Category Archives: ignorima

I’m Good Enough, Smart Enough, and My Amber Brooch Will Return to Me

Last week my husband surprised me with a precious gift out of the blue. Was it diamonds? Pearls? Chocolates?

No, it was an antique amber brooch with a million year old insect petrified inside of it, and I loved it.


As a woman of Lithuanian descent, I’m a big fan of amber jewelry, but pieces with fully intact inlays like the one the P-Dawg got me are especially neat because, well, they’re fossils. I mean, how cool is it to be wearing something that lived thousands of years ago? That your husband got you out of the blue because he loves you?

I was going to wait for a special occasion to wear my gift, but today I just decided to go balls out and wear it to the grocery store. So I went and did my shopping, zipping up and down the aisles with the kind of speed and precision that only kid-free grocery shopping can afford. When I returned home I went immediately to the bathroom to wash my hands because do you have any idea what kind of germs are living on those cart handles? And it was then, when I was looking at my reflection in the mirror, that I noticed my amber brooch was no longer on my sweater where I’d pinned it this morning.

Luckily, I’ve been reading a lot of books lately about the insignificance of material possessions as well as the power of positive thoughts to create our own reality, and I did not freak out. First I searched the car and all of my shopping bags, and then I calmly placed a call to the supermarket where I’d been to ask if anyone had turned it in.

“And it was a brooch, you say?” the manager asked me.

“Yes, amber. It was a kind of orange gold color, and set in silver.”

“Okay, and what shape was it?”


“Did it have any distinguishing features?”

“It had a dead fly trapped inside of it.”

“A dead fly?”



No one had seen it, but the manager took my name and number and promised she’d call if it turned up.

Still, I drove back to the store to look for myself. And throughout the entire ten minute drive, I thought positive thoughts about my brooch. Because I was sure that if I believed that I would find my brooch, I would, indeed, find it. At first I only said the affirmations in my head, but then I started saying them out loud, just to make sure the universe could hear me.

“I am driving to Heinens now to retrieve my amber brooch.”

“I will find my amber brooch at Heinens.”

“I am going back to the grocery store, where my amber brooch is waiting for me.”

I mean, I really believed I’d find my amber brooch. And it took a lot of guts for me, a person who doesn’t even sing along to song lyrics while driving, to say those affirmations out loud.

So I retraced my steps back from the parking lot. I went up and down the aisles, looking high and low and peering into the carts of random shoppers. I loitered by the cash register where I’d checked out and, back out in the parking lot, I looked underneath the idling car that was parked in the spot where I’d been even though there were people sitting in it.

No amber brooch.

Then I said the old Catholic stand-by prayer to Saint Anthony, patron of lost items.

Tony, Tony, come around, what is lost, must be found.

I still haven’t located my amber brooch, but I am staying positive because I am certain that it will return to me. And if it doesn’t, the brooch probably had bad karma and I wasn’t meant to have it.


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We of Little Faith

I was minding my own beeswax at the end of the pew before Mass started today when a little old lady came up to me and asked if I was in her Birthday Book yet. She had long white hair and bright pink lipstick and for a minute I thought maybe I’d gone down the rabbit hole.

“Your Birthday Book?” I blinked. “I don’t know what that is.”

“I pray for people on their birthdays” said the mysterious stranger. “What’s your name? I’ll put you on my list!”

Now, I’m usually a suspicious person by nature, but I signed myself right up. I mean, here was someone offering to pray for me free of charge, and I need all the prayers I can get.

I spelled out my full name and gave her my birth date, which she scrawled into a flowery little journal she’d whipped out of her purse. Then she asked for the P-Dawg’s info, which I of course provided, and then the kids.’

I thought that would be the end of it, but before I knew it she was asking me for my parents’ names and birthdays, and also my mother-in-law’s. Now I was starting to get a little uncomfortable, but it seemed uncharitable to deny the rest of my family the opportunity to be prayed for, as well. What was I supposed to say to her? No thank you, I would rather you didn’t pray for the rest of them.

