Wednesday, February 28, 2007

My LIfe as a Bookseller.....Part 2

It's 9 am and the manager unlocks the door. Already the chess guys (a couple of guys with boards and clocks) and newspaper people (people who run in to buy the New York Times) are waiting and looking at their watches.

I find Martha Stewart's newest household hint bible out of place and hidden on a lower shelf. I guess everyone has their weak spots....guys hide Playboys....and professional women (?) secretly scan Martha's hints?

I like to take a random peek inside books as I take them back to their proper places. So I flip the bible open and find this helpful suggestion for hospitable living,

" I like to keep a basket of slippers by the door for guests."

This stops me in the aisle. I read it again. There's even a picture of slippers in a wicker basket. Now this is why you gotta love working in a bookstore. Did I know it's in supreme good taste to have slippers in a basket for my guests? Obviously, I have missed some kind of boat, a slipper boat, a look-at-how-cool-I -am-boat.

And what kind of slippers would I buy for my guests? Terry cloth ones with an embroidered logo like you would see in a fine hotel? Dark felt ones that shout...Gina is so classy she's making you wear Millionaire-type togs? Listen..... if I ever had a basket of slippers for my guests....I would fill it with furry Elmos, huge Bart Simpson heads and of course the traditional lion, tiger and kitten heads. At least this way, slipper-picking would be like a personality test for your guest....a tall handsome man choosing kitten head slippers could mean....I'm good looking but warm and loving, I'm gay, or my mommy would never buy me these when I was little.

The phones start ringing and the first person is looking for "The Secret." Yes, this new Oprah mentioned book is hot on the sales list and long gone from our bookstore. I feel a tiny ittty bitty urgent to be snotty and say something like "Well we don't have the book, but I'll tell you what the secret is.....drink raw eggs in a cup of coffee twice a day.....or never waste your money on books trying to tell you secrets." But I'm's too be mentally snotty.....and I need to save my energy for the rest of the day.

Mental snottiness is an art. When you first start in actually care and hurt every time a customer treats you poorly. But with time, you learn to protect yourself from unreasonable, silly, obnoxious people by telling the customer off mentally....while you smile sweetly. At first, just like a child learning to read, new people in retail might move their lips. They're youngsters and still learning. But pros like us....who have been in retail for at least three years....can smile and say to you....."Oh let me see what I can do for you".....while we are mentally saying....."YOU big ugly festering pustule of a human ......." Well you get my drift.

Just last week, I was in a store and complaining about something when I RECOGNIZED the smile I was GETTING. Hmmmm.....I had to do a quick assessment to see if I was being a jerk.

A nice soccer-looking mom comes up to the information desk with a scribbled note in hand. "I'm looking for......Thighs on Fire." I don't even raise an eyebrow. Sounds like a sexuality book....I'm way cool with that...and type it a business-like manner.

"Did you mean....Set his thighs on fire: 86 red hot lessons?" I look up from the computer and the woman has turned white. OOOPs.....she mustn't have the right title.

"Okay....let me help you find the right book." Her embarrassment is so palpable I want to pat her hand and say honey its's between you and me."

"Tell me more about the book you're looking for........" Through a jumble of clues....I finally get the right book....Edie: Girl on Fire.....the story of one of Andy Warhol's cosmopolitan friends that died at age 28 from a fast life. The woman is relieved.

A customer asks me a question about a magazine and I head for the stacks. While looking for this particular mag, a woman sitting on the bench with a cup of tea in her hand starts complaining.

"This tea has been too hot to drink for ten minutes."

I am stunned by what a pure idiot she is....and what does she expect me to do about it? Take the lid off off her cup and blow on her tea?

For this....I should get a medal in customer service.....I smile ...the SMILE.....and calmly and sweetly say......."Perhaps an ice cube from the cafe might help?"

Where is the president of my chain bookstore when I should be given an award for restraint...because really I should of grabbed a magazine and smacked this woman over the head.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Wow...What's Outside My Door this morning.....

There's hope, there's always new's spring!

