The Single Dad With His 3 Daughters

    As I get older I devour any stories about my parents or extended family. I yearn to understand as much as possible about who I am and the people I came from. It's not that I don't know who I am or where I came from. I'm one of the lucky people who get to say their folks are still married. I grew up living with both of my parents but being young and self absorbed as only the young can be,  I always saw them as just my parents whose purpose in life was to take care of me.
    Now that I'm older and a parent myself this great thing has happened and I see my parents through a lens that has somehow been focused and I see them for who they are and always have been. Normal people with kind hearts who've struggled at times and shined at other times. Regular people who had many purposes in life beyond raising me.
    Recently I asked my dad about defining moments in his life and told me a story that I spent a large part of my life with no idea it had ever happened. 

    It was the early 1980s. Before social media, before things went instantly viral on a daily basis, and before a heartwarming story was easy to find simply by clicking on Facebook. In fact, Mark Zuckerburg was no more than a twinkle in his father's pants when this happened...

    Like I said, it was the early 1980s. My dad had worked in the car business my whole life. That year he had been the general manager for a high end Lincoln dealership that also had a used car lot. There was a few car dealerships located side-by-side together on "dealership row" and they were all always busy. I asked my dad once why car dealerships always seem to be located right next to another one, right next to the competition. He told me it works better that way and everybody gets more business by being clustered together. If people don't find what they're looking for at one dealership there's a good chance they'll find it at the one next door. It's a give and take and all the dealerships win. 

    Now, it was a cold, brutal MN winter that year and around 8:00pm a man came in through the door with three young girls bundled up behind him. The man and the girls looked tired, cold, and all had runny noses from the weather. My dad approached them and asked the man if he could help him. 
    The man told my dad they were there to buy $10 worth of raffle tickets for the "Used Car Winter Raffle" he had read about in the newspaper. He then pulled out a carefully folded up ten dollar bill and extended it toward my dad.
    Here's where the problem was. The "Used Car Winter Raffle" didn't take place at my dad's dealership. It had taken place at the dealership next door and the raffle had already been done and a winner was picked the weekend before. In his hope, the man had honestly gotten the dates wrong. 
    As my dad explained this to him he watched the man crumple right before him. He saw a man with hope in his eyes turn into a defeated soul. It appeared this was the straw that broke this man's back. The man, clearly embarrassed, began to sob right in front of my father. He explained that he lost his wife and was a single father struggling to make ends meet. He and his girls had traveled over 3 hours on a bus to get to the dealership. Despite having a job that he walked to every day, he was flat broke and this was his only hope of getting any sort of transportation for himself and his girls. With tears running down his face he asked my father if it was ok if he and his girls waited in the warm dealership for another 15 minutes until they could catch the next bus for the ride back home.
    Of course, my dad let them stay and escorted them to the lounge where he poured the man a hot cup of coffee and gave each of the girls a cup of hot chocolate. Then he excused himself and left the man and his three daughters there in the lounge and gave the man a chance to collect himself in private.
    My dad immediately went in the dealership owner's office and told him what had happened. He told the owner he had an idea - Why not give the man one of the used cars that they had taken in on a trade and had just been sitting on the lot for a couple of weeks? How about they help this man and give him that car. Free of charge.
The owner looked at my dad for a minute, mulled it over, made up his mind, and said sure. Why not? Let's do it. 

    So that night that man, with a shocked smile still on his face and official car papers in his pocket, left with his three daughters strapped into the backseat of his new used car. 
There was a glow in the heart of three separate men, all fathers, bonded together in this simple gift on that brutally cold winter night. 

    The story didn't end there. Apparently, the gracious man wrote a beautiful letter to the editor of the major Twin Cities newspaper and told the story of what happened to him and his daughters at this particular dealership. How kindness and understanding, help and support was given to him. All because the general manager and the owner chose to help him when they didn't have to. How car salesmen, who often get the worst preconceived notions in the world about them, were the kindest and most understanding men he had the good fortune to meet in one of the darkest times of his life and how he would like to publicly thank them. 

