Sunday, February 28, 2010


It comes in all shapes and sizes. Some folks have it. Some do not. Some (like me) have it occasionally and question where it has gone when it is needed most.
My grandparents (of Mexican heritage) had a STRONG sense of faith. It was evident in everything they did. Their home had crosses, bibles and rosaries in each room, and more importantly it was demonstrated in how they lived. Granted it (their faith) seemed to be a a tad bit fearful to me at times, but it also seemed loving and protective as well.
Granma Chavez KNEW God would take care of everything. Period. Our job as humans was to not screw things up and piss him off. I remember her telling my brothers that their black light poster of Jimi Hendrix hung up in their room would most surely bring the wrath of God down upon them and cause them to turn to the devil,use drugs and do other crazy things.
I was usually exempt from any of the you are going to hell and damnation talk. My grandparents allowed me to see the softer, more nurturing side of their faith. Maybe that was the side I wanted to see as well?
I especially loved the quiet way my grandfather blessed his morning coffee and sugar. He would whisper a few words and wave his hand with the sign of a cross over his cup. Then he would repeat the ritual and bless the toast and jam and of course blessed the fact that I was sitting there beside them for a morning cup of coffee.
I liked that part of their religion.
We never blessed anything in our house growing up and in fact were not permitted to even THINK that that could be a "higher source of power" (other than my father).
So the fact that my grandfather blessed his morning toast and coffee and me was pretty cool to observe.
They (my grandparents) had always been Catholic, until they decided to join the Pentecostal "church". It sort of freaked out most of the family as it appeared to change their belief system a bit. And cost them alot more money.
However I have always felt (even at a young age) that one's spiritual journey cannot be dictated by others.
Despite the change of church affiliation my grandparents FAITH remained strong and loving (to me at least) for the duration of their lives.
Their car had a bumper sticker that said that "God was their Co-Pilot".
Thank goodness because as they got older they sure needed someone who knew what they were doing as they navigated their car through the streets and freeways in Arizona!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Jobs That I Have Held

I just received yet another, "Sorry you do not have the qualifications that are needed for this job" notices. It was for a friggin cashier job!! I can smile, I can tally up items, I don't drool in public why I can even count back change the old school way!
Not qualified.
It seems amazing that I find myself in this situation since I had been gamefully employed for 37 years! And not just at one occupation either.
My very first job was working for my older brother who mowed lawns on weekends. Our dad let him use our super nice, put it in gear and it drives itself all you have to do is steer it, lawn mower. He would make $5 a lawn. He hired me to be the "official edger and sweeper of sidewalks" oh, an maybe run around and pick up the extra tuffs of grass the lawn mower left behind. For this very physical part of the lawn service that he provided I earned 50 cents. That's right 50 cents. Thank goodness back then 50 cents went fairly far at the candy counter in Sprouse-Ritz. While that position did not inflate my piggy bank it did instill a strong work ethic that would at times plague me throughout my work history.
I didn't baby-sit much, diapers caused me a lot of grief, so my next job was at a Cafeteria style restaurant. The older people would ask me to please dish up a bit more, and the owner would come and level off the peas and say we aren't giving it away! I did not last long there. I then became the first girl chicken cook at Kentucky Fried Chicken. What an honor. I loved that job. I got to take home lots of left overs, my brother (the younger one) LOVED the way I always smelled like fried chicken. I usually would take some chicken to some friends whose mother was too busy selling/using drugs to ever have actual food in their house. After that I worked for a nice man named Harley who owned a gas station. I changed/cleaned and gapped spark plugs there and pumped gas (when they had it). It was during the "gas shortages" of the 70's and some days we could only pump for one hour.
Good times.
As I wander down the memory lane of my work history I realize I might expedite things by listing jobs that I have held in the style that Johnny Cash did in that song he sang about the car he built from stolen parts? When he went to register the vehicle he just had to sing out all of the years that it was.
Guess I will "sing" all of the jobs I have held to the best of my recollection and in chronological order. Here goes:
Lawn Care Assistant
Gas Station Attendant
Server~Furrs Cafeteria
Kentucky Fried Chicken Cook
Montgomery Wards~ Salesgirl in the "Missy Dept"
Bank Teller
School Bus Driver
Freelance Writer (primarily interviews of people who think they are interesting)
Teacher Aide
Substitute teacher K-12
Community Relations Director Chamber of Commerce
Phone line operator at a hotel
"Temp" (this had me loading trucks at a Walgreen's loading dock and filing papers at a loan shark place)
Attendance Secretary at a Charter High School
Server at an exclusive Golf Club
Barista/cook at a coffee shop
Salesperson at a fancy department store (holly-day help)
Medical Supply Salesperson
Waitress at a not as nice golf resort
Starbuckian Barisita
Teacher Aide to some very smart 10th graders
Flower delivery person
Manager of Gift Shop
Barista (did this one for free drinks instead of pay)
Owner (for much too short of a time in my life) of a fantastic coffee place
Drive-up Espresso Barista
Boys and Girls Club Assistant Cook/Teen educator
Vitamin Sales person
R/V washer ($1 a foot) what a deal!
Receptionist at a fancy spa/salon (owner nicknamed Cruella DeVille)
Server at a greasy spoon "landmark" cafe...

After all of these "work experiences" I find myself not even being able to get an interview for a grocery cashier position! I owned my own coffee shop less than eight years ago, and I recently was asked if I even remembered what an espresso drink was and how to make it.
My wallet and non-existent savings dictates that I better forget all of these wonderful? memories of jobs that I have held and get busy finding a publisher.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Spontaneous Memories

Spontaneous memories. They happen when you least expect it. Guess that's why they are spontaneous.
I had one this morning.
We were at Floyds, one of our favorite coffee stops. (lucky for us coffee junkies there are many of them here in Portland)
Back to the spontaneous memory... we are sipping our "fluffy" 16 oz latte and in walks a mailman wearing a pith? helmet. I think that's what they are called. Immediately my mind flashes back to the 60's and my residence at the time in Anaheim, California and a little girl who spent alot of time home alone sick. (that would be me)
We had the NICEST MAILMAN EVER. He wore one of those type of hats (pith?) and pushed a cart full of our neighborhoods mail up and down the "keyholes" in that small suberb of Los Angeles. It is almost always sunny in southern California, and when it rained he had a little plastic baggie type thing to keep his pith dry. Oh~and for those of you who do no know what a "keyhole" is, that is what we used to call a cul-de-sac a back then. Well, the shape of it sort of resembles a keyhole doesn't it and it sure sounded better than "dead end"?
O.K. back to the NICEST MAILMAN EVER. I wasn't allowed to open the door to anyone when I was home by myself so to pass the hours in between watching Captain Kangaroo and the Beany and Cecil Show I would wait by the door for the mail to arrive. We had one of those slots that he shoved the mail through. My intention was to freak him out by talking (in an eerie voice of course) to him while he was shoving the mail in our door.
Except he never would get freaked. He was much too kind, too easy going. He would ask how I was doing and tell me to feel better. He knew all of our names.
I think his name was Barney or something like that. All I know is that for the ten years that he delivered our mail he always had a kind word for all of us ruffians that terrorized the keyhole.
Now the ice cream man was another story...