One woman, lots of paint and hundreds of tiles. If you're here because you found a painted tile, it's yours to keep.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Roxy's Secret Mission

Roxy, a cashier at the local grocery store, is on a secret mission. She says that desperate times call for desperate measures, so when she sees people coming through her line who she knows are struggling really hard to feed their families, she conveniently forgets to scan many of the items in their cart. Roxy knows how unfair life can be. A friend is always telling her that "Hey, life IS unfair, so just get used to it." But Roxy would rather do what she can to help turn things around. She knows that grocery chain she works for has plenty of money and that these poor people in her line do not. She says it doesn't take a rocket scientist to fix that situation, just a well-meaning cashier. Roxy says in these hard times everyone must do what they can to help, even if it means breaking a few rules.

Roxy is in a newspaper box outside the Winn-Dixie on Cordova Road, alongside Southport shopping center in Fort Lauderdale. As cashiers go, she is one of the best,

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Margaret of the Rain

Margaret was feeling increasingly stressed by her workload and the mounting tasks on her to-do list. When life became overwhelming, she typically found comfort in nature, but now the grass was all burned and dried up and dying as, it seemed, was everything. Maybe even Mother Nature was too overwhelmed to deal ...

As for Margaret, it had been so long since she’d spent any time in the garden that her hose was partway buried in the solidly dried up ground, weeds having tangled it into the raggedy landscape that was her yard. The yard had been calling to her for help, and she'd managed to solidly ignore it for literally months.

But then, on a Saturday after a severely long dry spell, she awoke to the sound of pouring-down rain, the kind she knew would last all day and flood every street in the town with glorious puddles too deep to even consider driving through. She felt secretly relieved. Her mama told her there would be days like this, days when going absolutely nowhere is as good as it gets, which is pretty excellent.

The rain always made Margaret think about the things that were really important and it wasn’t the to-do list that typically ran her life, but simple things, like hanging out in her kitchen, making spontaneity soup from whatever she could muster, listening to her favorite songs on the CD player, singing silly songs no one would ever hear, and talking to her cat who was a surprisingly good listener. She called it her drift time because she could just let her mind meander wherever it needed to go.

The thing about drift time is that most people don’t understand what it is, let alone the need for it. Like if one of you friends call you and ask you to go have a drink and you say “Sorry, I really need to stay home and make soup and just let my mind wander,” most people are just gonna say, "OK, sure Margaret, I understand" and then get off the phone and tell whoever is in earshot .. something that probably begins with “Oh. My. God.” and is accompanied by a big heavenward roll of the eyes.

It is, on the other hand, perfectly OK to say that it’s hailing marys outside and there’s just no way on earth you are going to go out while it’s raining like cats and dogs, and the thunder! The thunder!!!

Margaret loved thunder almost as much as she loved the rain. The combination of the two, and all that accompanies a good storm, was perfection.

Margaret feels a special connection to the rain. Sometimes when it’s just a drizzle, she takes to the street walking, and watches the raindrops hit the puddles. It reminds her of the fudge her sister used to make, and how it looked when it was just coming to a boil, before it got poured onto the big aqua plate where it would harden before being cut into little squares. The ones in the middle were always the biggest, but the little ones on the end were clearly the most delicious.

But Margaret doesn’t make fudge. She’s forgotten the recipe. Now, she makes soup, and on the day of the glorious rain, the smell of simmering spontaneity soup permeated her entire house. Margaret lit candles and loaded up her CD player with Eilieen Ivers and The Frames and Leonard Cohen, and she painted and contemplated sharing her spontaneity soup because drifting through the perfect storm has a way of making one feel cleansed and renewed and ready to talk and laugh and share again.

She knew that would happen. It always does. Even while the rain pounded upon her tin roof, creating the rhythmic pattern of a creative day of wandering, she could envision a day that ended in laughter and Scrabble and wine and a very long and restful sleep followed by a morning of digging into the earth in her little jungle of a garden, because gardens love a good storm too.

Margaret loved when the rain set in and canceled all her well-intentioned little plans. It allowed her to forget all else and focus on the mundane little tasks that allow her mind to drift far, far away and eventually bring her back to the place she calls home.

Margaret has drifted off. Word has it she’s at the phone booth in front of a building at 17th Street and Andrews Avenue, just caddy-cornered from Broward General Hospital. It was once a CVS … but now it’s just empty.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Jane says ....

Jane warns that we should not let what happened to her, happen to us, and even though it sometimes seems impossible to find time for play, she's right. When all is said and done .... do we really want to look back and say, "Wow, I sure did put in a whole lot of hours at the factory." Besides, how productive can you really be when you're tired, cranky and mischief-deprived?

I, for one, plan to take Jane's advice and stop letting important things in life, like hiding tiles in random spots around town when no one is looking, slip through the cracks.

It's been awhile, but I'm back.

Jane is trying to get out and have a little fun now too. She's at Lester's Diner on SR 84 in Fort Lauderdale ... in the ladies room, I think.