rose tinting.

We get the frosting on the cake just in time for Rosie’s grand entrance to yell, “Surprise!” and sing “Happy Birthday!”, when Rosie leans over, smiles and says, “Thanks, Luce, for the cake, but what’s with the Happy Birtaday, Rosie written on it?”

Cavolo! (Literal translation, cabbage or holy crap!)

That was the FIRST and the LAST birthday cake that I ever made, People.

Rosie is the baker in our friendship and I’m the willing recipient of her scrumptious creations.

It’s been a successful friendship now for over 35 years, so why mess with perfection?

Have a grand day, People, and I’ll catch you next adventure, looking at life from my shoes.

 

 

Folding Socks and Sheets (the right way) – Lucie’s Way!

I sat here folding laundry this morning, acutely aware of the fact that I (unlike certain people I know) am uncommonly fussy about how I fold my socks.

 

I learned years ago as a child that I strongly dislike having my socks rolled into a ball; especially when one takes one of the socks and arbitrarily stretches it over the other one!

 

Maybe it’s just me, People, but I find it’s kinda dorky to have one sock nicely staying put around your ankle/calf and the other one fully stretched-out and whimsically flapping in the breeze around your shoe – all because someone indiscriminately stretched it out while “balling it up” when they did your laundry.

 

And I realize I’m dating myself here, but it kinda reminds me of Pippi Longstocking (9-year-old protagonist of Astrid Lindgren’s “The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking”) – not exactly a look I particularly liked as a child nor one that I desire at this age.

 

(My tromping around in a blue rubber rain suit with barn boots has already given my neighbors cause for questioning my sanity. Walking around looking like Pippi Longstocking would just be another good reason for being “picked up by that little white van and whisked away to that special laughing academy!”)

 

I continue pulling laundry out of my laundry basket and aimlessly start to fold my sheets, when I gradually begin to wonder how the hell the Princess gets the bottom fitted sheet so nice and squarely folded?

 

I then decide, “To hell with it! Rolling up my socks is one thing, but having a rolled up bottom sheet is another! Who the hell cares if the bottom sheet is rolled up or not?!”

 

Yeah, well, the Princess does – that’s who.

 

(My logic says, “No one really sees the dam thing, so what’s the big deal, for Pete’s sake?”)

 

Unlike my Mother, her Mother painstakingly taught her the correct way to fold a bottom sheet; and nowhere in the directions did it entail rolling it up and haphazardly folding it into a triangular lump.

 

My Mother, on the other hand, felt that you should fastidiously iron your sheets (along with your beat-up jeans and threadbare corduroys), but nowhere on her list of Motherly sagacious suggestions and mordant mandates were any expert directions on how to fold the bottom sheet a certain way.

 

I then began thinking about all of our idiosyncratic, endearing behaviors and started to wonder, “How the hell do such different people even end up with each other? And how, pray tell, do they actually stay together for the long haul?”

 

My sister-in-law once commented that she and my brother Anthony almost ended up in a divorce (30 years ago) after one month of marriage because they ran outta toilet paper!

 

Now just why in God’s creation it was her sole responsibility to make sure they had an abundance of t.p. every week, I don’t know. But she said that once she learned to keep a sufficient stock of toilet paper on hand, and also made sure that there was some kind of specialty bread served with their dinner every evening (God forbid it should be some kind of sickening, marshmallowy white bread like Wonder Bread), their marriage was on solid ground from that point forward.

 

(I’m sure my three beautiful, enjoying-life-to-the fullest nieces are all eternally grateful for their Mom’s “taking one for the team” 30 years ago!)

 

Anyway, People, I think when it comes right down to it, we can choose to go through life and compromise with each other, or we can acquiesce and do things the right wayMY WAY!

 

In the meantime, be careful how you fold your socks and sheets this week…you (unknowingly) might be driving your significant other batty!

 

Catch ya’ next week for another glimpse of looking at life from my shoes.

 

Lucie’s New Relaxation Techniques – Part 2

Being a tad sleep deprived lately, I decide last night to cuddle up with the Princess thinking, “maybe, a little body warmth and snuglin’ will do the trick!”

 

Yeah, right!

 

I’m not even into the first 5 minutes of REM sleep, when the Princess starts coughing and hacking, jarring my sleepless self out of what I thought was a nice cozy dream.

 

“Oh swell”, I mumble to her in my state of sleepiness, “you ate something with dairy in it last night, didn’t you, hun?” I ask her with a bit of an attitude.

 

“Yes,” she groggily answers.

