Lots of things going on and little time to tell them. My first grandson – Brandon Roger was born Sept. 13 at precisely 8:15 a.m. He’s adorable and if he’s anything like his big sister Brooklynn, Jeren and Lauren will have their hands full – in a good way of course. While Lauren was in the hospital, I kept Brooklynn at home with me. It was so wonderful and I truly was in my element! But Brooklynn is a handful and I was reminded of all the busyness her daddy afforded me all those years ago.
Sofi is gone and I’m now driving around in a red Volkswagen beetle named Betty. Betty’s interior is all shiny red with chrome detailing – she looks like a car right out of the 60’s – and how cool is that! I don’t know if I’ll feel the same attachment as I experienced with Sofi – I mean – I learned to drive a stick shift with Sofi and I felt like she was real – as real as me – and is that even possible to replicate? But I’ll give it my best with Betty – I wanted her the moment I test drove her – which also by the way, was all I intended to do. But I couldn’t leave her there once I had set my eyes on her beautiful interior and the feel of her – like a piece of time taken out of a classic rock song, sung by artists long past their prime. I don’t think it’s a long stretch to believe we will bond, but maybe this time in an entirely different way.
My position classification at work is still undecided. I can’t believe the amount of red tape and politics that are involved in making such a decision – and then again how little of it seems to have been involved in the decisions regarding others. To say nerve-wracking and the questioning of self-value doesn’t even cover how I feel – the same feelings I have felt most of my life. And while a part of me wants to give up and not produce the same quality of work that I currently do, I can’t do that to the people I work with and the important cause that we all are trying to promote. Another thread in the story of my life – putting my needs aside for the good of something far bigger.
And even as I write this, I know I need to realize my own sense of value before I can sell that to anyone else – which is part of why I feel such frustration. If I can see it – why can’t they?
Amelia is in her first year of high school and I can see the young woman she is about to become. I can’t imagine a more beautiful person and how lucky I am to have her in my life! She’s taking three honors classes this semester and even though it’s been tough going, she’s determined to excel in them – and she probably will, as is evidenced by the amount of studying she does.
I worry about her though – if her studying doesn’t pay off, I’m not sure how she’ll take having to replace one or more of those classes with more standard ones. She’s so determined to excel and in her words, “not doing so isn’t an option.” So I quietly watch, constantly gauging how things are going, and if I need to talk to Ira about intervening, I will – while at the same time, making sure I’m not discouraging her from reaching for the stars.
Yesterday was Rosh Hashanah and our family marked the occasion at Ira’s cousin Michelle’s house. I didn’t attend because she lives about 45 minutes away and I don’t do well driving in the dark. If Ira had been home things would be different, but he’s not, so sadly I knew I would need to decline.
Jewish belief says Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the new year, marked centuries ago by the creation of Adam and Eve. It is also the time the one’s fate is decided for the upcoming year and Jews hope that their names will be inscribed in the book of life, meaning they will live on for another year. All other people have the next 10 days to do whatever they can to ensure their names do not get overlooked. It isn’t just the year that’s new for me – I’m experiencing lots of new beginnings – some more prominent than others and some more celebratory.
I love that my relationship with God is my own and I don’t need to put it in a box and call it a certain thing or explain it to anyone else. I love that I can respect that others have differing views, sometimes entirely – but that they shouldn’t judge me for mine, nor me for theirs. For me, this is an important time and I can only hope that my behaviors good or bad do not exclude me from that important book.
After almost three years of driving over the road, Ira’s long distance days could be nearly over. He may be able to be a dispatcher for the same company – which entails working from home. If everything works out, in a matter of weeks he could be here full-time and I won’t need to kiss him goodbye every Sunday. How much better news can I share than that!
And with that, I’ll sign off. What better way to end my penned thoughts than with a high note such as this. It doesn’t always happen that way.
What a week. I’m so drained and I can’t remember the last time a string of hugely bad events have come my way. There was the out of town trip that costed me a back injury which caused me to leave my beautiful Sofi out in the rain and humidity for just over a week. When I was well enough to get into her, I discovered an entirely wet interior and a thick layer of mold on her back and front seats. But it didn’t end there and as horrible as I felt, it was nothing compared to what was to come.
