Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I am to blame

I guess I've been in a funk...stumbling around in a darkened place with no sense of direction and no real desire to search for an escape. Making excuses why, won't lessen my culpability. I am to blame.

I've been silent when I needed to shout.
I've been distant when intimacy was needed.
I've been compliant when I should have protested.

Accepting wavering shades of gray, blurring the lines until what's obvious, isn't.
When good men do nothing, evil prevails. I am to blame.

I'm the consumer who purchased the movie, music, video game or book containing filth and violence.
I'm the spectator who said, "That's wrong" but did nothing to stop it from happening again and again and again.

For every action there's a reaction. The same is true for inaction. To stand idly by and watch your country kill itself slowly one classroom at a time, one unborn baby at a treason. You can not claim to love something and then silently watch it implode. You might as well cheer.

I am to blame.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Every time I sat down to write about the madness we've all seen on TV the last few days, I'd get so angry that I could only walk away disgusted.

I've tried everything imaginable to ease this ache in my heart. I've decided its staying for awhile and with it an undeniable rage. How could anyone, crazy or not, kill a bunch of little kids and women?

Friday, December 7, 2012

If there ever comes a day...

Every law enforcement officer knows the feelings I'm about to describe. Few other professions experience the emotions I'm about to reveal. Nurses, doctors, morticians and maybe a hose-dragger or two, are able to relate to what I'm about to say.

We are constantly surrounded by death. The dead, the dying, the use-to-be. We gun-toters lean toward cynical, mechanical, calloused when it comes to death. We accept it for what it is...a part of life. We take no pleasure in the loss of life, but we also feel unattached to the "normal" emotions that humans typically feel when we witness it. That is of course, until the chilly fingers of death touch someone we care about.

When the inevitable happens...we feel way too much. Every nerve fiber in our bodies are on overdrive, every sensory skill tasked to the threshold, every muscle in our jaw clinches to near teeth-breaking strength. And then we collapse into nothingness. Drained of our tears, we lay fragile, broken, spent.

We will eventually recover, but we won't ever be the same. Death (of any kind) hurts. It may be the end of a long term relationship. Or the end of a marriage. It may be the end of a friendship or the end of a career. It may be the loss of a four-legged friend or the loss of mobility or youth.

Any loss, death or otherwise, changes who you are and who you thought you were. It makes you stop, if only for a moment and consider what's important. Death does something sweetens the memories for the ones left behind; for that, I'm grateful.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I Know This To Be True

It's not polite to talk about yourself all the time...

Sometimes never, depending on the topic. But I have something to share that I think is important. I lay awake for the majority of the night last night and read, "Comet's Tale" by Steve Wolf. In his book, Wolf describes his physical pain from a congenital spine condition which altered his life and threatened his mental health. I found myself relating to him on many levels.

Many people know that I have rheumatoid arthritis, I often poke fun at my crooked fingers or curly toes. I joke about hiding my ugly knees from sight or the crater that has taken up residence on my bum hip. What I try not to do is complain all the time about the accompanying pain associated with RA.

My family endures the complaining, but even they are spared some of the details that keep me awake at night. If you've known me long, you've known that I have had a long list of injuries and accompanying surgeries. What you may not know is the painful fog that lingers from each. I've heard that with every sedation a person loses bits and pieces of memory and ultimately, themselves. I know this to be true.

As I read Wolf's book last night, I choked up as I related to his accounts of self-doubt, disgust with his own body, depression and suicidal thoughts. I hurt for him even as I lay in agonizing pain from something I could not control. I bring up this topic only to encourage you. Maybe you're the one who is suffering from a physical ailment or disease. Or maybe you live with or care about someone who does. You are not alone. You don't have to believe the same way I do, but I can tell you this...there is a God in Heaven and He knows what you're going through. He made you just the way that you are and He loves you in spite of yourself. I know this to be true.

My message is simple, "Don't Give Up!" It may get better, you may heal or get a reprieve from your infirmities. The only way that you lose is if you quit. So don't quit. Drag that crippled, sickly-old-body of yours through another day and night. Reach out to others in need, be Jesus to someone, you won't even remember your own hurts when you do. I know this to be true.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Eye Can See YOU!

"That's crazy!" I said as I gawked at the beautiful book cover in a Santa Fe storefront window. Mom and I were strolling down a narrow, ancient street last week when I saw a turquoise-colored eyeball plastered on the front of a white paperback book cover. The eyeball was surrounded by gorgeous teal, gold and green face paint and shaped like the Americas. "That's crazy too!" I said as I laughed and pointed at the author's explanation of the book; "Vibrational Healing."

I was thinking how "artsy fartsy" Santa Feans are while I leaned in closer to get a better look. That's when something moved behind the book.

Another eye! No, two eyes!

A blonde-headed lady was on the other side of the glass sitting at a desk. Had she heard my outbursts?
I had hoped that she didn't, but she motioned for us to come inside the opened shop door not two feet away.

Yup, I was busted!

My eyes could hardly look away from her honest, clear ones as she sincerely explained her theories of vibrational and light healing. Our visit was brief, but I took the time to apologize for calling her book crazy. I told her I loved the jacket design and then we were off again. 

As we walked away I couldn't help but think of all the ways I manage to embarrass myself. Maybe I should have asked if her vibrational healing methods cure foot-in-the-mouth diseases.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I don't get it!

Consider this....

One of these days...that irritating kid of yours isn't going to be around to irritate you. That man that loves you, but occasionally ignores you...won't be here to half-listen to what you're complaining about.

A friend of mine lost her husband recently, less than a year since she lost her oldest son...when I say, "lost" I mean, they died.

This past week, I stood staring, unbelieving at the headstone of the youngest of my friend's sons. I closed my eyes as tears stung my eyes. My friend has lost two sons and now a husband in the last few years. I tried to imagine the pain she must feel, but I can't. When I asked her if she was angry at God, she said, "How can I be? He took what was already His."

I'm not going to lie, I'd probably be shaking a fist toward the sky and cursing...a lot! But my friend, she isn't and I guess I'm not a good enough Christian to understand her "Job-like" attitude. But then again, when I stop to consider it...I've never really suffered at all. I've had it pretty easy. My life has been picture perfect if there ever was such a thing.

I've stopped to consider why........

There isn't an answer. Why do some people have it so hard and other so easy? I don't know. I guess I never will.

