Fancy Coffee Friday: Costa Rican Vacation, Part 2 – This is for The Birds

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I’m a bit of a bird nerd – that is, a birdwatcher – and have been since I was young.  Growing up, we had an old copy of Golden Books “A Guide to Field Identification BIRDS of North America” and I would study that book for hours in spite of its missing pages,the lack of which deeply annoyed me.  I poured over the pages of between the covers of each book in the Life Nature Library series, each picture gazed at again and again, each caption nearly committed to memory.  The hours I spent gaining knowledge from the books in the home library were reinforced by witnessing birds around the farm, from the Great Horned Owl that perched atop the old silo to the rare visit of a Snowy Owl one winter as the family worked together cleaning the barn and even the surprise of finding a Eastern Screech Owl sheltering from the winter winds inside the garage that had been filled with an abundant crop of hay that year.

During later years, when I found myself married and enjoying the expensive hobby of feeding the local songbirds, color me happy (and a bit surprised) when I could rattle off the names of songbirds rarely, or never, seen in the area where I grew up.  My front yard is a veritable bonanza for the feathered kind with a variety of feeders* and food to choose from**, in fact we call it “The Feeding Station”.  In the spring when the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and Baltimore Orioles arrive, they make a point of finding me in the house; the hummers stare at me through the windows until I notice them and the orioles come tapping their way around the house at each window until they find me and then go wait for me to fill their feeders.  They have me well-trained.

When the Chickadees have tattled on me to the neighborhood that I’ve gone out and refilled the feeders, I can count about two dozen different species of songbirds right out my windows.  With the Spring Migration, those numbers swell and include the Indigo Bunting, which had three of that species arrive our first spring in this house and have multiplied every year since – last year saw nearly 20 of the brilliant indigo birds at feeders and on the ground, gleaning seed that had been dropped.  I can’t wait for their arrival this spring as well.

Nosara, Costa Rica, is a place that in the words of Bibi, our host, “People only come to Nosara for a few things: hiking, bird watching, yoga or surfing.”  If you’re into any or all of those things – you should put Nosara on your list of places to which to travel.  Wildlife in general abounds but everywhere I looked there were birds!  On the first morning at Casa Banda I was relaxing on the front porch in the rocking chair with a book and heard a flutter of wings and sat with mouth agape as four feet in front of me was a bird I’d never before seen but it was beautiful and had two long, lyre-like tail feathers.  It turns out that it was a Long-tailed Manakin; sadly, I didn’t have anything near me with which to take its picture.  Parakeets and parrots flew overhead away from the coast every morning and every evening they headed back toward the crash of the waves.  Great Kiskadees played in the bananas, cuadrados and plantains on the grounds of Casa Banda and collected insects from the surface of the water in the pool – we even got to see a baby practicing this move after it watched its parents.

There were flocks of Fork-tailed Flycatchers that sat high up in the top of a large tree, all in formation facing into the breeze.  Hummingbirds of all kinds of varieties whizzed about the garden at Casa Banda, visited the feeders next door at Bella Vista Mar, and on our river wildlife tour we saw even more.  And speaking of the river tour, that is where the large birds really made a showing – they were everywhere.  Herons of all sizes, shapes and colors.  Sandpipers, plovers, gulls, shearwaters and petrels.  A Summer Tanager male was spotted by Mr. Muse, a bright red spot nearly hidden by greenery.  Then there were the birds of prey and those that came after from the commonplace Red-tailed Hawks, Ospreys, and Black and Turkey Vultures to the Crested Caracara and  Laughing Falcon, which we could hear but not see.

No  matter what direction we looked, there were birds.  Big ones and teeny-tiny ones.  Silent ones and birds that seemed to have a need to make a noise wherever they flew (like the hummingbirds).  For someone like me who could watch birds for hours on end, this was truly a magical week and I want to go back just to see what other species I can spot!  If you’re a bird watcher – I highly recommend putting Costa Rica on your list of bird watching locations to visit.

