#AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek! Part 5

My next salute to wonderful bloggers is really a two-fer. I don’t really remember how I found Tom von Kap-herr and his blog Cats at the Bar, but the moment I dug into his posts I was hooked. I love cats. Seeing that my own cats are all over me when I’m at my laptop, Cats at the Bar was their choice of reading materials, too.

I noticed that Tom often reposted posts from another great Kat site, Katzenworld. Katzenworld is everything cats. Pictures, information, a kitty goods shop, funny stories — everything a Kat person could want! You really need to stop by both blogs and check out their talent (although I’m told the cats do most of the posting…)

Cats at the Bar (https://catsatthebar.org/)

 

 

 

 

 

Katzenworld (https://katzenworld.co.uk/)

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

#AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek! Part 3

I love following Dave Whatt because he has a quirky sense of humor that can only be found in the UK. I must admit there are times I don’t quite understand the lingo, which makes his blogs all the more appealing. Dave says he is “… a grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil…” Being not so much a brainiac as a researcher, I had to look up plectrum and learned a new word to boot! (it’s a guitar pic, so to speak). I love to listen to local lingo, and Dave’s posts are full of them. Throw in a British accent, and reading suddenly becomes more fun!

Some overheard and misheard snatches of cafe conversation…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s doubled up simile is – He was as happy as two sandboys…
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
‘No, I think it is plom David…’
‘It was a non-G bear?’
‘Join in a while with a leading heart!’
‘Eye-vade, eye-vade, and ill lucid!’
‘And the sauce easily drips out.’
‘I studied it for ears…’
‘Dometzy-doos!…’
‘Na na na na! In a pig’s eye!’
‘It was wire thinking Tom!’
‘But how grazing is it?’
‘What?… Tremors this day?’
‘We are all juicing out our world again.’
‘A weekend car-wave! Oh my god!…’
‘Whereas everything is boyfriends now!’
‘Me, I love the grey shots!’
‘You need to grow new parts David.’
‘Never say enough is words!’
‘Not even wiggy?…’
‘Sunny nay-gish, that’s only roughly though.’
‘Have a word with Donna Dominoes tomorrow.’
‘She ass me in tens you know!’
‘But I feel as though we aren’t aren’t.’
‘It was two more with that on the flight!’

https://davewhatt.wordpress.com/2017/08/13/some-overheard-and-misheard-snatches-of-cafe-conversation-46/

If you want a bit of the Brit and walk away with a smile on your face, go check out Dave and his blog at https://davewhatt.wordpress.com/.

Save the Unicorns!!

I am coming up on a dilemma soon that I don’t know how to handle. And for me, this is a big one.

We are remodeling/redecorating our house one room at a time. It’s been 15 years, and the dirty ivory carpet that I never should have ordered is potmarked with dirty shoe prints and cat puke and dog poop. You know what I mean.

So the bedrooms are turning into …. bedrooms, and the library is being relegated to downstairs last room on the left (with only a window well for light), and we are thinning out all the stuff we’ve collected for the past 30 years.

My dilemma? I don’t have enough room for my unicorn collection.

I know I know — that’s not as horrible as losing a house or a job or getting rid of baby toys because your babies are all grown up.

These are unicorns we’re talking about. Not little teddy bears or Beanie Babies or leftover rabbits from Easter.

I’m talking about unicorns.

Magical, inspirational, surrealistic horses with horns.  Signs of life and light. Ethereal. Magical…oh…I already said that. You get my point.

I’ve been collecting these little things for years. And you know how it goes — once someone knows you collect something they always buy them for birthdays and holidays. So I’ve got quite a collection spread around the house. I have framed pics, mirrors, thimbles, mugs, lamps, slippers, shelves, crystal glass, Beanie Babies, necklaces, hanging rugs, glass statues, stuffed unicorns, brass bells, tapestries, crystal ball holders, earrings, blankets, and a set of 12 plates with a diamond at the tip of their horn.

Most of these have found a home on my walls or my curio cabinet or my bedroom. I even used the tapestries/blankets for curtains.  But there are others that are at the moment on a bookshelf that is going downstairs to the new library whose only light is a window well, and I refuse to let them sit in the dark without me.

What’s a unicorn granny to do?

Our lower level is a monster pit of leftover “things” from my son’s move two years ago, plus things from family members passing, garage sale wonders, etc. The lower level is our last battlefield, and we’re going to war this summer.

I know that when I pass from this world my kids will collect all my baubles and put them in a box and out of guilt keep them stuffed in their basement somewhere. That’s no way for a unicorn to live.

But I haven’t passed and have no intention of doing so any time soon, so I need to figure out a clever, artistic way to display my life’s treasures. The main part of the lower level will be a TV/play room. There certainly has to be SOME part of that room that can house my buddies. Maybe I can find another curio/breakfront/shelving unit that I can display proudly on a back wall somewhere (so that when the grandkids play down there there are no unicorn casualties…)

At least collecting unicorns is a walk in a fantasy world. Dreams of unique creatures that can clean poisoned water and make things disappear and can take you to see the fae are indications of a healthy, albeit crooked, mind.

My hubby should be happy.  At least I don’t collect salt and pepper shakers.