Monday, February 26, 2007

My Life as a Bookseller.........Part 1

I work in a bookstore, a chain bookstore, and have for the last 5 years. People often ask me if working in a bookstore is fun....I can't is.....especially if you love books and love working with interesting people.

Surprisingly, a fair number of folks hand me their application for employment and confess they don't read a lot but hang out at the store and think it would be a "cool" place to work. Occasionally management has hired people who either faked an interest in books or openly lied about their reading habits. They usually don't last too long. Other booksellers begin giving pseudo-bookies the evil eye and our customers, many of them with a shark-like ability to detect a lack of literary knowledge, will circle the poor hapless creature and devour him or her.

I usually work Sundays. I complain about going to work on Saturday. It's a tradition. How can you work every Sunday if you don't complain about it Saturday evening? But when the alarm goes off at 630am Sunday morning, I'm ready to go. I start at 8am.

What can you possibly do at 8am on a Sunday morning in a bookstore? Lots. I'm the morning newspaper person. I arrive to find a stack of 100 or so newspapers either outside the door of the store or waiting for me in the front lobby. I actually enjoy newspaper prep. It's a physical and rather ritualistic job that requires counting the papers, stacking them in appropriate places, and stripping and counting out-of-date newspapers. It takes about an hour to complete the job. The lugging and hauling of papers, wakes me up and I'm ready for our wonderful customers by the 9am opening. I also enjoy taking a peek at some of the stories in the newspapers. It's good to get a glimpse into the life of people in Oklahoma or Atlanta and of course, those wild and crazy folks, in New York.

This past Sunday, I hit the bookstore in an evil mood. I was running late and left the house without my cup of coffee. A power outage zapped us for a few hours on Saturday and every clock in my house was reset at different times. I thought I woke up at 630, my husband's clock said it was 645, my bathroom clock said it was 7am. Was I smart enough to flip open my cellphone and see what time it really was? I rushed out of the house, sans JAVA.....and cranky. When I looked at the time in my car....I was actually running a few minutes ahead of time...great....but it was too late to get the coffee going now.

The ritual of the newspapers calmed me down. I hit the backroom to strip, toss, count, and file the papers and noticed someone had left two magazines on the work table. One was a magazine called MEN, the other was a PLAYBOY.

In our bookstore, especially on Friday and Saturdays, it's not uncommon to find copies of sexual magazines hidden and scattered in various places in the store. There's always the funny customer who hides a Playboy in Cooking or Christianity. The men's bathroom is also a favorite deposit area. Customers will come out of the bathroom and report abandoned mags. We send in one of our guys to retrieve them. Soiled, wet, crumpled mags are greeted with a yuck....and escorted ......via latex gloves...... to the backroom for proper disposal.

The magazines left on the work bench were in pristine condition. Someone probably slipped the plastic wrap off (they must be sealed because of their content) and the closing crew found them while tidying up the place after hours. I've looked through many of the major magazines in our bookstore.... from travel mags, to cooking mags, to sex mags. I expected MEN to be a gay advocate magazine. When I opened it, I discovered it was not a typical soft gay mag. The entire middle section was devoted to positions..... interesting positions... the men were gorgeous....many of them were pouting...some had Angelina Jolie-type lips .......which I found fascinating. (What you think I'm going to admit I found other things besides their lips fanscinating?) I realized I was VERY AWAKE now, even without my coffee. I finished my newspaper duties and did a quick glance at should always keep an eye on the competition. As expected, the women were all perfect, so nothing new there.

I glanced at the clock, the store would be opening in about 5 minutes. I decided not to trust the buzz from MEN magazine. I hit the cafe for a cup of coffee.


Connecting....the hardest door to open

To connect means to push open the heavy door of life.
This is not an easy. Indeed, it may be the hardest task in the world.
For opening the door to your own life is more difficult than opening the doors to the mysteries of the universe.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I'm Going to ...Slovenia ....Really!

I'm going to Slovenia in June.

I'm going to pause here for a few you can finish laughing...and then say...." there such a place?" Those of you who are compulsive may feel the need to dash to go ahead. I'll still be here when you return.