    The heartwarming letter was published in the newspaper and was picked up shortly and republished by the Associated Press. Before "viral stories" were a thing - it went old school viral and that letter was picked up again and again and published in independent newspapers all over the world. 
    Then the most wonderful thing happened. Donations starting arriving to the dealership addressed to the man and his daughters. $5 here, $10 there. Over and over. Thousands of dollars from strangers all over the world. My father collected it all and made sure the man got every last dollar. In turn, becasue of this unexpected letter to the newspaper, the dealership had record sales for the next year from customers wanting to spend their money at that particular dealership. 

    My dad explained to me how that was one example of a great moment in his life. 

    When my dad told me that story I don't think he realized what a gift it was for me. I get to forever hold tight to this beautiful example of my dad's heart shining bright for a complete stranger and his three daughters. I grew up with my father and always knew he was a kind man to me and my family members. Now I know there was this wonderful incident when he was just as kind to a complete stranger and I get to see my father in that extended light for the rest of my life.

10,000 cuff bracelets- The Weird Life of Molly

Today I've figured I've handmade approximately 15,000 items to date between my retail and wholesale orders. 
That's a crazy number to me and almost an incomprehensible grinder in my head. 
Cuff bracelets are by far my best seller and I figure I've sold around 10,000 now. Wow. Grinder again. I've cranked out 10,000 freaking cuff bracelets! woah! No wonder I'm nuts! ha! ha!
Hummm... how to illustrate this to my husband/friends when I get stuck in an occasional full on stress freak out?? (Thankfully it doesn't happen too often.) So my mind wandering self recently thought, "How much space would 10,000 cuff bracelets take up?". 
And there is was. A challenge to myself. The bane of every artist's life.... math. I had to do some math. God help me.

So here I am now, math done. My straight hair has mysteriously gone curly in the span of 8 minutes and my right eye is twitching some sort of Morse code direct from my brain but I'm pleased to announce I have come up with the answer. 

I can fit 125 cuff bracelets in 1 square foot and 10,000 cuff bracelets would take up 80 square feet. 

What does 80 square feet look like, you ask? 
Well, let me show you, my friend.

My sold cuff bracelets, stacked one on top of another, would fill this dude's weird little apartment in Manhattan...

...with 250 to spare to give to his cool interior designer friends:

If my sold cuffs were were individual Legos I could make a life sized Han Solo frozen in carbonite like this fellow did:
 10,000 piece Lego Han Solo

Hold your horses now folks! I'm on a roll...

Would you believe I could throw a sold cuff into every lake in my home state? You betcha:

I could have outfitted every one of Natalie Merchant's tribal bow wielding maniacs if I time traveled back to 1987:

If my cuffs were words it would take 33 completed pages to finish the God forsaken 10,000 word essay task:
(As you can see she is wearing a souvenir scrunchie I brought back from my 1987 time travel expedition.)

If my sold cuffs were pounds it would be the average weight of a female African elephant:

If my sold cuffs were equivalent to joints I'm fully confident Willie would've smoked 'em all in 4.2 days. 
(I used math on this one too, stoners) 

If my sold cuff bracelets = years ago 
this would be going on:

And lastly, and probably my most favorite, if my cuffs were miles I would be able to fly to Hawaii, high five my best friend who lives there now, kiss her adorable baby, eat a couple mangoes, hop a plane back to snowy Minnesota....

...and make some more bracelets.

The Weird Life Of Molly (how I remember it)



Hello, kind reader! Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog.

I've been thinking for a while about the weird instances and characters I've come across in my life as if my life were a big book. Of course I have each individual family members as major supporting characters in the Weird Life of Molly.
I'm talking more about more the quirky, memorable, non-blood related people who have stumbled into and out of my life and make it more interesting. I want to introduce them to you. 

