saturdays.

Saturday mornings when I was growing up meant house work. Mom would put on the music and like Pavlov’s dog we’d get going. But instead of salivating for a treat, we were wound up for slave labor.

“Vacuum first, then dust!”, “Dust first, then vacuum!” To this day I’m unsure of Mom’s rule as it seemed, no matter which step I took, it was wrong.

If she found a poorly cleaned dish in the cupboard, my sister and I were tasked with emptying the cupboards and rewashing EVERYTHING! I later learned this tactic was used on my two older siblings. However, in the retelling of their story, they shared a secret. They would remove all the dishes, rewash a few of them, then re-stack the rest slightly different to give the illusion all the dishes had been cleaned. Robin and I were not that clever. We’d complain about Mom, bicker at each other and clean the stupid dishes.

Mom was a drill sergeant, but that probably wasn’t a bad thing because the smell of clean; ammonia, bleach and Pine Sol, bring a smile to my face.

The “Saturday-morning clean-up music”, as I called it, is actually Jazz. I prefer the pieces with lyrics, ’cause I like to sing along. It’s my favorite music and I’m pretty sure that is because the “Drill Sergeant” introduced it to me.

The drill sergeant gene isn’t in me. So the connection to Saturday mornings and cleaning doesn’t exist in my family. I think they laughed when I tried to introduce the concept.

Saturday mornings are still filled with the music as Jazz plays through our speakers. I also listen for the sound of my neighbor’s water fountain. I hear leaves rustle through the trees and there are barking dogs as well as noise from lawn mowers in the distance.

Brian usually makes coffee, and cuts up fruit for a salad. We sit at the table, reading news from our phones. I might prepare biscuits or bacon and eggs or potatoes or something that helps empty the fridge.

The floor isn’t mopped routinely, but when it is, there’s the smell of ammonia or pine sol, that makes everything alright.

stating the obvious.

Don’tcha just love those people who state the obvious?!! That’s me. I’m HER!! I’m the person that gushes “Wow, your eyes are green!” or, “Ooh, you have dimples!”.

I just heard myself to the young girl with the red hair (I’m sure she already knew the color of her hair ūüôĄ). She grinned. Her dad said, “she always gets the attention”.

I kinda don’t want to, but some may find offense so, I apologize if I cause any.

“Wow, you’re a red head!” in my mind means, I love your red hair! It’s lovely! It’s my favorite!

I love freckles. I have freckles, so I always tell people with freckles, they “have freckles”. Duh!! I do the same to beholders of dimples or those with a gap in the middle of their smile. Marks of beauty imho. Do I need to point them out, probably not?? I dunno.

Recently I was told of a young boy who once too often heard adults tell him how “pretty” his long curly eyelashes were. Thinking “pretty eyelashes” belonged on girls, he went to the bathroom and cut his off. Red lights shine brightly at the thought of a little kid with scissors so close to the eye. Fortunately, it’s a story told with humor as he grew into an adult with pretty eyelashes.

My children and husband walk a few paces ahead of (or behind) me. I figure this is to offer the pre or post apology. “Please don’t mind my mom”.

I will remark on the color or pattern of someone’s shirt, tie, dress or socks. I hear music in people’s voices. I hear authenticity in an accent. My curiosity holds no sinister veil. I simply find excitment in the individuality, or joy in the shared traits. It’s all just threads in this tapestry of life. My comments are my awkward way of saying “hello”, starting a conversation or telling someone I see them. I see their worth.

When I was fourteen, the owner of the little market where I bought my after school snack of orange soda and Almond Joy (ūü§Ę) told me, it was always nice when I entered his store because I always greeted him with a lovely smile. One time when I was in the store, he suggested I enter the “Miss Teenage America” contest. He gave me the paperwork which I filled out at home with my mom.

The talent portion of the application was the challenge. I decided I would sing and dance (even though I’d never sung or danced in front of anyone). My mom laughed at the thought and suggested I share my artwork. I filled in “sing and dance”. Turned out it wasn’t a problem as I didn’t make it far enough in the contest for it to matter.

The steps it took to participate in that contest from self evaluation to being interviewed, then celebrating the accomplishments of others were new and memorable experiences I’ve been able to take with me throughout my life.

I never forgot the kind spirit in which that man complimented me. I think things like that go a long way.

Beautiful Mistakes

A couple of years ago¬†I¬†thought I’d return to work as a graphic designer. I stopped¬†working about 13 years prior and the world of¬†computer graphics¬†had changed tremendously in my absence.¬†I was surprised when I found¬†a position with¬†the hands on training I wanted in order to be competitive in the industry. My new employer was aware of my background and of the experience I felt I was lacking, but she was willing to take a chance.¬†The job was to¬†create graphics that were to be inserted into a website.

My first day on the job, I was informed that¬†both my boss and the co-worker that was¬†training me were leaving on vacation¬†at the end of the week. ¬†My co-worker gave me instructions, guided me¬†and answered questions. Day two,¬†I could no longer take up¬†my co-worker’s time as she had her own stuff to do.¬†I had a¬†long list of steps to follow for creating the graphics and that was that.

For two weeks I followed the list and fell into a rhythm thinking things were flowing smoothly. It was in the naming of the files that I made my mistake. Somewhere along the way, I missed a beat. I was supposed to save the files with a (dot) after a (number) or something and at one point without realizing, I left out the (dot).  I developed a routine and for remainder of the time on my own, I created files and named them incorrectly.

When she¬†returned, my boss began inserting¬†the files I’d created into¬†the website¬†and¬†they didn’t do what they were supposed to, so¬†she fired me. She explained what I’d done¬†wrong, and I thought, okay, I can correct that. But she said, she couldn’t afford to have me correct two weeks of error. I offered my time for free willing to do what was needed to get it right. I reminded her that no one ever checked my work prior to their leaving me on my own, and she said, no one should have had to check my work!

Fortunately I didn’t need that job. I wanted it and¬†I was eager¬†to learn, but I was in¬†an environment where mistakes weren’t tolerated.

‚ÄúYour mistake does not define who you are… you are your possibilities‚ÄĚ ¬†‚ÄďOprah Winfrey

More recently, a friend needed car seats for a hot rod he is rebuilding. He offered to pay for the upholstery class if I built the seats as my project. I agreed to what turned out to be a most exciting challenge. The seats were to be built from scratch. I only had the metal frames as a guide. With my instructors assistance I created patterns and crafted the seats to fit my friends 1937 Ford.

Many mistakes were made along the¬†way.¬†At one point it felt¬†my sewing was¬†merely a set up for seam¬†ripping. It’s¬†frustrating taking things¬†apart and starting over, but at the same time, it feels good to solve problems and figure out how to make it work. I was grateful to be in¬†a place where the mistake wasn’t considered¬†failure, but an opportunity¬†to grow.¬† I walked away feeling victorious in my accomplishments.

Too often we let our mistakes paralyze us when they should propel us to make a change.

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