Friday, April 11, 2014

Just, Veronica; Just Veronica

When I was fifteen I went to get my working papers from the high school. I was happy to be able to make money doing something other than baby-sitting.

I applied at the local pharmacy, to be a cashier. I walked in, strangely feeling different than any of the other times I’d gone in. It wasn't my first time going alone or anything. It was my first time going because of me; for me. I walked by the cards, toiletries, tub chairs, aspirin bottles, zig-zagging from the entrance by the street, to the pharmacy counter, in the back of the building. I smelled the smells of medicine, paper and plastic, as I zigged. I smelled the fragrance counter and the elder ladies’ choices for that day, as I zagged.

I walked up to the counter. I waited. I watched. I waited some more.

Mr. Levy was popping his head up and down, counting, murmuring, swaying back and forth. On the phone and off he went. He looked at me; saw me. He almost smiled under his thick black mustache. He then came around the back counter, to the front counter.

He asked me my name. I said, “Veronica”. He asked if I have a nick name or something I like to be called. I replied, “Veronica; just, Veronica”. He questioned, “Just, Veronica”? “Just Veronica”, I said once more.
“Okay, Just Veronica, I’m Ed Levy, you start on Saturday”, he definitely smiled.

Every time someone asks me if I have a nick name I remember this day. I did have a nick name; Ronnie. I was called this when I was a little kid. I was a tomboy. I started calling myself Veronica to new people I met since I was eleven. It was still having difficulty sticking. I've gone into the pharmacy from time to time and when Mr. Levy wasn't in I’d leave a message that Just Veronica stopped, to say hello.

Do you have a nick name? Does this question bring up a significant memory as to when your full name became important, to you?

Thursday, April 10, 2014


I, am suffering a case of writer’s block…

Short may it live.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

High Hopes

Today I was crushed, because I had high hopes.

I let my guard down. I put myself out there. I waited. I wanted. I wondered. I had high hopes.

A few weeks ago there was a message in my twitter box from a company, asking if I have what it takes to make the cut. I replied, I do. I do. I thought I did. I was under the impression that I embody all they are looking for, and more. They specified that you don’t need to be a dynamic mixologist; you don’t need lots of experience or education. I have experience and education. I will make the cut. I had high hopes.

Weeks went by with their posting different profiles on their Twitter and their Facebook pages. Not a lot of action was given these applicants. I was again, waiting, to see if my profile would appear on their page. It did; 30something out of 102, did. I was one of them, surely this means good things. I had the most “likes” on one post and equal if not a tiny bit more good, encouraging, raving comments, than another.

Today, I was crushed. Today, I had high hopes. Today, they were squashed.

I’ve been checking Email, Twitter, Facebook, etc; and again. Over and over I’ve been checking as they said in their stipulation for applying, I must be available for training on the 7th. Two days ago they checked my LinkedIn profile and posted on their Twitter that they are narrowing and they will announce their top three, soon. Their soon, sadly was not as soon, as my soon.

Today I was crushed because I did not make the cut. I did not even make the top 12 to be turned into the top 3 to be turned into the top; numero uno.

Why were my hopes so high? Why was I boosted and encouraged by my peers and friends and Sisters and Aunts and Cousins and old business contacts and associates and teachers in the field this is?!?

Why did I cry like a child?

Hope is a blessing. It, in itself is encouraging. That’s why. For me to have high hopes and true, unadulterated belief in myself is a blessing. I would have bet my life that I’d make it, at least, to the top three. I, however, didn’t make it, at all.

Tomorrow, I will again, have high hopes in something, because I am all of those things that were said and written about me, in the last few weeks. I am hope; high hopes.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


I've noticed that people of a certain caliber, or people that think they are, have a definite issue with showing gratitude. Rarely do they say thank you, in any form.

Many years ago I had an employer who extended all the funds to the business and there wasn't much left to offer employee raises. It was promised and understood, that as the business grew, so would the employee pay.