*How many feeders do I have?  I currently have 13 bird feeders and 5 squirrel feeders (placed away from the bird feeders… not that it really deters them – after all, they have destroyed my Christmas lights in the past).

**What do I put in my feeders?  I get the BEST variety of birds using Black-Oil Sunflower seeds, Peanut “rejects”, and suet or “dough”.  I have one feeder filled with Niger/Nyjer seed and it is fairly well ignored other than a few weeks in the early spring – the finches showing a preference for the Black-Oil Sunflower seeds.

Posted in Fancy Coffee Friday, Musings, Outdoors, Personal, Photography, Random Thoughts, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Fancy Coffee Friday: Costa Rican Vacation recap, Part 1

Now that is has been a month since I spent a lovely 10 days in Costa Rica with Mr. Muse and ten other people, it’s high time that I write something about it for this blog, especially since I’ll be jetting off on another adventure in another few weeks.  I think that one of the hardest things to settle on were the photos I want to share without having a post turn into a vacation slideshow or photo sharing event from hell.  I’m sure some of you know the kind; when my in-laws go on vacations eventually Mr. Muse and I are forced to politely sit and page through 1500+ photos of… “wasn’t that the same rock in the last ten photos?”  Friends, I don’t want to do that to you.

But, I digress.  I decided that if I were going to share photos, they had to be good photos and not a lot of them.  And then, I looked through my photos again and I thought, “Hmm, maybe I’ll have to break this up into a few posts.”  Regardless of which way I go on this, I think I should start off by saying that most of the photos I took were of the wildlife and scenery.  Mr. Muse and I have always been really bad about taking photos of ourselves when we’re on vacation and it’s usually at some point during the last day or two at a location where we’ll say, “Well… I supposed we should get some photographic evidence that we were here.  Together.”  That happened, but since I don’t show Mr. Muse’s face on this blog – you won’t be seeing it today!

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Now that I got that out of the way, let me begin at the beginning, which is always a good place to begin.  The night before Mr. Muse and I were to fly out, I had the suitcases almost completely packed other than toiletries, clothing laid out and the alarms were set for 3 AM.  When we got up with the alarms it was the usual mad scramble to get everything done – like feed the animals, eat something, load the vehicle and head to the airport to arrive with enough time to get through security.  The weather was on our side, we had an early flight out of Dane County Regional Airport (MSN) and while we had an actual line at security (what the what?  That never happens at Dane County!), we breezed through it and had plenty of time to get ourselves situated, to our gate and had a comfortable amount of time to wait before boarding.

The flights were fairly uneventful and I even had time at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport (ATL) to stop and get a fancy coffee which I had just enough time to enjoy (read: slug down and think “too much sugar… too much…”) before boarding out flight to Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR) in Liberia, Costa Rica.  The flight was bumpy, but no worse than a bumpy road and the weather was beautiful as we flew over the Gulf of Mexico.  Being a map geek, I was thrilled to fly over Lake Nicaragua in Nicaragua and see a smoking volcano in the distance just before we prepared for landing.

Liberia was hot and humid, a welcome respite from the dry, cold weather we had in Wisconsin.  Even though we were into dry season, there were still flowers everywhere and the greenery was still green.  Our launch point for the trip was the Hilton Garden Inn Liberia Airport immediately across the highway from the airport.  The staff were friendly, the rooms comfortable and the geckos running along the baseboards in the hallway were utterly adorable.  Their bar at The Garden Restaurant & Bar makes a fabulous caipirinha and I fell in love with the dish chifrijo (the ceviche was also very tasty).

