Back in the 1960s one of the largest cities in Mexico was Guadalajara. My mom hailed from this city and made a transfer to Southern California, Orange County to be exact, sometime in early 1950s. Following the fragrance of citrus. And appealing green of avocado.

Her own mother — Refugio Fonseca — decided to make a (very brief) appearance in our home, situated in Garden Grove, an up and coming suburb of the area.

On day two of the visit, that’s one day and a smidgen of a second day, my grandmother announced, “I need to go home.”
It seems she found it far too quiet in the suburbs of Southern California in the 1960s. She mildly complained to my mom that she didn’t like it there. Toooooo quiet. She needed the revelry of her hometown back in Mexico. She needed to return. She needed to leave. Even the citrus and avocado wasn’t enough to serve as an anchor.

There is something to be said for noise. No, not the disturbing type of noise. But the type that sounds as though we are alive. We are vibrant. We are moving. We are not stale. We are not comatose. We are not too quiet.

November 30

This served as the date for our make-up class. The adult tap dance class I teach on Friday evenings had been canceled previously for one class meeting when I experienced freeway hazards and couldn’t make the start time.

When I arrived at the studio door on November 30 primed and ready for a fun hour of dance, imagine my surprise. Another dance teacher had displaced me. Well, she didn’t have advance knowledge that her presence would displace me. Apparently, our supervisor had made the error of scheduling the other teacher on the same evening in the same space. I called the supervisor. She profusely offered apologies, saying “I’m sorry” eight times over (maybe nine) with amazing speed. Now, it may not have been such an egregious wrong but I drove an hour one way in Bay Area traffic on Bay Area freeway to get to my appointment…nothing was going to redeem this bust of a night. And after listening to the other teacher explain that she had nothing to do with the mix-up using her sickeningly-sweet-saccharine-voice to do it, I replied, “I don’t like your sickeningly-sweet-saccharine-voice.” “I’m from Georgia”, came her response.  I didn’t understand why she felt the need to talk geography. But I was prompted to say, “Yes, and the South lost the war”.

The supervisor mentioned she could offer the students, and myself, a make-up to the make-up. Really? No. We were headed into December…busy holiday goings on. The students were not enthusiastic about yet another make-up date at that point. Georgia got what she needed out of the evening. I returned home with nothing but frustration to show for my two hour round trip drive. An evening without 5,6,7,8. Argh.



Life Doesn’t Get Better Than OPI Lucky, Lucky Lavender.

Let’s have some fun.

Pinks and purples, with a loan pale orange, inhabit space on my shelf of nail polish. Lucky Lucky Lavender is the premium shade of purple. But I am open minded enough to experiment. However, I stay away from the browns and grays. Essence of Morticia Addams.

All throughout my twenties, while tending to the needs of children and the household, I avoided nail polish. Didn’t seem practical and my nails were not healthy. Lots of splitting and stunted growth. Never mind.

In the last five years I have benefitted from an assist via Biotin — a godsend really. My nails came into their own as I aged. By the time I reached my 50s I was full steam ahead. Essie also takes a place beside the others. Fun names. Do You Lilac It and It Takes A Westlake Village have magical qualities. Both shades provide distinctive therapeutic value. Happy colors. Femininity personified.

I do my own nails. I feel satisfied with the results most of the time. Let’s have some fun.

Life. Or Not.

More than once my life has deviated from a day spent in Disneyland. The happiest place on earth.

Miscarriage. I had one between my two children. My oldest was 2 1/2 when the miscarriage ocurred. I was in my 12th week. It was Christmastime. Fa, la, la, la, la and all that. I had gotten the tree decorated. It was cold outside. Not my favorite weather. I do not embrace winter. Very difficult to get through. And this made it more so. A lost pregnancy, a lost child, made the entire scenario more compromised. Life seems to offer that which is bliss and that which is cruel. This was not bliss.

I think all women who experience miscarriage grieve in a very isolated way. Husbands/fathers do not grieve in the same way. This is a woman’s body. The baby was tucked away in there under the guise that it was safe. It is a woman’s personal loss.