First, I must say just for the sake of saying, I just watched a documentary on how memory is constantly changing. That our brains, no matter how hard we try to get every detail right, change things as the years go by. With that little nugget of documentary info clinking around in my brain I present to you two facts of what I will write about:

1) the-exact-every-detail-god's-honest-truth-this-is-exactly-how-it-happened 

to all the way on the other side of the spectrum

 2) how-I-remember-the-situation-some-details-may-be-sketchy-but-overall-this-is-how-it-happened.

Keep in mind, folks, I am a Libra. In love with love and artful things. A creative soul and an admirer of the beauty of words telling a story. English was one of the few classes I didn't skip, but for the life of me, I still can't nail down perfect grammar and sentence structure. If you can deal then keep on reading, my friend. If poor sentence structure makes you cringe and shrivel up into a sobbing mess then it's best you move on, stranger. 

With that said, I assure you every person I tell you about is/was, indeed, a real person in my life and every life situation has happened to me. 
Welcome to the Weird Life of Molly (how I remember it).

My secret and Hans - THE WEIRD LIFE OF MOLLY

Growing up I was an odd kid. I always was told by teachers I had a huge imagination and I remember this one thing I used to do. When I was little I called it "things I know". It was where I would be in a crowded area and I would look at specific people and decide something about them. Whatever popped into my head.

One of the earliest examples I can remember was when I was getting ready to go to dance class. My dance studio was in a little strip mall and there was a liquor store right next to it. I was early and in the front of the studio stretching when I saw this woman. She was walking into the liquor store and immediately I thought to myself as I watched her hand pull open the door "She's getting a root beer New York Seltzer from the cooler". A couple minutes later she breezed out the store, dropped her clutch purse, bent down to pick it up and walked into the parking lot. Not only was she holding a clutch purse, she was holding a little clear bottle with a brown label.
New York Seltzer. Root beer.
My scalp felt prickly and I put on my ballet shoes and went to class.

Little things like that would happen all the time. 

Another one of my first specific memories was when I was out to dinner with my family. For some reason we were downtown. It was a snowy night and I was sitting next to the window along a busy city street. We were waiting for our food and I remember turning my head and looking at a tire of a car that was in the street. Like a magnet my eyes were just drawn to it. Then, I swear to god, the tire went flat right before my eyes. One minute it was a normal tire, the next it was flat.
Now this completely freaked me out. Mainly because I had recently watched the TV version of the movie Firestarter with young Drew Barrymore and in that minute I was convinced I made that happen somehow by just looking at the tire and now the government would be coming for me soon (hello 80's movies on TV that totally freaked out kids. Thank god I hadn't seen the movie Carrie yet or I would have been flipping out all over myself.).
My scalp felt prickly and I remember I looked away from the window and stared at the cherry stem from my Shirley Temple and I didn't say a thing about it.

And so it went on and I grew older and learned the definition of the word "intuition". I came to understand that I didn't make things like the flat tire happen. It didn't work that way. My intuition just had me witness it. Some folks might say it was coincidence but I know what it really is. It's my life.

By the time I was late into my teenage years I understood that I as well as many of the women in my family had it. The "thing" that wasn't really talked about too often and nobody had ever honed or had any idea how to control. The thing that would make my mom pick up and answer my phone calls to her with "Hi Molly" instead of "Hello" before the age of caller ID. The thing that made my sister see my grandmother, who had died earlier that day, standing by the end of her bed smiling at her that night. The terrifying vague thing that still makes my mom say to my older sister every Halloween for the past 44 years, "Wendi, promise me you'll be careful. I don't like how Halloween makes me feel."

The thing that gives me an electric buzzy feeling and still makes my scalp feel prickly.
Yes, that thing runs in my family. I don't talk about it too often and it sort of was my secret for many, many years.

Recently my parents had been staying with us for the past 7 weeks. Every summer they come from their home in Florida to Minnesota to run their shop at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. It's always my favorite time of year because I get to spend so much time with them. They are getting older, senior citizens now, and my head knows my time with them won't last forever but my heart refuses to believe it. When they went back to Florida earlier this month I immediately missed them and really felt extra lonesome for them after they left. Their departure put me in a funk and I was amazed at how the time flew by so quickly. 