The neighborhood immediately surrounding the hotel is an industrial-type area and there isn’t much for a tourist to walk to, but Mr. Muse and I did go for a walk after we’d settled into our hotel room and had some lunch.  We also went for a walk the next morning.  Note:  bring sunscreen!  In the ninety minutes we took a walk and lounged by the pool the first afternoon and the forty-five minutes that we took for a walk the next morning, the both of us were already sporting some serious tan lines and red shoulders on me – since I’m allergic to sunscreen and all that jazz.  However, not to discourage anyone who wants to stay at this hotel, walking the neighborhood around it (there are plenty of sidewalks) was a little bit like taking a nature hike without the signs telling you about all the plants, insects and birds flying around.  Seriously – go take a walk – it’ll be eye opening.  Before we left we’d noticed that there was a slaughterhouse in a far corner of the industrial park and though we didn’t see (or hear… or smell) cattle, we did see thousands of hoof prints from shod horses on the sidewalks and roads as well as a lot of cow patties from the vaqueros driving their cattle to the facility.

Which brings me to the next thing that was obvious.  Where we were in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica, cattle is king.  Brahma cattle grazed everywhere you could see.  After we were picked up at the hotel to join the rest of the group of travelers, we road for a bumpy 3 hours, the only paved road of which was the main highway that I never saw a sign for – only signs with names of towns and distances.  After a stop in Nicoya for my drug buy (there is a story behind that… and I was buying for a friend), we soon after left the pavement for gravel roads…. if you could call them that.  Mostly gravel roads?  Gravel and… breaker rock?  Gravel and breaker rock and boulders?  With pot holes.  And washouts.  Lots of pot holes and washouts.  And dust.

We arrived at Casa Banda road-weary and thrilled to be able to relax.  Arne and Bibi are wonderful hosts who made our whole week incredibly pleasant.  The views of the ocean (and the sunsets) are fabulous and waking up to howler monkeys every morning along with parrots flying overhead was surreal and lots of fun.  At least, I thought it was fun.

Stay tuned for the next installment of the Costa Rican Vacation recap!

Posted in Fancy Coffee Friday, Musings, Personal, Random Thoughts, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Fancy Coffee Friday: With a Little Help From My Friends

I’m not a Beatles fan by definition, but this song came to mind during a recent email exchange with a dear Internet Friend of mine.  I was responding to a series of recent events they’d gone through and in my stream-of-consciousness style I touched on the fact that like my friend, I’m guilty of becoming a hermit and not interacting with my friends as often as I should.  My ramblings in my letter (yes… really – I wrote out my response long hand and then scanned it to them) expanded into a variety of other thoughts, mostly on how we humans who use the computer for everything are becoming more and more isolated from actual humans.

I don’t care to talk on the phone.  If you’d known me when I was in middle and high school, you’d wonder at the change as I was guilty of being on the phone for hours with a person who was one of my best friends at the time.  Now?  Phone calls are best left for business or if texts are becoming too numerous and cumbersome and I might as well just call because that’ll take less time.  I’m also a fan of email.  Email gives me a chance to mull over what I want to say and get it exactly how I want it worded without coming off as an ass because I mixed up what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it which is one of the issues with being a stream-of-consciousness kind of person.  Ooh!  Glitter!

And so, I rambled on about needing to reach out to friends when we feel ourselves slipping into negative thoughts and feelings.  Our friends want to help us.  They want to be there for us.  We just have to let them.

American society spends so much time with our mobile devices shoved in front of our faces that people appear to no longer be able to connect with each other on personal level.  We’ve given over to either fierce independence (I do it!) thinking we don’t need anyone in our corner because fuck them or wallowing in a pool of self-pity and wanton desperation for the approval of anyone and everyone.  I’m highly prone to the former and loathe the latter.

I’m sure that there are other cultures similar to Americans who are increasingly disconnected from each other, and yet as half of my friends are from Sweden, famous for sitting down to fika at any and all times of the day, I’m lucky to have a group of friends, my tribe, who will force face-to-face interaction.  One cannot refuse an offer to fika (please go read this post talking about that and other fun Swedish facts and anecdotes).