In all things I will praise my God, in sparing me the immense pain that my sweet friend is going through even tonight and in the blessings that He has showered on me...a wretched, undeserving sinner that fails Him on a daily basis...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Yup, it blows!

With my trusty Corona pruners in hand, I headed out doors this evening to do a little work in the gardens. Turns out the pruners weren't needed. There was less to prune and more to just, "pull" and pull I did. I pulled weeds, dead flower heads and I'm pretty sure, a hamstring. Why is it that our bodies have to get old and fall apart?

Makes me so mad and sad and frustrated.

I look around and realize that everything gets old. I've decided that everything that gets old also gets wider. Take the dogs for example, they are about three times wider than when I brought them home in January. Then there is my favorite blue Atlas cedar, it's quadrupled in height and girth.

This brings me to another interesting point, I'm tired of struggling with getting wider. So I've decided to embrace my wideness...

Maybe "embrace" isn't accurate. I think it's more like I'm just tired of fighting...that's another irritating thing that blows about getting get tired easier and quicker...and stay tired longer.

I'm not discouraged or disgruntled about getting older and wider, I'm just......................................
what were we talking about?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Mean Old Trooper Lady...

Call me a, "weenie" but I despise the cold weather. My old arthritic fingers move slower, my body tends to shrivel in on itself and I resemble the hunchback of Notre Dame as I shuffle my frozen-toed feet from one warm spot to another, trying to escape the hideousness of winter. It kinda makes me sad as I reminisce frigid episodes of the cold, callused person I use to be...

When working as a road trooper during the wintertime, I remember not being as merciful or gracious as I had been in the fall or even the spring. Often, when the weather was unconducive to being outside for long, I would (and sometimes still do), find myself having less patience for ignorance or non-compliance to the law.

Take for example a frosty wintertime interaction which took place on the snow-covered shoulder of Interstate 35 a few years back. A petite little lady in black high heels, dressed in beautiful designer clothes and reeking of high-dollar perfume had the audacity to ask me if she could roll the window up because she was "cold" as the freezing rain and sleet slapped at my face and slid down my neck. This, while I stood and waited outside her car door as she searched everywhere for her insurance card. She was the one who had violated the state law by choosing to drive twenty (20) miles over the posted speed limit sign.

"No," I growled, "You can't, as a matter of fact, why don't you join me here on the shoulder for a moment and let's talk about your driving," I hissed. She handed me her expired insurance verification form with delicately manicured fingers that shook as she stared open-mouthed and wide-eyed at my request.

"But it's cold out there," she stammered. I glared at her beneath the rim of my "Smokey Bear" brown hat, my lips in a straight, nearly-blue, tight line. "Yes, ma'am, it most certainly is," I replied.

I waited, growing even more impatient and aggravated as I watched her dig around in her back seat for her long, fully-lined coat and slip her tiny arms inside. She made a production of putting on her black leather gloves on her chilly little fingers.

"Let's go, ma'am," I said as she twisted in her seat to look over her left shoulder waiting for traffic to clear before she dared open her car door. As if I hadn't been in danger when I exited my car or stood in the freezing rain, "visiting" with her for several long, miserable minutes.

"If you are too afraid to get out on that side, crawl over and exit the passenger door," I said, growing angrier by the second while she obviously stalled inside her warm car. The wind whipped at my face as a semi passed us and the force of it tried to take my hat off. The gust ripped at my hat wrenching a clump of my hair where the leather and buckle rested against the back of my head. It caused my anger to flash red hot as I reset my hat on my head and watched this woman, who was about my age, slowly get out of her car to meet me on the shoulder.

Without saying a word, I held a single finger up and left her standing on the shoulder for a moment and retrieved my citation book. When I returned, I did something that I usually don't do. I stood, right there on the shoulder of the interstate, with her beside me and wrote her a big fat ticket while both of us got splattered with sleeting rain that stung like tiny wasp stingers. The original citation that I turned into the court clerk was tattered and wrinkly from wetness, but it was legible.

I bring up the story in hopes of making a point...and here it is...IF, you choose to drive like a maniac when the weather is bad, you MAY have to endure said weather WHILE you receive a citation. So, consider not breaking the law ANYTIME, but most importantly when it's cold, wet and absolutely miserable out. Food for thought.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Retreating to my solace

You have them too...Days, where nothing in this world makes any sense and you just want to lose yourself in desperately needed quietness.
On those days, I head outside and search for inner peace in the tranquility of a my little gardens. I feel the calm seep into my troubled veins as I run my fingers across the purple venation of an angel trumpet leaf or the smooth, five-lobed leaflet of a chocolate flower vine.

My eyes wander to the icy blueness of the Arizona cypress or the soft gray-blue sedum and I sense my angry blue mood easing just a little...I breathe in the sweet-spicy scent of a Pinyon fire and fan the gray smoke closer toward my face. Washing my mind of everything else, but the crackle of the resin as it burns away all the things that hurt me.

Sure, I'm a tough girl. Things don't hurt me often, but when they do...they are usually substantial...and lasting.

The hateful things that hurt me most, are the things I'm powerless to babies dying without cause, people killing each other over shifting sand or diseases that ravage the mind and body. The list could go on and on...maybe you're thinking of your own list right now.

Sit with me, let's close our tired eyes and stop searching for what we'll never see or understand. There is no explaining the hurts of life.

We began in the garden and naturally we are drawn to it when we're in need. Our solace is in the garden, feel Him.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11, 2012

I didn't smell a single rose today, I didn't hold any one's hand for comfort or strength and I didn't help a single person on their life's path like I'm sworn to do. Today, I simply remembered.

All day, memories of 9/11 were close to my heart and I allowed just a little bit of animosity and hate to bubble up within me. Although it didn't help me to feel any better, I did it anyway.

Tomorrow there may be forgiveness, but eleven years later, I'm still mad as hell.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

"Luckiest Girl Ever!"

