Friday, March 24, 2017

Hollidazed

Everyone loves a holiday. I happen to prefer the type of holiday that gets you a paid day off from work. However, any cause for celebration can be fun. If you're a regular on Facebook, or any other social media tool, you've likely seen people post up trivial "national  (    fill in the blank    ) day" at some point. I've seen some interesting ones lately. Yesterday, evidently I missed "National Puppy Day". There's always some interesting, crazy, or funny holiday that someone has tagged up, and I'm not saying they're not legitimate, but pretty odd at times, you have to wonder.

So after googling it... Today, March 24th is apparently recognized for the following:

-National Cocktail Day
-National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day (yum!)
-International Day for Achievers

--and last but not least--

World Tuberculosis Day

So interestingly enough, today in history reflects the following amazing and wonderful fact:

1882 Robert Koch discovers the bacterium responsible for tuberculosis

The German scientist, who is regarded as the father of modern bacteriology, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1905.
That's pretty cool, and well mostly likely why they tagged the day "World Tuberculosis Day", so I didn't mean to try to illustrate that it was a coincidence. It doesn't say so, but one could logically deduce this possibility. So I figured in honor of today's great observance, maybe I would just recognize all of the people everywhere (including myself) who cough a helluva lot. No, we don't all have tuberculosis, as bad as we may sound.

In fact, I guess we are lucky in this day and age, tuberculosis is not really as prevalent as it used to be. Yes it is still out there, however. A total of 9,557 TB cases (a rate of 3.0 cases per 100,000 persons) were reported in the United States in 2015. I guess it is just funny (but not funny, no I shouldn't laugh) that anytime we hear someone sporting a really vicious-sounding cough, hilarious thoughts come to mind about "Doc Holliday" and then of course I make unflattering and distasteful jokes. I believe that this stems from my obsession with a particular Billy Crystal movie entitled "Forget Paris", where Billy Crystal plays a professional basketball coach, and while on the road, he gets a hotel room next to as he calls it "a professional cougher". Thus, while he's on the phone with his best friend, going on over how lonely and bored he is while on the trip, his friend (played by Joe Montagna asks, "So where are you?" to which he replies (with the cougher hacking up a lung in the next room), "l don't know. l have to check my itinerary. I'm either in Denver or Charlotte. And l got a room next to Doc Holliday." --just makes me laugh every time, and it's what enters my mind anytime someone anywhere near my 'space bubble' gets cranked up sounding like this. Yes, I know it's ugly. Heck, we've all been there, so why is it still so hard to be sympathetic and understanding when someone else is going through it?
“A most malicious cough” ― Charles DickensOliver Twist

Not all coughs are infectious. I get a dry one quite often, I believe due to allergies or respiratory irritations. It's not productive, but I'm sure it sounds amazingly attractive (not). Living in the Memphis area does very little for anyone with allergies or sinus problems, in fact, almost everyone I know that lives here has some sort of related complaint. 
Better safe than sorry, I always say (and of course my over-protective Mom always said, and though she's been over two years since passed, her voice still rings in my head). We just try to wash our hands like crazy "OCD" folk, keep our hands out of our faces, stay at a nice distance (like a couple of states over) from known sick people, and even wear a mask I guess if we are feeling overly-susceptible. 
No matter what we do, we'll still catch a little bug every once in a while, all you can do is your best. Besides, if you never get sick at all you miss out on the best opportunity ever to take an entire day off and make your very own holiday out of it, "World YOU Day". Ahhh come on, you gotta live a little, take my advice, before that innocent little cough kills ya. ;-)

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." ~Ferris Bueller

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Heels Of Winter

Memphis weather is fickle if not bitchy at times. One day, spring has sprung with all of its warmth, color and glory, and the next day Mother Nature is on her period and brings us a cold snap complete with ice and snow. Everyone rushes out to the stores to pick up their emergency stock of bread and milk in case they die in the tragic freeze (which lasts until about 6 p.m.), then it's back to business as usual. Spring comes in on the heels of winter, rarely a smooth transition but once it begins to even out, the short magical spell lasts maybe a week or two before rushing head first into the melt of summer, which is hotter than the hinges on the gates of Hell (with a side of mud and bugs).

