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Milk And Honey – It’s Sleepytime, Baby.

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While I don’t normally review any sort of product, like, ever, I feel compelled to write a short review on this product. This is mainly because I suffer terribly from insomnia, and I know many other people struggle with the same issue.

Yesterday whilst strolling through my local grocer, I came upon a bottle of Febreze “Sleep Serenity” Spray. I glanced at it skeptically. “Yeah, right. My room will just wind up smelling like a French Whore (as my ex-stepfather used to say).” I study the label. “Warm Milk and Honey” it reads. I twist the nozzle, and spray.

Now, I’ve never actually smelled, or even considered the idea of Warm Milk and Honey, but lo and behold, I could have curled up right there on the waxed floor and drifted off to oblivion. I purchased it, rushed home, and doused my apartment in this new, comforting scent. It’s a warm, inviting fragrance. Not so much reminiscent of Grandma’s house, which is fine by me as Grandma’s house smells a little creepy in my opinion. It’s more of a fuzzy, soothing, lingering scent – lingering in a good way, unlike many of the sprays that smell terrifically refreshing for a moment, and then WHOOSH, it’s gone. 

I highly recommend this product for anyone who’s into the whole aromatherapy thing, or for anyone who has gone out of their way and their minds to help induce a night of slumber. It’s pretty fantastic and worth the $2.58 I spent.

Febreze Warm Milk and Honey mixed with the Ambien tablet that I am about to devour, and I fully expect a good 6 hours of slumber to come. 🙂

Only time will tell. 🙂

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Manhandling A Stranger.

For those who know me, you know that I am completely terrified of spiders. It’s not just an average, “Yikes, a spider! Kill it!” type of fear. This fear can turn me from a stone-strong statue of a woman to a weeping, frenzied storm of terror in less than a nanosecond. Let’s put it this way, if you’re going to rob or assail me, forget the pistol or the blade. Just dangle a Daddy Long Leg within a 10 foot radius of where I am standing, and I can assure you, you’ll be leaving with my purse, my car, my shoes, and anything else you desire. That, or you’re doing to die. Either way, 8 dangling, dancing legs will produce a more profound effect on me than a man-made weapon any day.

Case in point. A few nights ago, I decided that I was going to order pizza. I usually wait right outside my door for the deliveryman, as I have two very loud, ferocious dogs that love to intimidate anyone who dares venture anywhere remotely close to my residence. I see the pizza man pull in through the complex gate, and I head outside to meet him. As I’m standing there waiting, my eyes are drawn to the door across the hall. The neighbors porch light is burned out, but I am still able to make out a menacing shadow above their door.

“Holy shit!” I scream. It’s a spider. Not a regular spider-spider, but a monstrous Haunted-House Style spider, legs outstretched from the top of the door frame and over, sprawled out and ready to pounce in full Battle-Spider mode. “Nope.” I walk back inside. Looks like I’m not having pizza tonight, unless Delivery Man finds a way to slip it under the door to me. A knock at my door, and I fly into a panic. Do I open the door, snatch the food and throw him some cash? I’d be willing to forego an extra $10 to him just to avoid Big Scary out there.

I open the door quickly, and peer past the man carrying my food. Suddenly, something tells me that I need to warn him. What if it pounces as he’s leaving? I would want someone to warn me. In a calm voice, so calm as to actually alarm the man before me, I say, “Whatever you do, do not back up and do not go near the door behind you.” His eyes widen with confusion. He turns around slowly, perhaps expecting a weapon-wielding robber, or a rabid animal. He studies the door, and then it comes – “Holy fucking shit! Look at that thing!”. He squints his eyes and starts towards it. That is when any social boundary ever instilled in me crashed and burned, right then and there. I grab him forcefully a pull him to me. “No! You can’t!” I shout. He stops, glances at my hand on his arm, and looks at me.

Silence.

Oh my God. I am so sorry!” I mumble. Yep. I’ve just manhandled the pizza man. “Here’s $25, keep the change.”

He hands me the pizza, shakes his head, and I close the door as fast as humanly possible. Ten minutes later, I peek outside to see if Big Scary is still looming above the doorframe.