Talk about life turning on an innocent email. That's exactly what happened....I opened an email from a former Professor who teaches at a local university. He teaches at an MFA writing program in the northeast during the summer. Apparently, the grad school writing class had a few open spaces after the students had registered and he was sending out feelers to some former students whom he thought might qualify.

When I read the program was in Slovenia....I just laughed. Slovenia?...."Where the hell is that?" Google said it was tightly sandwiched between Italy, Austria, and some other new Slav nations and pronounced it legitimate, quaint, interesting, picturesque and peaceful. Me go to a peaceful pretty country instead of one that required knowledge of AK47s? The concept of traveling someplace safe and secure was mind-boggling.

In a rather spooky coincidence, a couple weeks ago, I remember sitting in my reading chair late at one night. I was thinking about how much more work I had to do on the Africa book....when this very interesting thought arrived....isn't it time... Gina..... you went someplace pretty? Isn't it time you considered going someplace where an overactive adrenalin pump and a freshly updated will weren't the prerequisites?

Africa slapped me around. I know I have an edge now....I know I have limitations. I had to learn how to receive in the the tough woman on the block who carries her own 50 lb mulch bag, cuts down a tree, and goes for lessons on how to fire a semi-automatic rifle. I had to depend on someone to be my guardian angel to keep me going...."Gina ...get up, get your backpack and get in the car." " Yes Diana." "Which car?"

So here comes Slovenia....Slovenia.....A country whose name you can't say without laughing.....a country who has a writing program in the Alps in a beautiful lodge on a lake...where the only tough circumstance you have to face outdoors is fending off mosquitoes which take a little blood and don't insert deadly diseases as a thank you gift.

This is almost as terrifying as crossing the Sahara desert .....comfort, beauty, intellectual conversations, good food, reasonable temperatures, a soft bed........

Oh My God what have I gotten myself into?


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Art of Liberation Courtesy of Africa

Tanya Hollifield

I never intend to buy art. It seems to find me. There's this mutual nod of recognition. Hello art, you belong in my house. Hello Gina, you need to take me home. There's no waffling, no angst, no indecision....and thank God overpriced art never talks to me.

Last week I was invited to read an essay on our local NPR station. They have a story hour once a month and selected one of my small humor pieces to be included in the show. They now tape the show from a local restaurant/cafe so there's comfortable background noise and laughter--hopefully in appropriate places. The old brick walls of the cafe are covered with paintings, wall art, photos.

I walked in the door, headed to the bar and stopped midway. I looked at "Liberation," she looked at me. Hello art, Hello Gina. Amen.

What stunned me about this piece (acrylic on muslin) is that it mimicked the exact pose I took when I stood on the rocks of the Djado plateau overlooking the Sahara desert. I stood naked with my hands raised to the desert, she stands naked with her hands raised to the viewer. My pictures were taken in silhouette from behind, her picture is open to those who would look her in the eye. Sometimes when I pass by her in her temporary lodging in the front room, I believe she is my brave twin... facing life, with openness and honesty, takes more guts, I believe, than crossing the Sahara desert.

I believe this mutual recognition of art and soul has its origins somewhere deep in the psyche. I don't think it's an accident I found her and it's certainly not an accident that she's home with me.
Every time I pass her, I'm going to remember the courage and toughness it took to cross Africa.

Every time I pass her, she's going to remind me of the courage and toughness it takes to live an authentic life.
Hello art. Hello Gina. Amen.


Friday, February 16, 2007

I Don't Know How Old I Am.......

They say blogs become confessional. So why fight it? On this cold winter night here in the south...I'm ready to confess.

I can't remember how old I am, I often forget how old my children are...and I haven't a clue how old the pets are or how many years I've been married. I'm an intelligent, fiesty, interesting woman...but it appears I have a genetic break in some DNA sequence that creates age amnesia.

A couple days ago, I went to the doctor because I mangled my shoulder. Not being a patient person, I didn't wait for the men folks and cut down a tree limb which was too big and too ambitious for a pole saw. The handsome doctor looked at me ( I was not wearing lipstick) and asked "How old are you?" I knitted my brow. "How old does the chart say I am?" He read off a number. "Well, I could be. " He gave me a funny look and probably thought I had damaged more than my shoulder in the Gina-versus-the-tree saga.