After she was done writing down my entire clan’s personal information in her little notebook, the little old lady gave me a meaningful look, squeezed my hand, and trotted off. I got a distinct sense like maybe she also wanted to hug me, (and ask for more names), but I cut her off at the pass. It’s one thing to give a stranger all of your personal information plus your mother’s maiden name, but quite another to physically touch.

“What were you talking to that woman about?” asked the P-Dawg, who’d been sitting out of earshot.

“She prays for people on their birthdays,” I told him. “So I gave her our stats.”

A small vein in my husband’s right temple began to throb.

“Did you give her our real names?”

“Uh, yeah.”

“And our real birthdays?”

”                         ”

“What other information did you give her?” the P-Dawg sounded alarmed.

“Just our social security numbers and online banking information,” I told him (even though I had not!)

Suddenly it seemed like not such a great idea, what I had done. I mean, if this lady was really praying for people on their birthdays, why didn’t she carry a calendar and write the names in for each day instead?

“Let us pray,” said the priest, and I sent up a silent petition that the Birthday Lady wouldn’t steal my identity.

“Do you think she’s going to steal our identities?” I asked the P-Dawg.

“Probably,” he said.

I couldn’t concentrate during Mass at all because I kept scanning the pews for the Birthday Lady. But I couldn’t see her anywhere and so naturally assumed that she was already back in her lair, hacking into our bank accounts.

Thankfully my daughter, who is a spy in training, had not let her out of her sight. She was ten pews up to our right. There was still a chance to get our names out of The Book!

After Mass I asked the P-Dawg if he would mind approaching the Prayer Lady and asking her to remove our names from her list.


“Just say we reconsidered and we don’t want anyone praying for us.”

“I have a better idea,” the P-Dawg said.

“What are you going to do, take her down in the parking lot?”

“No, I’m going to trail her and get a picture of her license plate,” he explained to me. “But first, we’re going to have to split up.”

The children and I camped out in the car awaiting our fate and my husband hovered around the Birthday Lady while she chatted with people after church.

“Where’s Daddy?” asked my son after about ten minutes.

“Oh, he probably just ran into someone he knows,” I lied, even though I was starting to fret. What was the P-Dawg doing with the Prayer Lady? Had he been successful in confiscating our page? Had she pulled a switchblade on him? Had they come to blows?”

Finally my brave husband came back.

“Well?” I prodded. “How did it go down? Did you get our names removed from The Book?”

“No,” said the P-Dawg.  “She stayed after talking to a bunch of people who seemed to know and trust her, and then she went to the hall for coffee and donuts.”

“I don’t understand. Why didn’t you ask if you could see her Prayer Book, then rip our page out?”

“Because I could get arrested for that.”

We continued to discuss the situation on the car ride home and the P-Dawg reluctantly conceded that the Prayer Lady had probably been legit. I want to believe there are still people in the world who just want to pray for me and everyone I know for the heck of it. And I think it’s a shame that my husband we automatically second guess someone who offers. In fact, I should have asked for her name and info. That way I would at least know how to look her up.

So what do you think? Is the Birthday Lady going to pray for me, or rob me blind instead?

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Vote Early and Vote Often

Who among us, after casting her ballot for the big dogs like President, Vice President, senators, and congressional officials, has not at some point in her life gone down the rest of the ballot and made her voting choices for people like County Coroner based on an elaborate system of “I don’t like the sound of this guy’s name?”

If I’m not familiar with either candidate and one is a woman, I will always vote for the woman, unless her name is “Shannon.” The only thing that trumps a woman (and this happens very rarely) is a Lithuanian. Hell, it could even be a Latvian or an Estonian.

Now, if both obscure candidates are men, I will vote for the guy who sounds like an underdog. These are people with weird ethnic names or surnames like “Roach” and “Snodgrass.” I will never vote for someone who has too many middle initials or a “III” after his surname. Some people I simply cannot vote for because they might be related to someone who was mean to me in grade school.