He’s gone. Good? No. Now I don’t know where he is…

This week I’ve made a conscious effort to not only avoid going near the door across the hall, but I avoid that side of the hallway altogether. I also haven’t ordered pizza from Dominos since.

Love Thy Neighbor, Even If She May Be A Peeping Tom.

I’ve come to two conclusions. The first being I am completely obsessed with the goings-on in the apartment above me, and secondly that the apartment above me is being inhabited by 150 people. My second conclusion further reinforces my first.

I’m not sure how they do it, but somehow they’ve managed to occupy the place to full capacity. I live in the largest of all the buildings on my block with 3 floors with 12 units in it. I’m smooshed right smack dab in the middle of everyone and everything, and I LOVE it. My upstairs neighbors are loud. Loooooud… And when I say loud, I mean there are times when I find myself wondering if they’re throwing dressers and tables and barbells and bowling balls across the house as some weird sort of midnight ritual. There have been times when I’ve wondered if The Harlem Globetrotters have taken residence above me. The family that lives above me moved here from India about 9 months ago. There are two elderly women, a couple of older men, a couple of mid-30’s men and women, a few younger college-aged kids, and 2 or 3 small children whom I see on a regular basis. They play loud Middle Eastern music that makes me smile despite the fact that my door frames are shaking and my dogs are howling throughout the songs. When I open my patio doors, I hear foreign conversation and laughter. I smell their cooking and wonder what they’re eating. I imagine whatever it is, it’s beautiful. I’ll bet it was handmade by Daadima and it’s as colorful and intricate as the dresses she wears. My upstairs neighbors are always friendly in passing. I’d be willing to bet that if I walked upstairs and asked to join them in the Heavenly feast they’re consuming, they would welcome me with no hesitation. They are super friendly. However, they do not make any apologies for their boisterous living above.

I remember one incident recently that had my mother reeling, ready to storm upstairs and totally blast off. We were sitting on the patio one evening, watching the sun float lazily over the lake. One of my favorite things to do after a long shift is to sit outside and drink cup after cup of coffee. I contemplate my day, clear my mind, and lose myself in my drink. Mom and I were talking about the day’s events, recounting the craziness at work and enjoying our little relaxation ritual, when suddenly we are surprised by a ritual from above.

SPLASH!

Down pours a torrential stream of water from the patio above, through the crevices in the wooden planks that separate the neighbor’s floor from my patio ceiling. “What the Hellllllllll,” my mother cries, her Alabama drawl shrill and panicked. Another wave of liquid splashes down upon us, into my coffee, all over our scrubs, and covers the table. I jump up and push back my heavy, wrought iron chair. My mom looks up with bewilderment.

Ohhhh nooooooo. I’ll be right there…” comes a voice from above, and suddenly I see a little eye peering through the crack above me. “Oh no, no, noooo… I’m coming. Please you wait. Be right there…”  And before I know it, there is a knock at my front door, and a small Indian woman standing before me. I open the door and she is giggling nervously. “I am so sorry. I am so very sorry. This happen when I do offering, my prayer. I don’t mean to wet you. I should do this somewhere else, then, maybe, no…?” She produces a small, silver pot before me, and nods toward it. “See, my prayer.” She smiles, and I start giggling, too. “No, ma’am. You’re just fine. It was hot outside anyway. It’s really no bother at all.” It really is no worry, as she’s just reinforced my fascination with her family upstairs.

She smiles, heads back toward the stairs, then suddenly turns around. “Maybe you put plants on patio, and I water them, too. Yes?”  I nod. “Yes, Ma’am.”

This is just one of the daily incidents that occur between my neighbors and I. It is typically one-sided, me wondering what they’re doing as they live their day to day lives.

Still, I am truly convinced, and you will never make me believe otherwise, that there are hundreds of people up there, dancing and running with bricks attached to their feet. There may be livestock up there, stomping around as I watch the white plaster crumble from the ceiling onto my bed at midnight. Perhaps they all have Pogo sticks. Perhaps they’re slam dancing. Perhaps they’re not really doing anything at all, except living, which is a lot more that I do in my apartment. My mother finds it strange that it doesn’t bother me. She finds it even more bizarre that I, well, love it.