This age-amnesia also applies to my children. When they were little, I could report their age to the exact year and month. Now they are all "teenagers"....although my daughter reminds me she is legally drinking. It seems when they grew into adult-type bodies, my brain could no longer distinguish the difference between 15 and 16 and simply gave up. They will probably turn 30 someday and I'll still tell people I have three teens.

And the pets? Who knows how long I've been battling dog hair.... Dog #1 is the oldest animal, followed by Cat, followed by Deaf Dog. When I call the vet, I first call my husband. He is quite annoying and will say things like..." We got Mike (Dog #1) right after the championship basketball game when the Chicago Bulls played the Indiana Pacers because you named him after Micheal Jordan because the Bulls won... which makes him...... (Wait one second while I ask him......) .....he says, "Mike will be 10 years old this May." I am quite sure this is why I married the man... his Mensa-certified brain remembers exactly this type of stuff.

My husband is sometimes alarmed that I don't remember how many years we've been married. He is not exactly a celebratory person so anniversaries can come and go without a lot of hoopla...but when I ask him in complete honesty to tell me how many years we have been married.....HE knits his brows at ME. I suppose this works to his advantage because I would never remember if it's a paper year or a china year or crystal year.. ......all presents are, therefore, appropropriate.

Sometimes when people ask how old I am....and they notice me struggling...trying to come up with a number....they assume I'm coy...or trying to hack off a few years as woman are wont to do....

So I quite struggling...I often ask them, "How old do you think I am?" I have found this much more interesting than providing them a number. And I have found the spectrum of numbers refreshing..... one day I'm 40....the next day I could be 45.....I accept all reasonable numbers.

And who's to say I'm not that age? If I'm working at the bookstore and a 20 year old guy thinks I'm 40....maybe I am.....because it fits his image of what a 40 year old woman should be.....same with a woman who guesses close to my chronological age.....she somehow has pegged me as her contemporary and's important that I am the age she ascribes to me...because she's trying to establish a common bond or background.

I once met an interesting woman who changed my perspective on age. I was taking a yoga class.. I assumed ...AT MOST....the woman was 45. After class one day, for some reason, she confessed that she was actually 56 years old. My mouth fell open. She looked at me and said ...."This is exactly why I don't tell people how old I am." If I tell people I'm 56 and going off to hike solo in the mountains, they begin a litany of warnings. AT YOUR AGE, should you be hiking alone? Should you be going off to do this or that AT YOUR AGE?......So she quit telling people her real age. She takes care of herself....and lives a life which is in tune with her mental and physical age rather than the number on her birth certificate.

I can agree with that....I like the age you feel...or the age someone thinks you are....especially if you can't really remember how old you are anyway.....


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Surprising Art of Being a Woman

Saturday night I had a party to go to. It crept up on me. It was something that had been on my calender for so long I didn't even see it anymore. Suddenly, on Wednesday I did. The occasion was an evening wedding of some friends. I did the closet search and rolled my eyes. Surely, something a bit more exciting existed? So I zoomed out to the new upscale department store that landed in my city. I had avoided it because it sounded pretentious and some of the ads and subsequent pricing of the items in those ads ...made me blink--hard. But the store is close not?

Maybe I was subconsciously trying to be a secret shopper but I wore plain jeans and a sweatshirt-surely a test of any upscale store's saleswomen...would they be courteous and helpful if I didn't drip diamonds? If I didn't look like I could afford to be there? I pulled a dozen dresses off the rack. At least the saleswoman received points for not saying a word to me about the number of dresses I was taking into the dressing of my pet peeves. If I'm going to undress, I want to do so once...and not stop because some fool says I can only take 3/4 dresses in the room.