 

Feeling Better = Writing Nonsense

Now that the pain in my back is almost gone, my mind is free to wander — and that’s always a scary thing.  Here are some cosmic thoughts (past and present) to get you going this fine Tuesday evening —

  •  If you ever get stuck in a time warp and wind up in another time, you can always become a bard. Think of all the lyrics to rock and roll songs you know!
  • If time travel is impossible, why do I hear myself saying things I said ten years ago?
  • Coca-cola is green without coloring. Ewww.
  • They say it’s better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all. Does that mean if I tried to read the dictionary backwards while sitting in a bathtub and singing God Bless America and I didn’t want to stop until I was done singing and the house caught on fire because my cat knocked over the candle I had burning in the other room and I had to stop reading the dictionary, was it better never to have tried that stunt in the first place?
  • If infinity is infinite, and we can see no end to it, how do we know it’s even there?
  • Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.
  •  It is a fact that the closer you get to the speed of light, the more time slows down. So isn’t a moot point to drive faster, when you actually arrive at your destination later?
  • Why does everyone on TV eat Chinese food out of the carry out container with chopsticks? I have yet to see one actor eat Chinese on a plate with a fork! I mean…come on…
  • The theory of relativity suggests that before the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago, space and time did not exist and matter was packed together in a tiny ball. Okaay…how tiny is tiny? As if it matters…
  • You spend your entire life living and eating and dancing in three dimensions. But according to superstring theory, there are at least ten dimensions in the universe (M-theory actually suggests that there are 11 dimensions to spacetime; bosonic string theories suggest 26 dimensions). Try walking and talking in that! (fyi the article is amazing..you have to check it out..10 Dimensions)
  • Most of us are a walking storeroom of facts — we’ve just lost the key to the storeroom door.

Have a great rest of your week!

 

Spring in February

163921-beautiful-spring-dayI don’t know about you, but a flash of great weather gives me a flash of positive energy.

It’s February here in the Midwest, the land of snow and slush. Yet this past week has teased temperatures hovering around 60. Us Midwesterners know this is only a tease — a mere peek at the lace trim of a very lacy slip.

But we fall for it as much as if the slip fell off the manikin.

I saw a post on Facebook that showed 40 degrees in California (hats, gloves, muffs), vs 40 degrees in Wisconsin (shorts, open windows, bbqs). I thought that was really silly until I found myself driving home from work with the window wide open.

What is it about weather change that brightens the dullest spirit?

When it’s warm I tend to walk outside a little more…get away from the madness of the office or the madness of cleaning house and just breathe. It’s such an inspiring image, isn’t it? Walking the wooded paths, wandering along the deserted shoreline, gazing at the arrangements in a Zen garden…

Of course, that plateau lasts all of one day.

Work, kids, house and car repairs, all need to be dealt with, rain or shine, warm weather or blizzards. Life has a lot of nerve interrupting our serene moments with things like “dinner” or “soccer practice.”  How will we ever reach nirvana? How will we ever become one with the Earth and the Moon and the galaxy above when we have to work on the computer or wash the dishes or fix the lawn mower?

That is what days like today are for. The dream that someday we will be able to wander along in the sunshine, not too hot, not too cold, contemplating and meditating and finding our place in this world. The hope that our food will be fresh from the garden, our houses sparkling clean and full of fresh air, and our dreams will become our reality.

I am more to thinking that this burst of fresh air and 60 degrees just makes me high…

The No-No’s of Office Protocol

a0a4925a0f035cdf664fbd910cbc0297Having worked in an office all of my life, there are certain faux paxs you just don’t do.

I mean, you live with these people 8-9 hours a day. Five days a week. Some of them know you better than your family knows you. So you try and keep some decorum around the office.

You don’t read out loud. Even though the music blasting overhead is enough to make sheep fleece uncurl, don’t add to the chaos by reading or re-reading anything out loud. Like your emails, your checking account balance, or the sentence you just typed.

You don’t pass gas by your desk. It’s one thing if you are walking down the hall or through a group of people standing smack dab in the middle of the aisle. They block, they pay. But sitting at your desk, there’s no one to blame, no one to look at, but you. That’s why women have doors on the bathroom stalls. Some of the noises that come out — you don’t want anyone to know it’s you.

You don’t keep your cellphone turned on. In the age of cellphones, some companies allow them, others do not. But there’s nothing more distracting than your ring tone of “Star Wars” or “I’m Too Sexy For My Shirt” going off in the middle of your typing in a spreadsheet. Buzzers are off, too. People can just imagine what’s going on with all that buzzing.

Speaking of cellphones, don’t talk about your personal life on the phone either. No one wants to know your husband’s favorite color toilet paper or how many times you stepped in dog puke. No one wants to hear your lamenting your weight or your social life or your choice of friends. Take it to the car or parking lot. The far parking lot.

Don’t bring smelly foods for lunch. Seafood Marinara and Fish Stew are wonderful meals at home, but to heat them up in the micro in a tiny cafeteria and then opening up their pungent odor at your desk is enough to drive men wild. And I don’t mean in a good way. Wars were fought for less than stinky fish smell.

Keep your wheezy, sneezy, contagious body home. Your constant drooly and drippy mess does not blend well with the silence, the muzak, or the temperament of those around you. Plus your hacking soon will become my hacking, and I already make enough noise.

Keep your boobs, butt, and navel to yourself. Hard working slaves aren’t interested in a peek at anything but a spreadsheet or a computer screen. If you think it gets you a better job, think again. Bosses have their own boobs, butts, and navels to take care of. And they’ve learned to keep them private.

Have I done any of these faux paxs?

Do you think I’d tell you if I did?

What are those old sayings — it takes one to know one…who smelt it dealt it…yakkity yak don’t talk back…

 

Cut Those Calorie Blues

klice_fresh-alfalfa-sprouts-in-a-white-plate-3Monday I had my (hopefully) once-every-10-years-colonoscopy.

I will spare you the agony and colorful descriptions of the pre- and post-inspection. I’m more concerned about the best after-effect. Weight loss.

And the struggle to keep it lost.

Like many who take this journey through their inner galaxy, you lose a lot of matter. And water. And when you are happily empty of all hauntings, you are about 5-8 pounds lighter.

Here’s me…no food for 30 hours. Not in the mood to think about food. Then everything is done. Finito. What is my first thought for dinner? Macaroni and Cheese.

I tell myself I can keep on this fasting/low cal way of living. After all, gotta keep that colon clean. Jello, bouillon, keep it light. Okay, add some toast and it’s okay if you add some protein. Water. Drink lots of water. Liquids. Okay…Coke is a liquid, right? So on and on we go. And I can see my dream of losing another 15 pounds the pre-colonoscopy way is fading with every whiff of bacon, chocolate, or onion rings.

