Museum Musings: Iraq Veteran, Read my lips, many meetings

Once again I’m backlogged with Museum stories.

  • I served two people with Black  (titanium) American Express cards, one of the guys was from Lima Peru, the other one was from England (I think),
  • umpteen kids pressed “The Scream” until I was screaming.

I shook hands with two of my heroes

  • Dale Chihuly, the famous glass blower.  (he’s so distinctive with that eye patch).
  • and Joe Schlesinger who worked as a foreign correspondent for CBC Television News for 28 years. Joe also kissed my hand.  Sigh…

The monks who come to the Museum wear orange

Earlier this month I served a woman at the Childrens’ Store,  “I’m buying this pop-up dragon book for my son,” she said.

Dragons and Monsters

Okay full disclosure, I don’t jump up and down every time someone tells me they’re buying a book for their kid.  I said, “That’s very nice.” and luckily I added, “You’re a good Mom, that’s a lovely book.”

“Yes it’s perfect for my son. He’s twenty-nine,”

A twenty-nine year-old who was going to enjoy a child’s pop up book? I wasn’t sure whether I was expected to say something, so I smiled at her.

“I think it’s a good book to remind him of his childhood, to help him forget…” she said, and mumbled something I didn’t catch, but I did hear her say “John’s on his third tour of duty in Iraq.”

“Oh,” I said, unable at the spur of the moment to think of anything better to say. I always have difficulty thinking fast and coming up with appropriate comments at times like that.

“My darling boy will be coming home for good in about three weeks.”

I had heard President Obama’s speech where he announced our withdrawal from Iraq by the end of the year, so I understood her excitement.

“I’m trying to gather a few things like this to help him settle down once he’s back home…” she said, “We’ll only get about 72 hours notice of his arrival.”

I cannot imagine the anguish of the mothers whose sons and daughters are fighting our wars, their pain isn’t recognized or acknowledged, there isn’t even a word for it. I could only say “Thank you.”

Martha, that’s her name,  told me she’d been a teacher for many years and when her son went on his first tour of duty she’d left teaching and studied to become a Lutheran Minister. She has a congregation in Northern California.

Before she left she gave me a little hand knitted prayer shawl made by women of her congregation.


 I’ve added a few photos of the book. It is really lovely:

page one of Dragons and Monsters

red dragon

Many school groups in the past few weeks…

school group

Read my lips:

1. “Tell me,” said an older gentleman from Hawaii, “was the Mona Lisa painted by Picasso?”

2 Are we upstairs or downstairs?

3. Question: “How much is this?”
Me: “Three dollars.”
Question: “Three dollars for this?”

* * * * * *

“I know everything about you, but I can’t remember a thing,” she said to the woman standing next to her.

* * * * * *

lunch with Michael, Francee and Zev

Last week I had lunch with old friends and new friends.

On Tuesday our good friend Francee from Italy came to the museum with Michael from Dallas, and Zev from Spain. My  lunch break wasn’t long enough.


On Wednesday I met Jody Shapiro from Maryland at my cash register, and when we bumped into each other outside during my lunch break we continued the conversation.

Jody told me she’s a “lithographer” and a yoga teacher, who’d  come to L.A to visit her daughter who majored in Film in Boston, and was lucky to get a job here.

You know how you can meet someone and immediately feel a connection? Jody and I chatted as if we’d known each other for years, and the forty-five minute lunch break just flew by. I look forward to seeing her next time she visits her daughter.

* * * * * *

“Life is too short to drink cheap wine,” Madhav, one of the security guards told me.

I’ll drink to that one…

* * * * * *

I had a hot flash while serving Judy from Australia, and had to stop to take off my sweater. She laughed and told me she called those events “a Private Summer“.

Amy's birthday (November 2nd)

About dearrosie

We think we need so much, when all we really need is time to breathe. Come walk with me, put one foot in front of the other, and get to know yourself. Please click the link to my blog - below - and leave me a comment. I love visitors.
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24 Responses to Museum Musings: Iraq Veteran, Read my lips, many meetings

  1. Reggie says:

    As always, I love this collection of stories and snapshots, Rosie. The story of the Iraq veteran’s mother was so poignant, it stopped me in my tracks.

    Oh – and Monte Carlo is adorable!