Who knows for certain why these things happen? In the morning I was lying in bed. Very strong cramps indicated the impending outcome. Within a few minutes I passed the fetus. The Christmas carols coming from the radio conspired against me. “Have a holly, jolly Christmas…” seemed especially cruel.

I was less one child. There was nothing joyous about that December. Sometimes it is just hell to be a woman. A mom. And then not a mom.


Does The Noise In My Head Bother You?

A line from the movie The God’s Must Be Crazy. Order the dvd from Amazon for $13.92. Dated but hilarious and very clever.

This line is spoken by a woman seated at a table having a meal. A teacher, newly arrived to the area, joins her. To greet the new arrival the first woman has to establish the situation in the most polite way possible, asking the pivotal question.

And what about those noises? They do come and go. In the psychiatric realm they are referred to as auditory hallucinations. Auditory.

The space between me and the floor of the bedroom plays with me. To my left on the carpet. We have had vermin visit the interior of our home multiple times. The last time I had to call the exterminator as I had discovered droppings in the corner of the kitchen and two bedrooms. He announced they were mouse droppings. Too small for rats. Exterminator proceeded to direct my next steps. Placing a trap (with chocolate no less) at the spot under the kitchen sink would clinch the deal. I was fast asleep when I was awakened by the loud snapping sound. There ya go. Disposed of the trap with mouse the next morning.

Auditory hallucinations continued the next evening while I fell asleep. No more mouse, so what gives?

There is no animal living in the bedroom closet. No bump to the bed. No feathers, no fur, nothing. I leave piles of school supplies on the floor next to the closet doors. They go consistently untouched.

I have heard a low brief humming sound. I picked up a quick beep, twice. Not to be outdone by the most unusual and fleeting, the rustling sound of wings. I am familiar with that sound. I have two parakeets. But they haven’t become quite clever enough to exit their cages, find the bedroom — and rustle.

Since I do not resort to turning on the light, I am curious but frightened enough to not want to see evidence that some creature is visiting my space, I have only sounds to go by. This phenomena has been ongoing for a year or so. Don’t know if the noise bothers anyone else. It bothers me.

Hands Folded

Kindergarten through 8th grade. This is how the students maintained themselves in each grade level. It was a Catholic school in Vallejo, CA. I was there for just the day on assignment as substitute Spanish teacher.

I had taught in elementary schools, after school enrichment programs. Additionally, I had tutored both child and adult in ESL. Of course all of this came on the heels of my work in a middle school as well as a high school located in a tiny fishing village. Compulsory education sets the tone. Students either add or subtract. In eleven years I never found any folded hands among the student body.

Well trained students in the Catholic school outshone the rest. Not only did I walk into each classroom (remember, this includes 5 year olds and 13 year olds) to find strict adherence to school rules (hands folded upon desktop) but there was not a sound coming from any student. Somewhat eerie…foreign…refreshing.

Only because I led the 8th graders in a competitive Spanish vocabulary game, two teams vying for the prize, did I hear revelry, boisterous revelry, in the group.

I am not Catholic but I am gearing up for my first Holy Communion. It should prove to be a record breaker. The first 63 year old to take the ceremony. If my experience is representative of Catholic schools exclusively, pass the Communion Wafers. I will fold my hands.

I Gave Up Housework For Lent

Dusting. Sweeping. Washing. Wiping. Scrubbing. I gave it all up for Lent.

Actually, I know the premise of it all is to give up something you like. Chocolate would qualify. Chocolate is not labor intensive. Although some Dove chocolates are user unfriendly with arthritic fingers manipulating the foil wrapper. Yes, that is an admission of arthritis. Can chocolate reverse the aging process? Can it straighten the joints? Can I phone the Molly Maid people to come clean house? Why did I cut my hair?

I have a grandson. Three years old. And as tiny as he is he manages to find things at his eye level. Dust balls. Small spider webs. The Pringles can that rolled under the bed. “Mom, the house is dusty,” said my son Lance. Presenting him with the dust rag and furniture polish I encouraged him, “Here ya go, Lance, you can start over in that corner.”

Bathrooms are tricky. I have to concede a nasty bathroom will not go unattended. But, I have kept apartments and houses clean for nearly the entire time I have been married. Four decades of unceasing cleanliness. Time out for Lent.