Kellie Elmore: Free Write Friday, Favorite Childhood Gift

1231698_10151679670688763_1447105361_nFavorite Childhood Gift:

My father bought my favorite stuffed animal, a monkey, in Lamberts, a store in New York City for my second birthday.I imagined Lamberts was a store filled with all kinds of wonderful things: police cars that flashed and made noise, doll babies with small pink bottles, cards for all occasions, all types of medicine including my personal favorite, St. Joseph Aspirin for children that tasted like an orange cream soda. I pictured them also having a formica counter with shiny chrome swirling stools where you could orders snacks and a black and white ice cream soda, or a frosty bright pink strawberry milkshake.

My favorite love object is a stuffed animal whose name is Nokey.I could not pronounce “Monkey” at the time. If you noticed I haven’t used the past tense it’s because I will be 57 in the beginning of October and Nokey will be 55. Yes, I still have him, I will always have him. This special friend of mine, this lovey, has been all over the world with me, wherever my family took me, I took him.

He is so important to me that my husband (and probably my grown-up children) know when I die, I want to be buried with him beside me or cremated with me. Nokey was always such a huge part of my life.

I’m not sure why he was so important but I know he was the one object I could rely on, could trust. He kept my confidences and more importantly, only he could make me feel safe. I slept with him until he was too fragile to sleep with, he went to college for a semester but after that his inner stuffing starting falling out and ungainly wires started poking out. My father, seeing old friends, brought him to a small doll and toy factory in Germany (my father was an airline employee) so that Nokey could get a face and body lift. There was nothing in New York, they only accepted “dolls.” His colors were still the same, a yellow shirt and black pants, with white sneakers but his head was a little too puffy.  In time I forgot how he used to look.

I have always imagined the toy shop high on a cobblestone street, on the second floor. The old, kindly toy maker with white hair and round glasses, looking out the window, smiling; and there would be red flowers on all the window boxes of the white house with brown trim.

Nokey has ruby-red lips upturned in a big, happy smile and I used to swing his arms back and forth because I thought he liked it. His ruby smile faded a tiny bit as he became older just as all of us fade a little with age. It didn’t matter to me, it doesn’t matter to me.I love him for all the love, comfort and warmth he brought to me. I never cared how he looked with his bandaged hand, masking tape, in many places. Shouldn’t old age be treated in the exact same way? Do we really need all these vain people trying to look young forever? Why? Yes, I’m focusing on you, “celebrities. You send such a bad message to people.

Nokey is now lying beside me with his bandaged white sneakers and his hand that was once burnt on the furnace that my dad lovingly wrapped in masking tape. I will not put him in the closet for another day, I will find a place for him where I can see him and smile and remember the comfort he gave me, as a little girl, standing outside, looking within.

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*Woody Allen’s Other Sister

English: Woody Allen in concert in New York City.

English: Woody Allen in concert in New York City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was practically BORN thinking about my mortality. It is amazing to talk to people older than I am (and I’m pretty old) that go into a sudden depression realizing they are getting old for the first time. Did they not know this was coming? I was born to be old, born worrying, born afraid. I could definitely be Woody Allen’s little sister. *Relax lawyers, I KNOW I’m NOT but I am so like him, it’s scary. I’ve always been a pessimist despite years of therapy. I thought for sure I failed every test when I aced them and any irregular (or regular) symptom had to be cancer. Describing myself as a “worry-wart” is too kind.

I have tried prescription drugs to alleviate my stress and anxiety but nothing works all the time. Even with medication I still see gloom and doom. I was fortunate to hide it from my children when they were younger, I tried so hard and it worked. Why can’t I do it again?  As they got older, they knew me better and have seen the real me. Plus, it’s a more dangerous world now than it was twenty years ago. I can’t hide anything from them, especially my son, who picks up vibes about me with just a “hello” and vice- versa. (He got that from me). My mother used to call me “over-sensitive” a word which I have always hated. I may not have known WHAT was going on but instinctively I knew something wasn’t right. I can sense things before they happen.

There are some days where I wake up and automatically go through the Rolodex (Google it) in my mind. It can go from a doctor’s appointment, a friend who is dying to security issues (the world is coming to an end, pork has salmonella, don’t eat at any restaurant (did YOU see 20/20?) a plane crash….) I categorize them all under the umbrella of: Health and Safety.

I’m my own damn movie and I can’t ever seem to have a happy ending OR  when I do, I’m afraid I will jinx it. I always play out different scenarios in my mind. What if “my fill in the blank”_______ husband, daughter, son, mother, sister….dies? What if I die first? Will my children be alright, how can I do this to them, I’d feel so bad, and guilty too. I’m feeling pangs of anxiety in my stomach even writing this….just so you know.

The clinical term is  “anticipatory anxiety” it’s no fun but it doesn’t happen all the time. I can’t help it when it does but I do try; sometimes deep breathing works or focusing on something else or playing with my dog, even walking. If you don’t have it, consider yourself blessed. Try to be an optimist or as my dad used to say “Worry when there IS something to worry about, not before.” Try and look at the glass half full, as the expression goes, not half empty, cracked and overflowing with mold and deadly chemicals, like I do. You’ll be happier and have an easier life. Trust me, I know.

No Other Love

Mama Bear and her two cubs

Mama Bear and her two cubs (Photo credit: pixieclipx)

Dear Kids,

In case you haven’t heard it, it’s true what they say about mothers and their children.this is a bond like no other.

You and your sister are attached to me in a special way

I will always feel the need to protect you, to keep you safe.

No matter how old you get, you will always be our babies.

This special bond that will never go away or lessen.

Like a mother bear and her cubs I will protect you fiercely and I will do

not anything possible but everything to keep you from harm’s way.

This is nothing to joke about, this is serious but not something you will understand

until you have children of your own.

