Poems

The Cat Fell Asleep in my Shoe

kittyThe cat fell asleep in my shoe
And I don’t know what to do!
I really don’t want to shout,
But soon I have to go out.
If I wait here then maybe
She’ll have to go pee
Or get something to eat
And I can warm my  frozen feet.
Awww…she’s so innocent and cute!
How can I give her the boot?
I’ll just give her the shoe.
What else can I do?

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Real Talk

What I Learned from Food Network

Every Sunday, my family gathers in front of the TV to watch The Next Food Network Star. It combines two of our favorite things: community television-watching and food. But there are actually some really solid life lessons to pull from the show:

1. Be yourself. Contestants tend to either get really nervous and freeze up or go overboard to appear funny and likeable. Just relax! There are a lot of different personalities on Food Network and they all offer something pleasing to viewers! Don’t try to be someone you’re not, because that will mess you up more than anything else. But also…
2. Be kind. The Villian may provide some entertainment, but he/she never wins the game.
3. Follow your passion. This kind of goes back to “be yourself.” Everyone has a story that forms their interests and tastes. When people follow that, they do best and give viewers what they really want: a relatable or fascinating story, not just an insipid list of instructions.
4. Listen to the people who have been around for a while. They usually know what they’re talking about. And even though they may seem sadistic harsh at times, they really just want to help you improve.
5. Learn to improvise. You don’t always get the ideal situation. Learn to roll with it.
6. Smile through challenges. No idea what you’re doing? Think that you just served the most awful thing to come out of a kitchen? Don’t let the haters judges know until they taste it. It might be better than you think!
7. Take risks. Best case scenario, you succeed and blow the judges away. Worst case, you fail, but they have to respect your creativity and guts. Just don’t be stupid with your risks.
8. Cook good food. This isn’t a metaphor. I just think that everyone should know how to cook.

Real Talk

Hair Today, Blonde Tomorrow

My hair evolution. Yes, I deliberately skipped over the awkward middle school years.
My hair evolution. Yes, I deliberately skipped over the awkward middle school years.

A revolution raged across the country. Like their forefathers had centuries earlier, the oppressed masses fought for equality. They didn’t fight with a guillotine, but with scissors. This war wasn’t poverty vs. luxury, but tradition vs. well, fashion.

I’ll get back to French history in a second. Right now, I am having a crisis: my hair.

When I was a tyke, my skin was tan, my eyes were blue, and my hair was almost white. Unfortunately, as I’ve gotten older, my skin has gotten lighter, my eyes have gotten greener, and my hair has gotten darker.

Eventually, I’ll look like a green-eyed Snow White.

Living in Tennessee during the school year felt miserable. It was cold the entire spring semester. So, from the end of fall semester to the end of spring semester, I left my dorm as little as possible.

Since it didn’t see the sun, my hair became darker.

“It’s true,” my friend agreed. “You looked like Malibu Barbie when you first came here. Now your hair looks red.”

I’ve started thinking about bleaching it, which isn’t something I’ve ever had to consider about before. For no real reason, I highlighted my hair once before – in 8th grade – which proved to be a mistake, like most of the decisions I made during that era. It was a time of experimentation and awkwardness and the two often went hand-in-hand. The result was a yellow mop that made my face look bright pink.

Hair is a form of self-expression. That revolution I mentioned earlier was the genesis of the bobbed hairstyle. When women in France began bobbing their hair, they were disowned by their families, even run out of town. Did that stop them? Hecks, no. They sullenly pointed to the French savior, Joan of Arc, who made the bobbed cut a symbol of girl power and their efforts created a style sensastion; with the arrival of World War I, it became enormously popular.

But it’s not just that I prefer the lighter blonde look. My hair is lighter when I’m outside, when I’m at the beach or by the pool or just enjoying the outdoors. Basically, my hair is lightest when I’m happiest. When life isn’t coming crashing down on me. When I’m enjoying myself.

I suppose I should embrace my darker look. It represents change. It represents overcoming challenges. It represents the new era of my life.

But, like any borderline hippie, wannabe Barbie, I’m dousing it in lemon juice and spending every spare second basking in the sunshine.

Viva la revolution?

Or maybe just evolution.

Real Talk

Model Employee

There were red flags the size of Kansas waving at me from the beginning.

For instance, the fact that it was almost an hour away.

But I’m stubborn and in college (i.e. broke and desperate), so I told the kind lady at the temp agency that I would work – for one day – at a model home.

Again, being in college (i.e. having never bought a house and knowing absolutely nothing about real estate). I’ve never done sales, either, but I can’t blame that on college.

By purposeful speeding, I arrived at the home about 25 minutes earlier than I expected. I swung out of my car in my houndstooth pencil skirt, oversized bag (stuffed with books and pens) hung over my shoulder, and sauntered to the side of the house. I had been given the combination to a clever key-holding device that hung from a spigot protruding from the house.

(Did I say “key-holding device”? I mean “key-jail.”)

I crouched in the shrubbery and dialed the combination. There was a button on the side of the device that looked like it needed to be slid up to release the key, so I tried to push it up.

Repeatedly.

Hard.

No key.

I like to think of myself as a resourceful person. The name of the company that manufactures the key-maximum-security-prisons was on the front of the lock. I pulled out my phone and looked it up. I found some advice for resetting the numbers. I tried it.

Nothing.

I was sweating by this time, my blonde curls sticking to my gray cardigan.

Finally, I called the agency. I won’t go into all of our little back-and-forth – me to the agency, the agency to the saleswomen, agency back to me, back  to the saleswoman, the saleswoman to the construction worker – suffice to say, by the time a gaunt, white-haired angel named Jerry turned up, I had actually rubbed the skin off my thumbs and had tiny paint flecks on my fingers.

I had arrived 30 minutes early. Jerry let me in 30 minutes late.

Thankfully, no clients had come yet. Which pretty much describes the day.

In the eight hours I worked, a grand total of four people showed up. They all asked questions I couldn’t answer and after I found the answer, no one asked me that question again. The entire time I was with a customer, I felt stupid, inadequate, and frustrated.

The remaining seven-and-a-half hours, I stalked everyone I’ve ever met on every social media site in existence, read an L.M. Montegomery book, and wrote a short story, as well as most of this post.

The saleswoman whose desk I occupied had a few nicely written sticky notes on the side of her laptop. One read, “Always REMEMBER DAY 1: excited, nervous, ‘goosebumps,” ½ starved, happy, proud.” From a plaque or two in her office, it seems she ended up doing very well.

Granted, the lady did come in later and verbally roasted me, but she helped me realize something.

I want a job that I’m so excited to have, the first day makes me sick. I want to feel proud of my work. I want to be happy to come in and do my job every day. (Well, every week day. With plenty of vacation.)

And I don’t want to go into real estate.

Or sales.

And I want my own key.

Poems

Fourth of July Fireworks

BOOM! CLAP! Colors crackle across the sky.
Gunshots fire a brilliant kaleidoscope.
From ancient seats, the steadfast stars shine,
With a glittering wink, new stars hint at hope.  

With fire – we remember those who came before.
With magic – we honor their vision and cause.
Electrifying thunder and booming lightning –
Together – force a worried, harried world to pause.
Reflect.
And remember.

Happy Fourth of July! And a heartfelt thank you to all the men and women who serve our country, as well as the “old stars” who made the American dream possible.