Okay, so maybe I am extremely fortunate...I run into famous people and somehow squeeze into photos with them. But before you get to feeling jealous about my good-fortune, let me explain that there is a sad side to this photo op. It is my belief that this TRUE STORY will pull at your heart strings, who may actually think I'm an unfortunate soul. 
You see, when I ran into Vince Gill in the Nashville airport this past week, he was trying to give a lady back a pair of eye glasses that he had seen her drop. Star-struck, the woman stood staring at Vince not trusting her voice to speak. She neither took the glasses nor responded with anything but bug-eyes and an open mouth as the country music superstar stood holding her glasses out to her.
I chuckled under my breath while watching her obvious discomfort. She realized who was trying to return her eye glasses to her, but she was at a complete loss for words. She recognized his voice about the same time I did. We both had turned when he said, "Excuse me, Ma'am," in his beautiful, tenor voice.  After the woman's husband began to coach her to take the glasses that Vince Gill offered, she finally took them.
I outright laughed as her shaky voice asked for his identity by simply asking, "You aren't...?" To which Vince just smiled his sweetest smile and cast his humble, sea-green eyes downward, "Yes, Ma'am...I am.
Introductions were made then with nervous laughter and many "Thank you's" said. Finally, the Grammy Award winner walked away to disappear into the crowd of people waiting to board a plane. It was obvious that he wished to quietly and anonymously sit in the gate area unnoticed. I was still silently judging the awe-struck woman and her bumbling acceptance of her glasses she had dropped. I would never be such a dork! I thought with a smirk of arrogance.
I quickly called a buddy of mine that I know is a childhood friend of Vince Gill's. When I got Rick on the phone I quickly gave him the low-down and asked if he would text or call Vince and ask if I could get a picture made with him. Rick insisted that I simply approach the country music legend and ask myself, but at my insistence, offered to stay on the phone and assist me with my introductions. I wasn't a bit nervous as I approached the now sitting Vince Gill. I stood in front of him and did as Rick suggested.
"Excuse me, sir," I began. My heart was beating fast, maybe I was more nervous than I thought. "Do you know Rick Buchanan?"
Vince laughed at my question and started shaking his head up and down while he said, "Yes, we are life-long friends."
I told him that Rick was on the phone and did he want to speak to him, I asked. He held his hand out for my phone and I placed it in his hand. My good pal, Rick, introduced me before Vince gave me back the phone. I thanked Rick and hung up so that I could spend a moment speaking with Vince before we had our photo made together as promised. I continued to stand as we exchanged pleasantries and stories about Rick Buchanan and how we both knew him. Vince, being the consummate gentlemen, asked for me to sit next to him and cleared off a seat for me to sit down. I grabbed my bags from a few chairs away and nestled into the seat beside him as we continued to talk.
A lady that sat opposite us asked if I wanted her to take our photo so I took my Blackberry out of its holster and held it in front of me as I looked down at it, getting the camera portion of the phone ready. That's when I noticed IT...the zipper on my pants. It was completely unzipped!
I had been walking around the airport for 20 minutes, standing in front of and then sitting next to Vince Gill all with on open fly. Everyone close to gate 2, terminal D in the Nashville airport that day knew what color of undergarments I was wearing, especially the guy sitting to my right...Country Music Hall of Fame inductee-Vince Gill.
The amount of instant blood loss to my brain from embarrassment had me nearly passing out. If it were possible to (poof) disappear...this would be the appropriate time and I most certainly would have done it. Being without magical powers, I simply slugged Vince on the arm. I did the only thing a girl can do in a situation like that...blame the guy! It had to be ALL his fault.
"What kind of a friend are you anyway to let me walk around the airport with my fly undone!" I demanded.
He laughed and laughed as I zipped up my zipper and tried to restore the normal color to my cheeks. The heat of my embarrassment still surging through my face could be felt all over my body.
With the now infamous photo taken, we casually visited between other photo ops with our fellow travelers who, by now, knew who I sat next to. 
I don't know, maybe Vince will remember the goof ball woman who flashed him in the Nashville airport. I'll certainly never forget our first meeting. It was extremely memorable for me...and to think, you called me, "lucky!"

Thursday, August 30, 2012

His Voice

I sat at the Grand Ole Opry a couple of nights ago listening to the various voices of country music singers as they belted out familiar tunes of the past and present. Tenor voices, bass, baritone, raspy, wheezy and clear voices. It got me to thinking about how unique our voices are to us and how unique Christ's voice is. You know the passage in the Bible where it says, "My sheep shall hear my voice..."
Maybe you don't look to the heavens when you contemplate speaking to the Creator, but I always do. When I see the clouds with their billowing overlapping shades of white and blue, I think of Jesus's voice and wonder what reaction my heart will have when I hear it for the first time.

 Can I be honest with you for a moment? I'd like you to know of a younger version of me that believed of the things I'm telling you now, but didn't really understand the relationship part of Christianity. I often felt confused, lonely and isolated from God, even while serving Him.
In my advanced age, I often have days of such clarity about my beliefs and am so secure in my relationship with my Saviour that I feel compelled to fall to my knees and praise Him.  I doubt my human self could withstand knowing any more about God than He is willing to show me at any one given time.

I know He wants me to search for Him, to pursue Him.

The funny thing is, when I least expect it, that's when I feel myself rolling on the floor from what can only be described as a punch of instant knowledge of God as it nearly knocks me off my feet.

That was me a couple of nights ago, one minute listening to various voices sing honky tonk tunes and out of nowhere I felt myself yearning to know the pitch, cadence and sound of Jesus's voice. My heart raced as I contemplated hearing Him say my name...and then I realized...

Even though I can not explain it to you and I don't know why He wanted to me to be certain, my heart already knows the sound of His voice.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

You Think About That, Sir!

I may seem fine to you now, but if you'd seen me this time last week, you would know how close I came to kissing this world goodbye. A bout with heat exhaustion is nothing to sneeze at. It's taken me a complete week to regain the use of my right arm and leg (just teasing.) Cheating death, now a past-time, I consider who's life now hangs in the balance...

The record hot temperature (of 113 degrees) was nothing compared to the heat coming off of Interstate 35 as I stood in the roadway waving traffic to move to the left as I shut down the east bound on-ramp to the Turner Turnpike as fires raged across the already sun-scorched state.

For over an hour, I flapped my bingo-wings (arms) in the excruciating heat furnace we call Oklahoma summertime. Cars, trucks and semis passed, their speed not stirring any cooling breezes my direction. With the sweat no longer pouring and the rhythmic sounds of my heartbeat increasing in my eardrums, I began to feel light-headed, dizzy and confused. I knew I was over-heating, but dedication to duty had me hunching over and guarding my post. Projectile vomiting soon followed. Tomato basil soup and garden salad (with apple vinaigrette dressing) covered the interstate. Yes, I was still standing in the roadway. Did I turn away so no one saw my retching? Nope, if I'm suffering, everybody's suffering...