A week ago I had a birthday and I decided I wanted to buy something special for myself. I told myself turning 39 deserves a present. Some sort of artwork. I poked around Etsy for a while and found myself repeatedly drawn to old school looking thread/nail art but nothing really tickled my fancy. There were some I liked but I wasn't totally in love with any of the designs so I gave up and moved on to doing something else. I figured I'd know what I wanted when I saw it and pretty much left it at that was that. 

That brings me to yesterday. I was with my husband and my daughter and we were running errands and we drove past the local thrift store that I go in and check out every couple of months or so. I hadn't been in there in forever and I felt like I had to go in. I just HAD to go in there. I asked my husband to pull in real quick so I could run in and check and see what they have. My husband waited with our daughter in the car and I ran through the rain into the store.

There it was. 
In a sea of crappy, used, dinged up art. In between a garish framed poster of Tweety Bird and a wall plaque with 
"Bless this Mess" -
The first thread/nail art I have ever seen in a thrift store. 
The birthday present to myself:

Exactly what I was looking for. A beautiful sailboat. This was it. I loved it! I could see as I walked up to it that there was something special about it. Layers upon layers of thread. Meticulously done and beautiful. Every thread still intact. I picked it up and looked at the signature and year it was made:

The year I was born.

I flipped it over the vintage piece and saw a handwritten
"38' Sloop" on the back and was thrilled there was an old, amazing artist's bio attached:

The address of the gallery it was initially sold at is less than 5 minutes from my parents house in Florida.

I purchased the piece of art for my birthday present to myself and hung it in my house. This is where it lives now and for some reason it makes me feel special and not so lonely for my folks. 

I googled Johannes Verplancke and found he is no longer alive. He passed away in 2011. 
He made this piece of art in 1974, when he was 39. The same age I have just turned a week ago. I'm honored to have his artwork in my home and also have a nice feeling knowing we were both born in the same month.
Happy birthday, Hans. Thank you for making this. It's what I wanted... and needed.


I have a friend I've never met before. 
It's true. 
Here's a little jazz I'll share with you folks.
I have a pen pal. 

Yep, going on 7 years now. Totally platonic and never got weird. I do think if fate had been a bit different with location we would have spent a lot of time together laughing. He lives on the other side of the USA from me and over the years has strangely created himself an all important role as "The Pen Pal and his comedic relief",  guest starring in The Weird Life of Molly. 

I firmly believe everyone should have a pen pal who lives on the other side of wherever from you, who is pretty much the same age as you so your pop culture references rock, loves the beauty of words as much as you do, and enjoys friendships and humor. It's fun. And they'll keep you sane.

Do you ever have those random string of days where things seem just extra boring and it's that "same ol' same ol'" mid-day routine day after day? I guess it's called being an adult? (Just kidding,... sort of).
Well I get 'em too and I'm lucky to be able to say I have found the golden miracle, cure relief, it's my pen pal, Ryan! 
Selling my creations  requires a lot of computer time so I spend a lot of hours with my computer on. Occasionally, right in the middle of the day I'll get a little Facbook ding telling me I have a message. 

And like a golden ray of sunshine direct from the gods themselves, out of the blue, right when I'm mid-day dragging and need it, is a totally random-something-question-factoid along the lines of this  -
excerpt of actual Facebook IM between myself (a one time Catholic high school girl) and my pen pal (an atheist):

Molly: The Catholics just contacted me. They invited me to advertise/sell my St. Michael bracelet on their website. Top Catholic online site, best SEO, 3.5 - 4.5 million hits per month, etc. Yep, I'm going to do it. I'm going to call this guy back again. Cross your fingers for me... in a cross, cross. I want to be rich. From the Catholics.

 Ryan: Horray!
Congrats. Maybe you should bury a "666" in the design somehow.

 Molly: They already know I have Satan in the design. It's
St. Michael defeating Satan.
for the congrats.
thank for congrat
WTF? My fingers are having a stroke or something.

or it's god...

