but I knew if I didn't come home and change into a skirt my big event tonight would be doomed.
I have an author/politician coming to the store and we're expecting a huge crowd...,,hundreds of people.
I thought I could break the jinx and wear pants to work....and I left this morning wearing a nice pair of dressy pants....but as the hours ticked by....I started to panic....could I pull this off without stockings and a skirt?
Obviously this is not a 10 nickel day and one to take lots of risks.
Too many people...too big a production company....and I'm sure the TV crews will visit.
In pants....I could trip over a cord.....lose books.....agitate customers....but in a skirt with silky stockings and a little swish to my body as I walk down the power aisle....all will be well....
All those years of wearing uniforms in catholic school have imprinted on me....skirts just above the knees....shoes cute but practical.....looks like I still can't get down to business without the same outfit on.
Sister's' Marys....pray for your wayward girl here....Amen
My hotel room came with a complimentary beverage and a few free bucks at a slot machine.
I drank the wine....and then registered to use my Vegas bucks.
Only a few slot machines would accept these particular Vegas bucks......so I wandered around the casino trying to pick up a good luck vibe.....felt nothing.....and plunked myself down in front of Cleopatra.
After all, this wasn't serious gambling....but a few free minutes of fun.
Hub joined me and I could hear his Mensa neurons snapping because he couldn't figure out the strange patterns which equaled a win.
Cleopatra seemed to defy logic.
So I started to play my nickels....you could play between 1-10 nickels at a spin.
The more nickels you risked.....the more your chances ....but of course the more you would lose each play.
I played my nickels very Gina-like......I wouldn't bet 1 or 2 nickels.....and I certainly wouldn't bet 9-10.....I would hit the 6-7 range.... then go wild with a single 8 nickel spin even a rare 10 nickel spin.... then return to my above average yet comfortable risk zone.
A zigzag light suddenly flashed on the screen.....and I earned a couple complimentary spins and viola..... I won ...$20.00
Respectable.......not spectacular......but enough of an enticement to keep me pressing the nickel at button on the machine.....at least until my Vegas bucks were used up.
Because I wasn't sure what I was doing....or how the lines were paying off.....I did something odd for me.......even though I consciously knew I would lose more and my bucks might be used up quickly....I started betting 9-10 nickels.
It was uncomfortable....I wanted to return to at least my 7 range...but I kept, for some reason, pushing myself....pressing the 10 button....risking it all.....50 cents a spin!!!
And just like before .....some mysterious zigzag..... earned a couple complimentary spins.
But the catch was......
your winnings on the complimentary spin were determined by the amount you were betting......so at 6 nickels a spin....you might win 20.00 dollars.....
but at 9-10 nickels a spin......the winnings skyrocketed....
I took my complimentary spin and won $100.00.
I was shocked....not just because I won something...but because I realized (on this small level) big risks can pay off.
If I had stayed the Gina-course I would have won 20.00.....but by pushing myself....I quadrupled my rewards.
This is nutty....
but I keep thinking I stumbled upon a life lesson here.....one of those inadvertent things...
So is the way to win big in life....based upon how much a leap....a risk you are willing to take?
if you do things very conservatively.....you win....solidly...
if you take above average risk.......you win....sufficiently....
but if you make yourself uncomfortable....if you go beyond what you normally would do.....
is that when life lets you cash in?
Is that when you find the great job.....or adventure....or the relationship of a lifetime?
If you go beyond your comfort zone....force yourself into a new place....is that when you find something spectacular?
If you bet 2 nickels....you would never get there.....if you bet 7 nickels...you could on occasion get there.....but if you bet 10....you could hit the jackpot more often.....
I can't stop thinking about it.....
I'm wondering if I've lived a 6-7 nickel life?????
I had 3 more hours to be perky, peppy and pleasant.
I was exhausted.
It takes an enormous amount of energy to be nice for hours at a convention and say things in a fresh voice.