A quick trip to Mercy Hospital, four bags of intravenous fluids, numerous embarrassing moments where friends, coworkers and strangers saw me in various stages of undress and distress and I was discharged. The only thing I remember clearly about the entire harrowing ordeal was the moment the paramedic untied my Gortex boots and began removing them, then started pulling on my holy socks...

Panic stricken, gasping for air, stomach heaving/cramping and all I could think about was my toes. MY TOES! That was the near death experience.

For those of you with beautiful feet, I hate you.

You can never understand the agony that is the ever-present curse of a person with hideous, monkey toes in summer time. You in your colorful flip-flops, cute sandals with beads and intricate designs, open-toed heels, flats, sneakers of all sorts and make me sick! You, with your colorful toenails painted red, blue, yellow, florescent make me want to puke!

When those boots came off and everyone saw my famous curly, "you can hang her in the closet by them feet" toes...a collective shriek was heard. High above the highway noise, louder than the gagging sounds coming from my aching throat, still louder than all the radios squelching at the same time, was the piercing cry of the on-lookers who saw, "The Toes!"

A friend, that shall go unnamed, said he was getting me a pedicure for "them feet" (as a gift I suppose.)

Go on, laugh at my pain. That's fine. I can take it, but know this...somewhere tonight an innocent, unsuspecting pedicurist's life threatens to be forever altered by my unnamed friend's generosity. Consider that the next time you frivolously threaten someone with a pedicure. You think about that, sir.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Keep your hands where I can see them...

I've been meaning to post this story for quite awhile now. Some of my fellow gun-slingers may have heard this tale before. If you're one of them, please allow me the artistic liberty of embellishing the story for entertainment goes...

      A couple of years ago, while working as a road trooper in Logan County, Oklahoma (the Guthrie area), I stopped a guy in his 50's for failure to wear a safety belt. As I approached the suspect's vehicle on the passenger side, I noticed the man favoring the left side of his body. He leaned close to the steering wheel and turned only his head to speak with me, but hid his left arm
and hand on the left side of his body.

As I spoke to him about why I'd stopped him and asked him about his seat belt usage (or lack thereof), my eyes scanned for threats while my gun hand slid to the pistol grip of my Sig Sauer .357. A cautious thumb unsnapped the leather hammer restraint securing my weapon in the holster that lay against my right hip.

"Sir, I'd like to see your left hand," I said with authority. I pulled on my pistol and had it coming up out of the holster when he just stared at me, not budging.

"Sir," I repeated, this time with heat, "I want to see your left hand, now!"

I had "cleared leather" (pulled the weapon out of the holster) and was ready to use it, when he finally spoke up.

"Ma'am," he began with a slow southern drawl as if he had performed this routine many times before, "I'd like to see my left hand too, I haven't seen that hand since 1976," he said, laughing. He brought both arms up slowly and stuck them high in the air as he spoke. Obviously pleased with embarrassing me.

Appalling seconds passed as I stood there unsure of how to reply as I looked at the stump on the man's left arm. The hand was completely gone, it had been severed just below the wrist.

I didn't ask why, I didnt' ask what happened or even attempt to apologize, I just asked for his driver license and insurance and stomped back to my patrol car, cursing him and his missing hand as I went. When I returned to the one-handed man's car, I HANDED him the citation for his
seat belt violation and instructed him on how to take care of the $20 citation. Before clearing the traffic stop, I reminded him to, "buckle up." I stood waiting to see if he would comply.

Silently, I fumed as I watched him struggle for several minutes with the shoulder harness and then the seat belt buckle. I couldn't tell if he was really having a difficult time or if he was jacking with me some more. With a smile on my face and maybe just a teeny weeny bit of meanness I asked, "need a hand?"


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pink Guns and Phony Religion

I sat there, tears dripping on my shirt as I watched the news about the massacre in Aurora, Colorado. My fingernails dug into my palms as I balled my fists tightly, wishing I could hit something or someone. I didn't trust my voice to speak for this burning lump in my throat. What was there to say anyway? Turning the TV off, I sighed. I glanced over my right shoulder and saw my husband's reaction to the news perching in the corners of his sad green eyes. He was hurt and pissed too, he just shook his head.

The next day he comes home, riding a big orange Harley with something wrapped in white rags and slung over his shoulder like the Terminator. Carefully, he unwrapped his parcel and studied my face as he gingerly presented me with something he said he thought I needed. I smiled at the pink camouflage Smith and Wesson .22  model M&P15-22 rifle with the collapsible stock. I rubbed my thumb across the engraving that said, "Made in the U.S.A." and pride surged through me, I felt my shoulders square as I stood taller to raise the rifle and look through the sights.

Do I wish purchasing a gun were harder for law-abiding Americans to do? Hell, no!
Do I wish bad things didn't happen to innocent people? Absolutely!
Do I wish we could shoot people in the head right on the spot instead of letting them surrender after they go on shooting sprees? You better believe it!

We can not limit or eliminate freedoms based on the evil puppets of Satan and his angels. I don't have the answers to all the world's problems, but I know who does. The Bible says that we must all humble ourselves, fall on our knees and beg God for His forgiveness, we must seek God's face; turn from our wickedness, then He will hear us and He will heal our land, (II Chronicles 7:14.)

Aside from that, folks, we have no hope. Our world will continue on its death spiral as we cling to our pink guns and our phony religion.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Next Hell...

I know I'm not the only person in the world who's suffering, but on days like today - I feel completely alone, detached from the living, disassociated from the planet...all because of a migraine.

Maybe you've had a bad headache before, you remember the dull ache like an unwelcome dinner guest. You take a few aspirin or acetaminophen and in a little while all is well in your world again. That's not the kind of headache I'm talking about. Excuse me as I wallow in self pity a moment, but the need to express my profound pain and absolute weariness of it has driven me to this cliff of despair. I feel defeated.

For 25 years I have experienced something akin to a stroke several times a month. For the last 18 of those years I have taken prescription pills, nasal sprays, oral disintegrating tablets and finally, painful shots to relieve the massive pain that whispers its desire to take my life. This excruciating pain that lies deep in my head, often behind one eye ball or the other, mocks me. Tsunami-like waves of nausea accompany violent episodes of retching with painful attempts at speaking, breathing or seeing. Hearing, smelling, seeing; all torturous senses to a person with a migraine. The slightest touch or sound has me cursing life and begging for a quick end that never comes.