Through this sweet handful of days where we get to feel that hope, perfect temperatures and spirit of renewal, I am usually reminded of a few delightful childhood memories.

This morning I was reflecting on just one particular such memory, which I am pretty certain was about 6th grade (I wanted to say fifth but I am embarrassed to say I can't say for sure).

When you're 10 or 11, and your Mom takes you for that first pair of official "heels", the excitement is just immeasurable. In fact, everything you get to do as a kid seems magical that way. They were little, tan leather "slip on" heels (my first "Candie's"). I couldn't wait to wear them, learn to walk in these heels. I felt like such a grown up. Though they were slip-ons, I remember trying them out with hosiery. Back then, I always thought my legs looked so great with the stockings on since I've always been pale, the stockings made me feel tan. Not so much now, I hate tangling with them, profusely! You might catch me giving in to the need for hosiery on special occasions, if you're lucky. So anyways, little me... I clomped around in my amazing grown-up little high heeled shoes, really thinking I was 'somethin else' as we say in the south. I practiced as much as possible, and tried feverishly to get as good as my mother at walking in these big girl heels.

When I say my mother amazed me, seriously, she had a closet full of so many types of heels (all classy, my mother was indeed no slouch). Some had the tiniest little 'nail-like' quality to them, some were normal, and some of course were thicker. I wonder if she had ever thrown away a pair of shoes. It looked to me like she kept every pair from all eras, and I was just hypnotized.

I think her favorite shoes to wear were these cute little black boots, not but just over the ankle, guess you could call them "granny boots". She settled on a pair and wore them, thus actually rocking them with almost any outfit. She wore them during her time working as one of the "demo ladies" at Walmart, she wore them with jeans, pant suits, skirts. You name it. She wore them so much the heels wore down to a frazzle. It was at this point that I, being the admirable doting daughter I was, took them to a local cobbler near where I worked, and had the heels redone so she could wear them even longer.

As much as I admired my mother's ability to completely win at the heel game, and even though she taught us to always dress as classy as possible, I still never really got the hang of heels, nor did I develop a very big passion for shoes, or shopping. To this day, the thought of having to go pick out new outfits and shoes leaves me in dread, my attitude quite lackluster. It's really sad because I would give anything to carry it all off the way she did.

So here I am at work on a pretty warm day, still early in this season just thinking of all of these delightful things that such a hopeful time of year can bring to mind. Missing my Mom and Dad, because they're the two biggest reasons I had such an amazing childhood. Yes, here I sit in my not-truly-appropriate for office flat tennis shoes, reminiscing on a time (some lovely time somewhere in the south in spring) that a hopeful "young lady", still unscathed by the harsh realities of life was there, trying to find a little glamour and grace, trying to learn to walk or rather, 'spring in' to young adulthood on the cool heels of winter.

I Miss My Childhood,

Aunt Jackie (Jax)

(repeat of this post as contributor for I Miss My Childhood)




Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring Forward, Don't Fall Back

Spring Renewal
http://marielliott.deviantart.com/
Spring is in the air here in the River City. Although I fancy myself a fall maiden, something about the springtime gives way to so many mixed emotions. I feel hopeful, elated, sentimental, a bit empty and depressed sometimes, excited, yet sad. On one hand, as the weather evens out to warmer temperatures (depending on rain), I get more opportunities for motorcycle fun. However, I still pine for the fall chill and pine a bit for the holidays past (memories-sigh). Maybe it's a perfect time to recall some of my warmest memories of the season. Flow with me as I wax poetic, won't you?