Ryan: Striking you down for your heresy.

Molly: Or I'm typing too fast. I'll show you when it's on there.

Ryan:  Might be time to add some more liturgical items to the store

I don't know that I'm allowed on Catholic websites
I was baptized Lutheran

Molly: Careful, your computer might burst into flames. I totally am going to add more saint bracelets. I've been talking to this dude from the site and he suggested it and showed me their link to the top 10 saints. Is it bad I want to make cold hard cash off saints?

Ryan: Hell no! The church itself does. Why shouldn't a real person be able to cash in?

Molly: Thanks for the green light, Ryan. ha! ha!

Ryan: There's a saint for everything. Is there a patron saint of prostitutes?

Holy shit there is!

Molly:  I was just googling.

Ryan:  It's fucking Santa Claus!

Molly:  I almost peed my pants.

Ryan:  I'm serious! Saint Nicholas - 
"Saint Nicholas, commonly associated with Santa Claus, is said to have aided the poor father of three marriageable girls who could not afford their dowries. To save them from a life of prostitution (a common fate for unmarried women in third-century Asia Minor), he dropped three sacks of gold down their father's chimney late one night. (Sound like another St. Nick we know?) Thus, he is known as the patron saint of prostitutes."

Molly:  I love Christmas even more now.

Ryan: Definitely gonna change how I celebrate the holiday.

Molly:  So Santa really IS saying ho, ho, ho.

Ryan: ha! 

Molly: Alright, I have to get back to work. Thanks for playing with me.

Ryan: Me too! Congrats again

And, with that, the interaction is over and I don't hear from him for a month or so. 
Genius, I tell ya. Genius.

I saved a squirrel - THE WEIRD LIFE OF MOLLY

I was driving down the street, rocking out to my music, when I noticed the car in front of me was driving kinda slow & very weird. I immediately jumped to conclusions and decided the piece of shit car ahead of me was breaking down or the driver was high as hell. After about 2 minutes of going nowhere behind this fool, he suddenly sped up to the right and zoomed off. 

That's when I saw it-

There was a squirrel in the middle of the road. Some other car must've hit it or something because it had a bum leg and was desperately trying to get out of the road and into the grass. Unfortunately, for the little critter, it was one back leg that was messed up and it wasn't getting anywhere. In fact, it was whipping shitties in the middle of the road. I'm not kidding. This squirrel could only go in a circle because it's one back leg didn't work. (For the record, my friend, don't let my blog intro fool you. This shit really happened EXACTLY this way).

That was it. I'm a sucker. I pulled my car over to the side of the road and came up with a plan in about one second.

I grabbed a super old newspaper from the backseat and decided to use that to kind of swoosh/sweep the squirrel to the side of the road and hopefully it could get itself up onto the grass. At least it wouldn't get run over by a car again...

Well, kind reader, when dealing with a scared, hurt wild animal I suggest taking longer than a second to come up with a plan.

As I approached the squirrel I scared it even more and it ran faster and faster in the never ending circle. I kind of laughed at the ridiculousness of the situation and I swear to god that squirrel got pissed off because I laughed. As I bent down to get the newspaper closer to it and the thought of rabies started to creep in my mind - the thing completely freaked and hurled itself onto my leg of my jeans!

Needless to say, I completely freaked out myself and screamed at the top of my lungs and in the span of about 2 seconds, on pure freaked out auto-pilot, I kind of hacky-sacked it into the air and drop kicked it with my other foot. OH MY GOD!

Well, I must've reset it's hip or something with my Karate Kid move (I had no idea I could do) because the squirrel landed and ran all the way across the street, up the curb, and off the street. Continued to run, straight as an arrow, about 50 feet to the nearest tree and hauled it's ass up there.

Yes, my friends, I am a healer...


My son starts karate on Monday and Cub Scouts on Tuesday.
I do believe this means he will eventually be able to make an attacker bleed and then tie a perfect tourniquet on him.