Even after administering the searing shot in my thigh, the pain intensifies the stroke-like episode for another 15 horrifying minutes or so. I can feel the burning sensation that is the cerebral vascular constrictor medication coursing through every vein, artery and blood vessel in my body. Only then can my clinched fists relax, only then can sweet sleep finally take me.

Several hours later, I'll stir, but I'm never the same. For somewhere in the misery that is a migraine, part of me has been stolen. Little pieces of my soul are sliced away with each episode and with it, my peace, my happiness and my hope. What's left of me is an empty, hollow shell that can't make a complete sentence and feels fragile, used-up and weary.

With no strength to cry, I sit. Already dreading the next hell within.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Have you ever been there? You know the spot...

Things don't seem to be working out the way you'de like them to. You feel the worst is yet to come, but you're torn between this choice or that one. Indecision has you tugging at those last few remaining strands of hair on your pale, scaly, scalp and you're mumbling things no one understands or even cares about.

So, you do know what I'm referring to...

Great! I thought so.

Lean in kinda close as I say this. Words of wisdom from Betsy Randolph ain't free and they aren't spoken very often, so listen up...

"Just jump!"

Whatever your options are...slap them all on the table of, "just freaking decide" then pray, shake your bootie or your turtle rattle, spin around in a whatever it is that's gonna help you make the decision to move from where you are to where you need to be and...just jump!

Thursday, June 21, 2012


My husband, son and I, just got home from a motorcycle trip we took out to New Mexico to ride the Enchanted Circle. It's an 85 mile circle through the northeastern New Mexico towns of Angel Fire, Eagles Nest, Red River and Taos.
While riding out there and back, I had a lot of time to think. There were a few distractions to keep me from my artistic prose; traffic, curvy roads and an irritating song that played over and over in my mind. Funny thing is, I can't remember what that stupid song was now.
Dodging the bugs, shifting my aching hip from one side of the bike seat to the other, I watched Bronson and George riding ahead of me. I prayed (almost constantly) that God would protect them on our travels. I considered horrific scenarios where either or both of them would be involved in a collision and what my response would be. I could see myself losing it. Screaming, crying and shooting the offender. They'd be drunk probably or somebody texting and driving. I'd lose my mind if something happened to either of them, I thought.
Finally, I had to make myself think of something/anything else when my head began to throb and my eyes burned from needless tears. Silly, I know, but the truth is, we all must face the fact that one day we'll die. It's inevitable! I've prayed to go before the boys. I don't want to be here without them.
Then I learn that a friend of mine lost her husband today in a diving accident. I ache all over for her. No doubt she prayed for her husband's safety too. She probably told him numerous times in their 35 years together that she wouldn't be able to go on without him either. I sit here wondering what exquisite hell she must be going through tonight. What absolute misery she must be feeling. She's probably thinking of the last words they spoke to each other. She's relishing that last kiss, that last touch, the last meal they shared, the last everything.
Even though our vacation wasn't very pleasurable by most vacation standards, I'll cherish it for what it was; time spent together. Together we suffered through the heat, the mean cross winds that had us leaning our bikes and one way and our heads the other and we suffered through the stress of being away from home knowing someone was stealing our neighbors belongings and peace of mind.
We're home, together and safe. That's so much more than my sweet friend can say tonight. And while my heart breaks for her, I force myself to cling to our vacation memories; good and bad. I'm thanking God for His protection and for one more "last", should it be that.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Throw away your four-leafed clover!

Situation:  Memorial Day 2012, 0830 hours, Logan County, Oklahoma, just north of the city of Guthrie, an Oklahoma State Trooper runs the license plate on an abandoned vehicle south bound on Interstate 35. The vehicle comes back to a homicide suspect from Renton, Washington who had fled that state after killing his 17-year-old girlfriend. Before abandoning his vehicle, the suspect writes a note and leaves it on the windshield stating that he was going to get gas. After receiving a call from our communications center about the situation, I quickly posted the Washington state wanted poster on our Oklahoma Highway Patrol Facebook page. Within minutes, people were calling to inform us that they had already given the suspect a ride to gas stations in Logan County and Oklahoma City. As nervous minutes ticked away, we waited to see where the suspect would surface next. Ground units searched the area where the suspect was last seen, while OHP Aircraft flew overhead. The suspected killer had traveled halfway across the US in an attempt to elude his captors; there was no way of telling what lengths he would go to, to stay free.

While law enforcement searched for the suspect, reporter Adam Mertz with KFOR, news channel 4, telephoned me to inquire about doing a story regarding our search for the suspect. Adam had seen our OHP Facebook page and was following a journalistic hunch that the murder suspect was still in the area. I agreed to meet with Adam and give him a sound bite concerning our efforts. As Adam Mertz and his photojournalist, Mark Paris, drove from Oklahoma City to Guthrie to meet me, they passed an individual on the Interstate service road at Wilshire walking north bound. Adam noticed as they passed that the person walking, matched the description of the murder suspect. Just to be safe, Adam asked Mark (who was driving), to turn around and go back. When the men circled back around, Adam could clearly see that the suspect was wearing the exact clothes that were shown on the wanted poster, to include a green Seattle baseball cap.

Adam called for help and the suspect was quickly arrested. Now, the newsman was part of the story. Adam and I began to record our interview that would play later that night to thousands of people across the state. Smiling, he said with a nervous laugh, “I guess that I was just lucky.”

I’m not sure why I said the exact words next that I did, but I wouldn’t take them back even if I could.

There are defining moments in life when we are outright, no question about it, presented with a situation where we can choose to acknowledge our belief in God and His ever present presence in our lives or we can remain silent. No one forced fancy theological words out of my mouth that day. I could not then, nor can I now, buy into some pre-scripted “company” line about how we just did our jobs. I refused to say how coincidental it was that Adam Mertz just happened to see our Facebook page and download the wanted poster, or how he just happened to desire to do a story, or how he just happened to be on the same interstate at the same time and just happen to see the homicide suspect from a moving vehicle traveling at highway speeds (70 mph or better) or how he just happened to recognize the suspect from the poster. I didn’t believe that to be true, so I didn’t say that.

What I did say was this, “I do not believe in luck. I believe it was Divine Providence that made everything work the way that it did today. We are so grateful that we could capture this dangerous person before he harmed or killed someone in his desperate attempt to escape.”

On camera and off, my interview with Adam lasted for over an hour as we stood in the sun, sweating from the heat and humidity. I would learn later that night which direct quote Adam had chosen to use in his story.