"Hey ...you need some chocolate?" asks the professor in the next booth. He lures people to his exhibit--decreasing the drop out rate---- with pieces of chocolate.
"How many have I eaten?"
"Are you sure?"
"How about a sweet treat?" He says seductively to some ladies as they near his booth.
While they pick through the chocolates in the glass bowl, he offers them his brochure....he's trying to coax them onto a university website where years of research are summarized in a friendly format to help educators find the right program to help kids from dropping out of school...it's important stuff to him....and yet he offers it to the teachers without being heavy handed.
They walk away munching their chocolate bars.
"Will they read it? "
He shrugs. "If one or two read it or remember it....a few extra kids will make it. "
He says this matter-of-fact.... as if he would accept just a few saves...but I sense the passion and knowledge all bundled up inside him.
He probably wishes he could grab each teacher and shout...."For god's sake woman ...get your principal to check out this website and do something!"
"How about a sweet treat?" he asks for 1000th time.....and while the teacher searches the bowl...he readies his pamphlet...cans his passion.....and suggests his website.
And me? I slip into Gina-May-I-Help-You mode and teach a hundred small things about how teachers can use our store. I'm glad its not total bullshit.
An attractive man in a casual but pressed shirt says hello and asks me about my corporation ...and how the economy is affecting the store.
Happy for new questions....I chat the man up.....blending this and that statistic and offering what I thought was a coherent guess on the economy. He asks if he can sit down....outside the booth on the chair.
"Of course of course"......
It's a little quiet now because the continuing education sessions have started.
"I like your shoes."
I 'm so startled by his remark....I look down to see what I have on my feet.
Black mules...of modest heel with an open back.
"What school district are you from?"
"Oh I'm not a teacher..... I build churches. I'm staying at the hotel next door and I was walking through the hall and thought you looked like an interesting and attractive woman."
I blushed from my mules to my ear lobes.
Good god, I've been chatting up this man like he was a school superintendent or something and he just a guy that straggled in off the street.
"My mother would like those shoes."
Oh ho.....(Gina's alarm is going off...he's in his mid forties with salt and pepper hair....no ring and he's talking about his mother.)
"Where did you get them? She has bunions."
My mental alarm is now going auuuuuwoooogaah.
I write down the name of the store and where it's located.
I try to make come-rescue-me-eyes to the professor next to me....but he misreads my intentions and offers me another piece of chocolate.
"Women just don't know how to dress like women anymore."
His phone rings...he nods and takes the call.
Thank you gods of the universe.... my cell phone rings too...and I jump up and walk up the stairs and out into the lobby. Screw the booth...I'm going to hide for a while....next thing you know he'll be want to smell my feet or something.
When I return... he's gone but I'm still off my game.....Little miss information....chatting up some random guy....oh boy.....I actually consider packing up and leaving but I remember Friday is only a half day session....and since I've already been supremely caught off guard...lightening can't strike again.
The professor and I arrive early Friday morning and agree we are dog tired.
But each time someone passes....we turn on the charm.
"I know your spiel by heart." I tell him....
"Well I'm going to work for your bookstore after this."
Church builder with a bunion-ed mother and fetish for my shoes does not return.
I am relieved.
People start packing up and I head off to the car. I've brought a pair of jeans and old shoes plus a small handcart.
I tear my stockings as I pull the hand cart out of my trunk so I decide to change clothes now. I'm in the back of the garage and there's no one around.
I slip off silky stockings... pull my skirt down....and then what the hell......I pull my top off and toss my sweatshirt on.
Not quite zipped up and re-arranged ...I look around ......and step out of the car....pantie rearrangement...bra rearrangement...zip up....clogs on....okiedokey.
But I have a weird feeling....and quickly look around.....half expecting church builder to pop up between some cars.....but there's nothing......except for a little mechanical sound.
I look up.....
and blush from my clogs to my ear lobes.
I wave at the security camera and grab my hand cart....
all I can say is....