All these thoughts about spending face time with our tribe members, our friends, had me pondering on another question I was asked about how to get younger people joining a national organization that was “getting old and fat”.  I’ll write more on that another time, but that question had me pondering about how as a child and teenager I was involved in all manner of sports, 4-H, the National Junior Horticultural Association, the local saddle (horse) club, the regional horse association, began taking Master Gardener classes, was in the band and went to leaders and board meetings for both 4-H and the horse groups.  Now, my Mom was the one who drove us (my siblings were involved in the various groups and activities as well) here, there and everywhere, but the overwhelming point is that there always seemed to be time to get things done.  I don’t know how Mom did it with three kids, four if you count my father, a hobby farm with a lot of animals and a full-time job.

Now?  Mr. Muse summed it up when we had a brief check-in on the status of if we are both still okay being child-free – his immediate response was, “ABSOLUTELY!  I barely have time and energy to do what I want to do, let alone what I need to get done.”

So what happened?  Beyond going to work and spending a few nights a month with our friends, we haven’t been involved in anything else.  For all of the advances in technology that is supposed to make everything more efficient, how is it that we barely have time to participate in activities and groups as adults like we had time to do when we were younger?  Have we spread ourselves so thin that we can no longer participate in life outside of work and home work?  What has been the cost to our personal relationships with loved ones when we have no recreational or creative outlets?  What has been the cost to our network of friends and acquaintances when we don’t participate in recreational, creative, or civic groups?

Effectively?  Our group of friends, our tribe, gets smaller.  Our network of friends contracts.  The people we know, who we can call with questions or for help, dwindles.  We feel more isolated, more cut off and ultimately, more alone.  I have fond memories of people I got to know through those groups I was involved with when I was younger and I’m missing that in my life now.

So, tomorrow we’re going out with friends for a birthday dinner (one of theirs), I’m scheduling a “decompression from the week dinner” with another couple.  I’ve got the next monthly meeting for an interest group marked in my calendar.  It’s time to expand my horizons, not to mention my network of friends and acquaintances.  It’s time to get involved in Life.  (And learn to make a gluten-free version of fikabröd.)

What are your thoughts?  

Do you constantly feel pressed for time?  

Does your group of friends get smaller with the passing years?  

Are you a member of any groups?

Posted in Blogging, Fancy Coffee Friday, Life, Musings, Personal, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Fancy Coffee Friday: Cake, a Dead Chicken and the Plague

Picture it, January 2nd, 2015, in southern Wisconsin where it is brown, cold and lacking snow.  I’m perched at my home office desk in my workout gear after just sending off a first draft for another article at N Magazine, have downed the last of my decaf coffee that I cooled to drinking temperature with some unsweetened vanilla almond milk and it occurred to me that I hadn’t written a post for Fancy Coffee Friday yet!  That just will not do, so I better get on it!

This was a short work week for me which worked out in my favor because now I get to explain the title for this post.

I work at a small, professional office, and while the owner is very generous for a lot of things, vacation time, personal time and sick time are all wrapped into a package of 3 weeks.  Not the most generous time-away-from work package there is though better than what a lot of American’s are given (that would be nothing…. big fat zero), it means that when people are sick at the end of the year they seldom have days left so they come into work spreading their illness to all of the office equipment.  Such was the case this week when two coworkers came into the office on Monday complaining of being nauseated and having a sore throat.  I attempted to stay within the confines of The Fortress of Solitude, however, eventually I had to go pee – especially with the amount of coffee and water I drink.  Touching something that had been contaminated with germs was bound to happen.

So that what how I found myself feeling not-so-great Wednesday afternoon, which I initially attributed to being glutened when I went out for lunch, but by 9:30 PM as I was crawling into bed to lay in the fetal position shaking with the cold sweats, I knew I’d contracted the plague from one of my thoughtful coworkers.  I’d drank down an extra dose of Emergen-C when I got home along with a quart of Tulsi Peppermint tea to quell the nausea and by morning on New Years Day, I was feeling nearly back to 100%.