 

“Remember”, she asks, “We had those milkshakes at McDonald’s?”

“You better sleep in your own bed tonight,” she continues, “You’ve got a bad case of “Jimmy Legs” and you’re keeping me awake.”

 

I’ve got Jimmy Legs and I’m keeping her awake?

It’s a dam miracle I’m not walking around with permanent body tics, for Chriminy sakes! But what do I know?

 

“No problem, Hun”, I brusquely mumble back to her, “I’ll just go sleep in the garage next to the cat’s litter box.”

 

I’m stumbling back to my bedroom and thinking to myself, “For Pete’s sakes, I’ve got a friend who thinks I need to learn how to breathe better, an endocrinologist who suspects I’m bi-polar, a rheumatologist who seriously believes I have some “sleep issues” and a bunch of friends and relatives who have concluded that I’m a ‘tad oversensitive’ because I cry at the drop of a hat.”

 

Over-sensitive? Yah think I’m a smidgen over-sensitive, People?

 

For Chriminy sakes! It’s a miracle there’s not a little white van waiting to whisk me away to some funny farm where I can frolic and play with other sensitive individuals with breathing issues!

 

I could be wrong, but I think I need a new endocrinologist, a cat that doesn’t whine, a quieter neighborhood and a FULL night’s sleep!

 

But what the hell do I know?

 

I’m not breathing too good these days and probably not getting enough oxygen to my brain to think too clearly, as well!

 

Have a good one, People!

 

And remember: Be kind to one another. We’re all frolicking on the same funny farm of life and just a van away from being picked up ourselves.

 

 

The Death of an Egg!

Okey-dokey!

 

The Princess asked me if she could “treat me and cook breakfast Christmas morning”.

 

Isn’t she a “Sweetie“?

 

She opened the refrigerator door, took out our 2 remaining eggs and dropped one on the floor!

 

Yep.

 

Guess which one of us had oatmeal that morning? (And it wasn’t ME!)

 

God love her. She keeps me laughing every day!

 

Life is good at our house, People.

 

May your New Year be blessed with good food, much love, the company of good friends and relatives and, of course, an abundance of laughter.

 

And remember: Take it easy on the eggnog over the New Year holiday and I’ll catch ya next week for the beginning of a New Year looking at “Life from My Shoes”!

Lucie and the Blue Rubber Sauna Suit – Part 2

 

All righty!!

The rainy weather is not keeping me in today!

 

I put together an outfit good enough to brave the blizzards of Alaska and head out the door to face the elements, and whom do I run into on this lovely, rain-drenched day?

 

My neighbor 110 lbs., scantily-clad, stylish, umbrella- totting, thirty-something neighbor in matching tights and Nike slicker.

 

“No problem,” I’m thinking to myself, “surely she won’t recognize me in this bulky, royal blue rubber rain outfit – barn boots and all!”

 

And the next thing I hear her yell is, “Hi Lucie! Did you and the Princess have a good holiday?”

 

“Oh for chriminy sakes,” I’m thinking to myself, “Just take me, Lord! Take me now and deliver me and my Buddha belly to the pearly gates!”

 

Could I look any goofier?

 

 (Well, yes, for those of you who know me, I could, but we don’t need to go there, thank you. My self-esteem’s already in the toilet for the morning.)

 

“Why hullo, Sue!” I shout back while clumsily trying to hitch up my rubber paints. “We had a lovely holiday, thank you (I’m thinking to myself, “We BOTH were sick as dogs and the Princess ended up in Urgent Care with walking pneumonia, but life is just grand, Sweetie; just grand!).

 

 “And how was yours and Mark’s holiday?” I volley back.

 

After, spending a rain soaked moment or two exchanging pleasantries, we thankfully go on about the business at hand (of walking) and go on our separate ways.

 

Midway through the walk, the rains lets up enough to reveal a rainbow peak over one of my favorite houses. A grin slowly surfaces on my face and I think,

 

“You’re certainly not going to get an award for being Little Miss Fashion Plate of 2014, but I bet’cha Sue’s cute Nike outfit didn’t double as a “personal sauna” like your rubber suit and barn boots did for you.”

 

I may be old, slightly fluffy in the midriff area and looking a tad silly this morning, but you know what?

 

God and Joan Rivers had a laugh today at my expense and I’m O.K. with that!

 

I’m O.K. – rubber suit, barn boots and all!!!

 

Have a grand day, People!

And if, perchance, you see someone “dressed a little silly” today, remember: Be kind. We’re all a little SILLY, some days!