23 May 2008

louis vuitton

so yesterday was my birthday. i am now a whopping 28 years old. to celebrate, a few of my friends had me to a brunch at this local diner. this place just wasn't any diner though-it's called 'the classic diner'...and yes, the food, ambiance, service, all owns up to it's name- it was classy indeed. but i'll sure tell you one thing that wasn't so classy about the experience-but moreso brashy.

i joined my two girlfriends at our table, in a back room that, at the moment, was only shared with one other occupied table. at this other table sat an american man, probably 54 years old, and two younger late twenty something Indian girls. no more than 3 minutes into our greeting, the man from the other table turns to us and interrupts with, "excuse me ladies, but is any one else joining you today?" to his question, i thought he was going to ask to remove one of our 'extra' chairs or take a fork or something, but no, he goes on "well, can you do me a favor? can you use your 'inside' voices? do you know what that means? your inside voices???"

we all kinda just looked at one another in bewilderment.

ummmm.... umm.... okay, it's not like we had out party hats, were throwing confetti and all hurrahing one another. we had merely exchanged a normal greeting of hello and maybe two times, 'happy birthday' was uttered. bah humbug. it's not like we were a trio of teenagers, playing MASH, getting all worked up over who got the cuter guy to marry or who ended up with the lamborghini...

i'm nearly a grown woman- odd too think, but yes, at 28 i could have married and been with child multiple times! the other two with me were aged 33 and 20. so, i'm really not sure where this middle aged haggish looking man got off suggesting such as using our 'inside' voices. even if in his spare time he was a preschool teacher, his comment was out of line.

so, after his comment settled in, i turned to him and asked "are you serious?" he said "hell yeah." and at that, i threw back my chair, ripped off my baggy sweater (to expose my huge biceps) and charged at him. no less than 30 seconds later, i had his toupee on the floor, his cardigan shredded, and the ladies accompanying him, ran for the door. what can i say, scraping all those huge industrial bowls at the bakery have given me quite the muscular physique.

ha! yeah, right.

no, i did ask him if he was serious, at that he replied "yeah, well, you know, if your voices escalate, then we have to raise our voices, and then it kind of becomes this competing thing. so yeah, use your inside voices."

my two friends were just laughing at the suggestion of this and this haggish man, and so i excused myself from the table. no, i didn't charge the man. i went to the hostess girls and asked that we be relocated to a friendlier section of the diner. and they complied with my birthday wish.

a funny side note- the other innkeeper gave me these fabulous vintage louis vuitton (which i just learned how to spell today) loafers. i wear them because they fit and i like the style, not so much the name they bare... any way, on my way into the diner (before hag man) this lady was coming out with her older parents and she just gushed about my shoes. "oh my gosh, i lllooove your shoes! they're great!" i wanted to tell her i got them for free, but at that, she might have charged at me.

"you know you're on the mainline, when..."

16 May 2008


my eyes are half shut in the heat of the day. sun warms my bony back and wisps of hair hang, still, in the afternoon humidity. resting on my breastbone are the sunglasses i purchased for $4 earlier today. they are ebony with the name Oliver printed in small letters, near legible, on one of the side arms. they have two nose pads, making their wear not only fashionable, but comfortable as well. the afternoon sun feels so nice, warms my blood, and the second hand smoke i'm breathing in, isn't all that bad. the pomegranate green tea i drink tells me i'm in the far east, but all the white faces that surround me tell me i'm much further west. it's 4:20 and you know what they say-that's the best time of day. the perfect time for, say, reflection and sure, even meditation.

(just found out that those 'oliver' glasses i got at the thrift shop for $4 are well worth over $300. they are Oliver Peoples. a google search quickly revealed their worth. ha! i had a funny feeling that the clarity in which i was seeing, in that murky thrift shop window, was definitely worth the $4 they were asking. even funnier, the lady pointed out the 'designer' glasses in the locked case just before i forked over the $4. she must not be acquainted with Oliver or have the 20/20 vision to read his name.)