Saturday I left Sofi at the auto detail store and picked up a white Chevy Spark from Enterprise Car Rental to drive until she was repaired. The inside of the car is sweet, but the outside – well, it’s definitely not cute like Sofi. Ira, Amelia and I drove to Minneapolis to pick up a desk I bought off Craigslist and then later, while I transferred contents from my big roll top to my smaller one, they went out for sushi. It would be the last peaceful time alone I would have for a while.
Sunday I was busy setting up the new television and after that still arranging my desk. After Ira and Amelia left, I left too – I wanted to run to Office Max to buy a file frame to hang all my files. When I arrived at the strip mall, I was shocked to see that a thrift store now occupied the building where Office Max used to be. I couldn’t believe it!
I was just going to turn around and go home when I noticed a Burlington Coat Factory two doors away. Thinking they might have what I needed, I went inside. About 40 minutes later I paid for a Betsey Johnson lunch tote for Amelia and leopard print sweater for myself. Once out at my car, I realized I did not have my rental car key. This is where the nightmare really got started.
Back inside the store, the associate at the register confirmed that I had not left my keys on the counter when I paid for my purchase. I searched the entire store, retracing my steps and looking at every single item I had picked up. Still, 40 minutes later, I had not found my key. Another trip to the register where I was told no one had returned my key, only made me want to cry. I did not intend to leave the dogs for that long and I was tired of walking around too. My back was beginning to ache and I could feel a headache coming on. Once again I retraced my steps, being careful not to miss a single item that had previously caught my eye. I never thought I’d say this, but I was getting sick of this whole shopping experience.
Finally I called Ira who as expected, wasn’t very happy. I got off the phone as quickly as I could, telling him I had to keep searching for *that damn key.* I’m not sure why I even called him as I was now more even upset than before the call. I wanted to cry, but couldn’t allow myself that luxury, knowing how badly I needed to find the key. More time went by and I was really beginning to wonder if I’d ever find it. I looked at my phone to see the time and noticed a message from Ira, but to my utter shock, disbelief and dismay, the phone died – just seconds after reading the first part of the text, *If you can’t find the key. … * What? What? What about *the can’t find the key* text? What came after that? I didn’t see because the phone died!
I went back to the register to ask if anyone could charge my phone. Nope. The staff at the register were busy and had no time to worry about my problem. I was told they couldn’t do that for me and no one had an iPhone anyway. I searched the store for an electronics area where I might be able to purchase a charger. Luckily I found one, but unluckily, it did not come with a cord and was useless as it was.
Another round around the store and as I passed an associate, I told him of my predicament, emphasizing it was a rental car and I didn’t have a second set of keys. He offered little help except to say he’d keep an eye out for my missing key. Thirty minutes later and glancing at my watch, I realized I had been circling that store for three hours! I was so sure I’d eventually find that key and just couldn’t believe this was happening. I have never lost a set of keys in my entire life! Why now?
I searched everywhere, and everywhere again, and kept coming up empty-handed. Over the loudspeaker I heard that the store would be closing in thirty minutes. Oh my God – my tears were so very close and I was beginning to believe that key was lost for good. Fifteen minutes later the voice on the loudspeaker reminded customers they needed to finish their purchases. I saw the sales associate I talked to before and told him I hadn’t found the key, and needed to use a phone to call someone. He informed me they could not give me a phone to use. *My phone is completely dead,* I told him! *You told me your phone died nearly an hour ago,* he said. *You should have charged it by now!* I told him my charger was locked in the car, but he apparently didn’t care, telling me, *You should have bought one then!* I started telling him about the charger and the lack of a cord, when I was interrupted by another associate who said he could show me where they were.
Time was running out and I quickly purchased the cord and the charger and asked the associate at the register where I could charge the phone. *You can’t come back here,* she said, *and I can’t take your phone back here either.* Are you kidding? Why did they tell me to buy a charger? Another mad dash around the store, looking for any trace of an electric outlet. Finally, finally I was able to find one and plugged in my phone.