If it means that you are mad at me, I will deal with that, my job is to protect you.

I will go to the ends of the earth to do that, as many parents would too.

If you decide to go on this trip and it is alarmingly dangerous and I disapprove,

you will look out your window from the plane

and I will be the person on the tarmac, suited up, in bright yellow and orange,

against the night’s dark sky

flashing my arms, not letting that plane leave.

You do not know this side of me.

It never weakens, it can’t be destroyed.

You can joke and laugh and call me “silly” or “mushy” or say that “I can’t drive”

I’m alright with that

But, do not ever underestimate a mother’s love for her children.

Ever.

Travel Lessons Learned the Hard Way

Airline Food

Wear clogs, not sneakers (in case you have to go through security) dress in layers (airplanes are usually too hot or cold) travel as lightly as you can (I have NOT learned this YET but I am working on it) and most importantly, ALWAYS BRING A LOT OF FOOD. We used to bring elaborate home-made sandwiches and snacks, beverages and dessert to keep us happy but that rule changed too. I usually am a snob about airline food especially after I got food poisoning after a meal in the sky. So, Adapt: Buy food after security, a lot of it and of course, buy chocolate. A lot of chocolate. Take Dramamine and keep it in a very handy location. Just sayin……..

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What I Can’t Leave Home Without

Lipstick in application

Image via Wikipedia

Pretty Lips, Clean Hands And Me

I could be boring and say the usual expected things: keys, ID, driver’s license, credit card but those are things I assume I am bringing (at least I thoroughly hope so, especially if I’m driving.) The definitive answer to this question “what can’t I leave home without?” would be lipstick. “Lipstick? You say?” Yes! Having lipstick on or in my handbag makes me feel more secure (how do you spell OCD?!) I USED to have to put lipstick on before I drove, but now I am (a little) more flexible. I have driven without lipstick but I don’t like the feeling. I could go through many years of psychoanalysis to find out the reason, but it’s so much easier to keep a lipstick, or two, in my bag. You know, just in case……My back up answer would be Purell, the hand sanitizer, because IF I can get rid of some germs, I do. Having an auto-immune disease makes me conscious of those things and even if washing my hands is 100 times more effective, I don’t care. I feel reassured with my little bottle of Purell at my side or rather in my bag. I actually LOVE PURELL so much I could be their spokesperson.
Call me crazy, but it is a frightening world out there and if lipstick and Purell are going to make me feel just a tiny bit better and a little more in control? So be it!

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9 And A Half Minutes, Episode 1

"one second" exhibition

Image by sugu via Flickr

Tick Tock, Tick Tock. Welcome to another edition of 9 and a half minutes. A place where I mention the things that annoy me. First up: SPAM. If you are going to send out this trash can’t you make the effort to spell “dear” CORRECTLY? It’s always misspelled and it’s in all  lower case letters :”hello deaer.” This bugs me. Not to mention that I get hundreds of junk mail every day and yes, I do, have a SPAM filter.  I am OCD about the amount the junk mail that I get so I need to check it and delete it frequently. It’s supposed to automatically delete in one month but that never happens. Every day I get the following suggestions: “buy drugs, enlargge your penis, veagra for womens, congradulations deaer, autimatic lottery winner”….just stop sending us this junk. Here’s my suggestion: ” go away, get losted, please, hun.”

Another thing that’s irritating is the call you get on a Sunday night from your favorite hairdresser, the one you found after years and years of searching. The one you trust implicitly. You finally find her and sure enough, one day you get “the call.” You know what it’s about, the minute you get the message “It’s Linda, from Tresses” on the phone. Deep in our hearts, women everywhere  know that the only reason your hairdresser is calling you at home at night is because she has fled her old job, stolen your chart and is working somewhere else. My dilemna: I love the way she does my hair but she has joined a salon that I fervently despise. It’s not the end of the world and yes, a mere annoyance but these things add up.

It has been a horrific couple of years and many of us are suffering the consequences of a bad economy. The idea of a vacation used to give me something to dream about, to look forward to. Key word: USED TO, past tense.  Even though it may not be financially feasible, it was something to dream and fantasize about.  Thinking about flying someplace warm in the middle of winter or early spring used to make me so happy, an inside secret I tucked away in my heart. Now? Thinking about flying makes me anxious, another mood elevator crashes to the ground (no pun intended.) With the media screaming about terror alerts and bomb threats, who wants to fly now?  Flying used to be fun, an exciting adventure. Now, you wait in very long lines, several times over, experience huge delays, body checks, shoe checks and most importantly, basic primal fear, anxiety and paranoia. I’d have to think it over for a long time before I would fly again and then, I would literally have to be sedated. Where’s the joy in that?

What is there to look forward to now? The economy stinks, the unemployment rate is ridiculously high and everyone seems to have less money or no money at all (with the exception of perhaps the super-rich which is even more annoying.)  The world, as we know it now, is a scary place. I know things take time but even I am losing patience. The country needs some good news, some great news. We need something, anything to feel good about our lives; I don’t care what it is. Give us a glimmer of hope, a tidbit, a really solid fantasy.

It’s the first week in November and we had sleet, snow and a power outage for six hours the other day. At this point, I’d even welcome some global warming: as in the warming up the country variety. If you hadn’t guessed it before the other thing I despise with a passion is winter. I would love to sleep straight through to spring. It’s cold and dark, scary and we all get sick; especially for those of us with chronic illnesses and pain. I know life is not perfect, believe me, I know. I also know you’re not supposed to “sweat the small stuff.” But, when the BIG stuff is all bad, the little stuff just adds an additional amount of worry and annoyance;  it makes us cranky. Very cranky. I’m not Andy Rooney, I’m just little ol’ me but I’m seriously pissed off. Join me next week for another edition.