You guessed it, he used, “Divine Providence.” But I’m sure that was just dumb luck as well.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Oh how He loves me!

God made these for me. Every detail crafted with a genius flare for dramatica. Pistils and stamens; tiny details reflect an enormous God. A God that knew me before He spoke the world into existence. He knew me, chose me and loved me. It wasn't because I was something special, it was because He could see the worth in the broken vessel I would become. He knew how often I would fail and deny Him, yet He loved me anyway. He uses the flawed.  
   He sends the tiniest of His creatures to show me His heart. So I search for God in the gardens and He reveals Himself to m  e there. I search for God in the endless stars and in the ever-changing clouds and in the deepest parts of my heart. He never fails to show Himself to me or shower me with His continual forgiveness.
And when He forgives, He restores; whiter than the whitest daisy petals, cleaner the the purest drinking waters. I'm so thankful to be cherished by the Creator, aren't you?


Monday, May 21, 2012

Don't be a quitter!

I said I didn’t care, maybe I didn’t. I slid my hands inside the pockets of my hand-woven poncho and walked away, mad. Occasionally kicking a pebble or ant hill, I weaved my way through the scrub brush and yucca; back to the old metal shed we called a clubhouse. I threw myself down on the old tire seat inside. My butt hit the hard earth underneath causing me to arch my back in pain as I lifted off of the dirt, rubbing my 8-year-old jean clad bottom. “Damn it!” I yelled. I quickly looked around to see if anyone had heard me swear. But I was alone.

Everyone else had stayed behind on the bank of the dried-up river bed shooting BB guns at the Mexican kids across on the other side. Why hadn’t I stayed? Was it because I knew what we were doing was wrong? I turned my pistol over in my dirty hands, inspecting it. Opening the chamber, I poured in dozens of silver BB’s and slid the dusty chamber closed. I knew why I hadn’t stayed; I thought, as I raised the barrel to the sky, elbows bent in an armed pose I’d seen on TV. It was this worthless weapon I held in my hands. It couldn’t shoot ten feet, let alone the 50 or so feet it would take to cross the Burrendo River. In anger, I aimed the gun at the opening in the wall and pulled the trigger, sending a speeding orb away with my wrath.

I learned a valuable lesson that day as I sat alone in that chicken coop turned clubhouse. It’s one that has served me well all these years. For you see, that lonesome BB I sent soaring, hit the tin metal wall and returned to my unsuspecting face with much more force than I realized it possessed.
I was grateful for the tender skin beneath my right eye which caught the BB, sparing me the spanking I knew I’d get when I got home had it lodged in the eyeball it was closest to.

The incident taught me a couple of things. 1. Never haphazardly shoot when angry, and 2. Never walk away from a gun fight, regardless of how much or how little faith you have in your firearm.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


I know it's been a while, but I haven't had anything to write about. Or so I thought.
After speaking to my older brother by phone yesterday, I realized something dreadful. I have allowed  living to get in the way of life.

Making excuses for why I can't go here or attend that, I sink into my own world of busy "to do's" that won't change history if they have to wait. I rush to this meeting or that group, only to think about what has to be done before tomorrow; never really enjoying where I am at the moment.

I catch myself, eyes glazing over, listening to my husband talk about his work. I hear what my son is saying, but before his point is made my mind is elsewhere. My friend is telling me her dad is ill, but I hold up a finger for her to wait as I interupt her to take an "important" phone call.

One of these days, no one will be here for me to ignore. I'll have no one.

Maybe I'll change. Maybe I'll stop putting everything and everyone that doesn't really matter in front of the only ones who truly do.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Remembering Loss

Wesley was serving with the US Army in Iraq when he lost both of his legs in an IED attack. I met him while he and another veteran named Jeremy, pedalled custom made bicycles across the country to honor and bring awareness to military veterans. Wesley pedalled his bike with his hands. Even with gloves, I noticed his hands were calloused scraped and scarred. After a couple of crashes along his cross-country tour, Wesley had cuts and bruises that would have side-lined anyone, but remembering his losses, he pushed forward.

Bob's loss may have been almost a year old, but his eyes said his wounds would never heal. He lost his son, Robby, last May. Robby was a Marine. He survived a combat tour in Iraq only to come home and lose his life in a motorcycle crash. Bob's hurt was so apparent, I didn't trust myself to even think about how I would feel if I lost my boy. So I simply hugged Bob's neck as I watched tears streak down his cheeks. Remembering Robby, Bob pushes on.

Rita's loss was a needed one. With stage 3 breast cancer, she couldn't afford to keep what she had. Her loss was still painful and filled with regret. Her beauty and inner strength didn't fade with her loss though, it quadrupled many times over. My favorite Aunt has been newly named my favorite heroine. Never, a tear did fall. Never did she ask why. Never. Gratefully remembering her loss, Rita lifts her chin and smiles while she pushes past her loss.

Donna lived life with chronic back and neck pain, so when she left this life last week, she gained physical peace at last. While the rest of us deeply felt her loss, her little brother, my husband, felt her loss acutely. As tears fill his eyes, I wonder if a childhood memory is dancing around in his mind or if he is just accepting her final gain as his "too soon" loss and pushing through. 

After seeing all these losses the past two weeks, I've decided that losses, whether good or bad, have the ability to hurt or heal us. Sometimes, they can do both. What's important is that we never forget them.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

"I'm on the street where you live
I see you all the time,
but you've not ever noticed me,
I'm no where near your kind.

You don't ever smile at me
and never will you wave,
I guess that you are busy,
but you'll have to slow some day.

I hope I'm still around then
and if I am, please stop.
Sit out on the porch with me,
I'll show you what I've got.

A silver time piece given me
when I was near your age.
They said I'd done a good job,
shoved aside, my only pay.

Once the fair-haired child,
now the aging crow
committed to a concept
that very few will know.

So give it all and then some
I'm sure that matters most
but one day you'll "get" it
you won't hear it in a toast,

You won't hear the praise or accolades
you won't feel the handshake firm
but you'll see it in a young man
who pays you no concern,

I'm on the street where you live..."

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Got a minute?

Bullitt and Bellus

Let me tell you about a personal journey I've been on the last few months. It began when a friend of mine cancelled our lunch date because her dog had died. I remember thinking, "Seriously? It's just a dog!" You see, in my line of work, death is ever present. I see or hear of it daily. It's easy to get calloused jaded or detached. Besides, I'm an adult, pet's die. It's nothing to get tore up over.