*You’ve got five minutes,* I was told by the male associate as he walked by. *Those are the rules and we can’t change them.*
Oh my gawd, I thought as I looked at my battery level. I had to get enough of a charge to call someone! A few minutes later I was approached again and told it was 9:35 and I needed to leave. Your five minutes are up. *It’s dark out there,* I said, *And it looks like it’s going to rain!*
Not my problem, I was told. You had plenty of time to recharge your phone.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. *If anything happens to me, you are to blame,* I told the associate in my calmest voice. I left the store and thankfully was able to get a text out to Papa John asking him to come get me, but wasn’t completely sure if he got my message. It was dark and no other stores were open and I was so afraid standing in the dark parking lot all alone like a duck that sits.
I could see a McDonalds store in the distance, but it was only open for drive-through at that time of night. Finally the store associates began exiting the store and going into the parking lot. There were four or five of them and they quickly got into their cars, intentionally ignoring me. It just so happened the rude associate had parked pretty close to my car and as he got into his, I walked over and took a photo of his license plate. He threw open his car door and hurried over to me. *What the f*ck are you doing, you f*cking bitch,* he screamed at me. *I’ll delete the photo of your car once I take a photo of you,* I answered as I snapped his photo. *I’m going to email it to your corporate office after I talk to them tomorrow,* I added.
*I don’t give a f*ck what you do, you f*cking c*nt,* he said, moving toward me. I backed up, realizing how easy it would be for him to hit me or grab my camera, which by now was dead again, but he didn’t know that. I was so shocked and surprised and so dearly afraid, but tried not to show it. Finally he turned and got into his car, rolled down his window and drove away screaming, *You’re a f*cking c*nt, you b*tch.*
I was shaking by then and glad he wasn’t there to see. I waited I don’t know how long before Papa John showed up. Man was I lucky I thought. *Who talks like that,* I asked myself. How can a person be so horribly angry and mean! He was awful – and scary!
I got home and barely slept. I kept seeing his face, twisted and angry, and screaming at me as he sped away into the night. I thought of Cookie and how this probably wouldn’t have happened to her. I wished I could ask her how to get past this, but I knew my wishes would not be answered. By the time morning came I had added anger to my feelings. Determined not to let the store associate get away with talking to me like that, I called the corporate office like I had said I would. A women took my information and said someone would get back to me. My next call was to the store where I talked to the store manager Stephanie, who had not been at work that night.
Stephanie told me the store associates were following their rules about not allowing people in the store after closing. The only thing out of line she told me, was the language of the associate that swore at me. I told her I would be back in the store that morning to return everything I had purchased the night before and that I would not be shopping at her store again.
My phone rang and I answered it quickly, thinking it was the corporate office and they would be just as horrified as me when they heard about my ordeal. But no. It was the detail shop saying Sofi’s leak came from the rear window and unfortunately the entire roof needed to be replaced. This being a matter of normal wear and tear, would not be covered under insurance. I thanked him and said goodbye, imagining what the small fortune would be to pay for a new roof.
I took Monday off so I could deal with the lost car and replace the lost key if needed. Later that morning Papa John returned to the store with me where I returned the sweater, the lunch tote, the charger and the cord. The manager was a lot nicer in person than she was over the phone and I wondered why. Papa had a few things he wanted to say to her and while he was talking I looked at the purses again, pushing them aside and looking along the floor. By the time I returned to Papa John and Stephanie, they had arranged for the loss prevention associate to play the tape of the time I was in the store in hopes he could tell at what point I put down the key.
After an hour of looking at the tape, he realized he was looking at the wrong date. Loading the correct one, we started all over again. I was standing and my back hurt so bad, but I couldn’t bring myself to complain. For four hours we looked through the images of me making my way across the store. I hadn’t ever realized how much straightening up I did while shopping and the loss prevention associate made the comment that they should pay me. I couldn’t even smile at that. I was still hoping to find that key, especially after talking to Enterprise and being told the cost to replace the key was approximately $400.
Over and over we played that tape following me every step of the way. I was tired and hungry and getting more and more depressed with each passing moment. I was also grateful to the loss prevention associate who probably had better things to do than spend time with me. At one point the tape showed me trying on a beautiful pink jacket, but when I ran to the coats to check the pockets, it was not there, and most likely sold that morning.