It was looking gloomy. I felt like Goldilocks. This one too big...this one too small....but where was the this-one-just-right? Believe it or was the very last one...#12....a black wrap-dress that look so unassuming on the hanger I almost didn't try it on. But when I slipped it over my head....I went ahhh....the Marilyn Monroe thing....the low cleavage, sassy hem, tie gathered at the waist. I walked out of the dressing room to see what it looked like in real light. The obligatory husband waiting restlessly in the chair for his wife was there. He smiled and gave me a thumbs up. I laughed....he was so cute. And a thumbs up is always good...very good.

And then on Thursday, I did a strange thing. I went back to the store. Now, I wanted drop dead high-heels. Something Marilyn Monroe-ish. The shoe department saleswoman and store's personal shopper should be given an award. I simply said....I have a black Marilyn Monroe dress. She brought out the shoes. The perfect shoes. I was speechless. I tried the dress and the shoes home that evening....and there was the unmistakable happy power surge you get as a woman when you know you look good.

On Friday, I went back to the store again. Three days of shopping in a row? Feel my forehead --do I have a fever? I work so long so many hours per day that luxuries like shopping for dresses and shoes...are extraordinary events. But something in me was on a roll.....and I wanted to look more than nice......and I wanted desperately to be out of my jeans.... which can become like a second skin if you have a home office.

I live in a neighborhood with lots of trophy wives....I often wonder what it would be like to be not have as your main occupation be.... your Pilates class, your kick-boxing class, your salon date, and your shopping dates. I don't mean to stereotype everyone....but when I had the occasion to talk to some women here...their calenders are very different than mine. How extraordinary to devote so much time to enhancing, refining, defining, and concentrating on your own physical image. But men are visual....and if your job is to enhance a man's particular view or status...then it is your job to meet the expectations. Anyways...back at the third trip.....I bought a lacy black bra. If you're going to show cleavage you better be armed with the right undergarments.

Then I did something extraordinary, on Saturday, on my way to do a few hours of research for my children's book, I stopped into the store AGAIN. This time for something startling....a seed the personal shopper had planted had sprung. "Honey you need red lipstick for that dress, " she stated. Quietly, I admitted the truth to her....."I rarely wear lipstick." Good woman, she contained herself. She suggested I should....complimented the shape of my lips. "Think about it."

So there I was....ready for lipstick...the personal shopper saw me and waved. She came up to me... grabbed my hand and led me to cosmetics....I wasn't sure for a moment if I like a lamb to slaughter or Cinderella with her fairy godmother. I was glad she took me to the French cosmetic counter....after Paris.....I do have a soft spot for things French.

The cosmetics woman was beautiful with a beautiful name to match...Pillar. "Oh it's so good you didn't wear any make-up today because now we can pick the perfect shade." I didn't tell her I was in such a rush to get out of the house to do a few hours of work, I choose a simple clean face to show the world. She suggested I pick out a color that appealed to me. I did. She cringed. "Okay why don't you choose the one YOU think I should wear." She was visibly happy about my decision and seemed like a woman who had to respect way too many bad lipstick choices. Like this, like this, like this....she instructed as she applied the lipstick. I paid attention....I'm a quick learner. I went to the library and puckered a this what happens when you were lipstick during the middle of the want to kiss? of the librarians gave me a strange look....perhaps he thought I was throwing kisses at HIM. I couldn't tell if he was alarmed or interested.

When I put everything together for the wedding, I had only one challenge. To safety pin or not to safety pin...that is the question with low cleavage...because somehow no matter what a dress looks like in the store....the cut inevitably drops another inch or so at home and you think..geez was it this LOW when I bought it?

I needed help answering this question. (No, I didn't ask hub who never thinks anything is too low on a woman.) I brought out a nice bottle of champagne, something I have become quite fond of drinking even when there is nothing to celebrate or precisely because there is nothing to celebrate except life......and had a nice full glass. I looked in the mirror.

Screw the safety pin.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Courage--This Week's Door

"When you master yourself, you become fearless."


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Two Way Too Funny Video Clips.......

Thanks to fellow blogger RK2 for posting these on his blog....

I've got to share these two.......



Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Why is Rachael Ray in my Kitchen at 1am?