Colonoscopies are a valuable diagnostic tool. Since I had a breast lumpectomy 5 years ago, (and there is no history of breast cancer in my family that I know of), anything that can happen CAN happen. So better to be pro-active.

I know my dining habits have been slack lately. I am full of “who cares?” and “I’m old so it doesn’t matter” and other reasons to eat anything and everything. But there comes a time when sloppy is no way to live your life. I’ve been a veggie fan for quite a long time, and I’m not a big meat eater. As I’ve gotten older a number of things upset my stomach, including, sadly, alcohol. So I have been forced to eat healthier.

But I have to admit. Losing that much weight so quickly was a boost to the ego. Amazing what 5 pounds can do to a person. But reality isn’t made of chicken bouillon and grape jello. When you put in a full day of work (whether it’s kids, office, farming, or what have you), a cup of tea and a handful of wholewheat crackers isn’t gonna get you up in the morning.

So I have made a deal with myself. A compromise. I truly don’t need the extra bag of cookies from the snack bar or the pasta or the extra slices of raisin bread after I have breakfast. I’m going to eat, but I’m going to eat smart. Not lazy. I’m going to make a menu board and plan my meals a week ahead of time (my daughter-in-law had done it for years and it’s worked wonders for her). I’m not going to boredom-snack, or TV snack, unless it’s healthy.

I’m no angel…I know I can’t say no to mini cream puffs or an occasional donut if someone brings them to work for birthday goodies. But I CAN control portions and choices and pig out on something that won’t add chunk to my already chunky physique.

After all. I want to dance at my grandson’s wedding. And since he’s only 6 and his mom won’t even THINK of letting him get married until he’s done with college, that’s reason enough to become a reasonable-calorie gourmet.

I just wonder how this change of heart will effect my Christmas cookie-making goals?

Positive vs Negative Affirmations

comedyDo you ever get confused with all the positive affirmations floating around the Web?

Life being what it is, do you find it hard to reconcile your own confusing ups and downs with the positive verbiage that  continually pops up on your Facebook and Twitter and in your emails?

Beautiful thoughts build a beautiful soul.

The thankful heart opens our eyes to a multitude of blessings that continually surround us.

Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion. 

Trust me. No one enjoys (or needs) positive vibes more than me. I like that when the rain clouds come (and there’s no accompanying thunder to rattle my soul) there are positive vibes out there that let me know that tomorrow’s another day.

But positive affirmations don’t help me feel better at the moment when I make mistakes at work or when I can’t get my hair to look more than a flat bathing cap or when I walk in the door and the dog has shred important paperwork.

It’s those times my mind wanders to those “other” affirmations that are more like the beginning of an anger management class.

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

You know nothing, Jon Snow.

Eat my road grit, liver lips.

I mean, come on. Didn’t you secretly enjoy Chevy Chase kicking the crap out of the Santa and reindeer in Christmas Vacation? Didn’t you do a little huzzah when Rhett told Scarlet “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” All the wrongs of the day disappeared with one snarky word or movement.

Sometimes I plain like my negativity. Sometimes I enjoy the fantasy of punching out someone who has crossed the line too many times. Sometimes I love standing in the middle of the room and shouting the “F” word five times. We’re not psycho — we just need an instant relief from the stress of whatever. And that moment of fantasy lets the pressure out of our pressure cooker.

The trick is to let those negative flashes happen,  and then let them dissipate, our angst and frustration dissipating with them.

Like Captain Kirk in the Final Frontier.

Damn it, Bones, you’re a doctor. You know that pain and guilt can’t be taken away with a wave of a magic wand. They’re the things we carry with us, the things that make us who we are. If we lose them, we lose ourselves. I don’t want my pain taken away! I need my pain!

I think that’s what life is all about. We are who we are from the highs and lows we’ve experienced. I do believe we need to take negative situations and get positive results from them. I don’t believe in living in the past, for we can’t change what has happened. But we can change where we go with that experience.

As you get older, your well of experiences goes deeper and deeper. You learn to let go of what you can’t change, and to make the world a better place from what you’ve learned. To protect others. To teach others not to make your mistakes. And, if they have made your mistakes, how to correct them quicker.

Life is one big cliche. And there’s nothing wrong with that.  Affirmations make the truth easier to swallow. Winter will bring snow, the sun will shine, and you will smile again.

It’s the circle of life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle
The circle of life

Oh geez — now I need a shower from that sugar bath —

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Chemistry Cat

Chemistry Cat, also known as Science Cat, is a series of puns and science jokes appearing as captions around a cat behind some chemistry glassware wearing black rimmed glasses and a red bow tie.

9f9ba81ad1901815e9262efb92bc94a6

While the source of the image remains a mystery, it is likely a stock photograph, possibly of Russian origin.

0a7afeb6e9780557494475f7b1be8b38

This wonderfully serious cat with a quick wit has changed the face of Chemistry.

chemcat_gonefission

Chemistry Cat puts a smile on scientists and non-scientists alike.

0cd7638c0efd91f175b5b5a56ac66ff4

And isn’t that the purpose of Art?

8819d51ee047bc63c0eccaf5d77187be

To bring enjoyment and a smile into your life?

chemcat_lostelectron

b92b1b05c5396f3983045b529d1453a0

That Glazed Look

Not everyone admits to it, but everyone does it.

In meeting rooms, at desks, at parties, or in the privacy of your own living room.

You are in the conversation one moment, skiing down Mt. Fuji the next. Nodding at the other person one moment, nodding towards twilight the next. It’s not the buzzed look, or the intoxicated look, or the sleepy look.

It’s the glazed look.

The staring eye, the blank glance, the frozen look of concentration that comes across your face when you zone out for a brief moment.