Year after year, our hours got longer and weekends to ourselves became obsolete. It didn't matter to me, as I was learning and enjoying my work. I made it clear, that I would work for gratitude and appreciation until the “big time”.

The big time was always around the corner, as the business needed capital to grow, the money went back into the business. I began to realize that our ideas and ideals were farther apart than originally thought.This revelation brought some pretty unnerving months of interactions, avoidance, confrontations and all around bad feelings.

During our last few weeks of working together I reminded my employers that I would have worked as long as they needed me to, because I loved what I was doing, was paid well and I believed that the company would be very successful. I could not, however, give my time and life to people who didn't have any qualms about neglecting to appreciate me.

Have you ever felt overlooked? Have you had to move on because you literally had a thankless job?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Forever is Forever

When someone dies, family and friends of the departed are “consoled” with falsehoods of eventual ease.

There is nothing easy when dealing with death. It’s literally a pain. There is heartache, brokenness, emptiness, etc.

When we give time, time, yes things aren't immediate. Tears aren't constantly flowing. Whales of desperation and fear aren't continually yelped. Yet, they are there, forever.

When someone dies, it’s forever. The phone rings without answer, forever. Your love is not reciprocated, forever. They are not coming back, forever. The pain lasts, forever.

Whose bright idea was it to tell a blatant lie to someone in mourning? Why tell people that it will get better soon, when they are already feeling crazy with grief? Why make things more difficult by making people feel like something is wrong with them, because they still cry a year later? 

Why not tell us that we will feel the loss and the fear and the anger and the hatred, forever; just not constantly.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

English Accents

English is spoken in accents and dialects depending where and by whom you were raised. I find it interesting to hear the same words spoken differently.

I grew up in ear shot of lots of Irish, Bostonesque, North Jersey and New York accents. So, naturally I needed to prevent the sloshy soup that might become the words leaving my mouth. As well as the undeniable label I’d get being from New Jersey or New York. I did this by watching, listening and mimicking the news reporters.

At that time, there were but a few channels; each reporter sounding the same. The first time I knew my practice had paid off, I was eleven and in Chicago. I met some friends of friends and they’d no idea where I was from. Once they learned I lived in New Jersey, they wanted to know where I lived before. Where was my accent from. Or, where did my New Jersey accent go.

This has been the case my entire life. I've prided myself on being able to fit in, by remembering which vowels sound like which, etc. It’s also come in handy for detecting where others come from; I've won bets.
A few years ago however, I brought back the occasional cawfee, dawg and yo, etc, in defense of the state that I realized I’d been silently denying. New Jersey is where I was raised and I'm proud of it.

Do you have a noticeable, detectable accent? Have you ever wished you had a different one?


Friday, April 4, 2014


Decisions, Decisions…

Each moment of our lives is a decision, propelling from a previous decision.
Do I hit the snooze? Do I jump up? Do I make the coffee or take a shower, first?  You see, it’s ongoing. Even during sleep we slightly consciously decide to turn over, move the pillow, or kick off the blanket.

I wonder, if I’d gotten up at the first sound of my alarm this morning, would my chores be complete? Would I have bumped into a friend at the farmer market? Had a different vibe, to invite a phone call or message? Most likely, not. Tomorrow, I might wonder the same. What will I decide?

Ahh, the big decisions. No, not what to have for lunch. Decisions like who to befriend, where to work, what direction to point the compass of my life.

Friendships have a way of bringing people up or dragging us down. They impact our daily lives more than we might consider. When making decisions about activities or again about what geographical direction to work or live. I've moved toward friends, that weren't, in the long run. I've considered employment in the direction of friends’ homes or places of business, in order to get together at lunch or after work. 

Lately I've been reevaluating my friendships and where I live. If I move, some will be left on the side, as they should. Will it make a difference in my feeling stagnant? If I stay put, will I continue to feel brought down because of a ridiculous feeling of loyal “time-sharing”?