later that night...
after wearing my designer glasses in the afternoon sun, i met up with a dear friend to try on gowns. bridesmaid gowns. those two words together just make me cringe. maybe it's just the word gown. i think 1987. big. frilly. fuchsia. yeah. i decided a couple days ago that it's time to get rid of the bridesmaid gowns (eek) that currently fill my closet. (or maybe i'll just pass them on to my mom. she's keeping our frock's (my sisters and mine) for the grand kids to romp around in.) i'm no where near 27 (thank the Lord)...only up to five. five times that i've worn the purple, pink and green. five times i've walked the aisle, and five times i've watched from fish eye view. so any way, back to my story...i picked two dresses that had the most likeliness of being worn, ever, again (which still won't happen) and to make a long story short, well...actually i'll start from the beginning.

my friend picked me up at my apt. i, wearing my tiredness on my sleeve, asked if we could stop at the barnes and nobles cafe (in the same shopping center as the bridal shop) to get some caffeine before trying on the gowns. yes, my friend said, but don't they have a no drink policy? well, i got a latte and she got a steamer, and with steaming cups in hand, we entered the daggon bridal shop. we were greeted by a little lady that sat at this desk type thing near the front door. she clearly saw that we each had a beverage in hand. she said nothing. so, in my mind, i equated the silence to acceptance. no lynette, they must not have a 'no beverage' policy. lucky us.

so, lynette squeezed, buckled, harnessed and near stapled me into the first gown. it was okay. i resembled a 12 year old ballerina. okay, maybe 17. it was pretty. out of the fitting room i did a wee twirl and no sooner was lynette back in the stall with me unzipping the thing from me and helping me into the second dress. i noticed that the dress, not neatly hung, was instead tossed to the floor by lynette- and in the corner no less. but, i figured sooner than later, we, or the dress fitting lady, would put the darn thing back on the hanger so not to allow wrinkles to form too deeply.

well, our second friend and maid of honor appeared on the scene. since i was in the second gown, she'd have to at least see the first ballerina gown, at least on the hanger. so, up from the floor i scooped the thing to see it spattered with dark spots here and there. now, keep in mind, the dress was navy blue, so these spots weren't all that obvious. okay, yes they were, but it was less obvious than having spattered spots of latte on, say, a cream colored dress.

no more than 32 seconds later and one of the gals, who just minutes before was gushing to us about silly dyable shoes and what good prices they have them in, appeared on the scene with a furrowed brow (forced) and a stern voice. "we'll have to get this to alterations...now!" it was like watching ER and they whisked the darn gown away to get those big shocker things squirted with vaseline and plugged onto the dress to bring life back to it.

after looking in the mirror and seeing that i was still in my undershirt with frizzy, uncombed looking hair, i quick put on my nicer button up shirt and smoothed the frayed ends. (i wanted to look as tidy as possible in handling this situation of a spilled latte on an overpriced, china made gown.)

thinking, at most, the lady that gushed about the dyables would charge us a small fee for cleaning, if that, i was preparing a speech of sorts in my head.

with the navy gown draped over her forearm, she appeared at my stall door. her sad look said it all. she was going to try to tell me that i was responsible for purchasing this navy, ballerina, overpriced gown that was too big for me any way and wasn't decided as 'the one' at that. and that was exactly where she went with her words. "i'm sorry, but we tried to 'febreeze' the gown in alterations, but that odor, we just can't get it out." ODOR?!?!?! so, i leaned forward and buried my nose in the layers of chiffon. odor??? it sure smells sweet to me. come on, i got a HONEY latte. it wasn't like i was sipping on a cup of espresso. there was no coffee smell, no spots visible to my eye, and besides, isn't the customer always right?

well, with my buttoned up shirt and smooth slicked hair, i stood my ground and tried to convey that i wasn't some rich teenager using my parents credit card (because this is what she must have taken me as). no, in fact i was probably older than the lady, angela, that was telling me i had to fork over $135.00 plus tax for this gown, this gown, that:

one) wasn't my size
two) was a sample
three) smelled sweet like honey
four) was a freakin' gown. a gown. a gown costing $143.10.

so what did i do? i demanded that David come out. that's right, i want to speak with Mr. Bridal immediately. now that would be funny, but had i gone that route, i may have lost that ground that i so firmly had established with miss angela, the supposed manager on duty.

