My Empty Cart

I pushed my red empty cart through the aisles of the store, removing one item from a shelf, placing it in my cart, then deciding against it, take it from my cart and put it back up on the shelf.

As I make my way through almost every department, I repeat the same process, fully aware of my indecisive attitude.

In the canned goods aisle, one lady coos to her baby. In the furniture aisle, one mommy communicates repeatedly with her one-year-old in her baby talk voice.

I still couldn’t seem to find what I was looking for on my list. It was as if everything that the store had to offer just wasn’t a good fit. There wasn’t a thing worth my money and worth the time spent decision making.

I walk on with my empty red cart, leaving it at the front of the store as I walk out, content with the realization that I’m happy with an empty cart.

Pressing Pause

I rush down the main thru way to my appointment over the lunch hour. Maybe if I drive five more miles over the speed limit, I’ll even get to stop and actually have a lunch before I get back to work. One cop passes me and slows down. I cringe at the thought that he’ll whip around and write me up. I feel a rush of anxiety when he doesn’t and relief too–the price of my car insurance was just reduced.

I roll into the parking lot of the office where I have an appointment. I get out of the car and practically run up to the door. As I turn the handle my eyes unmistakeably catch the all capital  letters in bold black: OUT TO LUNCH. But I had an appointment! I’m not prone to potty mouth but $#%&!

Ok, at least I’ll have time to grab lunch. I go back to my car and start down the same road I came. I think I see two blinking red lights followed by the halt of traffic up ahead. Sure enough. I stop and wait for the longest train in history.

Back at work, I can’t even do something as simple as run a copy. I figure I had better walk away before I land myself in a meeting with Human Resources discussing the consequences of my assualt on a faulty machine.

Later in the afternoon, I reflect on the day that had seemingly gone so horribly wrong. I enivisioned myself stopped at the railroad crossing and I realized how nice it was to take a pause. It was incredibly nice, actually. Urgency is admirable, but my excessive tendencies toward achieving it make it all-consuming, causing way too much anxiety.

Reassuring myself that my to-do list doesn’t have to be done in a day, I show up again for my appointment the very next day. Believe it or not, the office building is still there and the woman I’m supposed to meet hasn’t disappeared.

After the meeting is over, the the train passes and the blinking red lights go out, I’m satisfied knowing that fast forward is ok, but sometimes, I need to press pause.

I have a problem

I have a problem. An acceptance problem. If I can’t do it and do it great, I don’t want to do it all. Believe it or not, I used to believe that this was a virtue.

Most recently, I’ve simply been the commenter, not one of the writers. I haven’t written because I can’t write a post and make it come out awesome, so as you know, I haven’t written at all.

Consider this post. I hate what I’m typing right now.  This isn’t a great blog post so I don’t want to do it. But my fingers keep on moving across the keyboard. For some odd reason, I have to keep typing. I’m having a hard time here.

And today in particular, I’m learning to accept the hard way that inspiration really is for amateurs and with each word, acceptance gets harder.

I believe most of you have already made your way over this hurdle. How long have we (well, you) been blogging now? But I’m still here friends. I may make my way over my hurdle. I may.

I’m staring at the “Publish Post” button on my screen, wringing my hands together. The question is, will I accept? Well, I guess you know.

The miracle

When we’re young, we’re inundated with optimistic remarks about the future. Well-meaning aunts and uncles pinch our cheeks much too hard and proclaim that we can be anything we want to be.

Well-intended speakers at graduation ceremonies insist that the world is ours. Shoot for the moon.

But then life happens just as it did for these same people. And although it’s hard to accept, every morning, we punch in and every evening, we punch out. And on the weekends, we play catch up with our lives.

Yet, we’re still taught to expect good things in big packages. And miracles only happen in a big way. And that when they happen, everything needed will come all at once. It’s an American thing.

When the time comes and often before we even know it, things have changed and something profoundly beautiful has happened. And the way we think has to evolve too because

It’s a miracle.

Automotive Maintenance, My Way

I need to get better about vehicle maintenance. In many ways, doing research about the auto industry at work has helped me understand more about cars. I have realized when it comes to caring for my car that some things are not as difficult as I had thought. And as a matter of fact, doing things myself is much easier.