And that brings me to the dead chicken.

I had full intentions of finishing my article for N Magazine yesterday, but of course, just as I was finishing up some laundry so I could get to work on the computer, Mr. Muse popped his head through the patio door and stated, “There is a dead chicken floating in the water tank… I’ll get the hose.”

The water font heater for the chickens had malfunctioned the other day and we’d been hauling fresh water to the chickens twice a day while we waited for the opportunity to run to the farm store to pick up a new one on Wednesday.  One of my Rhode Island Red hens decided she was going to take things into her own wings and attempted to get a drink out of the goats water tank (also has a tank heater).  Sadly, she appears to have not been the smartest hen in the coop and had fallen in and drowned.

I was still feeling good, so I grabbed a bucket and began bailing water from the tank to reach a point where we could tip it over and scrub it out.  Marilou the goat came over to supervise, and get pets and hugs, and I crawled into the tank (it’s a big tank) armed with my scrub brush and my hose on the “Jet” setting.  Once the tank was scrubbed, rinsed, set upright and refilled, I was left with algae-coated mittens – one of which was soaked through – a nose dripping “snotsicles”, and eyes watering from the biting wind, so I headed back into the house to clean myself up.  I oozed sexiness at that moment.  Okay… mostly just mucous.

Once I’d cleaned up and gotten things fixed up as they needed with myself and the aforementioned laundry, it was time to start the cake.  Mr. Muse is a huge fan of all-things-almond, which works out with my being gluten free as many recipes use almond flour, and for New Years Day I thought I would make another recipe I found on Pinterest (it’s the devil, I tell you):  Amaretto Poppy Seed Cake.  I made it gluten free, of course, and despite my spraying my bundt pan liberally – the cake stuck as I tried to remove it, the top (once it’s inverted) of the cake stayed in the pan.  After a quick, “SONOFABITCH!  I sprayed that pan REALLY WELL!”, I salvaged the top of the cake (in pieces), replaced it and eventually drizzled it with glaze.  Only a quarter of the cake was left looking ugly, but it didn’t matter anyway because it was incredibly moist and delicious and we ate that part first.  In fact, I had a piece of it for lunch today.  That’s right, I ate cake for lunch and I thought it was delicious.

Lest you think that I only had cake to ring in the New Year, I also made Hoppin’ John Soup, another Pinterest recipe find, and even though there was a copious amount of collards in this soup, Mr. Muse (who is NOT a fan of vegetables) commented, “This is really good.  I like it.”  So, that’s two wins in one day!

Which brings me to today.  My article has been submitted for perusal.  I had cake for lunch. I still need to get in my workout (the treadmill is staring at the back of my head right now) and once that has been finished I’ll resume crocheting a hat requested by the daughter of some friends as she’s outgrown the last one I made her.  Her request is stretching my skills this time as she’s requested matching scarf and mittens, too!

So, happy Fancy Coffee Friday and 2015 to you all.

How did you ring in the New Year?

Posted in Baking, Blogging, Chickens, Fancy Coffee Friday, Gluten Free, Musings, Personal, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Fancy Coffee Friday: The Morning After Christmas


Fancy Coffee Friday from the comfort of my own home...

Fancy Coffee Friday from the comfort of my own home…

The Morning After Christmas

a poem…
By The Amusing Muse

It’s the Morning After Christmas
and all through the farm,
all the creatures were stirring
but I’m snug and warm.

The goats and chickens were fed,
clucking and bleating did follow,
Hens ducked into nest boxes
and goats talked as they swallow.

I emptied the mousetrap
in the feed room – it was dead,
gave Sumo the rooster some grain
and a pat on the head.

Now here I sit, my “fancy coffee” in hand
to write out Thank You Notes,
package up some presents,
and snap photos to boast.