well, i told her it was pretty much ridiculous that she was suggesting i pay $143.10 for a gown i didn't want and asked to see this 'policy', this policy that if you accidentally get some honey latte on part of a dress, that you are then forced to buy the darn thing. well, she couldn't seem to think of a place that would have this policy in writing, and the other 'manager' in the back just couldn't breakaway from whatever he or she was doing, to help miss angela in this crisis. so, angela, clearly flustered, took down my number (and yes, i gave her the correct number) and said she'd follow up with me either way.

ridiculous. just plain silly. isn't that how clearance items appear on a shelf? they get dropped, stained, soiled, half eaten, doused in honey latte, etc...

so today i called two other david's bridal locations, trying to get their take on the whole 'policy'. the first store location i called said that yes, they have a no food or beverage policy. well, i followed up with, 'what if someone still brings in a drink and happens to spill some of it on a gown? Do you make them purchase the dress?' the lady said she has never had to handle such a situation because they don't permit people with beverages entrance to their store. 'well', i kept asking, 'what if still they come in with drink and spill some on a gown. do you make them pay???' she couldn't come up with an answer (i think she was miss angela's sister) and said she would have to handle it as a special case and go from there.

the second david's bridal referred me to corporate. so i called their corporate offices three times today and couldn't get through to any human person. all recordings. i'm by no means worried, but just want to get to the bottom of this. if it isn't posted anywhere in writing, and at least 5 david's bridal employees saw lynette and i with our beverages, said nothing, and then held us responsible for purchasing an unwanted gown for $143.10. well, to me, that is absurd- especially since the spots came out and all that was left was a smell of sweet honey.

so i joked with my lady friends last night that in the middle of the night there'd be a rap at my door and ...."DAVID'S BRIDAL...open up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" would be yelped. ha.

i'll take 'em to peoples court. yeah, me and miss angela, off to see judge judy.

14 May 2008

hodge podge

i can be a clumsy person. i was a clumsy person this past friday night. i went to my favorite coffeehouse and was waiting for two others to join me-and that's when it all went down. i'm also a board game enthusiast and was one on friday night. here's the deal...

i had just entered the gryphon, with scrabble tucked under my right arm, and an aluminum tin of 144 domino's stacked atop the slender rectangular box. i was doing great, just fine (yes, for the whole 12 seconds i thus far had managed to balance the two against my ribcage), until for some reason i decided to drop the darn tin and let loose all 144 tiles. so, all over the floor they spewed- with force, vigor and speed. and yes, some even jumped ship, slid under the front door of the cafe and landed outside on the cement sidewalk, surprising the corral of teenagers that mingled there.

i think the only reason i felt a bit dumb, was because not a soul, not one, helped to pick up the tiles. it was like being in 7th grade, dropping your trapper keeper, and having all your folders and papers fly out in every which direction, and instead of your fellows giving you a hand, they peruse past with speed and indifference.

the people behind the counter just kinda glanced my direction. (everyone knew I dropped my domino's because of the obnoxious noise the tin made, hitting the wooden planked floor, welcoming the crashing 144). and I understand that the behind the counter people didn't help, they had work to do. but there was this one young fella, about 25 years old, who i've actually seen there quite a bit (he may even work there) who was no more than 9 feet away from the seen of the accident, and he just stared at me. he stared. it almost made me sick.

how can an individual, a supposed gentleman at that, not even offer a hand to someone, someone who clearly could have used one, to clear the 144 from the threshold of the doorway they cluttered and stoppered. if it were a girl, i'd be just as bothered. he never said he was a gentleman, so i can't hold him to that. but i just couldn't, and still can't, get over the fact that no one offered to help.

so, at an average pace, i managed to pick up all 144. and actually, i did get almost help from one of the teenagers outside. as i was on all four, the door cracked opened and in came a forearm with 6 domino's clenched tightly in the fist belonging to the arm. (i imagine there was a face to go with the arm, but i wasn't offered a glimpse). "here," the arm said. and that's all i got.

once the tiles were ordered in their box, i got a drink and found my way to the old kitchen table. about 8 minutes later, after i jotted a note of frustration about it all, my two friends joined me, and with them, i shared my sob story. i think i ended the story saying something like this:

"the most annoying part of dropping the 144 wasn't that i looked like a fool, but that i didn't get the opportunity to meet a new friend in the endeavor of cleaning the mess. you see, it's in the messiness of life that we have opportunities to help another, to love another or sadly to neglect another."

and that was that.

