How did I get this way? Well, I think you are born with these qualities to an extent, but I also think your parents help you to cultivate your qualities so that you are the best individual you can be. So, I'm blaming my Mom all the way! LOL. There are lots of qualities that I love about my mother, but one of them is her practical advice and the other is her wicked, sarcastic sense of humor. It makes me chuckle for days afterward when I think about it.
You're probably wondering what types of advice she has given me over the years that I have taken to heart:
Money: Save it. Enjoy your money, but don't spend every nickel you have. If you're buying a home, don't overbuy. Keep your house note within reason. Use the envelope system if necessary. I learned about this long before dear ole Dave Ramsey had a radio show. The envelope system is simply, putting cash into an envelope earmarked for budgeted items such as groceries, prescriptions and so on. It keeps you within budget and keeps you away from credit cards. This money advice has been passed down from my grandmother who was also good with saving money.
Working: Do your best. Pure and simple. I've tried to do this each day of my working life. ***Also, this pearl of wisdom: Learn a trade that will allow you to make a living. Don't rely on a spouse or anyone else to make your way for you. Whether that trade was bricklaying or working in an office, she was insistent that it was the first step of reaching for your dreams. Me? the thought of going back to Corporate America makes me nauseaus, but you know what? I could do it if the writing thing were to go sour. This wisdom she gave me gives you a sense of power within yourself. Make your own way...
Okay, enough serious stuff. My mother is hilarious. I remember when we were watching "Mr. Belvedere" on television one day (the older version) and there was a scene where Clifton Webb was trying to control the children at the kitchen table. He gave all the "parental" discipline in front of the parents and then when the parents left for work, he reduced himself to the childrens' level by behaving exactly as they were. You had to see it to get what I'm talking about, but my mother howled at that scene! That's when I knew that she would have loved to do that with me as I was growing up! Then I began to cry I was laughing so hard!
Mother's Day: My sister and I took my Mom and my grandmother to Houston one Mother's Day for a surprise celebration. Well, we decided to take them to a Chippendale show. Somehow, my mother knew before hand. So, we made sure that no one told my grandmother. She had very poor vision and my mother took her glasses from her so she wouldn't know where my sister was driving. We kept describing the scenery during the drive hoping to throw her off and it worked beautifully. She thought we were in Lake Charles, Louisiana instead of Houston, Texas!
When we got to the club, my mother led my grandmother into the club which was dimly lit with loud music. My mother roamed around checking out the mostly naked men dancing on tables and picked one out. She guided my grandmother to stand right by the table where he was shaking his tush. She gave her a fistful of single dollar bills and then slowly put her glasses on. "That's a man's butt! Oooooo!" She squealed and began tipping almost immediately as she sipped something with fruit juice and rum. Just as she recognized that it was a man's butt, the camera began clicking. My grandmother looked like a kid in a candy store!
A Cacophony: My mom loves the country and when we moved to that setting, she began decorating and acquiring everything "country" motif. She even owned a basset hound and I, a beagle hound. As we were standing outside one evening, we heard a sudden outburst of dogs barking in our neighborhood which set the cows off and they began mooing in response. My mother thought aloud, "Fred (my beagle) has set off a cacophony of sound," she said with a very serious, observant face. I laughed as I looked at the other women in our neighborhood. I seriously doubted if that was their first thought! Did I say my mother was incredibly smart?
Ban-Pu-Ding - We were driving around one day near Austin, Texas some years ago, and on the way back home, we spotted what looked to be a very old business that was vamped into a Dairy Queen chain. We decided to get a cone for the road. As we pulled around to the drive-in, A big sign advertised, "BAN PU DING - TRY SOME". My mother read the sign and was puzzled. She turned to me and asked, "Since when did Dairy Queen carry Asian desserts?" she wondered. I shrug and say I don't know.
We pulled around to the drive through and she decides that the BAN PU DING is what she wants. So she gives her order and their is silence on the speaker. "Ma'am, can you repeat your order?" the window clerk asked. So she did. More silence. Then, the clerk made sense of it all, finally.
"Ma'am, we runned out of letters, that is all we could spell of Banana Pudding," I still hoo-ha over that.
Music - My Mom was the "cool Mom" in my growing up years. So, we had alot of friends from school over to our house. She was always on top of the music scene. I remember when my sister and some apartment neighbors got together and her neighbor played a tune for her to see if she knew who it was. She wasn't sure. My mother, however had a knowing look on her face. Most kids worry about their mothers throwing out old timer names and "embarrassing" them. Not my mother...she kept me abreast of the latest in my culture.
Finally, the neighbor asked my mom, "Do you know who this is?" And my mother nodded yes. "Kid Rock, I love him! He can rap, sing, play instruments, he's very talented." The neighbors were dumbfounded at our hip mom. He slaps in another CD..."Who is this?" testing her again in disbelief. "Easy one! Metallica, "Sad but True," Again, I learned about this tune from my mom.
Lighten Up! My mother was seated in front of her makeup mirror in our bathroom, putting on makeup. I was sitting on the edge of the tub talking to her. I glanced at the toilet paper holder and noticed there was writing on our toilet paper. I walk over and someone in our house copied a commercial on TV by writing on the toilet paper with a magic marker. I made a face and remarked, "This is downright wasteful!" My mother continued putting on her makeup and said, "Lighten up, kid...are you sure you're not 40 instead of 18?"
MS: Yep, my Mom has Multiple Sclerosis. Just call us the "Neurological kids". Anyway, a few weeks ago, she fell in the yard and couldn't get up. My sister was trying to think of a way to get her up without pulling on her, cause she just went through chemo and wasn't supposed to lift anything. (Hmmm, MS, PD and Cancer, we're a healthy lot). Well, some little kids from across the street came over and in their innocence, offered to help my mother up. When she was relaying this to me, I thought of Mr. Belvedere. She was nice to the children, but commented to my sister, "Oh give me a break! I would crush their little heads into the ground if I used them to get up!" Cue the sticking out of the tongue.
The grooming of a Writer: My Mother should have pursued writing for a living. She is the one that introduced my sister and I to the library at a young age. She read to us as small children. She bought the hard cover book to "A Long Cold Winter" by Laura Ingalls Wilder which began my journey in the writing field. She was my sounding board for my first book and countless poems I had written. She inspired me to write and to read. My sister and I were reading long before we entered school. I think it developed our intellect and our vocabulary.
Example: When my sister was in 1st grade, she marched herself up to her teacher and asked politely, "May I have a tissue? I have tenacious mucous." A clear indicator that her brain was throbbing from knowledge at an early age.
Me? Not so cerebral of a quote. But, the most important quality of a writer: When a friend of my father's asked him, "And how old is this little princess?" I responded with a deadpan, "I no lady, I Taryn."
That's damn funny on a multitude of levels. Thank you, Mom. Bravo.
Anyone hungry for some Ban Pu Ding?
More Musings Later-