My Beloved Slippers (sob, snivel, snurp)

I had no idea of the anguish ahead of me. After all, the room had a beguiling allure of happy color and Mexican art with a beautifully tiled bathroom.

The bathroom had color but no hot water.

But my room on the second floor of the Hotel Trébol in Oaxaca City had a flaw. It didn’t have hot water.

Our Compassion Mexico Sponsor Tour stayed in several hotels while traveling in Oaxaca and its outskirts in January of this year. After staying two nights, we left the Hotel Trébol for other hotels, with plans to return for our final three nights. As soon as we checked back in at the Trébol, I requested a different room. read more

You Don’t Need A Purpose

Several hundred smiling Mexican children line the pathway. They shake pink and blue balloons with the same kind of a vigor you’d expect from too much caffeine. As we hike up the path, the children greet us, one by one, with handshakes and hugs. We trek along the cheerful pathway of bouncing balloons and happy children toward a huge arching banner with the words “Bienvenidos” (welcome).

Our greeting feels like heaven.

This is how I expect heaven will be ~ a jubilant greeting of happiness and joy full of children and colorful balloons.  Perhaps heaven will be a little warmer, as my three sweatshirts did not keep me warm. read more

I’m in my pajamas and it’s after midnight (and life goes haywire)

“I think I need to go to the hospital,” Jerry says to me. “I’m having chest pains and they’re not going away.”

I’m in my pajamas and it’s after midnight. I had stayed up to read my book (When A Crocodile Eats the Sun).

I go down the list of heart attack symptoms. “Does it feel like an elephant is stepping on your chest?”

“No,” he says, “it’s periodic stabbing pain that comes and goes.”

“Trouble breathing? Pain radiating down your arm?”

“No, but my breathing is shallow when I have the stabbing pain….Ohhhhhyeeech, there’s another one.” Jerry puts his hand over his heart. I suggest calling 911. “No, just drive me,” he insists. I throw on some sweat pants and grab my keys. read more

My Bed Traumatized Me

I thought the list “Things to Do Every Day” might improve my life. I found it in an article online and copied it down. First on the list: “Make the bed. If you do it first thing, you start with a win.”

This completely contradicts what I heard at a writer’s workshop. The leader said, “Make time to write. Don’t make the bed. Use that time to write. Who cares if your bed is made?”

I wanted more time to write. Yahoo. I would stop making the bed.

Yet, the idea of not making the bed bothered me. I had made the bed every day since my childhood. But Jerry didn’t seem to mind the bed in a chaotic upheaval of bedraggled blankets. Actually, the cats loved the explosion of sheets and blankets and nestled in it. read more

How Dare You!

Growing up in Southern California, I didn’t have the four seasons. Summer meant sloshing on the Slip n’ Slide and sticking the garden hose inside my dad’s inflatable lifeboat to fill it up for our own homemade swimming pool. Winter meant we might need a jacket while playing outdoors.

All in all, I grew up in a world of sunshine, orange trees, blooming hibiscus and bougainvillea.

This is some of my childhood gang. I was so envious of the girl on my left. She was 7-years-old and I wanted to be “grown-up” and older like her. I lived in my cowgirl outfit. The doll I’m holding will soon get lost at the beach. I will cry forever and my mom will feel bad and rush to the store and buy me two new dolls exactly like the one I lost.

I don’t recall much about Thanksgiving at our house. We usually had a turkey dinner with no one invited to join us. My dad had ongoing feuds with relatives, so I’m sure that had a lot to do with us dining by ourselves. One Thanksgiving my dad’s Aunt Myrtle invited us to have Thanksgiving dinner at her house. This seemed like a wonderful treat to go to someone’s house for Thanksgiving. Aunt Myrtle’s daughter, a teenager at the time, passed me a bowl of peas soon after we had all seated ourselves at the table and the prayer said. I passed the peas right on by as I hated peas. The teenage cousin said to my mom in a haughty tone, “Aunt Bev, shall I make her eat peas?”  My mom told her it was okay for me to not eat peas. As you probably have guessed, I was never fond of that cousin after that. read more