I busied myself that day never thinking much of my friend's hurt. Oh, I had said, I was sorry for her loss. It was the appropriate thing to say, but I continued with my day unmoved and unaffected by her sorrow. Sure, I loved my dog too and I told myself I would miss her if she wasn't around, but I didn't know the pain of losing a pet. How bad could it be?

October 25th, 2011, changed that. Scooter "Bug" Randolph died that day and I swore I would never love another dog. I never wanted to feel that deep hurt again. It was hard to remember the joy Scooter had brought into my life for all the guilt I felt for taking her for granted, not to mention for being so cold and callused toward my girlfriend. I was so shocked at my tearful reaction and heartbroken over Scooters death that I vowed never to love another animal again. It was one of the more ignorant vows I've ever hissed in a moment of ridiculous hurt.

If you've never loved and lost an animal, you are probably rolling your eyes right about now. I don't blame you, I've been there too. I won't try to explain how it feels, I can't. I hope you never have to know.

A few months later, a friend sent me a photo of a little girl puppy and I didn't even hesitate. I wanted that baby dog the minute I saw her. Tossing my vow never to love again aside, I brought her and her little brother home with me to spoil. They are laying in my lap right now, half asleep, making their adorable little puppy noises and I'm so grateful for the chance to love again.

God knows I've always been the kind of person that has to learn things the hard way. I'm really wanting to change that though because this lesson in compassion has been a difficult one for me. Learning not to take things or people I care about for granted, hasn't been any easier. I hope never to repeat it.

Maybe my journey will help you in some way. If it does, I'd love to hear about it. Mainly because you are my friend and I care about you, even if I haven't told you lately.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

To Vent or not to Vent....?

I try not to vent about erratic inconsiderate irresponsible drivers. It won't help any. They won't drive better. Seldom does it make me feel good to scream when they can't hear me or rant while I'm ignored. But this past week has been filled with so many ignorant operators that my irritability has exceeded my capacity to remain calm and quiet.

For example, while driving on Interstate 40 the other day, I followed a female driver who pitched a tent in the left lane; weaving and bobbing between the lane lines, as if serpentine-ing invisible cones. As my anger grew, her speed decreased until she was driving about ten miles under the speed limit in the passing lane.

Frustrated with the inexcusable irritation and the traffic that was backing up behind and beside us, I turned on my light bar, activating the red and blue lights and the wig-wag white ones. At first I thought she would yield to the right, her illuminated brake lights indicated she knew an emergency vehicle was behind her. The next few moments however, were filled with insurmountable terror as this non-driving individual completely stopped her vehicle in the left lane of traffic.

I'm not going to sugar coat for you what happened next, it wasn't pretty. I'd tell you what I yelled at her if I could remember, but graciously my post traumatic stress disorder has blackened out the worst of it. I do recall running to her driver's side, yanking the door open and screaming for her to clear the roadway. Then the sound of several thousand pounds of machinery pushing violently against innocent break rotters had me sprinting back to my patrol car.

The stench of burning break pads filled my flared nostrils as I yanked the gear shifter down into drive and stomped on the accelerator, dangerously dodging vehicles as I slid to a stop on the right hand shoulder. Safely behind the offender's car and off of the roadway, I acknowledged the crashing sound that was my pulse against my ear drums. Then I took several large exaggerated breaths and screwed my campaign hat on my head. As I walked to the passenger side of the perpetrators vehicle, I scanned for threats while I adjusted the leather hat strap on the back of my hair, noticing it was still on fire.

Near death experiences will give you clarity like you've never known, I'm told. I can't really say if that's true or not, I feel and think about the same. But I wondered what she was thinking as the wrecker hooked up and left the scene with her car in tow. I'm sure it crossed her mind the need to obtain a valid driver license before driving or better yet, to get a driver's manual and make herself familiar with the rules of the road. Yah, probably that.

Maybe venting does help a little...I feel better.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

It's only me...

Regardless of what you may have heard about Betsy Randolph in the past, I'd like to take a moment and level with you about something that's been weighing on me fairly hard the last few days. This isn't easy for me, so please, give me a second...

I'll try to explain why I occasionally say things I don't mean and never seem to bring myself to say the things I truly do. You may be like me, if so...I hope it helps when I reveal this part of me that I've tried to hide for decades. I've worn this smothering mask for so long that sometimes I don't know where the fanciful facade ends and the Betsy I know I am, begins.

It's easier for me if I explain it like this...."I have a friend...who...

Laughs the loudest when she's hurting the most...

Cries when she's happy...

Trips walking UPstairs...and downstairs...and on flat, even surfaces...

Sings off-key...loudly...and often...

Is stingy...

Can't spell...or use big words correctly...and sometimes even small words, correctly...

Is vain...vulgar...and vicious!"

I suppose what I'm getting at is, I'm human. Prone to err in every possible way.
Now I can picture you sitting there with your eyebrows scrunched together wondering why I'm stating the obvious, if you know me at all you know all these things about me already. I'm usually the first one laughing at me so why write about it now?

Here's why...this last week has been filled with people pointing guilty fingers at others for costly mistakes or life altering events; too ashamed of the truth or afraid of its consequences. Sure, I'm often tempted to take the coward's way out of my self-induced predicaments by doing the same or similar. UNTIL I see someone else do it...

That's when I realize that I don't want to mimic those pathetic, immature people who hide from everyone, especially themselves. THIS IS WHO I AM. I make mistakes all day, every day. Try it on for size, speaking the truth is liberating...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What's on your mind?

I'm sitting behind my desk leaning forward at the waist because my long sleeve uniform shirt rubs on my jaw line. With every movement of my head the sun screen that I applied liberally to my face and neck coats the collar of my shirt. So to compensate, I lean forward in my chair, but in so doing I'm cutting off the blood flow to my feet because of my unforgiving gun belt and too-snug trousers.

Sure, I could lose ten pounds and save myself all this discomfort, but since I can't do it overnight, I will likely permanently lose all the feeling in my feet. It's no big deal, plenty of people get along every day with no feeling in their feet or no feet for that matter.


I've been sitting here staring at this computer screen with both kickstands, otherwise known as elbows, holding my head up off the desk all day and all I can think about is...stretchy pants...

(Big sigh!)

Guess I'll go work out...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Who's your boss?

Some days I just want to scream, "Enough!"

You've been there too if you've ever cared too much, felt too deeply or given more than your peers without sufficient appreciation from the boss. I keep asking myself why I continue to do it knowing no one will notice or acknowlege my efforts.

Just when I feel my eyes starting to burn with self doubt and my lip quiver with self pity, it hits me...

It all boils down to obedience.

Jesus said that everything we do we should do it as if we were doing it for/to Him. Wow! That's pretty simple. I serve THE King!

My boss formed the firmament. He willed the world. He breathed all breath of life and He knows me. When my hard head remembers that, I pause. Only then do I bow my head, my heart, my will to His.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

It's Time

   You may have heard that crimes against law enforcement officers have increased in recent years. While this fact may disturb you, it makes me physically hurt. When I see a guy or gal in uniform, I pause to think of all the people that would be broken-hearted should something happen to them. That's the part that hurts me.

Those of us in law enforcement don't spend too much time thinking about losing our lives in the course of our duties. We are adrenaline junkies. We love to drive cars fast, shoot loud weapons and wrestle alligators for fun. Okay, the last part was a bit much, but you get the gist. We love the excitement our job offers.

We enjoy not knowing what's going to happen next. We jump on our partners calls if things are slow in our area so that we can stay in on the action the whole time we are on duty. Universally, we all have a fascination with the obscure, the morbid, the gross. We love puppies, the outdoors and we despise people that hurt children or the elderly. We cry, sometimes sob, when we notify next-of-kin out of a fatality car crash.

You'll see us laugh like goons at stupid jokes or at terrible accident scenes - because that's how we cope. We fight amongst ourselves like hateful siblings, but won't hesitate to rush to the aide of a partner, no matter the uniform or the personal threat of harm.

We want what you want. Peace, harmony, love and days off when the weather is nice. So maybe the next time you see a man or woman in a law enforcement uniform, you'll say hello. You don't have to thank us. We love our job, we don't do it for recognition. We do it because we are called to the occupation and because we can't imagine doing anything else. We may not know when "our time" is, but we know we all have one. We know the dangers are out there. We know there is a small element of society that wishes us dead, but we are confident in our Protector to see us safely home at the end of each shift until He says, "It's time."

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Meet Bullitt and Bellus (left to right.)

Have you ever stopped to wonder why God created such tiny helpless adorable creatures?

I think it's because God wants us to be happy. Maybe He wants us to know the joy of loving something that can do nothing for us in return, except love us back.

At the end of a difficult day or the beginning of a fantastic one, these little faces will always remind me of a timeless universal truth...God loves us. AND no one likes to potty outside when it's cold! No one!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Take Your Medicine...

Curing what seasonally ails me requires botanical intervention, so I check myself into the homeopathic garden clinic and nod to the head nurse who today resembles a frumpy Foster’s holly.

A light wind teases at my hair as I lean over to inspect Dutch iris foliage peeking through the semi-moist soil. All week the temperatures flirted like a marauding March or antagonistic April, making my soul yearn for sweet-lipped hyacinths and shimmering-gold forsythia. This tiny shred of iris greenery reaching out for acknowledgement soothes my impatience. Spring is an elusive fritillary, slightly flittering just out of grasp each New Year. The head nurse motions for me to come closer then barks orders for me to follow.

Double check the moisture level in those raised planters,” she says, pointing with her red-berried chin. She’s busy checking our supplies of pesticides and posting labels for proper mixture rates for quick reference. “Did you treat the young pines for tip borers in November?” she asks. Her waxy green face puckers in a near frown.

Casting a quick glance downward toward my feet, I stammer out the truth. “I meant to, but I got busy.” Her stare chills me even with the sun’s rays tiptoeing upon my slumping shoulders.

“You have to do it before March. You know that!” she huffs. “I bet you forgot about controlling overwintering insects as well!” she accuses me as she pauses from inspecting gardening tools. She’s been sharpening, painting and repairing the mowers, edgers and sprayers.

“No, I remembered.” I answer her, shaking my head at her question. “I remembered to spray dormant neem oil on the deciduous trees and shrubs,” I say tilting my head back and crossing my arms over my chest. Before she can ask anything else I stop her with a raised hand that I push toward her - palm first with a warning. “Don’t insult me!”

Then I lower my hand to my hip sharply, my eyes narrow with agitation. “You know good and well I didn’t put any dormant oil on the evergreen trees or shrubs because it would likely kill them.”

She dismisses me with a smirk, leaving me to my duties. Inspecting my lawn irrigation system, I replace worn or broken parts. Lastly, I spray glyphosate, (Roundup, Rodeo or Pondmaster) plus a post-emergent broadleaf herbicide on the winter weeds coming up in the Bermuda. Having regained my mental well-being by performing gardening tasks, I take a last look around my January garden. Exiting the botanical treatment facility I curtsey to Holly, who discharges me with a prickly farewell.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Function without a critic? Not I.

"Don't cry." I heard a girl's tiny voice whisper harshly. She was behind the curtain of a department store dressing room that I was passing by. Entering the neighboring booth, I drew the curtain and leaned my ear to the thin wall that separated us. I could hear muffled sobs, a choking cough and sniffling. Quickly I undressed and slipped on the expensive jeans who's clever marketing ad promised a tush rejuvenation. The crying in the next booth subsided, but my heart sank as I scrutinized my reflection in the mirror. Where had all this flab come from? I jiggled the "muffin top" that lazily lay over the lip of the fancy stitched jeans.Who was this tired-looking, old woman trying to kid? These were jeans for young women who still had something to prove. Buying them made as much sense as wearing high-heeled shoes to Six Flags. As I sat on the cold cushionless bench to peel the hopelessness off my legs, the quiet crying next door resumed. This time the girl's voice wasn't a whisper, but a condescending, hateful near-punch in the mouth. "Get your fat butt out of here and don't come back till you lose some weight!" She demanded. There was so much venom in her voice I expected to hear balking, bellows or bawling, but I heard nothing. Intrigued, I exited the dressing room, but hovered around the entrance, circling a rack of permanent press polyester slacks. Gingerly I fingered a light blue pair, wondering how long it would be before I would hang these on my dismal frame while pouting Hush Puppied feet. Just then a well-rounded woman with a youngish plump face darted out of the dressing room empty handed. Her cranberry cheeks and red-rimmed eyes said she was my cryer, but where was her tormentor? As she waddled away, I realized her demoralizing critic was just a little more vocal than my own.