09 May 2008

Good Night

Today at the local shopping mall I watched a teenage girl sit down to a McDonald's meal. She was at a small round table, identical to the one I was seated at, directly across from me. I watched as she ate one greasy thing after another and then watched her lift a large purple knapsack from off of the floor and onto her lap. With sack on her lap, I watched as she wrapped the remains of her hash brown loaf, tight, in the yellow and red grease stained paper. Then she stuffed the wrapped loaf in her front pocket- just like Napoleon. I had to laugh.

I met two people today. Didn't get any names, but at least struck up some friendly conversation with a few strangers. First was the barista at Starbucks. The one, and it seems they all do these days, that made my drink improperly. So we got to chatting, as he remade my drink, and he ended up rewarding me the errored one as well.

50 minutes later, after I sat and wrote, and watched the girl stuff the tater loaf in her pocket, I met a lady in the Produce Junction parking lot- who drove a Jetta identical to mine. We got to talking, because there I was, strawberries in hand, trying to enter her vehicle. I should have known better- her car was cleaner, but any way, that's how we got to talking.

And then it started raining and the tears of God softened my day. And once the rains subsided, I was back home, with flour dusted hands, kneading shortbread stacks into perfect four inch rounds, sandwiching tiny dots of butter between.

And now I'm tired. There are only crumbs scattered across this tablecloth where I now sit, where once the biscuits cooled, reminding me of the mess I made just hours ago. Dough covered bowls and batter soaked whisks fill the sink- and the dishes will have to wait for tomorrow. I just hope the ants don't vacation tonight.

We read from James earlier- about oaths, sickness, confession and faith. And it's by this faith I tread on- I do hold on. It's always been and will continue to be the unknown in which I live. I'm here, right now, at this crumb covered cloth and that is all I'm guaranteed. But in faith I've set my alarm clock and in faith I've dreamed a dream. And just like that hash brown loaf, wrapped tight in red and yellow, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

07 May 2008


today i was closing out a word document that was titled luke. and as i went to close it, a little box appeared on my monitor that asked me "do you want to save the changes to luke?" and i clicked 'yes'.

and as i closed out of that document, in my head, i pondered 'i wonder if that's sometimes how God works'. he opens us up, does some work, deleting this and that, cutting here and pasting there, does a little spell check (maybe even references the thesaurus), and then, thank Him, he chooses to save the changes. or, then again, maybe sometimes he doesn't...and we get to be changed, and learnt, yet once more.

it was just an odd sensation closing out that document. i felt like i was some futuristic, robotic programmer of earthlings...that i, an innkeeper, had the power to save changes in a boy named luke... yes, really it was a document named luke, but it just got me thinking.

02 May 2008

Mrs. Bradley

I have nine hundred fifty eight dollars and twenty nine cents in my checking account- nine hundred and fifty of which will be taken out later today when Joe deposits my rent check. This may be a record. I will have $8.29 to my name. Where has all my money gone? I guess I'll have to stop going to thrift stores- that's the only additional 'expense' I see that I have.

Rich's daughter is running around here at the Gryphon. She is very adorable- beautiful brown locks, a round full innocent face, and bright red rosy cheeks. I'm seated, cappuccino in hand, at a large vintage kitchen table-the first thing to greet you at the Gryphon cafe. The table is beside a glorious store front window- a window crafted with care to detail, and one can't help but be drawn to the sunlight dancing round as each passerby crosses its path outside.

I'm sharing the table with another lady. However, it looks like she's just now packing up. Appeared she was clipping coupons- but that just seems silly, so instead I'll say she was scribbling in her journal. Today, my sole day off, I've decided to get my drink for here. To stay a bit and enjoy the company of others - the jazz sounding in the distance, the delivery trucks whizzing by, the impatient motorists honking, and the whirling and swishing of that grand espresso machine.