Thursday, April 3, 2014


When I was what we now call a tween, Mommie and Auntie would get together every few weeks and we’d play Hair Salon. I’d color, wash and blow-out their hair. We’d laugh and share coffee and treats. Sometimes I’d throw in a hand or shoulder massage, to round out their appointment.

I developed into “Cookie”, hair dresser extraordinaire. I’d get phone calls and pop-ins, Aunties and friends of Mommie, looking for Cookie. “Hey is Cookie there on Friday? Can she squeeze me in?”  It was fun to bond and share time with the almost elder ladies in the family. I liked being the helper, even when I didn't. Extra chores still had a way of making me feel special; chosen.

Through the years Cookie moved away and only did their hair every few months. With every few visits, Cookie and their time with her was revisited. Reminiscing over coffee and treats was a welcomed occasion.  

When Mommie and I got together for events, she’d always ask if Cookie would be there to snaz her up. Of course, Cookie would show up and take on her role as hair dresser and make-up artist. And Mommie and I would laugh and laugh and laugh. After Mommie became sick, Cookie had to make a few hospital calls; to be sure Mommie was looking her best, while feeling her worst. A few weeks before Mommie died, she thanked me. She thanked me for always prettying her up; for taking the time.

I was never sure why I was chosen to be the hairdresser. I think I’m still unsure. What did they see in me that told them I’d do what they asked and what made them happy; to make them feel pretty?


Wednesday, April 2, 2014


A lot of lives begin with false beliefs; Santa, Big Bunnies, Fairies paying for rotting teeth, Princes who will charm. It amazes me that we can develop concrete beliefs, after the letdown. I am honored to have been raised believing in the church and in Christ. How slightly magical it is that my mother was able to love the jolly old man and instill the falsehood of that alongside the realness of God. She showed us how to believe.

She had one of the roughest lives I've known. She had heartbreak, illness, shunning, and failures, yet she smiled. During these struggles, she praised God, instilled her morals and all things necessary to make good women. She had a happiness that enveloped anyone around her. She believed.

When you grow in a world such as this, you tend to have similar struggles. With grace, there is a chance for betterment and fairy tale endings; if you believe.

During my own struggles, even as a young girl, I called on these beliefs to get me to the next step. Lots of steps stood between my tears and joy, at times. I kept climbing. I kept believing.

I saw a post last week about what people believe, when they don’t believe. It baffles me, as it has, how this is possible. I truly don’t understand. I’m not up for a debate, at this time, especially after enlightening you about my wonderful mother. I believe.

Our beliefs are strong and come down for generations. They are like a family heirloom. Everyone in a family is not in receipt of an heirloom. This is true with faith. Not all in the family have the same beliefs; some have none. I am blessed. I have the gift of faith. I continue to believe.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014


When I was five years old, my sisters and I would walk to the store, with our mother.  We’d do the shopping then eye the candy at the check-out. Since we were good little girls, we never asked for any.

One afternoon my sister and I walked to the store, to shop for our mother. We picked up the things on the list and waited patiently at the check-out. While the cashier was ringing she spotted us spying the candies. She asked if we’d like to have one. We thought for a second, which I’m sure seemed an eternity, before answering “Thank you, yes!” in unison.  She handed us each one.

We ran and skipped on the way home. We gave our mother the things we’d gotten and decided to do a dance for her, which was common place in our home. While we were dancing around (Ch Ch Ch. Ch Ch Ch. Ch Ch Ch.) our mother asked us to stop, then to start again. This went on a few times. Ch Ch Ch. Ch Ch Ch. Ch Ch Ch, stop. Ch Ch Ch. Ch Ch Ch. Ch Ch Ch, stop. “What’s that noise?”, she asked. “Tic Tacs, the cashier gave us”, we smiled.

We got the third degree, were told it was stealing since we hadn't paid for them and made to return them to the store. Any of our defenses were ignored. Even if they’d been free, we should have refused, as we were not allowed to eat candy, or take things without permission.

Did we really think they were free? Did we subconsciously assume the cashier had the authority to override what we were taught? Or, did we assume our mother would allow it?