For instance, this weekend, I went to cheapo depot lube place to have my oil changed. The service writer and mechanic insist I also need $80 in new filters. I know I need new filters. But I’m not paying $80 to have someone snap open a compartment, insert the filter, snap it closed and bill me. So after the oil change was done, I left to pick up the parts at a parts store. While there, the cheapo depot lube place leaves me two urgent voicemails. They need me to come back because they forgot to put my power steering cap back on after checking the fluid. I headed back across town and demanded a discount on my next oil change (not that I really want to return to this place). The service writer retorts that “the discount is that your car didn’t blow up.” I turn and walk out.

The service writer and mechanic follow me outside and hand me a card for a discount on my next oil change. I think that they panicked due to noticing my badge clip hanging off my purse (the clip has the logo of my employer printed on it)  as I stood at the counter to pay. The not-so-good-at-service service writer immediately started going on about automotive additives. I rolled my eyes.

Back at home, I watched a five minute video on changing the filters for my vehicle model. I replaced the old ones in a matter of minutes for a fraction of the price and best of all, drama free.

The next time my vehicle needs some routine maintenace, I think I’ll take a stab at it myself and leave the drama kings out of it. It’s easier that way.


Can I please show some ID?

Tonight I was in the mood for a nightcap so on my way home I stopped in for a bottle of bubbly. I’m always curious to find out if the clerk will card me.

You see, the story is that on my 21st birthday, I was with friends at a bar. A real bar. A bar with motorcycle riders and blasting metal music. I’m not even sure why we chose that place, but choose it we did. I anxiously sat waiting to order my drink, my first experience as a real adult. The waitress comes to our table. I order. I hold my breath, grasping my ID underneath the table. I was ready…and…she doesn’t even ask to see it. She doesn’t even bother. How old did I look? Needless to say, I was totally bummed. So were my friends.

Now, everytime I order or purchase alcohol, I recall this traumatic experience and wonder if I’ll actually be asked to present my identification. Well, tonight, I was not. This didn’t stop me from anxiously flipping open my wallet just in case nor will it for years to come.

I paid for my goods and made my way out into the night. The twenty-one year old was still standing at the counter asking Sir, can I please show you some ID?

Charitable Giving–American Girl Style

It’s that time of year again, the time to give. Yes, I realize it’s not December. But for girls all over town, this means that it’s time to attend Catholic Charities annual Bags to Riches event. With just a $40 donation (to help support women in domestic violence situations), I can spend the evening shopping for cute handbags, snag drinks from an open bar and take my pick of miniature-sized desserts from an hors d’oeuvre bar. As you can imagine, this makes for a completely enjoyable evening. But every year that I attend, I can’t help but have this annoying thought in the back of my head–is this how I really want to do charity? It’s true that the proceeds of every auctioned handbag go to the cause, but I’ve always liked to think that I’m more of a hands-on kind of gal when it comes to giving, never concerned about making appearances.

You may be thinking, it’s just one event, not a big deal. But for me, this forced me to take a serious look at myself and to ask myself some tough questions. Will I only give if I can be seen? Will I only give if I can rub shoulders with big movers and shakers in the community? Will I give only if I can enjoy myself at the same time?

I attended the Bags to Riches event again this year. I had a good time. My money went to a good cause to help women I will never meet. In all honesty, I will probably attend next year. I like comfort. I guess this is how I want to give. Kind of scary.


A new job is exciting, but always a bit intimidating.

In my new role, I’m working with technology in ways that I have not yet had extensive experience. While initially a bit challenging, I can tell that It’s one of those “practice makes perfect” experiences and given more time, I can do it.

Yesterday was my first day and I had a fabulous trainer. But that didn’t keep me from walking out at end-of-day with my eyes glazed over. Looking over computer coding,learning about servers (you wouldn’t believe how many there are) and listening to talk about octets was admittedly a bit stifling (Octet. Like octave? A series of 8 notes? I have a lot to learn). I can do it.

I do like my cubicle. (Wait, did I just say I like my cubicle)? It’s huge. So much counter space.

And I like my drawers. They’re so big! Too bad I don’t have much to put in them. I’ll find something–a bigger purse, that’s it. I can do it.

Even though there are no windows, the blinding yellow wall near me does help. And when I leave for the day, my eyes have to adjust to the dimness of the sunlight outside. I can do it.