Sometimes it’s inevitable. The meeting where the group is talking about something way over your head. The 10th time the person next to you tells the same story to a new pair of ears. Your friend is confiding something to you and their voice turns into bubbles from under water.

Why does this happen?

Your intentions are pure. You really do want to learn something in the conference room. You really do want to understand what someone is telling you. You really are interested in finding out “who-done-it”. But it’s like someone unplugged you for a moment.

Work-wise, I often wonder if I get involved in things above my pay grade. i.e., the outcome affects me, but the planning stages don’t. I’ve found myself so tired that I’ve been at parties with besties and they are telling me something important and it’s all I can do to keep my eyes open. I have sat on my sofa, watching a movie/TV show that I’ve waited forever to see, and have somehow missed the most important part because my mind has been in la la land.

How does this happen?

I have a feeling people smarter than me don’t space out the same way I do. I am surrounded by various levels of genius, and as much as I want to run off and play with them in their playland, I just can’t. I don’t understand the mumbo jumbo. So I imagine I’m in the meeting glazing, they know everything, and have no time to glaze. They probably glaze later when someone talks about Halloween Wars or the Mediterranean Diet.

This is not only on the work front. It’s on the entertainment front, the social front, the political front. I try hard not to get pumped up about anything I can’t change, so when someone else gets pumped up, I give them their space. And my space. And eventually the glaze.

Is it that I just don’t find most of the outside world interesting? Not at all!

I am all for learning and understanding and discovering every day you live and breathe. Maybe I’m finding out that, as I get older, certain spheres of knowledge are beyond my ken, and that I don’t need to understand everything to move forward. I pay attention when it comes to things that directly involve me — how I’m going to accomplish things that boil down to the Internet Data Conversion Analyst Specialist or the writer or the photographer or the friend. I don’t need the cerebral mish mash to do what I’m supposed to do. I am a good friend and a good worker. I take care of those who take care of me, and I do a pretty good job of taking care of myself.

But if one day you’re talking to me and…I…juussstt….

What were we talking about?

 

Cat’s Eyes

20081221134735180My life has been a whirlwind these past few weeks. I’ve taken off to North Carolina and visited my bff and a city that was fun and busy and full of Southern charm, went to work for two days, then took off to Northern Wisconsin and noshed and laughed and cackled with friends while we hid from the rain.

It seems everyone had fun these past few weeks except for one.

Mysty.

My Cat.

Do you ever get punished by your pets for going away?  I have two cats, a toughy, lovey boy tuxedo named Tom, and a once-tiny-now-balloony girl Mysty.

Tom could care less when I come and go. He sleeps with whomever is around, including sometimes the dogs. Mysty is another story.

Everytime I go away and then return she makes eye contact, barely acknowledging my return, then gives me the cold shoulder for the day.

I didn’t think cats held grudges. But this one does.

When I’m home she’s on my computer, twisting her cute little head sideways, insisting on pets. She sleeps by my head, climbs all over me when I watch TV, all that cute little cat stuff.

But when I’ve been gone a few days — worse, when the whole family has been away and the cats have been left alone — well, hell hath no fury like a kitty scorned.

Of course, things are back to normal after a long day. I don’t think cats have that long of a memory span, and besides, they want to be fed. And pet. But for those few first hours, I swear my cat pouts and looks forlornly out the window, dreaming of a house where her master momma stayed home and played with her every day.

Maybe that’s why I didn’t leave my first born until he was 2 or 3. Just think of the dramatic sigh a toddler would make, looking forlornly out the window, dreaming of a house where his momma stayed home and played with him every day.

That is, until grandma or grandpa gave him popcorn or a Butterfinger or took him to the park. Which was instantly after I drove away.

Maybe I should offer a Butterfinger to Mysty…

 

Remembering Italktoomuchitis

giphy1Greetings!

Although I think all my past blogs are funny/magical/clever, I don’t often repost them for the fear that thousands of likes rather than an appropriate few will jam the WP system.

Keeping that in mind, I was wandering through the rocky mountains of my memory and thought about this blog from June 2012. It hits the bullseye once again.

 Chit Chattin’ Cathy

doll Chatty CathyI subscribe to a few blogs where the author has broken out of their silent shell, finally finding a voice that is sparkling and true.  It’s not easy sharing something as personal as one’s self ― especially if that “self” has been suppressed for longer than one can imagine. I appreciate their efforts to finally let the world know who they are.

I, on the other hand, suffer from Italktoomuchitis.

I don’t remember when I contracted this disease.  It certainly wasn’t in grade school (too ugly), nor high school (too busy trying to get pinned). I worked in downtown Chicago for a PR department, but trust me, it was far from glamorous…or talkative ( I was rather submissive in those days). Found love, got married and had babies. I didn’t think of myself as overly verbal back then. But now I wonder — when did I become so…chatty?

Chatty is a relative word. Those of us old enough can remember the “Chatty Cathy” doll.  Pull her string and she’d say a half dozen things. What a novel idea at the time. For those of you a bit younger, this phenomenon was a highlight in Steve Martin’s tirade in Planes, Trains and Automobiles: “It’s like going on a date with a Chatty Cathy doll. I expect you have a little string on your chest, you know, that I pull out and have to snap back. Except I wouldn’t pull it out and snap it back – you would. Gnah..gnah…” Well, I’m beginning to think I’m that doll — and I’m the one pulling the string.

These last few years I think I’ve carried the chatty thing a bit too far. One question and everybody knows what I had for dinner last night, why I think my cousin’s child is out of control, the cramps I had this morning, and how much my dentist charged for root canal. I spill my son’s secrets to his wife, and tell my customers not to buy today for it goes on sale tomorrow. What is wrong with me? Since when have I become this effervescent fount of non-interesting information? I find I want to respond to everything. I have an answer for everything. Whether or not it’s informed. I find I have little patience for opinions other than mine, and need to comment on every and all things that come my way. I try and keep my mouth shut most of the time, but believe me, sometimes it’s a struggle.