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Reggie,
      Thank you for your nice comment. I didn’t take a photo of Martha. It would’ve spoiled the moment somehow, but she is someone I’ll never forget.

      Of course you said the right thing admiring Monte Carlo. He really is adorable eh?

  2. magsx2 says:

    It must be very hard for the family’s of those serving o/seas, I really feel for them and of course the veterans over there. It was a lovely story.
    I also liked the “private summer” comment that was priceless, and something I’m sure will be used often. 🙂
    Monte Carlo, is beautiful dog, and obviously spoilt. 😀

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Mags,
      I cannot imagine how hard it must be for the families of those serving overseas. We owe them much more than “thanks”.

      Have you started having your “private summers”?

      Actually Monte Carlo isn’t spoiled. We only adopted him from an animal rescue center last Christmas. He just loves a cuddle.

  3. Val says:

    If I still had hot flashes (which we call ‘hot flushes’ here in the UK and which thankfully, I don’t have anymore) I’d love to call them ‘a private summer’. What a great expression!

    That woman getting a pop up book for her son coming home from Iraq… I hope it is able to take him away from his experiences but I somehow doubt it will be… I can’t imagine how people can live with all that.

    By the way, my sister and I are in our sixties and we still exchange children’s books and sometimes toys… I guess we both like to hang on to that part of our lives and neither of us can see any harm in it.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hot flushes? Isn’t it funny that even with such a simple word American English would spell it differently. You’re lucky not to have them anymore. I’m glad to say mine aren’t as fierce or as frequent

      I hope the book helps him, but I know his loving mother will.

      I love that you and your sister still exchange toys and children’s books. I don’t see anything wrong with it.

  4. This is a fabulous pot-pourri. Thank you for the glimpses. You are so observant. I think I wouldn’t mind a pop-up book if it’s one of those wonderfully paper sculpted ones.

  5. souldipper says:

    I adore Dale Chihuly’s glass art. He gives me goose bumps. This reminds me to check out some videos on the internet.

    Aren’t we judgmental creatures? I’m so glad you are willing to stay open during those times and hear beyond expectation. I give such a huge sigh of relief when I “didn’t get caught”.

    Your cosmopolitan life still surrounds you, Rosie. How good is that!

    Oh…Wouldn’t I love to be THAT voluptuous Amy.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Amy,
      I’m glad to know someone else loves Dale Chihuly’s work. I was interested to see that his glass art is in over 200 museums around the world. He was very gracious when I told him what an honour it was for me to meet him. He was with his wife. They’re opening a large museum shop in Seattle and they were here trying to get ideas.

      I’d love to photograph you on your birthday standing on one leg. Didn’t you just recently buy beautiful high heeled red boots? Amy was posing for someone else with a seriously serious camera, and I just asked whether I could take her photo too. Great pose eh?

      I like the sound of “my cosmopolitan life”. I’ll keep it. Thank you.

      As a Canadian you must know Joe Schlesinger? It was his face you’d see on CBC TV news reporting from all over the world.

  6. Priya says:

    This post has so much that interests me. In fact all of it is something I’d like to re-read and re-see.

    But first, since I’ve gathered enough courage to finally ask, I am going to. What are black titanium AmEx cards? For the fear of being labelled too ignorant, I’ve always kept my curiosity to myself!

    I like Jody, too! She looks kind and wise.

    “I know everything about you but I can’t remember a thing.” Ha. The lady’s after my own heart. I could’ve said that to people, books, movies.

    Why do the monks wear orange only when they come to the museum? Or do they always wear orange and I misunderstood?

    Thank you for introducing me to his glass-works. They’re exquisite. When I have a huge koi pond, I’m going to float some of his float in it. Lovely.

    • Priya says:

      Oh look what your post’s done! I’ve just burnt the rice. 😦

      • dearrosie says:

        Sorry, but not sorry. It makes me feel as though I’m in your house with you, and now your Mister knows my name because he’s eating my burned rice.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hello Priya,
      You’re quite right that there’s too much in here. I had so many stories to share and instead of making a few separate posts, I put it all in one post.
      Would you prefer shorter posts more often?

      I’m so glad you asked the questions. I too am curious and according to Mr F I ask too many questions, but hey how else are you going to learn?