It wasn’t until 4 p.m., that Papa finally said we should give up. I relented and resigned myself to calling a tow truck so the car could be towed to the Chevy dealership where the key would need to be made.
We were there until 8 p.m. because Papa insisted on waiting despite being told we could come back in a few hours. Problems occurred in the making of the key though and we eventually left car-less and key-less with instructions to return tomorrow after work.
What a nightmare. Papa drove me to work today and Wanda drove me home. When I told my co-workers what had been going on with me, they pitched in and bought me flowers. I have always thought I’m very fortunate to work with some of the nicest people around.
I’m so drained and going through such a myriad of feelings. I’m mad at myself for being a victim. Cookie always told me I needed to be stronger and to toughen up. How do you do that though? I’m so disappointed about amount of money my mistake brought about – especially since being told the back window on Sofi can’t just be resealed. The whole convertible top needs to be replaced and it’s no small matter. I’m upset about the string of events that occurred because of me going out of town and my back still hurts daily.
People always tell me I make them feel better. I’m not sure why I can’t do that for myself right now. I’m getting there though. I’ve got the key replaced. My rental car is in the parking lot and tomorrow is a new day. If I keep telling myself this over and over I think it’s possible I might start believing it. That’s the advice I’d give to someone else in this spot.
I feel like I experienced a touch of Hell this week and I hope I never have to go through anything that mind wracking again, but if I do, perhaps I’ll be stronger and better equipped to deal with it. And no. The corporate office of Burlington Coat Factory has not gotten back to me. Apparently this is not as shocking and appalling to them as it was to me. That’s a damn shame. That is shocking in itself.
My blog is back, and therefore so am I. I exist. On this minuscule piece of the Internet, I exist.
After being hacked (yet again) I really need to look for a different, more safe template or platform. I hate that I have to change my page because awful people do mean things.
Today at work I was swamped, but I managed to stop by the hospital gift shop to pick up a couple things for work. It feels so much better to give someone something and watch them smile than to actually get something for myself. Sometimes I get lucky and find the perfect thing. That was today and it really did feel good.
On this day, 39 years ago, I was with my family returning from Puerto Rico and driving through Memphis, Tennessee. It was an eerie feeling – radios had been playing Elvis songs throughout the day and the night before. People were actually on corners and in businesses crying. There was no where to go where you could escape the fact that Elvis Presley, the man known as “The King,” had unexpectedly died. It seemed the whole country was in shock.
I was already broken-hearted and this fact only made my misery worse. A heart broken twice in one week’s time. But looking back, and remembering how awful I felt, it would not be for many years that I would realize the full and disastrous results of my actions.
Years later, I married Ira and now the spiteful month of August has at least one good memory for me. I could say I beat it, but I didn’t. Perhaps saying I can live with it another day will have to be enough. Baby steps. Maybe someday I’ll get there.
It’s that time again. Well it’s always that time actually, but now more than ever I’m filled with that year’s old regret – why wasn’t I there? Why didn’t I stop her? I can’t say that I didn’t know, because I did. I told Sharon to leave her alone and support her instead of constantly badgering her. But Sharon didn’t listen – she never did, and even though I haven’t talked to her for years, I know nothing has changed with regards to that.
I miss her so much. She was so much more than my big sister – she was everything. And dammit, everyone knows I hate to cry, yet here I am – sobbing my heart out, alone in my room, where absolutely no one will hear me or know how broken my heart really is.
There was that morning, long, long ago. It was raining and the walk to school was long. So when that man slowly eased his car to the side of the road and asked if I wanted a ride, I gladly accepted. But Cookie grabbed my arm and held me back, telling the man to leave – and he stared at her for a moment, then said something I didn’t understand, and sped off, his tires splashing puddle water on cookie’s shoes and white stockings. Mom wasn’t going to like that I remember thinking, but brushed that thought aside to complain to her that I had wanted that ride to school. She never answered me, instead pulling me along while I continued to complain.
Years later when I recalled the incident I realized Cookie probably saved my life that day. I also remembered that around the same time a 14-year-old student was found murdered in the school band room. She had arrived early to school to practice her flute and her body was found by another student. The killer was eventually captured, and I wondered if my fate might have been the same had Cookie not stopped me from taking that ride.