I wonder if it’s that old person syndrome. You know ― the older you get, the less you care about what others think.  That seemed like such a cliché when I was younger. All those old fogies saying what they want to, not caring if they offend this person or that.  Most over 70 were a little crotchety and unreasonable, but hey, maybe they just weren’t thinking straight. Pre-Alzheimer’s and such.

As I got older I started to get where they were coming from. Now that I’m teasing the 60 mark, I’m finding those outspoken 70-year-olds weren’t so far off the mark after all.  Having spent a lifetime trying to get my thoughts and opinions across to others, I can see why caution is thrown to the wind and oldies say just what they think. I’ve been questioned and second-guessed more times than you can count; I’ve been unsure of my choices and bothered by the choices of others. I sometimes wonder if I should have turned right instead of left, if I would have made a difference, if I should have said something back then.

And I have gotten to the point where I’m tired of not being listened to.

I’m not saying that my opinion is any better than anyone else’s. We know the world by what we’ve experienced. I have kept my thoughts and opinions respectful and private. But in suppressing the nonsense that runs constantly through my head, I find myself talking and sharing more than when I was 20. It’s like the filter is broken. And I wonder — is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Through this need to reveal more than the neighborhood stripper, I find myself volunteering information that no one is interested in. Well, maybe they are, but in a superficial sort of way. I think we all do that — we listen to others babble their life stories, their grocery store nightmares, their crazy family history or their list of illnesses. We listen because we really do care. Not that we can do anything about their stories, but because we know that sometimes others just need someone to listen.

Often the babble that comes out of other mouths has nothing to do with what’s really going on inside. Maybe the storyteller suffers from insecurities, or illness, or loneliness. Maybe sharing the story of their kid’s accomplishments is a way to assure them that they did a good job as a mother or father. Maybe all they want is to be noticed. To be cared about. To be liked.

Many things fuel our chatter — or lack of. Where we’ve come from is not nearly as important as where we are headed.  If chit chatting about great recipes or the knucklehead in the cubicle down the hall gives us a little clearer sense of self, I’m all for it. We all need to get the chit out of our heads so we can think clearer and feel stronger. And as long as the chat is not destructive, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of babble at the bubbler.

Alas, sometimes I think my only solution is to wire my jaws shut.

What’s Your Favorite Food?

Sitting at work, eating a lunch of cottage cheese and sunflower seeds, is not the right condition for a funny, deeply inspiring blog. So in researching something else deep in my posting past, I came across this post. It’s much more fun. And foody.

From 9/16/14 (and please pass the butter…)

breadBread and Butter Badlands

A funny thing happened this evening. I was all pumped up to write a blog about scheduling things in your life, when I read a fellow blogger’s (David Kanigan) blog called “Don’t Eye the Basket of Bread: Just Take It Off the Table” ( http://davidkanigan.com/2014/09/16/dont-eye-the-basket-of-bread-just-take-it-off-the-table/). It really is an article about how to exert self-control. Which, in that sense, makes sense. If it’s not in front of you you’re not tempted to eat the whole basket.

But I almost missed the point of the blog because I was thinking about fresh baked bread dripping with sweet, creamy butter.  Crispy crust, fluffy inside.  Which led me to daydream about my homemade spaghetti sauce, full of fresh tomatoes and veggies with a smattering of ground beef and/or Italian Sausage, dripping over vermicelli or linguine, fresh Parmesan cheese sprinkled delicately over the top, a small glass of merlot within reach, sitting quietly next to that basket of freshly-baked bread that I’m suppose to have taken off the table.

And suddenly I’m daydreaming about the wonderful world of food.

I’ve been on a diet — no — food behavior modification — for as long as I’ve been out of puberty. I have always had a love/hate relationship with anything that has more than 2 carbs and 35 calories per serving. It’s that homo sapiens thing…anything that is fattening is worth tasting. Of course, tasting, and indulging, are two different things.

They say one can survive on indulging in one tablespoon of anything. Buffet? No problem. One tablespoon macaroni salad, one tablespoon chocolate mousse, one tablespoon mashed potatoes along with one tablespoon gravy. Just think of what a decorative plate you would bring back to the table! One tablespoon from 50 different dishes!

But let’s face it. Living on one tablespoon of cheese souffle is like smiling at only one child at Christmas. Or having one cashew. Or hugging only one grandkid. Satisfying as a bath in ice cubes. We know we should be sticking to the one-tablespoon-rule for our health, for our diabetes and our cholesterol. And most times we do alright.

But sometimes our libido cries for liberation. It just cannot be satisfied with the one-teaspoon-rule. We try to tame it. We hide the food. We buy celery and apples and lean chicken and fish. We succeed where others fail. We lose weight, lower our cholesterol, add some years to our life.

But then something as innocent as a whiff of freshly baked bread or bacon frying and we’re whipped up into a frenzy of biblical proportions. Why is that?

I do believe in moderation. Fortunately for me, the older I get, the fewer things I can digest properly. A couple of cream cheese canapes is not worth the agony of hours in the bathroom later. Spinach Dip, Ice Cream Sundaes, Hot Cheese Spread, all no-nos with the digestive tract from Hell. Yet I have to admit, I cannot pass a chance to try a scoop or two. Just to check it out, you see.

I try to avoid get-togethers where rich foods are the center of attention. Most times I can say “no thanks.” But just as often I hear myself saying, “Just one bite.” Then my big-mouth libido takes over and bread and pasta and Ceasar’s Salads are the order of the day. And as I hang my head in shame, I still enjoy the crumbs at the corner of my mouth or the sweet slide of butter still on my tongue.

I guess I’ve lost the thread of this whole blog to the whims of the wonderful world of food. So let me ask you — what foods weaken your will power? Which sumptuous feasts make you moan with delight? Which part of the banquet table can you not pass by without sampling?

