Archive for September, 2010

While I was writing about Sixteen Tons I flashed on the old Hipp’s Bubble Room in San Antonio. Gone but not forgotten, now a parking lot. It was so small I think they got about 8 parking spaces. Talk about paving paradise.

Each booth had a table-top juke box and I played Sixteen Tons every time I sat down. Cattle Call was also popular with the clientele, as was anything by Patsy Cline or Aretha Franklin. Miss Kitty, the waitress with the eyebrows like Spock’s, once told me sternly to put my shoes on. I immediately complied and slipped back into my Dr. Scholls. You didn’t mess with Miss Kitty.

Hipps was named for its bubble lights, the original ones from the ’40s. No one else still had them. They also had a decorated Christmas tree up in a corner year-round and a Lionel train that ran along a track above the bar. Their ice cold mugs of gimme draw beer were worth the trip, but their specialty was a huge garlic steak. Miss Kitty would haul out the platter of the still-steaming meat, then prop open the front door to let in some fresh air.

It was a wonderful, funky little restaurant, a safe place for young women to hang out and not get hit on. No funny business tolerated by you-know-who. There were men in business suits alongside cowboys, hippies and guys who’d obviously left their hard hats in their trucks. Women wore outrageously short skirts and shorts or matronly dresses and pant suits. You could carry on a conversation in a normal tone of voice.

I loved their shy polk eggs, corn tortillas topped with mozzarella and cheddar cheeses melted into the shape of a fried egg. There was a jalapeno hidden under the cheddar. I’ve never seen them anywhere else.

I’ve never seen a place like the Bubble Room anywhere else, either. Completely unpretentious, comfortable with its eccentricities and steadily providing outstanding service. Worthy attributes  for any enterprise, don’t you think?

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My birthday was on the 2nd and a line from Tennessee Ernie Ford’s classic song was in my head. If you’ve never heard Ernie sing Sixteen Tons, you owe it to yourself. It’s all over YouTube. I’ve loved the song since I first heard it when I was about four The line I kept hearing was, Another year older and deeper in debt.

Yes, the money saga continues. Debt isn’t really the issue, though, except for the hideous home equity loan that Chase Bank refuses to renegotiate. (But hey: I’m not bitter.) In fact, I went to see a bankruptcy attorney and was chastised for not having enough debt. He advised me to start charging up my credit cards and sell my house and possessions. A good time was had by all.

Anyway, here’s something interesting: Sixteen Tons was supposed to be the title of my last blog and the first paragraph above was supposed to be its lead. I found the photo and downloaded it three different times, but each time it disappeared. Really. I’d go to pull it up in my blog pictures folder and it wasn’t there or anywhere else. I got so frustrated I blew it off and didn’t post anything that day.

The next day I thought of adding the bit about the “alleged” money candle and downloaded a photo of one, which obligingly showed up immediately in my blog pictures folder. I added the last paragraph, which came out of nowhere — ok, out of the Loving Kindness of my right brain — and posted Valuable Work.

Right after I posted it, I got an email for a wine tasting gig, another for a radio interview about alternate handwriting coming up in October (www.blogtalkradio.com/jobsearchbootcamp) and one from a musician who wants me to serve wine at her house concerts, which she calls Song Tastings (www.myrnarocks.com). Then I met someone who’s opening a facility that allows small businesses to rent meeting and office space (www.linkcoworking.com). She’s offering lunchtime health and wellness lectures for a couple of months and is interested in “my” topic.

Maybe it’s the Alleged Money Drawing Candle. Maybe it’s the value of this work. Maybe it’s equal parts of faith and effort. All I know is that the Sixteen Tons photo downloaded perfectly so it seems to want to be included this time.

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A friend suggested I write more details about my financial struggles. I’ve been hesitant because I know there are so many people in much worse situations than I am. Shades of my Catholic upbringing, I guess: you think you’ve got troubles? I mean, I’m not stuck on a cliff in Pakistan watching the waters rise. What will happen to those poor people?

As of this minute I’ve got a roof over my head, clothes on my back and food in my stomach. I do want to send a heartfelt Thank You to Good Will Services, who paid my mortgage last month. If you’re looking for a great place to donate, look no further than www.goodwill.org And tell them I sent you.

As for this month’s mortgage and other bills, who knows? I’ve asked my family for help because basically I’ve got $1,000 between me and the Great Unknown. The stultifying temp job ended a few days ago. I can’t say I’m sorry because it sapped my energy and spirit and paid less than half of my monthly expenses. Still, better than a sharp stick in the eye, as a friend used to say.

I’ve started doing wine tastings — yes, I’m one of those people in your grocery store offering free samples. Actually, I’m pretty good at it. I sold 44 bottles of Sabor’s Azule, a dang good margarita wine cocktail made from blue agave, in Temple, Texas (population 62,000) on a recent Saturday afternoon.

I forget that I enjoy selling things that I think people will like or can use. I sold batches of cakes and cookies when I worked at a bakery several years ago. And the head of Seton Foundation told me he admired my “entrepreneurial spirit” as I sold him greeting cards for their wonderful gift shop (www.sweetcharitygifts.org — all proceeds go to Seton Hospital).

I wonder why it’s easy for me to sell little things and seemingly impossible to sell — as in, make a living from —  the life-and-world changing concept of alternate handwriting? Quite baffling but a good topic for an AH session.

I’m still singing along with Man of La Mancha and have posted Part 8 of “Circuitous Route” in Pages. I got an email from someone who’d found my website (www.BettyRogers.com) and said she felt blessed by the work I’m doing. I felt blessed to read that. Lindsey (see “Why I Love This Work,” posted 9.16.09) left a message that she had a “staggeringly helpful” AH session the other day.

It’s fair to say that my work is paying off in valuable ways. Money doesn’t happen to be one of them right now. So I’m lighting the “Alleged Money Drawing Candle” a friend gave me as a gag gift several years ago. (Really: it says “alleged.” Pretty funny.) And following every lead I can find. The Quest continues.  Sancho, where are you, buddy?

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