      When someone pays with a Black American Express card you can feel that it’s different, it’s not plastic and its also thicker than the regular cards because its made from titanium.
      I mentioned them in a post in July this year
      “Available by invitation only, The Centurion Card is the world’s rarest American Express Card and confers a level of service that can be extended only to selected individuals worldwide.”

      I hope Jody reads this and leaves a message.

      So often I read a book and love it but if someone asks me the name of the book, I can’t remember.

      The monks in orange: I can only tell you that when I see a monk at the museum they are wearing orange robes, but I’ve never been to one of their monasteries so I can’t tell you whether they wear them all the time. Do they wear that colour robe in India?

      I’m glad to introduce you to Dale Chihuly. You should look at some of the videos of him and his work.

      • Priya says:

        I remember reading this post of yours. And finding it difficult to understand sufficiently about the card, except that it’s issued to very few people. I like the sound of a card made of titanium. So spiffy!

        The monks generally wear a maroon robe with an orange sleeveless shirt underneath it. I’ve never seen ones with completely orange ones. Perhaps it denotes sects?

        The post gives a perfectly good substitute for actually being there. A little of this, a little of that. As if you’re looking around yourself. I’d not mind oftener posts, though. 🙂

        The pictures of the book are perfect!

      • dearrosie says:

        I also didn’t know there was a titanium card until someone handed one to me. It’s thicker and felt so different I thought it was a fake card.

        I’ll try to find out why the monks in L.A wear orange, but as I don’t often get the chance to serve a monk it may take me some time. Interesting that the monks in your part of the world wear orange under a maroon robe.

        Glad you liked the photos of the book, and the little of this little of that…

  7. Sybil says:

    Very cool about meeting Joe Schlesinger. What a gentleman to kiss your hand !

    I must say that I have to go visit Priya’s blog as I love her “just burnt the rice” comment. What a compliment, to be so riveted that she burned dinner !
    I love your sweet, human observations. I love the mom buying the book for her adult son. We all need a bit more childhood in our adult lives.

    11.11.11 only means Remembrance day to me. November 11 at 11 a.m. ,across Canada, finds us gathered at cenotaphs to remember those who died in wars …

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Sybil,
      It makes me happy to know you enjoy reading my observations…

      Joe Schlesinger is a perfect gentleman. I don’t think anyone has ever taken my hand to shake it, and then kissed it. It was so lovely. I also enjoyed meeting his partner, Judith. I’m sure she and I could’ve chatted until tomorrow morning, and then some.

      I hope you go to Priya’s blog, she’s a brilliant writer. I don’t know anyone else who is so skillful with words.

      11:11 is Remembrance day but this year 11:11:11 is the start of the Age of Aquarius
      Do you remember the song from the musical “Hair”?

  8. dearrosie says:

    I’ve added a few photos of the Dragon book to the post.
    I’m going to see whether I can add one here. I’m holding my breath that it’ll work….

  9. dearrosie says:

    ag man it didn’t work. I put in all the codes but no photo appeared. They are in the post…

  10. What a great job to meet so many people. I’m curious: do you recognize people like Chihuly and Schlesinger by face or is it because they’ve presented some museum ID card? I’m a HUGE Chihuly fan and love all of his work. Oh to be able to afford one, but my luck if I could (and I can’t), I’d break it in the first five minutes of having it at home. 🙂

    Hope you had a good Thanksgiving.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi EOS,
      I sometimes need the person’s credit card to identify them but I recognized Chihuly immediately because he’s very recognizable with his eye patch.

      I think I’d be too nervous to own one of his pieces, because glass is so fragile, and I can be so clumsy.

      I didn’t recognized Joe Schlesinger. I chatted to his partner Judith who told me who he was.

      We had a great thanksgiving – thank you. You win the #1 Mother award. I don’t know anyone else who’d cook an entire thanksgiving meal just to send it off to her kids via FedEx.

  11. Dinah says:

    What a great job you have!! — greeting people from all over the world, getting a glimpse into their lives, and even making instant friends (Jody looks like she could be your sister). How beautiful is that?!

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Dinah,
      I didn’t realize that Jody and I look alike until you pointed it out. Funny eh?

      It’s interesting how I’ve made the job into something uniquely *me*. On the one hand I’m a cashier, but you could also say I’m like the welcome lady at K-mart greeting everyone to the Museum, but really its more than that because I connect with everyone as I listen to their stories, and make instant friends.

      Thanks for commenting.

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