Think I will go bake a loaf of bread while I wait for your answer…

Been Gif’n Again

earth-spinning-rotating-animation-25This is becoming a favorite part of  my humorous, spirally blog.

Been shopping for gifs again.

What I’m going to do with all of them I still don’t know. But I have picked out some for your entertainment. Feel free to copy them, borrow them, share them, send them, write a story about them, talk about them, research them.

Or……just watch…

 

 

 

11266827_450603215100276_988637154_n

0_15d327_2e5fd42f_orig

 

1234

12.06.16 - 1

GIF FANTASTICO

tumblr_nlp0g5UyaT1r70wouo1_500 (1)

0f7c67f4e18b8b570cd29a8dd256f501 (1)

16 - 1

 

You Are (not) Getting Sleeeepy…

eyesDo you suffer from the modern-day dilemma called insomnia?

It’s just after midnight, and I’m still wide awake. Through time I have done all the things I’m supposed to do to fall asleep. I’ve taken a warm bath, sipped chamomile tea, listened to soft music. I’ve listened to no music at all. I have cut out caffeine during the day and take my meds in the morning instead of night. Except for right now, I am off the computer by 8; I’ve read books, tried meditation, boring movies, and total silence. I have picked up the pace of walking, both at work and after work. Tried carbs, no carbs; sugar, no sugar. Bedtime snacks. No snacks.

And yet here I am.

I’ve heard various statistics about those who suffer from insomnia. Without doing extensive research at 12:06 a.m., I believe about 60% of older people suffer from some sort of sleep interruption. Not too long ago I read an article that said that as you get older, your body rhythms change, throwing off your sleep patterns.

Surprise.

I have tried prescriptions, and even though I get a hard night’s sleep, I’m the Walking Dead the next day. So those are out. OTCs are more trips into Zombieland. There are dozens of articles on the Internet telling me why I can’t sleep, but that doesn’t change the fact that I can’t sleep.

Sooo…I prefer to think of this stage of my life as preparing for retirement.

I believe that somewhere in the cosmic timeline is a bend in the road; a crack in the sidewalk that says, enough is enough. The fifth dimension astro influence is saying: You’ve worked your a$$ off all your life, first getting up at all hours with your babies, then staying up all hours waiting for your teenagers to get home, husbands on second shifts getting home at 4 a.m., getting up for work at 6 a.m. for the past 45+ years — enough is enough. Us higher forms of consciousness are preparing you for the day you don’t have to get up to an alarm, don’t have to punch a time clock, don’t have to put data in a computer, or drive to and from work in blizzards and thunderstorms and fog.

Of course, the cosmos’ clock and my biological clock are two different things. The cosmos doesn’t get that I still have a few years left before I can sleep in and/or stay up all night. That I have bills to pay and obligations to meet before I can sleep till 10, have a cup of coffee on the deck, go for walks, play in the garden, and take naps whenever I want.

Did our parents have this problem? Our grandparents? Is it because we don’t work the fields for 10 hours a day that our bodies don’t work to their peak performance? Stress is always a factor. But our parents had stress, too. As did our grandparents. And so on.

It is true we are living in a whirlwind society. That technology moves faster than the speed of light, and if we don’t at least make an attempt to keep up with it, we become as rigid as the statues in our gardens.  With TV and movies and music blaring in our faces and politics boiling our blood and self-centered people taking over our every day world, it’s hard to slow down enough to sleep, no less breathe.

I know my retirement won’t be much of a slowdown. But I will let my biological clock take over, and go wherever the wind blows.

Until then, I’ve found some really cool gemstones on the Gemtopia Shopping Network…

 

Singing Cats

tumblr_lmndk2YwcA1qfoh4tI think of myself as an (pretty much) independent person; loving, kind, funny, quirky, smart (in different ways). Self confidence was a long time in coming, but now that I’m a wee bit older, it is finally beginning to be a way of life.

Imagine my chagrin, then, when my husband told me that my cats are training ME!

For all you cat lovers out there (and I know there’s alot), cats are independent, affectionate, and vocal. Vocal to the point of nagging, sometimes.

Such is the case of my two darlings…Tom and Mysty.

Mysty is one of those squirrel-furred types who is as big as Dick Butkus. Tom is a gray and white tuxedo with a smaller girth but solid as a punching bag.

My hubby feeds them when he comes home from work (4 a.m.) and before I get home from work (4 p.m.) It obviously is not often enough, though, according to my dears, because they follow me and meow and scream and needle me from the time hubby leaves the house until I go to bed.

I once suggested hubby didn’t feed them enough at mealtime. His response was an incredulous eyeball popper. He, indeed, fed them plenty at both meals.

Well, not according to Tom and Mysty.

That’s when he told me that the cats are conditioning me. Training me to give them tidbits all night long.

Not me, I assured him. He MUST not be feeding them enough!

Hubby showed me how much food each should be getting each day, and how he slips a tad bit more into their bowls. It’s their eating habits that are out of hand when I’m around.

Well, when you are home alone evening after evening, putzing with laundry and dishes and working on your computer, and every time you stand up, they come meowing, and follow you into the kitchen and bathroom still meowing, well, it sounds like they are starving to me.

So I give them itsy bitsy extras just to shut them up.

I suppose it’s my fault that Mysty is Tanky and Tom is Wide Buff. They chase each other around the house at night all the time, so I figured they were burning off some of those calories.

Tom gets kidney problems now and then, so the vet has me change to canned food now and then. This change turns him into a cannibal and Mysty into a scavenger. Tom’s habit is eating three or four bites, then play, sleep, then come back for the rest.

Mysty’s habit is devour everything in sight.

Hubby says I should ignore them when they meow at me. That they know what gets to me and are controlling me.

I say pfffish…no one controls me. I am my own person.

Of course, it’s always easy to boast my bravado when I’m sitting at a computer miles away from the choir…and I hear n.u.t.i.n…..

