Sunday, January 30, 2011

Birthdays - the Real Mother's Day


On this day several years ago, I had a beautiful bouquet of flowers delivered to my mom at Macy's, where she worked in retail sales. When she received the unexpected gift she immediately phoned me, delighted but confused.

"It's your birthday!" she exclaimed."Why are you sending ME flowers?"

Maybe because on this day many moons ago, mom's the one who went through all the work. Starting with labor, her life was newly dedicated to child rearing, counseling, teaching, worrying, investing, praising, sacrificing, reprimanding, developing, nurturing and loving. Always loving. Heck, the very fact that she tolerated my manic, prepubescent "Osmond Brothers" years should have earned the woman a Nobel Peace Prize.

But me? On this day many moons ago, all I did was get born. Pop my wrinkled, cone-shaped head out, wail and go with the flow. Really, how difficult was that? A very passive act, if you think about it.

"I wouldn't be having a birthday if it weren't for you," I replied. "I just wanted to say thanks for giving me such a great life."

A great life, thanks to a great mom. On this day especially, oh, how I miss her.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Showdown at the Coffee Corral


The scene? A Starbucks parking lot at 6:45 am on a damp foggy morning. The players? Me in my Corolla facing a woman in her Explorer. The dilemma? A lone parking space. We had each pulled up to it at the same time, so it was really all about being nice.

Except on this cold-for-California 35-degree morning, I was feeling sleepy, cranky, and anything but nice. Still, I waved for her to take the spot. She didn't move. I waved again and when she didn't acknowledge my gesture, I figured okay, fine, and swung into the space with a clear conscience. There were other, albeit further, spaces for her to choose from, and I didn't have all day hanging around trying to be "nice." Besides, I wanted my damn coffee.

Like I said, cranky.

Inside the shop I was soon lost in my own comatose thoughts and didn't notice that the driver of the Explorer was behind me in line.That is, until a Starbucks clerks said, "Cute shoes!" Since we were the only two customers in the store and I was wearing what my best friend refers to as "those ugly man-shoes" (hey, in my defense they're incredibly comfortable), I knew the compliment wasn't directed towards me. Slyly, I peeked at her shoes.

"Oh my gawd," I gushed before I could stop myself. "Those are the cutest shoes I've ever seen!" Black, hot pink and yellow plaid, they were peep-toe Mary-Jane stilletos on a 3-inch heel. And indeed, the cutest shoes I had ever seen. I'd fall and break my neck before I could even begin to stand upright in a pair of shoes like those, but I could certainly admire them.

"On sale, $10 at Burlington Coat Factory!" she gushed back with delight. "Seriously, can you believe it?"

And as I waited for my venti soy latte and she her grande peppermint mocha, we jabbered about how a good pair of shoes could make even sweatpants look stylish, how much we loved a good sale, and by the way, you should check out Aerosoles because their shoes are comfortable, yet stylish and affordable.

Etcetera, etcetera.

By the time our coffees arrived, we were chatting like old friends. As we walked towards the exit, I held the door for her. "After you," I offered. "No," she insisted, "after you!" When she drove off in her Explorer, she gave me one last friendly wave, which I readily returned.

Suddenly I felt a little less cranky and a little more nice, warmed by the unexpected exchange on this damp, foggy morning. And all because of a pair of shoes.
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