The Therapy Journals of the Fat-Headed Klingon Woman

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

Scenes From A Gift Shop and Postcards From Nowhere May 19, 2015

Hello, all! It occurred to me that I hadn’t really posted much about *where* I actually work. Well, I mean, you know the main part. I’m in Alaska, at the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge. I work in the Gift Shop. It is quite the unexpected experience, to be sure. Now, I have been in gift shops before. I have been in the Statue of Liberty gift shop, and the Mount Rushmore gift shop (I think) and Branson, South Padre, and Disney World, and I have never given enough thought to what a unique work environment it is.

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The view from the counter.

The view from the counter.

To start with, it is BUSY!! FIrst of all it’s like a really expensive garage sale. There are people hanging around outside the door waiting for it to open 10-15 minutes early. I’m pretty sure I have never done that, either at a garage sale OR a gift shop. The second thing is that there are predictable lulls and rushes. We know ahead of time when there are going to be four or five buses rolling in and how many hundreds of people are expected to pour out of them. We also know that they will either be jumping off their motor coach and on to another excursion bus (and be ravenous for snacks and water in the few minutes between), or they will be checking into their room for a night or two (and thinking about all the things they either lost or left behind from their luggage or have decided they can’t live without RIGHT NOW), or they will be remembering the last lodge they were at, with its gift shop full of things they loved but for reasons unknown decided to pass up and are now blessed with a second chance, or they will have spent the last several hours on a bus chatting with their fellow cruisers and admiring/coveting the totally adorable things they picked up at their last stop and wondering if they can outdo the Joneses in bling and/or snagged bargains. And sometimes they will be wishing that everyone they know and love from their parents to their offspring to their next door neighbor and his adorable toddler granddaughter could be with them but since they can’t, let’s take some tiny part of Alaska home to ALL of them!

The kids' section makes me wish my kids were still little so I could bring them all the awesome books!

The kids’ section makes me wish my kids were still little so I could bring them all the awesome books!

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In a way, the next few months are going to be an interesting experience in Wildlife Viewing. Already I have met Impatientus Husbandus, the surprisingly sneaky specimen who smiles tiredly at the perky, stalking sales girl and then snaps the head off his wife who just henpecked him for going ahead and paying for his water and pocket knife with his credit card instead of waiting ten seconds for her to pick out one more postcard.  I have met Rowdyus British Bratus who bounces the moose ball high enough to ricochet off the ceiling, and gets into a scuffling match with his younger brother for the last cast replica, made in China, $1.25 authentically painted bear claw. I have glimpsed the Bling-Fingered, Big-Butted Boobie Hatch, who tries on every ring in the jewelry case and bemoans the fact that they are all prettier than the one she already got on the ship and she just has a suspicion she was tricked somehow. Also spotted were the English and Australian Sugar Slopper, super sweet and polite specimens who (in their accents that just make you want to take them home and listen to them talk all day) just can’t say enough good things about your darling shop and your precious merchandise and your lovely helpful counter girls; the Plain American Weird Bird who wants to know if we carry belts and lighters (?); and finally the Asian Artfinder who wants to buy a print of every painting in the entire lodge.

Shot glasses, key chains, and magnets, Oh My!

Shot glasses, key chains, and magnets, Oh My!

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i jest, of course. Almost every guest we have met has been perfectly lovely. We have not even been open for a week and we will experience variations on these themes for the next four months. We will patiently point out the water cooler and the Tylenol and the key chains and magnets over and over and over again. And sometimes we will come away changed. Like when we meet the lady who enthusiastically shares with us that this vacation is her and her husband’s 50th state to visit and their 50th year together and that with their health declining the way it is, she is sure they won’t live to return. And the man we chat with for a few minutes before we notice his Navy cap and ask the obvious question and when we get the affirmative answer we expect and thank him for his service, his reply, “It was my honor. Thank you for your support.” makes us want to go hide in the storeroom and weep for an hour or two. And the somewhat older lady who is buying children’s books for grandchildren she doesn’t have and doesn’t know when she will, and the lady who, when we share with her that our mother is watching out for our kids for us while we are here, shares the tale of her opposite experience wherein she had to take her 90 year old mother to her 20-something daughter’s house at the last possible minute to be cared for while the lady is on her vacation, and how the old matriarch was suspicious and then sad when she found out she didn’t get to go to Alaska too.

The Christmas tree right inside the side entrance. I love the flat gold cutout ornaments.

The Christmas tree right inside the side entrance. I love the flat gold cutout ornaments.

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And there are rock star co-workers who, thanks to their mission service in Taiwan, can speak fluent Chinese to our Asian guests when the rest of us feel like complete clods not being able to understand what they need. And managers with the patience of Job when we ask for the millionth time which key we press to do this or that function. And ornery, sassy, older co-workers who make us feel less lonely because they remind us of our moms and their sisters.

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I was going to talk about the postcards I have sent to friends, family, and theater people, and the postcards I have yet to receive from anyone, but I think this is one of those moments when what has been said is all that is needed.  Basically, working at a cruise line resort lodge gift shop is nothing like I expected. It is busy and it is slow. It is funny and it is sad. It is challenging and it is easy. And it is going to make me a better person in ways I could never have imagined.