Garage-Envy

gold-chrome-wrapped-bugatti-veyron-owned-by-flo-rida-looks-grotesque-61670_1I am suffering from a bout of garage-envy these days.

I know it’s not the most controversial or personal subject to stress about, but for me it’s a malady that can never really be cured.

I don’t think I’ve had a garage in 40 years. First it was growing up at home, then an apartment, a townhouse, then a bungalow, then a B&B, then a bottom flat rental, then my current house. Unfortunately, none of of these humble abodes bode a garage for me and my flashy vehicle.

We have a pole barn/garage these days, but there’s no way to squeeze my fancy 2005 black Buick Sable in there — not with the boats, decoys, snow plow blade, workbench, mowers, toys, yard rickrack, spare tires, boat parts, camper, trailers, and other assorted oddities my husband cannot live without.

I know living “in the country” (as so many people like to refer to a mile out of town) has its perks, but often garages aren’t one of them. When we had our house built, there was barely money to build the house, no less an attached garage. We needed a pole barn (which is almost the size of the house) to house country paraphernalia, but the paraphernalia soon turned to collections and old stock and a holding spot for my son’s paraphernalia until he moves in a month.

Most of the time I don’t mind going straight out the door and a few steps over to my car to go to work. But come winter, those few steps become starting the car, scraping the windows, wiping the foot of snow off the hood, losing my shoe in the drift, etc. I envy those who have remote start, heated seats, Sirus music — anything and everything I don’t have.

Come spring I kinda get over the freezing fact, but move onto the real garage-envy stage. Shiny, clean cars laugh at my dirt splattered, mud puddly fancy 2005 beast. It’s like they’re saying, “Ha! I slept inside last night! Where did YOU sleep?” I then begin to feel more like a hillbilly and less of a contributing member of the work force who happens to drive an antique car.

I know you say, “Go and build a garage!” At this point in my life, I’d rather spend a couple of thousand dollars elsewhere. Like going to Ireland or Italy or buying a hot tub or something. Or saving for that fantasy world called retirement.

And besides — with my luck, that cute little 2-car garage next to my house would fill up with outdoor paraphernalia faster than you can say Jack Rabbit. Who will also have no place to live.

Too many duck decoys in the way.

Cosmic Questions

dogcatYou would think the winter chill would freeze my wandering brain cells, or at least slow them down some.  But as pretzel thinkers know, nothing can slow down a wandering, criss-crossy mind.

I thought about this blog this morning on the way to work. I was listening to the results of the New Hampshire primary, and wondered how our political future was going to turn out.

One thing led to another, and in my own wandering mind, I thought of putting out there some metaphysical, ethereal, weird thoughts that have no answers. Take away all political bias, all psychological jumble, and just wonder….

  • The number π (pi) is a mathematical constant, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Whatever that means. The point is, the digits go on and on with no pattern. π has been calculated to over two quadrillion decimal places and still there is no pattern to the digits. So why are we still calculating?
  •  They say it’s better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all. Does that mean if I tried to read the dictionary backwards while sitting in a bathtub and singing God Bless America and I didn’t want to stop until I was done singing and the house caught on fire because my cat knocked over the candle I had burning in the other room and I had to stop reading the dictionary, was it better never to have tried that stunt in the first place?
  • How do cats purr? There is no purring organ in the throat of a cat, and even though extensive research has been done on the function itself, the exact origin of the function in the anatomy of cats is still unknown.
  • If infinity is infinite, and we can see no end to it, how do we know it’s even there?
  • If Mr. Spock went back in time in Star Trek and changed the timeline, did he change it for just those in his area of space, or did he interrupt the entire universe’s timeline? And how would we know if our timeline had been changed?
  • Is Donald Trump popular because he says the first thing that comes into his head? Is this something we all wish we could do, but fear getting fired/losing friends/being chastised?
  • And if the shoe fits: I have no opinion on Hillary Clinton accepting $675,000 for 3 speaking engagements, but just think — that is $225,000 per speech. If you spoke for 30 minutes each speech, you were getting paid $7,500.00 per minute. That’s $125.00 per second. That’s a lot of bongo bucks to be paid for opening your yapper.
  • If Pluto was once a planet, and now is called a dwarf planet, isn’t the word “dwarf” an adjective describing the main noun “planet”, and, therefore, once we strip all the fluff away from the basic nature of the being, Pluto once again becomes a “planet”?
  • It is a fact that the closer you get to the speed of light, the more time slows down. So isn’t a moot point to drive faster, when you actually arrive at your destination later?
  • They say light travels as both a wave and a particle. If that is so…..nevermind. I don’t understand what I don’t understand.
  • And, finally, the most important cosmic befuddlement of all: Why is it that drivers always zoom up behind you like a bat out of hell, swerve around you, jam into the spot right in front of you, then turn 30 feet further?

THAT would be the answer to all answers…

 

 

 

 

 

One More Minute…

clock Anyone a member of the 1MM Club?

No, not the 1 Million Mile Club. The 1 More Minute Club.

You know — that time-share world that is almost always self-serving, self-indulgent, and often futile. The club where you think, “one more minute…

I suppose if you are watching the morning weather and stay one more minute to make sure you heard right, and you miss the deer crossing the road at 6:46 a.m. that you would have hit had you not stayed one more minute…, then that’s okay.

I’m talking about those every day happenings you think will matter more if you extend them one more minute.

I am a big one in this Club.