It's late, I need a snack....I've been thinking and reading.....and the night owl wiring is fully activated. So I pull some crackers out of the cabinet, grab some cheese, turn and almost scream. Rachel Ray is staring at me...from both cracker boxes. A double-barrel shot gun effect. I rummage around in the cabinet and find a different type of cracker and ahhh! she's there too...on the front, back, side....and even the top flap of the box....Were the marketing folks so fearful I wouldn't notice her huge picture on the front and back of the box that they had to make sure there wasn't a surface on the box that didn't have a little reminder that RACHEL RAY was being featured?

Why is this woman on every box of crackers I own? Who invited her into my house? Especially late at night when her Cheshire cat smile is so disturbing....imagine if I had a couple glasses of wine before I saw her.

Even though I don't cook, I'm not totally out of the cooking world. I know she's on the Food What am I missing? Apparently a lot...

Time magazine listed her as one of the 100 most influential people of 2006 on the same page as Pope Benedict, Al Gore, Arianna Huffington and Condoleeza Rice. At least I could see her paired with Condoleeza ....since we talking Rice .....but really she's in the same category as the Pope?

The Time magazine article stated that she "radically changed the way America cooks dinner." Really? How come I'm still cooking a spaghetti dinner by boiling water, throwing pasta in, and then adding sauce? Did I miss something?

I checked her website but I guess you have to be a Ray fan to get it. She has t-shirts labeled "Yum-O " and "Got EVOO." (If you're out of the loop like I am, that translates into extra virgin olive oil.) She sells music Cds... (Rachel Ray picked ten songs for a road trip and songs for Christmas which you obviously play while baking her cookies.) And like Oprah, her website tackles tough women's' issues....her feature this week? Talking about a "woman's worse nightmare".......abuse? poverty? Really. Cellulite.

Apparently there are some folks who actually don't like her. There's a blog called --the Rachel Ray Sucks Community---and apparently according to an article I read...Anthony Bourdain, another TV chef, called her "a bobble head." Well bobble she may....but she's certainly the Queen of Crackers.

My solution to Rachel Ray's reign of terror on my boxes? I emptied all my crackers into a big ol' plastic bag and threw the boxes away. Better to face naked crackers in plastic than Rachel Ray at 1am in your kitchen.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

One of 2000 Bloggers

Well....ain't life interesting...sometimes when you least expect on a quiet Saturday night.

I was working on my children's book (the one I submitted to the publisher for consideration a couple weeks ago) and was researching the mosque in Agadez, Niger. It's an amazing building.... a tall reddish-orange mud tower with dark wooden logs sticking out of it at crazy looks like a giant came along and stuck dark toothpicks into an ant hill. It's old (16th century) and beautiful (despite my description) and I just couldn't focus on I started wandering around and reading blogs....I checked on the 2000 Blogger project and found I was on it!!

The 2000 Blogger project is a brilliant idea (You think I'm prejudiced because I'm in it?) by Tino Buntic. Out of 55 million blogs he decided to showcase 2000 blogs....gathered blog pictures, names, and linked us all together on one big "poster." It's really cool.... you can go down the rows and click on faces and enter blog worlds you would never discover on your own. The first blog I hit was totally in French....but looked hilarious...I'm going back to that one although this time with a French-English dictionary on my desk.

I wanted to see who my neighbors were on the poster....after all we might be linked together for cyberspace.....on one side I have the blog "Good Brownie" written by Mat Brown out of Indiana (that's the picture he's using for his profile.) Since I'm from Chicago, and we're Midwesterners... you think we'd be good neighbors....but Mat had an entry that turned my heart cold...GO COLTS.....well of course, he's from Indiana....but everyone knows..its DAH BEARS for the Super Bowl. He might be a nice guy, if Chicago wins, I'm sure we'll get along.

My other neighbor is another guy with a blog entitled "Harmonious Josh." He states he "finds new ways to fail every day." Josh is an artist and I copied one of his more unusual pieces--skull flower-- here. He says he's a school photographer and I noticed in his profile pic he's wearing a baseball cap with a skull and bones on it....I would too if I had to take pictures of squirming kids for a living...then you could threaten them and tell them they'll all be walking the plank if they don't sit

So now that you're all excited.....about the living wall of's the addy:

I'm 6 rows up from the bottom..... have fun.....

but don't blame me if you don't get your work done!