I had the most bizarre dream last night. I dreamt there was this giant polar bear- a white one- prowling on my parents door stoop. The dream was mainly shot from two locations. Half the time I was seated at the kitchen table, peering out at the giant thing- near trembling (I think there was snow on the ground in the distance), and the other half of the time, I was crouched behind the front door, by the large glass penny jar, afraid for my life. The darn thing wanted to get in and eat me. I think this may have conjured in my head from a clip of footage I saw the other day on the television. There was an aerial shot of a polar bear swimming around in the giant blue ocean- next to chunks of bobbing ice, and as we watched the white bear swim to safety, the anchor man stated, "It hasn't yet been confirmed if polar bears will be added to the list of endangered species..." Any way, it wasn't the best of dreams.

Rich's pregnant wife and little daughter just skipped out, and now the wind has gone and blown in, replacing their absence. It's nice to think hundreds, maybe thousands, have sat at this old kitchen table. The cuts, scratches, dents and divots are too many to number and I'd like to imagine I've left a few here- over the years.

The woman I'm sharing this table with may be an interior designer. Instead of clipping coupons, it now looks like she's drawing out a floor plan of sorts on graph paper. She's sipping tea. Her hair is short, like a messy crew cut, and she wears small rimmed glasses that have a cord attached to each ear piece- securing them to her aged head. Which reminds me- Tara, one of the bakers I work with, wants to add visors to our uniform. VISORS. I couldn't help but audibly giggle when she suggested such. True, as she said, temperature wise, they would be the 'cooler' option, but the thing is, we're always FREEZING back there behind those industrial Hobart's, trying to scrape each ounce of batter with more and more fervor and umph just to try to break a sweat- or at least dismiss the goosebumps. In my opinion, the more of anything we can cover up, the better. So, I vote 'no' on the addition, or replacement rather, of visors for our French looking, China made, chef hats. I like looking like an Oompa Loompa, thank you very much.

Now where was I before that awful tangent? Yes, the lady with the Vera Bradley bag that I'm sharing table space with this morning is indeed an artist. She has whipped out the nice prisma color markers and a fancy, expensive ink pen too-which reminds me, I have a grocery list full of random odds and ends that I must pick up for the inn: Resolve, Febreeze, a duster (the stick thing with artificial feathers glued to it resembling a hairy rainbow on a wand), bath mats, and Fran mentioned something about a new swiffer stick. I must also remember, for myself, to get those little felt squares that go beneath chair feet- so as not to disturb the landlord below. Smile.

Children now pass by, with clipboards and backpacks, wonder filled eyes and a purposeful gate. Now that they've paraded past, grownups once more grace the path of that cold cement sidewalk. But it's a great day out. Full, pregnant, boasting with possibilities. There is the Yellow Springs art show in Chester Springs, Valley Forge with its ticks and deer, the Perkiomen trail with a river in its way that welcomes skipping stones or, of course, there is the responsible option of the day- catching up on laundry and doing some cleaning. But I think that must wait for a day not so lovely out- for a late night hour when the suns been set and the company's no more. Perhaps the one thing I'll allow myself to do indoors today is some baking. I finally picked up some heavy cream to make a double batch of Dee's famous scones, and after seeing what granola goes for in the supermarket these days, I think I'll make a hearty batch as well.

The lady I'm sharing this table with, is now filling her Vera Bradley bag- stuffing in her prisma markers, graph paper, and seeing glasses with safety cord- seems she's making room for all but the kitchen table. It's kind of like watching Mary Poppins pull out thing after thing from that magical duffel bag of sorts, but this lady's gone and done the opposite. And now, she and he, this man that's just joined her have had a Mary greeting Elizabeth moment- an embrace and exchange of warmth, love, anticipation and of hope, even.

I kind of feel awkward now- sitting at this table for five and I'm number three to a reunion just made. I'll just keep sitting here on the end, with my empty cappuccino mug, pen in hand and try to pretend I'm not overhearing their conversation. There is a violet pedal pike propped up with its kickstand to my left, just before the threshold of the doorway, and a ruby red ten speed leaning against a tree just outside the grand window.

The lady with the nice markers, who just met her man, has stepped away from this table to order another drink- but soon she will be back. Actually, shes taken her Vera Bradley bag too, and I'm clever enough to know what that means- she's not coming back. I now faintly hear them from behind. They, too, sensed the awkwardness and found a new table- for two. So now I'm one at a table for five with my empty cup and an old ink pen. But at least I've got the day, and unlike this cup, it's full of possibilities.