Until next time,

D.

 

Simply Recommitting October 10, 2011

Hello all.  You know, sometimes, when I’m going through my day thinking, “I REALLY need to write a blog entry, I really need to update, etc.” I’ll sit down and try to write an entry and nothing really comes.  Often, I will just keep writing, rambling, ranting, and I’ll post the result, whether it’s good or bad, like that’s a cure for writer’s block, but it doesn’t mean that what I wrote has any quality to it.  That post may not necessarily be my true voice.  There’s something wrong with that.  There’s something wrong with a lot of things, and I am in the mood to change that.

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I went to a revival-type church service tonight that was sponsored by my sister’s church.  I had never heard of the speaker, a man named Ken Freeman.  My sister attends a Baptist church, but I got the feeling this man was inter-denominational in his preaching career, meaning he didn’t just go to one type of church.  His message was about the difference between ‘good’ and ‘great,’ and how we have to let go of certain things in order to fully accept God’s grace and blessings.  I realized there were a lot of things I have been holding on to, and I need to let go and re-commit.  I need to re-commit, not just in my spiritual life, but in everything- my job, my parenting, my health and fitness, and even my writing here. 

*

So that’s what I’m doing.  Starting tonight, I am re-committing my life.  I am going to re-dedicate myself to my weight loss, my writing, my parenting, and most of all to a life that is dominated by Love.  Love for God, and love for my fellow human.  I need to work on showing Jesus to others through my life.  I’ve been in an ongoing cold war with a co-worker for weeks now, and I’ve made weak, pitiful attempts to pretend I was reaching out to her, to delude myself into thinking I was the bigger person by praying for her, but in reality I wasn’t willing to let go and truly acknowledge that I haven’t always been the Christian I am supposed to be.  I gave it lip-service, but I wasn’t willing to completely let down the barriers.  I’m still not.  I know I can’t trust her to be real and honest.  She is an excellent actor and faker- I’ve seen it.  My point is that I can’t worry about that.  I have to just say ‘You know what?  I’m recommitting to living for Jesus, and because I am, I choose to love you.  You can think what you want about me, you can like me or hate me, but I choose to love you in Jesus’ name, whether I can trust you or not.’  And really mean it, because I didn’t before.  I wanted to mean it, but the selfish, immature part of me said ‘Why do you have to mean it?  It doesn’t make any difference.  She’s not accepting your overtures, your gestures, your attempts.  What difference does it make if you really mean it?’  But I know now that I have to forgive all that, I have to forgive what she’s done to me, the hurt she has caused me, and I have to love her in Christ, and I cannot allow myself to add anything else to that sentence.  My judgement of her is irrelevant. 

*

In addition to this, I have to be brave enough to re-commit to my health and fitness efforts.  I have done well.  I can say that.  I have lost almost one hundred and twenty pounds in almost 2 years.  But I have not been fully committed.  I have chosen to take easier roads- skip workouts, eat junk food.  I signed up for another 5k mud run as a volunteer, knowing I would be allowed to participate in the race for free as a volunteer, but thinking I wasn’t obligated to do the race if I chose not to.  That wasn’t committment, that was fear.  I completed the first one, the Dirty 30, back in July.  I did it on adrenaline, not knowing what to expect, not knowing what kinds of obstacles I’d face, but determined to tackle them no matter what.  In this next race, I know what kinds of things I might see, and I feared them.  I was afraid I didn’t have it in me to put that much effort out again, but now- I know I need to re-commit.  I need to grasp the fact that I have the strength to finish that race, complete the obstacles (or go around them if I have to) and finish.  I can’t be afraid that I might twist an ankle or a knee- I just have to take the steps. 

*

I realize this entry has had a serious tone.  I usually like to try to be funny here, and I hope I succeed at that sometimes.  But tonight was a night for seriousness.  I had a talk with my kids on the way home from the revival tonight, because I have been really concerned for them in their spiritual lives, because they have not yet obeyed the gospel and been baptized.  Despite what some people may say or believe, I truly believe what I have been taught, that baptism is the point at which we are saved, and I want my children to be baptized and commit to living their lives for God.  I believe it is on their heart to do it, but they just haven’t taken the step.  I am praying that they make that decision soon, but at least I took the opportunity to share with them what I want for them- the peace that comes with knowing they are saved. 

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I’m not saying I have it all figured out, or that there aren’t sometimes brief moments when I question everything I’ve ever heard and wonder if maybe, possibly, it could all be crap.  But when it comes down to it, I’d rather just believe what I believe than buy into “something from nothing, for no reason, with no purpose, and nothing after, and nothing matters.”  It’s just not enough.

*

And in the middle of all this recommitting, loving, being brave, and trying to bring my kids to heaven with me, I am going to embrace all I can possibly accomplish in this life that is fun and joyful and meaningful.  To that end, I can announce that my daughters’ senior trip in May is a done deal!  I booked the airfare today, so Lord willing, we’re definitely going!  We’re going to be Royal Carribean cruising fools!  Wooo hooooo!  Allure of the Seas, here we come!

Until next time,

D.

 

 
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One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

Shawn L. Bird

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