She was always saving me from one thing or another – usually it was my mother’s wrath – I have never been the daughter she wanted, and she has never been shy about telling me so. Now Cookie – she thought Cookie was everything and more, but I never begrudged Cookie for that. I also thought she was everything and more.
Why her and not me? I was a lot more disposable than she could ever be. But that’s not how things turned out and to be honest I’ve turned out not so shabby – I think Cookie would look at me with that beautiful smile, tilt her head to one side and tell me how proud she was and she’d list every single one of my accomplishments as though they were as significant as earning a Pulitzer. But then, she’d tell me I had more to do, adding she had no doubt I would accomplish that as well.
She knew so much, but one thing she didn’t know was the void she would leave behind.
Today I saw an article about the recent shooting in Munich, Germany. The writer penned, “It appears the shooter was a deranged person and not an ISIS terrorist.” Are we now categorizing types of killers and does it really make a difference what their motive is? I was sick at heart when I read it. These are terrible times and it scares me to think of what kind of world we’re leaving our children.
And I understand the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement – but really – we are all targeted at one time or another – either by one’s profession, color, gender, identity or religion or ethnicity. I get it – some more than others. But in the end, we all matter. Why is that such a hard concept to understand? Yet from the beginning of time greed or anger have blurred the lines of what is good and kind, and what is not and I don’t understand the thought process by which some people feel their lives are more important than someone else’s.
It’s an indoor kind of a Saturday here in Minnesota. With lots of thunder and lightning, we’ve been seeing tons of rain and dark, cloudy skies. It reminds me of winter – especially indoors because Ira keeps the house so cold with air conditioning and with outdoor temps of 90 plus, I’m inside wearing an oversized sweater and warm, cozy socks over tights. I look a sight no doubt.
Mister Melvin really enjoys when we’re all together like this. I think he lived so much of his life alone, that he really relishes family time. Springers are cuddlers by nature and he’s no exception. He still doesn’t like his photo taken and it’s not often when I can get one.
I groomed Chanel – my choice not hers. But she should be glad because I am much more patient and gentle than any groomer I bring her to. Not only did I save us a tidy amount of money, but she looks completely beautiful and I didn’t even have to leave the house to do it. Melvin kept a close eye on her and I and every time Chanel would make a sound, he’d come right over to make sure I wasn’t hurting his little big sister. I felt happy they’ve bonded like they have.
Tonight we’re doing Italian – going to a hole in the wall pizza place we haven’t been to in quite a while. We’re treating Papa John since he always pays when we go out. Later Amelia and I are watching some television together since we’re still going to be stuck indoors. Every weekend I tell myself that I’m going to sit out on the deck, but for one reason or another I never get the chance.
Last week Alton Sterling was shot by police in what should have been a routine disturbance call. He had been selling CDs on a corner where he had done so for several years. A homeless man approached him, asking for money and when he wouldn’t go away Sterling threatened him with a gun.
The homeless man called police and minutes later Sterling lay dead. Videos of the confrontation between him and the police immediately appeared on social media sites and people were angered at his senseless death and treatment by police, who by all appearances, had no reason to shoot him.
A day later in St. Paul, just minutes away from where we live, another death occurred. Police pulled over Philando Castile in what should have been a routine traffic stop – a tail light was out. As in the case of Sterling, minutes later Castile lay dying, still seat-belted and riddled with five bullets as his girlfriend, in disbelief and fear, streamed live on Facebook, what was going on at that time. Castile’s unfortunate death was actually captured on video while people watched in horror. She continued to record even after being handcuffed and put into the back seat of a police car with her four-year-old daughter.
The aftermath that followed is just as tragic. Just one day after the death of Castile, Micah Johnson, 25 year-old Dallas native, drove to a #Blacklivesmatter protest, singled out white police officers and began shooting. The result was chilling. Johnson, an Iraq war veteran retaliating for the deaths of the two black men by white police officers, was eventually killed, but only after killing five policemen and injuring six more along with two civilians. Across America protesters continued to attack police officers in an attempt to retaliate for the deaths of Sterling and Castile.