I was wearing good underwear and I've had my convention baptism. ~~~~~~~~~~~~
My friend Amos sends me temple alerts when the synagogue orders the famous H & H kosher bagels from Manhattan. Loving them, I went right to the temple website and ordered some...to assure I'd receive some eating goodness ....one sumptuous everything bagel with poppy seeds and onions and one pack of plain bagels.
H & H bagels are wondrous. Thick... chewy.... plump and substantial ....and from New York City....how can you go wrong?
So for lunch.....I took my everything bagel.....loaded it with maple-glazed ham (not too kosher) and cheese (definitely not kosher) and dill pickle slices. Popped it in the microwave.... so the cheese would become warm and gooey.....and even in the dismal utilitarian setting of our bleak break room at work......I felt happy....eating the best lunch in the world accompanied by my new beverage passion....an ice cold diet Pepsi max.
Immediately after I finished the bagel.....I realized I wanted to go to Iceland.
Most of my travel history arrives like this....a sudden epiphany.... a particular country or place is waiting for me. I thought Israel was calling me (or was that the bagels messing with me)....but I knew after lunch...it was definitely Iceland.
Of course there is no way I can go to Iceland right now.
This week I'm working seven days in a row...and until December 14th.....I don't even have days marked off. A complete grueling schedule of book fairs and author appearances and even weird things thrown in like manning a booth at a convention for the next few days.... smother my calender.
"Iceland" is not penciled in....there's not even space for it.
Even if I could go in spring.....the wall.....oh THE WALL....that is my parent's situation is getting bigger and is waiting for me.
Just this weekend, I had to call the police in my parent's suburb to do a "well-being check" on them.
My mother's dementia has progressed to the point where she thinks she has paid bills...my dad is clueless and won't ask me for help....so consequently when I called to check on them....I received a strange ring tone and a message that the "phone had been temporarily disconnected." Since their neighbor hasn't been home, I sent the police to check them.
My dad called from a pay phone and left a message that the "phone wasn't working"....but I know ....it's because my mom didn't pay the bill which has happened several times over the last couple months......I also know when I go home for Thanksgiving....I will be scared shitless with their situation.
Since they won't come to me....I will have to go to them....assess...and figure out what needs to be done. It doesn't look good. But there is nothing I can do...except go....and then tackle.
So Iceland.... is sort of a dream.
But I haven't had many dreams lately especially with my work schedule and work.....and so this morning....I smiled.....my personality....my soul....everything about me....needs dreams...and I was glad to awake to feel the idea of Iceland in me.
Geez I can't wait to bite into a plain bagel....what exactly do those guys in New York City put in the dough?
I decided to work for a couple hours at my office and when I returned home....someone left the kitchen TV on....with the electoral votes racking up quickly.... there wasn't any need to close my eyes.
So I watched.
McCain gave a gracious concession speech (was that the same man that was on the campaign trail?) and then Obama gave his acceptance speech in my home town.
He seemed burdened already.....as if he was feeling the weight of the world's expectations.
I thought of the people I had met in my travels in Africa and Asia and I chuckled.
I am sure they stopped in their tracks....and thought it was some media trick...some strange hologram speaking....how could America actually vote for someone that had their exotic bloodlines?
And yet often when I looked at Obama's careful calm demeanor....I thought of Indonesia where he grew up. A man is prized in Indonesia for not showing outward anger....or exaggerated emotions....to be truly considered a gentleman in Asia...you never lose face....you would never yell or scream...or show anger or intense emotion.
People have remarked on his temperament...but I'm sure his natural abilities to remain calm....were nurtured in the Indonesian culture.
He is a man of the world...different races....and with a multi cultural background: the Aloha sense from Hawaii....the "good face" he learned in Indonesia.....the East Coast Educational Elite and finally the practical grounded Midwest man.
Like many people...I was in tears....during his acceptance speech.....but as the camera panned back and you could see the enormous crowd around him....I was afraid for him....please god let them all be sane.....and give him a chance to work....in our world...the demons are always waiting in the wings to destroy change. ~~~~~