“Doesn’t that drive you crazy? You should call and complain…”

“Nah. I like the raucous…” I say. As I lay in bed at night, staring up at the ceiling, I thumb through all the wild scenarios in my mind. “Perhaps they’ve adopted an elephant…” Unlikely, but an enjoyable thought to entertain nonetheless.

I can only continue to speculate, and that’s just as entertaining to me….

I totally love my upstairs neighbors, all 150 of them. 🙂Image

“Mom, Where Did You Come From?”

My son asks me about my childhood quite frequently. He is about to turn 15 and for whatever reason, he has suddenly taken an interest in who I was when I was “his age”. What do I tell him? I give him bits and pieces, leaving out the shenanigans, of course. Our childhoods are so, so different that I don’t know where to begin with him. What do I say? “Well son, when I was your age, we didn’t actually go to the football games…”

The truth is, my friends would pick me up, I would jump in the back of an old blue 4×4, and we would head downtown to the old Slave Markets, sit on tables and listen to The Grateful Dead. We would play laser tag with toy guns on the rooftops of buildings Downtown. We would sit in coffee shops and listen to Spoken Word or acoustic jam sessions, sometimes with a slightly “altered mentality”. We would run through back alleys and make friends with vagabonds. We would sneak into hotels and steal coffee and tea biscuits. I was surrounded by artists, music, and free-thinkers. I spent many a night at 14 discovering colors and beats and movement at Warehouse Rave parties while my mother thought I was at church lock-ins and such. I grew up thinking the smell of horse urine on the cobblestone streets was “normal”. I grew up wandering cemeteries that were 100’s of years old, sitting beneath the Oaks and sketching and dreaming. The humidity and the night’s summer air was a shawl on my shoulders. I could smell history and feel the romance in the shadows of wrought iron gates on the sidewalks. You see son, I was allowed to be whoever I wanted to be. I pretty much did whatever I wanted. My parents didn’t exactly “allow” me, so to speak.

Of course, I don’t tell him any of this. I nod and tell him partial truths.

“Well, I’ve walked cobblestone streets and sat beneath the largest Angel Oak you’ve ever seen, son. The smell of pluff mud and azaleas makes my soul smile. I’ve frequented many coffeehouses, not Starbucks, son, but real coffeehouses. When you walked the streets during the day, there were horse-drawn buggies and women weaving baskets and people selling handmade oil scents and soaps. And when you walked those old streets at night, the air was thick and sweet, the shadows danced to the sounds of didgeridoos and you could feel the whispers of old ghosts wisp across the nape of your neck. There was always a festival in one of the Squares, and dining on Aloo Paranthas or discovering a tiny French restaurant tucked away in an alley was always a weekend treat. Life was just different for me at your age. We didn’t hang out in Winn Dixie parking lots. We didn’t go to a movie on Friday night. We explored. We created. I was just like you are, I just grew up a little differently.”

I don’t tell him that part of me doesn’t want him to grow up the way I did. With all the fun and discovery came many dark, dark things that I won’t go into at this point. Let’s just say with enlightenment also came a sense of regret and later shame, and while I seemed to make it out okay, many of my fellow adventurers did not. I still carry those memories with me to this day, and I am grateful for them regardless.

He tells me, “Why would a 15 year old want to just go sit and drink coffee, Mom? That’s stupid.” “We weren’t there necessarily for the coffee,” I think to myself. Of course, to him, my century-old rows of houses are nothing to the huge cookie-cutter Suburban dream he lives today. My acoustic guitar and bongos hold no worth to his iPhone and DeMarini Baseball bats.

And I’ll keep it that way, for now, so as to preserve his sense of naivety and to ensure that he spends his time on the straight and narrow rather than the Swirly Doodles I traveled on my way to adulthood. I want him to grow and to experience the world like I did, I do. I just want him to wait until the path is a little smoother rather than trip over the Cobblestone like I did.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/weekly-writing-challenge-recipe/

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