Last night alone, over 100 people were arrested locally in a peaceful protest that turned violent toward police. There’s no doubt that racial profiling has taken a new and violent twist, but innocent people are paying the price for the wrongs of others.
I would not like to be black and driving around anywhere in America today; nor would I want to be a white cop either. This has got to end before more lives are lost.
The world is going crazy and I feel like I’m going with it.
So I’m back – or so it seems, until someone decides to hack my website again. I’ve been off-line and the hassle of getting back up and running took way more time than I had. I don’t get why people get off on something so senseless and mean. But there’s a lot of things I just don’t get and probably never will.
I realized today that shirliana.com really can’t be called a website – more so a collection of a few pages that detail parts of my life and memorialize others. To me it is more because it has helped me retain my sanity when nothing else would.
I’ve been journaling online since 1996. Perhaps I’ll go back and start posting updates from that year and others following – what a ride it’s been and while some people have friends, or pets or someone they’ve shared their ups and downs with, for me, for all these years, it’s been my journal.
My journal has resided on many different platforms, and had many different looks. But the one thread that’s never changed, is that it’s been about me and love and/or my obsession with pink. I’t’s not just a color – it’s an attitude and it’s mine.
Amelia is home for ten straight days and I’m pretty excited about it. She arrived Friday and we spent the evening having a low-key dinner of hot dogs, chips and Mexican corn. We watched the last episode of Orange is the New Black and then went to bed. Saturday her and Ira went boating with Uncle Mike, Erica and the kids and I stayed home working on an art project for Papa Dan.
Today, Ira leaves and Amelia and I are going to see Finding Dory. The rest of the week is pretty much full with 4th of July celebrations with the Koritz’s and latter week activities with Grandma Susan. The exception is Tuesday – we will have an entire day together to do whatever we want. For me, it’ll be the highlight of her ten-day stay with us.
Don’t worry! I’ll post!
There’s so much on my mind now that the April showers have brought us May flowers. Last weekend Amelia and I planted some pretty pink flowers in our little gardens, added bright red mulch to the bed on the side of the garage and pulled out all the weeds. Our decorations are out and the patio furniture is washed and arranged.
The back still needs some outside furniture, but I haven’t found anything I like, or that’s within my budget. I wanna be able to sit down with my laptop or iPad while the dogs run around and whatever else they do. Summer’s are so short in Minnesota and I intend to take advantage of every single moment of it this year. It’s all I thought about this past winter when it was so cold and miserable outside!
But summer isn’t the only thing on my mind. Papa John will be here in just over a week and at the same time, Ira’s going to be home for two whole weeks. Dealing with those two Glassberg boys will no doubt give me lots of things to write about although finding the time to do it might prove a challenge.
Speaking of family, Mister Melvin is really coming along. He has learned to sit, stay, come, heel and leave it. I’m able to walk him on my usual route and he’s not dragging me all over the place either. I’m so proud of him – we are now working on teaching him to shake his paw when asked. Other things are looking up too. He and Chanel have become the best of friends despite Mr. B. Jun’s distaste of him – we’re still working on that. Hopefully Papa John can help – Mr. B. Jun seems to listen to him for some reason. Ira says it’s because they’re both alike.
My last news is the most awesome and exciting. Jeren and Lauren are having another baby and the due date is the beginning of September! Brooklynn is going to have a little brother and I’m going to have another child to call me Grandma. Who could ask for anything more! I have so much planning to do and I’m sure the time is going to race by.
Like I said, I have lots of things on my mind.
Prince died today. I feel so sad – like when Michael Jackson died and Whitney Houston too. With tabloids in every store and Internet stories so available it’s easy to feel like you personally know the people you read about.
In Minneapolis he is a fixture – this was his home – the town where he grew up, where he returned – even after all the fame he acquired, he never turned his back – and Minnesotans, including me, loved him for it.
No details have been released, but the gossip columns and social media sites have already began their ghastly rumors – nasty untruths that spread like wildfire and hurt just like it too. By all accounts though, it appears he died alone, as was confirmed by the medical examiner. I can’t help but think he deserved better.