Growing up, Easter was a big part of spring and a time when we still got excited for that holiday, since we would gather as a family (dinner like Thanksgiving and Christmas), and of course get our Easter Baskets and usually we looked forward to a new Easter dress (sometimes shoes and a purse to match). So there was a special feeling for the time of year and everything it meant to us as a family. For us, as kids, there was a general "harummph" feeling of disgruntlement at the very thought that we were being dragged to church, since our little sweet-toothed minds were rather focused on digging into our candy and getting on with the Easter egg hunt we would soon have in Mom's front yard.

One year in particular sticks out in memory. It just so happened that not all of the eggs were found, and we eventually ran across the unfortunate 'forgotten' treasures some months later, or maybe even the next Easter, when they had turned into 'Stink Bombs' more or less. That was not pleasant, I must say, though extremely funny in retrospect.

Many of the memories I have of springtime include my Mother's deep love of gardening and the outdoors, as well as Dad's always busy 'Working Man" nature. The grass cutting, the planting of so many flowers and vegetables in the gardens, the magical southern mud that comes with so many spring rains, In fact, I remember vividly after one such 'good rain', the yard already holding on to a bit of moisture, and our well had backed up so there was extra water soaking an area around a fixture my Mom had sitting out for use as a 'bird bath'. My Dad was working feverishly to finish up his yard work as he came upon this spot with the mighty intent to 'Weed Eat' around it so as to clean up the tall grass and weeds that build up all-too-quickly after these mystical southern rains. As he rounded the edge, his weed eater hit a pile of dog poo, unfortunately spattering him from head to toe in the unholy excrement. No, he was not a happy camper.

It was moments like those, looking back, that I dearly wish I had a video camera prepped and ready for every single antic or incident he got himself into (whether or not he found them funny, I'd love to be able to revisit them).

A word about bugs... ahh yes. Insects, of course were and still are my least favorite sign of the season. Since we don't get nearly enough winter weather here in the Mid-South, we are simply overrun with wasps, ticks, fleas, flies and mosquitoes (just to name a few).

Oh and crickets... cue the crickets...


Aside from all the good memories, I have to take a moment to pause. For some reason I have been struck with the blues as the afternoon has worn on and I have been in thought trying to add to this post. You see, my brain is always running 90 to nothing, and it doesn't take much to trigger a whole messy episode of me wallowing in my sorrows over wishing I could go back to 'when life was good, and we were all happy'.

Well if you think about it, the times that you remember as being so amazing and trouble-free are only so in retrospect. If you were to be truly honest with yourself, at those particular moments we were all worrying or upset about something, thinking we were unhappy over some event. They were better days to us now because we're remembering back, and perhaps missing the people, the places or the times we shared at that point in time, but the "us" of the moment was just as dissatisfied over circumstances and feeling like it wasn't going our way. Now we can look at that a couple different ways. On one hand, it is just life, and we're always dissatisfied looking over thinking the grass is greener in another yard. We can also take that to mean, things are always good, it's just up to US to perceive it that way.  Then we could take it (joking voice) that 5 or 10 years down the road THESE days will look to us like "The good ol' days" Yikes! ha-ha... Oh I digress. Just trying to make it a little humorous. Hey, I can say that because I've been through a helluva lot, and I refuse to give up. Keep going!!  All of our life, even the serious or painful parts should be coated with just a bit of humor anyway. There's no good reason and no benefit to making it all morose and serious, is there? The only way to survive any of it with a grain of sanity is to find the funny hidden between all the dark lines. That's how I feel about it. I'm not saying I've got it down to an exact science, hey nobody's perfect. We're all here to learn, to grow, and to realize that nothing here is permanent, it's all rented so enjoy it, take care of it and get the best experience you can out of it all. It is all about the ride, the journey, and obviously the thrills that make the memories (otherwise what would I write about)? Let's keep growing and learning together. If you're reading this and you're going through a hard time, take this as your sign. I'm here to tell you that your presence here is important, you can't give up, you can't check out early... you can, but I'm not letting you. Come on, let's rock this bitch!!!

“Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway”  ~Sydney J. Harris