It’s awfully quiet in the basement. I find it thrilling when someone walks down the hallway. I can’t plug in my favorite purple earbuds to listen to music because the cord is too short. I’m going to make it work. I can do it.

After my long hiatus from blogging, I’ve decided to keep writing with you friends. I’ll let you know all about the current happenings down below if you keep the laughs coming. We can do it.

Girl’s Day Out, Part II

You would think that I would have learned my lesson. That I would have refrained from shopping the day after my near breakdown at the mall. Wrong. See, I knew that it was just a matter of mindset, timing and company. I did learn quite a bit on Saturday (by the way, never go to Old Navy on $1 flip flop day). 

So on Sunday, I grabbed my bestie and favorite shopping partner, who also happens to be my mother and we headed out. After what I had been through on Saturday, I needed something new, organic, unpretentious, an escape from the plain-vanilla neighborhood in which I am blessed (but oftentimes bored), to live in.  I was to find that there’s no better place than a flea market.

100,000 square feet of sights, smells ( I admit, not all pleasant), colors and casual, working class folks all trying to make a buck on the weekend awaited me. Oh yeah, this is my kind of place.

Inside the first booth, I’m immediately attracted by the sparkle of dozens of pairs of earrings hanging from a rack. $2 a pair. Bargain. The Latino owner doesn’t speak English well and I’ve forgotten nearly everything my grandad ever taught me (he’d be displeased, but other things are on my mind now), so we can’t make a deal over the pile of jewelry I’ve accumulated, but there’s plenty more bargains to be had.

Next, two old men try to sell me an $8 necklace with the guarantee that it’s a lifetime chain. Unbreakable. And since we’re in this fine establishment of a flea market, I believe him. I mean, he has even cleaned his own lifetime chain with engine grease and nothing even happened to it.

I pass on the necklace.

It gets better. I talk a lady down on two items–2 for $20. Feelin’ good.

A Vietnamese immigrant makes a sorry attempt to sell me a gold gangster chain, but I know if I don’t practice some degree of self-control, I’ll leave the place looking like a bona fide chola, blonde hair and all.

Making my way back into the skinny aisles, I realize that I need to pick up the pace–the sharp points on the boots of the chicano behind me seem like they’re about to stab me in the back of the leg. I round one more corner right before the exit. As I walk by, the salsa music puts some more pep in my step. What’s that? A candy counter? Mom and I both decide we earned a giant piece of fudge(to split of course).

In the parking lot, we make up for it. She buys some organic produce off the back of some old man’s truck.



Girl’s Day Out

Saturday was a designated girl’s shopping day for a couple of my cousins and me. So we loaded up and headed to the mall. But now, I must mention that I’m not the type of person to get excited about trips to the mall unless I’m alone–not to be rushed and not to have to wait twenty minutes on someone in the fitting room. Selfish, I know. Outside an eye appointment (I will go to an optometrist in the mall) and picking up the select cosmetic products I use only available there, the mood rarely strikes me to overpay for overrated merchandise.

But, like I said, it was girl’s day. I gave in. It’s not often that my 14 year-old cousin wants to spend time without thinking she’ll get anything out of it (I did buy her a smoothie–it’s hot out but I’m not complaining).

My cousin’s wife tagged along. We were pretty close at one time. Now, she has two toddlers and “never gets any time for her.” She buys a few things and nothing for her kids for a change. Soon afterward, she starts going on about how guilty she feels. She wants my sympathy. I can’t give it. And I know she’s just dying for the day that I have my own children so she can stick it to me and say “See how tough it really is to give up your freedom as an individual?” Kids complicate everything.

I did wait twenty minutes outside the fitting room in American Eagle for my cousin to try on two pairs of shorts. During that time, I watched the late twenty-something clerk hit on every teenage girl that passed by his counter, endured several uncomfortable “What are you doing in here” scowls and began to feel the onset of a head-throbbing from standing too close to a speaker blaring some punk noise. Just before I went psycho (it was close), she was ready to pay.  She bought one t-shirt. Waited ten more minutes while the clerk got her name, address, phone number, hometown, zip code, email address, date of birth and asked to see her photo ID (rewards program).

Love the family. I think next time I’ll see what the guys are doing.