Saturnalia is now over,
Boxing Day has begun
I’m grateful I’m home alone today
No entertaining to be done.

So if you’re like me,
and you just want to nap,
Grab a warm blanket and a pillow.  Christmas is over;
we can say: “THAT’S A WRAP!”

Canva-created cover image by yours truly.

Canva-created cover image by yours truly.

Posted in Blogging, Fancy Coffee Friday, Humor, Musings, Personal, poetry | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Fancy Coffee Friday: Greetings from Costa Rica

Happy Fancy Coffee Friday, Dear Readers!!

For those of you playing along at home – I’m on vacation, Mr. Muse and I having been invited to join the fine folks of The Naturist Society in sunny Playa Pelada, Nosara, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, at the lovely Casa Banda with hosts Bibi and Arne.  How is that for a mouthful?

While everyone in Wisconsin has been dealing with dreary weather – I’ve been soaking up the rays down here in Central America (and it shows… in various shades of red and pink), as well as checking out all the really cool bugs (they are the size of my HEAD!  Well… maybe not quite that big) and I even made it past the halfway point of vacation before breaking out in a rash from something.  I’d call that success.

I have taken tons of photos, both on my phone and with my actual camera, enjoyed a lot of good food with great people (all but two of whom I’d never met before) and have been spotting howler monkeys in the distance.  Okay, admittedly I have also been thinking, “How can I move to Costa Rica?”  I have lots to report, an article to write for TNS and tons of photos to go through.  Meanwhile…. here was the view from my lounge chair yesterday morning:

Pool view at Casa Banda.

Pool view at Casa Banda.

Posted in Blogging, Fancy Coffee Friday, Modeling, Musings, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

Fancy Coffee Friday: I only needed a bra*

It is safe to say that I hold shopping for everything other than food and beverage in the same stead as things like pulling out a sliver, having a cavity worked on by the dentist or vomiting; these are all things I only do when necessary or are absolutely unavoidable.

Saturday on my way back home from taking a sewing class, I thought to myself that since it was Saturday and I was passing West Towne Mall, stopping at Victoria’s Secret to replace my favorite bra that was falling apart with increased frequency would be a wise move.  However, as I approached the mall and saw from the exit ramp that the parking lot was packed to the gills and traffic to get INTO the mall was backed up onto Gammon Road, I changed my mind.  I’m not a complete idiot – it’d be smarter and easier to go on Monday before the main lunch rush.

So Monday, I set about with my plan of heading to Victoria’s Secret to buy a replacement bra.  I avoided the food court entrance and went in through the next one to the south, the arm of the mall where Sephora, Auntie Anne’s and Kay Jewelers are and not finding a map readily at hand I thought (later I discovered it was just inside the entrance doors), “I’ll just… go to the right.  Victoria’s little Secret might be down that way… though I don’t remember.”

So I turned to the right and walked, noticing lots of new stores that I’d not seen the last time I ventured into the mall which was at some point during the last year and only to Kay Jewelers so I could drop off a watch I bought there for repair and that’s not really a walk INTO the mall…. But I digress.  My walk wasn’t looking promising and then I noticed a storefront with bright pink signage that was appropriately called, “PINK“.  I thought, “Oooookay. I knew PINK was the young woman brand for Vickies, but… maybe Victoria’s Secret is right next door.”

No dice.

I walked into PINK, bombarded with some sort of poppy club-music and looked around at all of the sweat- and lounge-pants with “PINK” emblazoned upon their backsides.  I searched for a clerk, and kept searching when finally some side-pony-tailed woman in sweat pants and a t-shirt (not kidding), yet wearing a very official looking communication device on her hip and a lanyard around her neck that appeared to be missing a name tag, came darting past.  I waved half-heartedly, the “lost” look clear on my face and asked, “Is this Victoria’s Secret?”