Recently I found out that voting is not like a test and you are allowed to bring a cheat sheet into the booth with you. So when I showed up at my usual polling location on Saturday morning to cast an early ballot, I was brandishing a giant laminated list of voting guidelines recommended by the American Medical Association.

Unfortunately, I was at the wrong polling place and instead of early voting, there was a flea market going on there. Once I realized this, I tried to make like I always carry a giant laminated voting cheat sheet when I go thrifting, but a couple of ladies at the front table saw me before I could shove it in my purse and when we locked eyeballs, I knew they were on to me.

I don’t know why I was so embarrassed. (Maybe because if I had checked the Board of Elections website, I would have known there’s only one place in the entire county where you can cast an early ballot and it’s nowhere near where I live.) So instead of voting for the leader of the free world, I bought a bagful of vintage costume jewelry.

But don’t worry, I will keep on trying.

Good luck in that booth on Tuesday. It can be pretty daunting.

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My Broken Diddly-Squat

Is there anything more horrifying than the sound of an AC repairman yelling up from the basement: “Can you come down here for a second, Mrs. Rama? I want to show you something.”

That something always turns out to be a mechanical part, about yea long and yea wide, which is fried beyond repair. The part is so damaged, in fact, that the AC repair person simply cannot get over it.

“I’ve seen a lot of people run their AC into the ground, Mrs. Rama, but whooooo-wheee (produces a low whistle) this is really something else.”

The repairman encourages me to come closer for a better look.

“See this whoozamachit-chat right here, Mrs. Rama?” he says, and I nod in acknowledgment while my eyeballs begin their slow migration backwards, into the techno lingo-free recesses of my head. “What you have here is a thingamasnippet so totally and completely damaged, that I’m surprised it didn’t snap clean in half.”

“Is that what was causing the horrible screeching sound?”

At this, the AC repairman chuckles, like I just told him a particularly gripping knock-knock joke.

But he’s not done with me yet. He wants me to understand, fully and completely, the inner workings of the air conditioning system I hosed by continuing to let it run for three consecutive days while it wailed and keened plaintively in the bowels of my house. He’s pointing at various thingamabobs and widgets with a passion that almost surpasses my own desire to get the hell out of dodge.

Which is something I am desperate to do before he whips out a cocktail napkin and starts drawing a pictorial representation of the whoozits and the whatnots.

“If you ever hear a sound like that coming from your basement again,” he tells me, “the first thing you want to do is turn the entire system off.” Then, holding the deceased part directly in front of my line of vision, he says, “Do you see how the grooves in this thingamasnippet are almost completely worn out? I have never seen a whoozimachit-chat that’s been damaged quite this much.”

And that’s not all.

The thingamasnippet that is damaged beyond recognition has also affected a diddly-squat. You see, the thingamasnippet was vibrating so violently during its final moments, that it knocked the diddly-squat clear out of its orbit and into the housing of the snickamaclot.

“I don’t know how much longer this diddly-squat is gonna last you,” says the repairman, “what with all the damage that was inflicted by the thingamasnippet before it blew clean out.”

“But you’ll be able to fix it, right?”

The repairman doesn’t respond immediately, because I’ve said another thing that is causing him to shake his head slowly from side to side and do the silent, heaving laugh.

I start heading for the stairs while the AC repairman continues to marvel at the astonishing demise of my air conditioning unit and to mumble under his breath.

“Ok, well, thanks for pointing all that out to me!” I say brightly, while slowly backing out. If I don’t leave within the next minute, I’m gonna end up looking down the barrel of a Flux Capacitor and holding a flashlight.

“And let me show you just one more thing, Mrs. Rama,” the AC repairman says.

But I am so outta there.

“You can just wrap that part up in a towel and leave it in the garage.”

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