Friday, February 02, 2007

We're Buried under Two Inches of Snow!

Yes...I know... you're astonished ....overnight....another 1/2 inch of snow fell...1-2 inches accumulation in two days....that's BIG for down here. But unlike yesterday when it was cold and gray and the sun is shining...and every time I look out the window, it's like viewing picture-perfect winter postcards.

I was out in the snow and walking around by 8am. I opened our back gate, which leads to the main street in our neighborhood, and was greeted by a happy "woof" from an exuberant boxer running and leaping like a rabbit. His owner, practical and cautious, was a half a block away and carefully navigating the sidewalk in big sloppy rubber boots. He waved...I waved back.

In a few minutes, kids' voices were booming from various backyards. It made me chuckle-- when my kids where little I held them back to the magical morning hour of 8 am too...just in case any adults neighbors actually thought they were going to sleep-in on this snow day.

I decided to see if any of our dogs might like to frolic. You can see the wildly enthusiastic response Mattie gave me to the idea of walking in the snow. Maybe white dogs don't do snow.....

When I brought Mattie back, I found this on my car....I felt the same way too...this will all be gone tomorrow....but we can boast to our Northern friends and relatives ....."Well, we made it through one big winter storm down here this season too."

And if anyone wants to come over...please do....I have 3 gallons of MILK, 2 loaves of BREAD and one steamy romantic movie left.

Early Morning Snow Trees

Thursday, February 01, 2007

How Much Snow it Takes to Shut Down a Southern City

Here's the amount of snow it takes to shut down a city in the south. Snow events down here still surprise me even though I've lived here for 10 years. When I first moved here and witnessed the weathermen become celebrated prophets of the apocalypse on the local TV stations... I felt like an outsider at a tent revival. "Oh it's gonna snow...Oh expect an inch MAYBE more"....the locals were whipped into a frenzy--wondering how many days school and work would be closed, wondering how many bags of salt might be left at Home Deport and wondering if there was any milk and bread left at the store.

Milk and Bread are serious issues down here when there's a snow forecast. Southerners immediately rush to grocery stores, gas stations, and convenience stores to buy MILK and BREAD BEFORE ITS GONE AND THE SNOW AND ICE ARE HERE. Every native southerner seems to be tagged with this set of instruction in their neurons....GET THE MILK AND BREAD BEFORE THE SNOW AND ICE COMES.

Growing up in Chicago, I don't have this intrinsic neural tag stamped into me. In fact, I've actually experienced and lived to tell the story of not having MILK and/or BREAD for a 24 hour period and surviving. I've shared this knowledge with southerners--I've told them they too can and could survive without milk and bread....but they give me a glassy-eyed stare because what I'm saying is incomprehensible to them.

But you know what? The longer I live here...the more I join in....why not? It's actually fun....I send my husband emails.....STOP AT THE STORE AND GET BREAD AND MILK ON YOUR WAY HOME BEFORE THEY ARE ALL OUT.... I stop at the video store and fill the movie prescription: one romance, one comedy, one really stupid comedy, one action adventure. I make sure we have cookie dough and hot chocolate....I pull out the "WINTER BOX"...the one that has our entire stock of gloves, hats, and scarves.

And let's face it...there are advantages to southern don't have to shovel it. You just sit in your house, look at the pretty view, drink your hot chocolate, and wait for it to melt.

It's almost noon here...and that's exactly what happened. But the weathermen are frothing on TV right now...trying to sustain the movement...put the fear o'snow and ice right where it belongs in our heart.......saying in about 3-4 hours we're going to get SLEET.....Lordy what could be worse than combining SNOW AND ICE!....My teen boys, both home, are estactic. Another day off from work/school....I'm sending them forth to grocery store and to the video store to replenish our supplies in this window of opportunity....after all we want to make sure want we don't run out of...that's know it...come raise your hands and shout it.....BREAD AND MILK!