She have me a heavy-sigh and an exasperated hip hike before saying with one of those “ughhhh-ck” sounds, “No.  THAT store is eight stores down on the left.”  She turned her back and fled to the back of the store, obviously fed-up with lost old ladies like myself.  So, I turned on my heel and headed out into the main walk of the mall, turned left and proceeded to Victoria’s Secret.

Once again, nary a clerk was to be found I headed back to the Bra Salon where the fitting rooms were.  A bored, uncomfortable-looking, and  solitary man seated in a padded chair near the fitting room entrance.  I looked about me, trying to see if I could spot the bra I’d come for but to no avail.  Finally I spotted the registers, hidden along a side wall, at the same moment a clerk in the process of checking someone out looked in my direction, she noticed my look of helplessness and quickly averted her gaze.  Nearly ready to give up, I turned and once again found myself spotting the elusive “retail clerk” as this one nearly sprinted from the fitting rooms, stopped short and looked at me as she said, “Can I help you?”

Yes!  Yes you can.

I explained to her my mission:  find a replacement bra for the one I had on.

She asked what it was?  I responded, “Um… one of those convertible ones with the clear straps.”

She raised an eyebrow and said, “Is it padded?”  I felt my tits and said, “A little… not a lot though.”

Her eyes moving from my chest to my face, asked, “Is it a ‘Very Sexy’ bra?”

I acquired the look of a deer in headlights and said, “I have no idea.”

She turned on her toes and bustled through the store back to the front, tossing over her shoulder at me, “It’s probably a ‘Very Sexy’ multi-way bra though we haven’t had anything with clear straps in years…”

She looked through the racks and drawers for my size, which is apparently the most popular size ever, and coming up empty-handed, even after a call to the stockroom, she breathed out, “I think we’re going to have to order you the bra and have it shipped.  It’ll go straight to your house, free of charge.”

Since I’d specifically gone to Vickies because they have the bra I wanted, I agreed and we headed up to the register.  The clerk asked me if I’d shopped at VS before, “Sure, years ago.”  She asked for my phone number, punched it in and jingled, “You’re not in our system.”  After handing over my driver’s license so she could enter the address to ship my replacement, getting my email to send the shipping information and reentering my phone number, she asked if I wanted to put the purchase on my “Angel Card”.

I looked at her, once again with a lost expression and said, “I have no idea what that is.”  By now, the two other clerks and the three woman all at the registers each had an eyebrow raised in my general direction.  The clerk who was taking care of my issue began to explain what the card was and I blurted out that I was just going to put it on one of my own cards, thank you so much.  She continued with the transaction, and by now I was flustered with my wallet pulled apart that I tried running my card through backwards.  At her offer to swipe the card on her side, I realized my error, swiped the card again and we began to complete the sale.

She cheerily stated that my bra would be shipped immediately to the house (great) and now I was in the computer and could just use my phone number to look up what I needed next time I was there.  Unthinking, I responded, “I haven’t been inside of the mall, really, in probably four or five years… I didn’t even know that ‘PINK’ was a separate store.”


I folded the proffered receipt, stuffed it into my wallet and felt the eyes of all the women, customers and clerks, staring at me quite possibly with the impression that I had sprouted two extra heads instead of the fact that I haven’t really been INSIDE of the mall in all these years.  I scurried out of the store, got to my car and as I pulled out of the parking lot, it occurred to me that my transition to “hermit” may very well be near completion.

At the age of 38, I have become the old lady who doesn’t know where anything is and finds the mall overstimulating and confusing.

I also know why I prefer shopping online.


*This post originated as an email (yes, really) to my friends on Monday.  I shot it off to them and then thought, “DAMN!  That’d make a fine blog post!”

P.S. – I ordered the wrong size and had to go back to the mall to exchange the ones I got for the correct size.  This time I went in the right direction.

Posted in Blogging, Fancy Coffee Friday, Humor, Life, Musings, Personal | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments