Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cookies and Memories.......

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

Christmas reminds me of sugar cookies and candy. Actually granddaughter reminded me. We were texting and she told me her friends were coming over to help make cookies. I told her that reminded me of when her mother would invite friends over and we made the biggest mess making and decorating sugar cookies.

Son of course not wanting to act as though he enjoyed the process was the teacher. Maybe this was the groundwork for his future.

Husband walked in to be greeted by floury hands and doughy hugs. He ate oddly shaped angels, bells and Santa’s as though they were the prettiest any bakery could deliver.

Cheery Cheerleader lived 70 miles away and many years had daughter for the weekend for annual Christmas candy making. I tried candy but since I could induce “Never Fail Fudge” to fail, I opted for messy cookie queen.

One year we picked her up during an open house Cheery’s family was having. Daughter whisked me to a table of yummy appetizers.

She pointed to a snake-like pecan covered thing that looked dead. I was speechless which isn't the norm for me. I just didn’t have the words.

She excitedly pointed to fudge that had a little finger poke and then a stack of wildly decorated sugar cookies.

I finally uttered a profound “wow” about the time Cheery came up and daughter skipped off to greet guests.

Offhand I can’t remember what my sister said to me; all I know is that she made a little girl feel like a princess baker and hostess that year and it’s lasted many years after.

My friends this is Christmas.

Cheery served choked-to-death pecan rolls, smashed fudge and animated sugar cookies at a party for neighbors and friends.

It still makes me tear up when I think of it. I may have even told daughter she might grow up and win the Betty Crocker award. Just kidding, but I couldn’t leave other sister out. She did let Cheery and I wear her pin after all.

It gives my heart a tug to know that same little girl has grown up into a mom that has her kids friends over to make a big mess (or not, maybe she is more like her aunties) and allows them the real spirit of sharing not money, not gifts, but memories full of aroma and laughter and joy.

Merry Christmas!

Willie, Bob and Christmas........My Way (that's Elvis too) :-)

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

I love Christmas music. I have an eclectic taste in music and love wordsmiths who sing those words. Some may think them great writers, but can’t sing worth a flip. I consider the source and move right along.

Christmas music is a bit different in that it is more traditional and many musicians try their vocal chords expressing the Christmas season.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Bing Crosby. How could one not go through the holiday without hearing at least once, White Christmas crooned over the radio or directly in the ear from an IPod? He and Nat King Cole and others have the smooth and ethereal mix of hot chocolate, eggnog-less (that’s how I drink it), chestnuts roasting on an open fire - - oops, I’m getting carried away!

Children’s Christmas voices are light and happy and energizing.

I personally have everything Elvis did in records, 8-tracks, cassettes, CDs and now an MP3. I hope a new mechanism doesn’t come out, I can’t discard any in the various and sundry ways I’ve collected music. Husband can’t say a word as he has his own passionate display of collections. His is more subdued though. I mean Western Swing and Big Band and anything before 1960---and he’s stuck there!

I tend to grow with the times.

That’s why I’ve added two new CDs to my Christmas repertoire.

One is by Willie Nelson and the other Bob Dylan. I know, I know. It’s hard to fancy either of them singing “O Little Town of Bethlehem” or “Noel” and such.

However, since I am a great fan of both, when I saw the CDs I couldn’t help myself. I may well be the only person who’s bought them, but who cares? I love them!

Last year, I’d bought Willie’s and had the boom box turned high singing along with him while I cleaned. Husband walked by and then backed up and listened a second.

“Is that Willie Nelson singing Christmas music?”

“Yes! Isn’t it great?”

“That’s not exactly what I’d say it is.” He replied walking on by and adding, “Could you turn it down?”

I bought Bob this year. I stick my earphones in my ear so I can listen.

To me their voices are always poetic, but to sing out-of-their-norm is truly music to my ears.

Needless to say, I’ve learned to keep my ears to myself!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Remembering mother and daddy and sibling....nostalgia!

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

The older I become, I’m more nostalgic. With parents gone, I often have fleeting thoughts of times gone by when something in particular comes into my fleeting thought mind.

Most are good. A few are bad. Some are sad. Comparing to some seen on television, we didn’t have a dysfunctional family, though at times it seemed so. We were a normal churchgoing and productive to the community family.  

Christmastime brings out my sappiness. I tear up at the drop of a hat and in the same breath laugh at some memory from earlier times when my family and sibling and families trek to visit the parents.

Yesterday in my neighborhood drugstore, I saw a box of chocolate covered cherries. Daddy used to bring mother those at the start of December. It was her favorite candy and though it seemed a simple gesture, I realize now it was a grand gesture.

She hoarded it too. Not that I wanted any but I always thought she could’ve offered. It took all these years to realize she shared everything else with us kids and that was her one pleasure that was hers alone.

One Christmas season, husband noticed I had a box of chocolate covered cherries in my lap and a sick look on my face. For once, he approached the subject in a manner not accusatory knowing I have a chocolate fetish.

“I thought you didn’t like that candy?”

“I don’t.”

I could see he was trying his best to not say then why have you eaten half a box? It was either the teary eyes or the fact I was about to throw up that stopped him from saying another word.

“They were mother’s favorite.” I said. He looked puzzled but still didn’t say anything.

“I was thinking about her today.” I stated as though that would clear any and all questions concerning me and that half box of chocolate covered cherries.

I threw the rest away after they set on my kitchen cabinet for a week. I couldn’t have eaten another one if someone had offered money.

They made me feel good though. They reminded me of a time gone by when things were simple and I didn’t have to be the grownup.

I hope we’ve given our children lasting memories to suddenly appear out of nowhere.

We hoard good memories while the worst fade.

Memories are gifts. Share them.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Dollhouse

The Dollhouse
by alisa dollar

The Dollhouse
            I walked through the door, immediately knowing I’d taken a wrong turn.
            Looking around, there were those in a variance of ages ten years below mine to ten years above.   Vietnam.  Funny how eras and wars have distinct markings.  This particular war often wears disillusionment - like an old glove, misshapen, frazzled and well worn...yet durable and still in use.  Eyes warily observed my entrance.  No hearty welcome, no ambivalence in acknowledgment of my presence, just a thorough and guarded examination.  Oppression overwhelming me, I turned to escape, find my proper path, anywhere but here-yet another trait of my era.
            In route to safer ground, I noticed the dollhouse.
            Elegant and magnificently built, trimmed to perfection, brimming with exquisite furnishings, it sat on a pedestal-like table near the center of the room.  Drawn to its beauty, I commented on its craftsmanship, immediately evoking an almost animated conversation concerning the dollhouse and its history.  The man, Karl, who seemed to be the head of design, walked me in and out of every room, missing not one nook or cranny.  The love, the art, the painstaking patience in building from top to bottom, inside
and out was evident in the workmanship as well as the voices of its creators.  Their excitement contagious, I found myself wondering why I had been too busy to build a dollhouse for the pure joy of accomplishment.
            It was then I looked around the room seeing multiple arts and crafts in varying degrees of completion from unopened boxes to displays on shelves and walls.   Dianne, the social worker and taskmaster of the group, proudly informed me the dollhouse had
placed second in a national contest.  Suddenly awareness unfolded - I was in the craft

room of the regional VA hospital.  These veterans hadn’t been too busy, as I had claimed for myself.  They were busy rebuilding their lives in a restorative manner.  The construction of the dollhouse, furnishing through and through, from wall, to floor, windows to furniture - starting from a box - ending with a home, symbolized the healing energy and sometimes silent comradery of my peer.  Home.
            Yes, the marks of ‘Nam vary, as do with most wars.  This war carries more emotional scars perhaps than others.  Blemishes caused by unrest among our own rather than those on whose soil we fought.  Persons raced through my head - past and present.  Bill left home a young innocent at eighteen, joining the Army to make his mark and came home a brother changed - and yes - forever marked.  He addresses his service simply by his quiet demeanor, choosing to bear his wounds within.  Ted, whom I know only by his memory, served his tour by way of Air Force, returning and giving more by nursing in a veterans’ hospital.  He applied his service by continuing the cause through his profession, only to be taken by that silent but deadly agent, we cautiously
call orange.  Glenn, served as a Marine, with a flair characteristic of his very nature:  “I’m here; I’m ready; Let’s go.”  He confronts his service through excellent writing skills, thereby filtering knowledge to those unknowing.  The vets surrounding the dollhouse
bear the earmark of being unkindly labeled and categorized a group deemed less worthy than veterans of other wars.
            My own marks lay heavy within my soul, burdening my spirit.
            You see, I am not a veteran.  I found myself to be one of the label makers of this group.  I strove for understanding.
            I pulled and tugged in my quest for understanding of why some served without question while others balked to the point of denouncing the very citizenship and freedom others fought to maintain.  In my youth, I never questioned my brother’s wisdom and loyalty.  However, my blindness to his cause didn’t allow his fear to reach my own intellect.  That I loved him was absolute.  That I feared for him was undisputed.  When he boarded the bus for boot camp and eventually Viet Nam, the warring factions of right and wrong began the turmoil inside my heart.  The anger inside me quieted in respect to his service, although I still didn’t understand his plight.   His silence squelched my questions.  My pursuit to understanding yet unfulfilled.
            Years down the road, Ted’s widow came into my life.  Her husband a Viet Nam vet, had proudly served and would have done so again.  Why?  I wondered, but didn’t ask.  Understanding evaded still.  I so respect her composed acceptance of his life and eventual death - caused in part by what some still ignore - Agent Orange.  He may not
have died in battle on foreign soil, but he certainly died loyal to his beliefs and his country.  The pride in his widow’s eyes mix in contradiction with her silent grief.  Balance.  Understanding through his memory slowly began to seep through.
            As a writer, I have had the privilege of meeting Glenn, an ex-Marine.  Today, he uses the training from Viet Nam in his profession of security.  More importantly, he has the ability to write and applies his experiences vividly within his novels.  As a reader of his works-in-progress, dawning of what these young men and women faced encompassed me and I found myself conscience-stricken.  Though fiction, I sensed
fervor and passion within his words.  His storytelling hastened my trip to grasping what I’d been seeking.
            It took getting lost in the craft room of the VA hospital for this knowledge to come full circle.  These men and women, unknown to me, started to open the doors.      Faces began to have names--Karl, Dianne, Gregg, Al, Don–with more added each day.    I found myself wanting the very thing they sought - acceptance...and understanding.
            A frequent visitor these days, I am still learning.  Still trying to give back what I stole not only from myself, but their labeling.  I am trying to give back what I took.
            The dollhouse has become a symbol in my eyes of what it’s all about.   Home. Whether a dollhouse, family home or America.  It has a right to be.  A right to stand.   A right to be beautiful.   Most importantly, a right to be free.

Veteran's Day 2010

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

We forget many times to be thankful and grateful for the privilege of freedom.

Freedom is definitely not a given.

I’ve had an easy life. Even in times I thought I couldn’t get through another nanosecond; I did.

I have a slew of friends and family who, over the years, have hindered, helped, and hovered over me and mine. I’ve done the same for those I love and for many I don’t know.

It’s an unspoken grace received through generations who’ve come before us, teaching it’s better to give than receive.

Much of that is breaking down and though I don’t understand why it’s happening, I do understand it’s up to me to be a reminder there are people in this world who care.

It’s a gift to be able to care and to receive care without retribution.

We live in a country still free to say, act, and be---more often than not---badly.

When Veteran’s Day comes around each year, I grow more appreciative of those who serve in the military.

I understand better each day that my freedom is derived directly from someone else giving up time in their life to serve. Even if there’s not a conflict or war, the threat is always there.

Service men and women have been doing this for years.

 They are trained. They are willing. They are volunteers.

They are brave. They are needed.

They are not rewarded as they should be.

No one likes, wants, or desires conflict which can escalate into war.

I don’t. I don’t know anyone who does.

I’d hate to go to work every day not knowing who my boss is going to be and who his/her boss is going to be and who above them is going to make the rules that will trickle all the way down the chain and could, would, and probably will, change on a daily basis because of politics back home.

These men and women deal with a lot more than actual war.

They deal with uncertainty in their job description, their personal life, and warring emotions within.

We can support military and families by checking local services who deal with specific needs. We can love family and friends with extra care who serve.

The best is to publicly thank them for their service in the past and now.

America is beautiful because of our military.

Thank you!

Veteran's Day 2009

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

When I began a Veteran’s Day remembrance for 2009, I wasn’t planning on changing what I’d started. Because of the senseless massacre last week at Ft. Hood, I changed my original thoughts.

It’s come to me that we, as Americans, were taught well the manners bestowed us by our heritage and upbringing, no matter what religion, ethnicity or politics within each family.

We’ve become so “nice” that we’re the breeding ground of someone telling us we can’t discipline because it might hurt someone’s feelings. We can’t play certain sports because so-in-so isn’t able to play and feelings might be hurt. We’ve changed grading in schools because we don’t want to hurt feelings.

I want to interject something—my feelings are hurt.

I get a form of waterboarding every time I go to the dentist. Sorry but that’s what happens when you have a cavity. It stands to reason that a cavity of society could withstand water. We have to be “nice” and now there’s a chance those who terrorized our country on 9/11 may be out amongst us. What? Cavities need to be fixed, not let go to rot further.


I cannot begin to express the concern and sorrow I feel for the gentleman who took it upon himself to take out a few of his fellow soldiers for whatever reasoning he possessed at the time.

Our soldiers at this time are put into harm’s way when deployed to war torn countries to defend the freedoms we take for granted. We now desperately cling to those freedoms slipping one by one.

Veterans and current military are supposed to be safe on base. They are supposed to be able to mill about and take care of business and their loved ones. They are supposed to be ready to go and take care of America’s welfare.

They are not supposed to be blindsided on base by one of their own.

I only know what I’ve read about the person who decided fate for others. For me, it’s come to a point that religion, ethnicity, and politics are kaput. These soldiers and civilians deserve justice.

Not everyone will agree and that’s okay. We’re Americans. We’re still free.

Thanks to all military branches, past and present. I love the right to write what I feel and am grateful to those who’ve gone above and beyond to preserve an America I love.

Thanksgiving 2010

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

It’s Thanksgiving again. I think time flies when you’re having a good time. Time flies when you’re having a bad time, it’s just in slow motion.

The reality is time flies faster as we age. So it’s really flying fast for me.

I’m being a good girl this year. It’s the first Thanksgiving in five years that I haven’t had a major surgery and I’m actually looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I bought all the stuff for Thanksgiving even though it will just be husband and me. Oh and Max. He’s thankful too.

Husband says, “Why did you buy all that?”

I deflect by saying we’re having ham, not turkey.

He says we don’t need that. Meaning we’re trying to diet. I turn my back while putting away the goodies. He simply doesn’t understand “he” is dieting; I am playing like I’m dieting.

“I bought fake food, so don’t get all huffy about it.”

“Fake food?”

“You know the pre-everything---dressing, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole and a new corn casserole.” I added, “The ham however is the real deal.”

While he picked up one fake frozen casserole to read the label, he comments under his breath that a fake pig might have less sodium than these casseroles.

Aren’t wives supposed to read those labels? I think they’re hazardous to one’s health. This is Thanksgiving for Pete’s sake, who cares what’s in them?

Trying to remain calm in my first year of being happy about the holidays with workable knees, shoulders and without a doctor or physical therapist harping on me, I count to ten in the only three languages I know how to count to ten – English, Spanish and German.

I for one am glad these local companies and throughout the U.S. put together these packages so I won’t have to have shovels to clear out the mess I make doing it all myself!

So what is a little sodium?

I’m on the verge of getting into his haughty little face, pointing my finger, telling him he hadn’t offered to prepare anything for Max and me.

Instead I just grabbed the casserole; put it and the rest into the freezer in the garage so he wouldn’t be nosing around the kitchen.

He’ll forget about that sodium when all the aromas hit his nostrils on Thanksgiving.

I’m sure of it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Rangers.......

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar         

I don’t know which is scarier—Halloween or the World Series. I know this is a far stretch for most, but I’ve had to make myself watch the playoffs and the World Series because the Texas Rangers made it for the first time.

That should excite me, but since I’m not a big baseball fan (because it’s long and slow and boring) I have to fake the excitement although there have been moments I’ve been caught up in the wave of Ranger-itis.

I have friends (Bree) who get downright exuberant over this game. Husband follows the Texas teams and relates information to me during the season. In the past, that hasn’t been much.

Of late, between him, Bree, TV, and the news my brain is in Ranger overflow. That’s not a bad thing, but I wonder if I’m the only person who resents my regular shows being off during this time?

I almost feel unpatriotic.

Halloween on the other hand is one weekend at best.

Churches prepare for carnivals or “trunk or treat” for community children. Some people decorate the outside of their houses inviting the little ones to come knocking at the door.

Older “children” have parties and everyone dresses up for best costume prize. I never had much luck getting husband to do that. He says his regular get up is scary enough.

This Halloween I found myself sick.

Really sick—not just sick of baseball and Halloween candy.

I had to miss the youth service at church and some of my favorite little trick-or-treaters because I can barely stand myself much less inflict my head cold upon others.

So, Halloween night I was left holding a bag of candy watching the World Series and the Rangers were not winning.

I’ve come to the conclusion, I and others like me, are just plain bad luck.

The best thing about the game was when two past presidents of the United States, who happen to be father and son, came out and the younger threw the first pitch.

That had to be a historical moment whether you like them or not.

Every time the camera went to them, the elder president’s wife was scoring the game like she probably did as a Little League mom. I would’ve had to learn that if mine had played.

For the record, I really do want the Rangers to win the series.

And soon.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Kathryn's Calamaties - and me.....

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

I have memories I can’t shake. The latest is Kathryn’s dad. I remember mother better because of her laughter.

Daddy was a quiet man who rarely spoke. He observed every move, every sound and when he stood up that meant something was going to happen.

It may have been to go get coffee, but I never knew if we were too loud or he heard sneaking in and out. Not that we ever did that.

When Kathryn came to college (indeed a book I should write) we took turns commuting. I was a junior and she was a freshman. I can’t imagine what would’ve happened had she gone right after we graduated. We were quite the pair at an age we should’ve been old enough to know better.

While in her car, make that her father’s car, we had a tiny mishap. It really wasn’t Kathryn’s fault, that car was huge.

We’d been invited to a friend’s house outside San Marcos, up a very skinny and wooded road. We were going there to study. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Half way up, Kathryn stopped.

“Why are we stopped? We’ll go backwards!” I exclaimed because that’s what I’d done in my brother’s VW Beetle right in front of the SUB on campus and it was very embarrassing to say the least.

“We’re stuck.”

“We can’t be stuck this is your daddy’s car.” I had visions of him getting out of that chair walking towards us. I never finished what I thought he’d do.

Nobody could’ve done this but Kathryn and her trusty sidekick.

We finally made it to the house. There were little scratches; but remember he observed. We were so upset we couldn’t “study.”

Kathryn, already an aspiring artist, tried shoe polish; I threw dirt to make it look smudged.

Later, I went to her house because I couldn’t let her take all the blame. I walked in and waited for her to come to the living room.

He was observing. Mom was laughing. I fidgeted.

“It was an accident.” It just popped out.

Kathryn walked unhurriedly saying I couldn’t control myself.

I hushed.

I realized that Kathryn, though usually animated, could purse those lips just so and give a look that meant she might “get up out of the chair”.

Moral? If you see that look, hush.

Don’t let her stand up.

I hate talking maps!

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

Prof’s mom has become a good long distance friend. They live in Houston and when she gets to Lubbock we try to enjoy a cup of coffee or double dips of ice cream, whichever mood we’re in. Usually the latter.

At Christmas, she told me she never gets lost anymore. I couldn’t believe it because she’d always told me she got lost in Sears. That totally endeared me to her. I would get lost in Sears too if I didn’t get lost on my way to Sears.

“What do you mean you don’t get lost anymore?” I asked between bites of homemade chocolate pecan pie Prof’s dad made.

“I got a GPS.”

I groaned. I don’t like husband’s GPS. She has totally taken over our road trips. Maggie died and now he has Young Maggie. They’ve been the other “women” in my life. The saving grace is neither could speak.

I decided since Momma Prof had one, I should have one. I didn’t tell husband I ordered one and was hoping it wasn’t as boring as his.

As luck would have it, it was a smaller, handheld cute little thing with a car in the picture. I know this sounds perfectly ridiculous to those not geographically challenged, but that blue car on the road is amazing.

The unfortunate part is that it talks and has an annoying attitude. I showed husband my prize and we took it to Plainview to meet friends for an annual New Year’s Eve dinner. We are a really wild bunch.

Husband thought she was bossy and often wrong (only because he knows every back road in Texas and Bossy doesn’t). However, Bossy fooled him because she’d tell him the next exit and the next until he finally had to. It was really amusing to watch husband and Bossy try to outsmart the other.

I asked if I could change the car color to red and husband asked why. I like red that’s why, but I didn’t say anything. Then I asked if the voice could be like Johnny Depp instead of a haughty naggy voice. That he may have gone for, but so far it’s still Bossy’s voice.

As you’ve guessed, Bossy is now in residence with Young Maggie. He says he is seeing which is better but finds he like qualities in each that the other doesn’t have.

I’m just happy he can only have one wife or I’d probably be discontinued.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Blossoming Pyromaniac....

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

I am an accidental pyromaniac.

Over the years I’ve had a few things happen due to neglect husband says. I say due to overlooking what I’d forgotten I was doing.

He says that’s the same as neglect.


He doesn’t like ‘whatever’--I say it’s almost admitting neglect.

When the kids were young and I was a stay-at-home mom (translates to dabbling to near insanity on given days) we owned a house that had a long hallway leading to three bedrooms and the kitchen and den on the other.

I had a gas stove because it’s hard to burn things--just turn off and voila....heat is gone. Electric stoves don’t do that and I have a penchant for overcooking.

The telephone was on the wall close to the kitchen with a cord long enough to walk down the hall to check on the urchins and also cook and talk and talk and cook. You get the picture.

Husband came home while I’m walking around the kitchen talking to a friend about nothing much because nothing much is what stay-at-home moms often feel they have to discuss.

He walked through to the den and hung his cap on a hat peg. I’m still talking about nothing much when I realize he’s watching with a devious smile.

“What?” I demanded as I turned to stir ‘whatever’ on the stovetop.

“Hot conversation?”

In defensive huffiness I assured with clipped, whispered tones I was not gossiping.

Calmly, he grabbed the paper, “Just wondered, the phone cord is on fire.”

I looked and the cord was in flames! I’d drug it across the gas stove I so loved because it was hard to burn or overcook.

“Oh my gosh....I have to’s on fire!” I started flapping the cord. “No, not the house, the phone to you later!”

When I bathed the cord in the sink and stopped my little fire I went and stood in front of husband with hands on hip whining “Why didn’t you tell me sooner, I could have burned the house!”

Again, very calmly (I hate that!) he looked over the top of the paper and said he would’ve stopped it if he thought the house or family was in danger.

From experience I knew the “moral of the story” was coming.

“Besides, I figured you’d remember better this way.”

He began to read again smugly knowing he’s right.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Who Needs A Tan?

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

A conversation at my desk centered on tanning. One thought the safest tan was bottled. I wanted to scream “Noooooooooooooo!”

My fear of bottled tans comes from when my dear friend Kathryn told me; no promised me I could appear tan without blistering, peeling, and without damage to the skin.

I tried to tell her I’d tried this once and the palms of my hands were the same as the tops and this “tan” took forever to disappear no matter how many times I scrubbed.

“No, Alisa, this is the best (she named some brand)” she spoke in earnest with an all-knowing look of authority.  “And look at me--I’m fair skinned and it works on me.”

I was visiting before going to Dallas to a writer’s conference and I wanted my feet and legs to look tanned so I wouldn’t have to wear hose. I’ve since gotten over wearing hose. I simply don’t care. Back then, I thought I had to look better than I did, and feel good about what wasn’t real.

Make sense? It made perfect sense to me then.

Long story short, I let her talk me into the tanning of the feet and legs.

I don’t remember the brand name, which is good because I’d want to file a truth in advertising suit. There should be a disclaimer that reads:  “Alisa Dollar should not use this product because she is super pale, with no pigment and will turn orange no matter what Kathryn says. All others use as directed.”

We were perched in the middle of the Graham’s king size bed watching Law and Order reruns, drinking diet coke, laughing and talking while waiting for it to dry. It became apparent this wonderful product wasn’t going to work on my legs, skinny ankles and feet.

I screamed, “My legs look like Cheetos, Kathryn!”

I’d forgotten her basset, Agatha’s favorite snack is Cheetos and before our eyes, she did an Evil Knieval jump onto the bed and plopped down on my legs and licked. The disappointment was evident when she realized it was only a fake failed tan. 

The moral is to not ruin skin with a real or fake tan. Natural is a-okay. Everybody can’t be a golden tan, so give it up!

Most importantly; don’t listen to Kathryn; even when she’s extremely convincing.

She means well though.  Really.

Monday, August 8, 2011

There are grocery stores for a reason.......

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

I have bad luck growing tomatoes. I love fresh tomatoes. When I’ve decided I can grow them something always happens.

Years ago, I tried. After husband told me to whip them, a hailstorm, and a very early freeze we had many jars of Chow Chow and meals with fried green tomatoes.

Looking back, that was one of my better growing seasons. Sounds as though I’m a seasoned tomato grower, right?


I rarely whipped my own children much less a bunch of innocent tomato plants that our then miniature dachshund Klutzheimer ‘watered’ daily. At least with the acts of God, I still had Chow Chow and fried green tomatoes.

After 30 plus years I decided last year I’d try again. I got four little tiny tomatoes, hardly enough for a good salad.

I think the bugs enjoyed the rest of the plant. Husband didn’t tell me to whip these since I only had one pot of them. I had to get them high enough so that now mini-doxie Maxwell Smart couldn’t water them.

This year I got one of those upside down hanging things. I didn’t know when the box is opened there’s no dirt (husband says soil, I say dirt is dirt) or seeds, just a green hangy-downy floppy plastic thing with a hole in the bottom and the top.

It’s easy to figure which end is the top (thank goodness) because the hanger is on that end. I decided rather than put seeds in all the dirt I’d funneled inside the little hole in the top, I’d put an already started plant with little tiny yellow leaves, which hubby says should be tomatoes.

I didn’t miss he said “should” rather than “would”—it appears he has no confidence in my gardening/farming/tomato growing skills.

There should be a gadget that says “STOP! That’s too much water” or “HELP! I need water” and “These bugs are driving me crazy.”

I never seem to know when to do what. Whatever I choose seems to always be wrong. I wish I could blame the weather or the dog, or that I had spanked them even though they were upside down.

They died a slow and painful death. Those little yellow things fell off and nothing replaced them unless you count brown brittle leaves.

Wish I had a Farmer’s Market next door.

I’m really good at buying fresh yummy tomatoes.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Little Red Ridin' Hood

(I took a writing class many years ago from Dee Pace. Once of the assignments was to take a classic fairy tale and make it contemporary. You can tell from this piece when I wrote this. It's not meant to be a political statement, I just have a warped sense of humour....and it just sort of flowed. It's been awhile, so hopefully all the innuendoes are still recognizable.  Enjoy!)

Once upon a time in the land of freedom and opportunity, a mother prepared her daughter who had reached the age of assent, to go out into the cruel world of harsh reality.  For mother knew there to be many who were powerful, whom she likened to wolves because they would prey under the guise of goodness upon the innocent.  With these admonishments, mother sent daughter into the world, dressed in a patriotic, nautical dress.  Adding the perfect touch, she topped the dress with a smart beret perched slightly to the left upon her daughter's head; enhancing thick dark locks, while displaying big blues eyes, robust cheeks and a toothy grin.  Mother sent along a basket of goodies to be shared only with those possessing grandmother's teachings–that of being worthy.  With a basket overflowing in wisdom, charm and self,  daughter left mother's home listening to one last caution, "Do not go down the avenue named after the train state, and do not go near that big white house. . .because there lurks the power that consumes."
The young lady enjoyed her freedom and found a few worthy of the gifts she carried in her basket.  Little by little, she began to share her gifts, using her grandmother's teaching.  Surely her mother was mistaken; she had yet to find power--a wolf disguised in promises with disturbing consequences of broken vows.  With this assurance, the young lady found herself upon the doorstep of that big white house.  Giving in to temptation, she knocked.
A very large, giant of a man opened the door.  His smile quite large, with eyes quite leering, he clapped his hands in glee.  "Oh, my, young lady, have you come to my aid?"  Remembering her mother's warning, she feared this man might very well be that wolf disguised in powerful clothing. 
Smiling again, he asked, "And what is your name?"
"Lou Ann, sir," 
"And your last name?"  He rubbed his hands together and smacked his lips, while watching her intently through hooded eyes.
"Ski," Lou Ann softly answered.
"What a nice moniker, Lou Ann Ski."  The man couldn't hinder the shining gleam of lust radiating from his eyes.  "Please come in and let me look through that quite attractive basket you are carrying so closely to your chest."
"Oh, sir, there is no way I could come in.  I am not supposed to be here.”  Lou Ann clutched her basket closer and turned to leave.
“Ms. Lou Ann Ski.”  The man grinned.  “Oh, I love that name.  Do you mind if I use it all together?  It seems to roll so fluently over my tongue and out of my mouth.  Please, my dear. Come in my office, its oval, you know . . . and we shall discuss this fear you have of power.”
Not able to dissuade this man and so sure she could change his evil ways, she marched behind him--straight into his office.
While he talked, she couldn’t help but notice certain things.  Stopping in midstream, he asked her if, perhaps, she had a problem?
“Oh, no sir.  I just noticed what big eyes you have.”
“Oh, my dear Ms. Lou Ann Ski, all the better to see you--”
“And what big teeth you have--”
“All the better to--”
As he attempted to finish the sentence and grab her by the shoulders, a much harried, angry lady burst forth into the room.  Her flushed face clashed angrily with her dress.  Too bad, because she looked so pretty in pink.
“Stop this now, I say!”  The lady seemed wicked as a witch.
“Who are you, ma’am?”  Lou Ann asked.
“I am from the west wing.”  The lady answered testily.
“How did you know I was here?”  Lou Ann asked in her innocence.
“You won’t believe this, but I was led here by a star, but not from the East . . . I think from Texas.  I am trying to stop the injustice of power over innocence before this goes too far.”
The man moved to say something, perhaps in apology, to the witch.  She stopped him cold with a withering look and a condescending, “Zip it, I don’t want anything out of you.”
Amazingly, this seemingly powerful giant stepped back, and Ms. Lou Ann Ski realized who truly held the power within the big white house on the street named after the state with trains.  Leaving as quickly as she could, she thanked her lucky star--the one from Texas--for saving her from more embarrassment for not seeing sooner, the wolf dressed in powerful clothing.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Seeing eye front seat driver???

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

Prof told me I had the makings of a good country song when I was telling her about driving husband’s pickup while he was driving me nuts. Before I finished the tale, she was laughing.

I decided to write an article instead.

Disclaimer to men who can’t laugh at themselves….stop reading here; women, you’ll be nodding furiously in agreement.

It started when husband had his eyes checked. I had a dental appointment to have my teeth cleaned. The two offices are within a mile of the other across town. Husband decided I’d drive after his appointment because his eyes would be dilated. Unlike some, it takes quite awhile for him to look normal, not like a wild person.

Everything went well until I had to drive. He is very protective of his pickup and more so when I am driving said pickup.

Remember, he can’t see.

I will admit upfront I feel as though I’m driving a bus which in and of itself is bad enough; but to have a front seat passenger side wild-eyed helper makes for a very irritating afternoon.

That’s the good part.

The bad part is that Mr. Wild-Eye Know-it-All Can’t See Husband decides I don’t know which lane to get into in order to turn. Then, I must not know this pickup is different to park than my 4-door Taurus.  What? Like I don’t know I’m driving a tank?

And the last and most indefensible thing he said to me “What if you had to parallel park, what would happen? Huh?”

As calmly as I could I replied that was a mute point as there were no parallel parking spaces available and that most likely I would ram whatever was in front and back of me like I did all those years ago when I took my driving test.

“I’ll bet you didn’t pass either!” he grumped while still telling me that I needed to back up and retry because I was too close to the car next to us.

I refused to tell him I had to retake the test.

As much as I don’t like to go to the dentist, I was happy to get in that office and catch my breath.

Maybe I will write a song--I was driving my husband’s pickup while was driving me nuts.

It really does have a ring to it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Patience......DID YOU HEAR ME???? :-)

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

Have you ever wondered why the love verses in 1 Corinthians start with “love is patient”? All you have to do is be married 42 years—or 5 minutes.

We celebrate 42 patient years together this week. Son’s marrying this week to a lovely young lady.

While talking about the upcoming nuptials, he laughed at something I said about his dad. I reminded him his life as a single, only think and/or take care of yourself days are numbered.

He informed me that he’d lost that when they committed to marriage.

I laughed because idealistically he truly believes himself. When reality hits for both of them, they’ll understand my laughter.

Marriage is a wonderful institution. I took vows knowing I would do my best to keep them. What I didn’t know was how hard it is to keep them!

I really thought I’d be June Cleaver in sweats, barefoot, sans pearls. I thought hubby would be Ward in a button down oxford shirt, jeans and boots. We’d have two perfect children and live happily ever after.


I suppose there are those that have a perfect, pearly, clean house, three hot meals marriage.

That is truly wonderful. I wouldn’t be able to stand the quiet. Think about it. Did Ward ever yell at June? Did June scream at Ward or Beaver and Wally? No. She put her hands on her hips and shook her head and said in even tones how things needed to be.

I’m a believer in letting it all out, get it over with, hug, kiss, and as that TV comedian says “Git’r done!” By the way, I don’t really understand that guy, but that’s another column.

After visiting with son, I thought of things just this weekend that would reiterate love is patient.

The time changed Saturday night. Husband says aren’t you going to bed, remember we have church and communion at nine. Of course I know all that, but I don’t say anything. Love is patient.

Sunday morning ten minutes before time to leave, I hear “Do you know what time it is?” Love is patient.

Sunday afternoon I’m cleaning my closet to put winter in and summer out. “Are you going to clean this mess up?” Love is patient.

Those are just a few. Husband has a list as well.

I know why this is first. Marriages wouldn’t last without patience.

Love is patient.