In the shower, forehead pressed against the far shower stall wall, hot water soaking my tired body: staying in the water for one more minute…

Laying in my morning bed, still dark outside, alarm goes off, time to get ready for work: staying in bed for one more minute…

Watching the weather channel in the morning, staying to check the weather for the third time just in case I missed something: watching it just one more minute…

Writing: I’m almost done with this chapter. I’ll just write for one more minute…

Reading: Whether or not I’m really “into” the book, there are just a few more paragraphs until the chapter is over: Let me read for one more minute…

Kids use this excuse all the time. We think nothing of letting them have one more minute of bath time or play time or before-bed time. What’s one minute in the scheme of things? Yet these same parents, these same people, justify their own few minutes by pretending to end it in one more minute…

I know that personal time is in a different dimension from the one we live in. We never have enough time to do the things we love, and way too much time to do the things we don’t. That’s the cosmic way. Kids are never aware of the clock. In their natural state they do things until they’re done doing them. They are done when they are satisfied.

Adults, on the other hands, are mostly slaves of the clock. We have to be. Doctor appointments and trains and time clocks don’t wait.  They know if they give one minute here it will accumulate to hours there.

Who do we think we’re fooling? If we think the situation will be any better one more minute from now, we are usually wrong. For most of us one minute blends into the next into the next. We have lost track of so many one more minute’s that we could fill the space between the stars.

In defense of the members of this Club, though, I have to admit…when I “allow” myself one more minute of whatever, I concentrate and fill that minute with all the enjoyment and cosmicness I possibly can. That hot shower is like fingers massaging my back; that paragraph that I’m writing is the best I’ve ever written. It is so because I crammed hours of enjoyment into a very small amount of time.  And most of the time, it’s worth it.

Just like the minute it took you to read this.

Where/How Do You Write?

catwritingIt’s Friday Night, and I have a question for the writers in the group.

I mean all writers:  fun writers, journal writers, heavy-duty novel writers, joke writers, grocery list writers. Even those of you who are just thinking about writing.

I am beginning to think that what my mind thinks is a writing atmosphere and what my body thinks is writing atmosphere are two different things.

I love writing…I wish I had hours and hours to devote to the whole creative thing. For now, my alone time is limited. So here I am, Friday night, editing one of my short novels. But I’m also surrounded by take-home Chinese, glass of ice water, two TV flippers, incense burning, phone, flash drive and computer next to me, cat above my head, and and some 3 star horor flick in the background.

How serious can this be?

I would like to know how you get your writing done. Do you have a routine? A place? An atmosphere? Does it change with the waxing and waning moon? How long do you sit and write? Do you work on the same piece during your alloted creative time? Do you write at work?

Maybe its my A.D.D., maybe its just my personality. It’s like I can’t be happy unless I’m multitasking. Unless it’s a serious movie that my son says I have to pay attention to, I’m writing while I’m listening to TV or music and doing laundry and stopping to yell at my dogs for pulling the stuffing out of some toy and spreading it around the living room.

Oh, I have been known to sit and write straight for hours…especially during the intense scenes of my work. But to look at this atmosphere, to watch me through the window from the outside, it all looks so…disorganized. Scattered. Inefficient.

But I swear I love writing, even if it’s a short story, a blog, a poem, or an article. So what if there’s a scary movie on in the background? Stimuli for future stories. Get up for a dish of ice cream? Why not? Creativity loves sugar!  Side tracked by research way deep sideways on the Web? Stories abound where you least expect them.

That’s my story…and I’m sticking to it.

But please…let me know what your writing life is like. Let me know if I’m the odd one, or if you are out in left field nearby. In the end, it doesn’t matter how you get your writing done. As long as we continue on the journey, our methods work.

And don’t they say it’s not the destination, but the journey, that counts?

 

 

 

HaHaHaHappy New Year

girlyanda_kcyvkp85Okay. Now that we’ve eaten our fill of appetizers, sushi, steaks, meatballs, and sparkling wine, toasted the New Year, let’s get real. Let’s talk about our “New Year’s Resolutions” and what they really turn out to be.

 

Resolution: I’m going to exercise more.

Reality: Let’s park 20 cars further than our usual spot and count that as walking 10 minutes a day.

 

Resolution:  I’m going to watch less junk on TV and start watching educational shows.

Reality:  I’ll squeeze in a Cosmos between the Walking Dead and Fargo.

 

Resolution: I’m going to be nicer to people I don’t really like.

Reality:  I’m going to avoid like the plague the people I don’t like.

 

Resolution:  I’m going to start putting away money in my savings account.

Reality: Two dollars a week isn’t saving much of anything…

 

Resolution: I’m going to expand and enhance and update my wardrobe.

Reality: I think I’ll add a pair of khakis with an elastic waist to my wardrobe.

 

Resolution: I’m going to listen to more music this coming year. Music is the soul of creation.

Reality:  How about rock…no, classical…no, country…no, smooth jazz…no, big band…OH I CAN’T DECIDE!!

 

Resolution:  I’m going to eat healthier this year.

Reality:  Okay, only one scoop of guacamole on my chicken/bacon/cheese taco salad.

 

So much for my resolutions for 2016.

How about yours??

Vending Machines

jackpot-is-growinge280a6-jackpotI did it.

I must say I’m not proud, but I did it.

Our work lunchroom is a dim place filled with bright people. It holds one long table and 3 round ones. For a lunchtime of 200 people.

But I digress.

Some time ago our company decided to do away with the one push-the-button-and-watch-the-food-go-round-and-round vending machine, and swept in with the newest in small company vending machines — the gas station concept.  You know — big refrigerated cases all with full length clear glass doors. Two of them are full of beverages, everything from frappucinos to soda to power drinks. One is full of frozen delights like ice cream and Lean Cuisines, and the other with sandwiches, chocolate milk, and wraps.

I swore I would never feed the new cooler monster. It is commercialism at its best…you can even put money in the system and it keeps track of all your purchases for you. So after the first painful deposit, you can scan away, not feeling like you’re getting robbed at every purchase. I usually bring leftovers, but this morning I was late and sleepy and trying to get out before more snow came.

Well, today I ate my lunch sandwich for breakfast and my accompanying crackers for morning break. So it was either skip lunch (never!), drive to McD’s (way too cold out), or try the cooler monsters. I looked around, vowing to be conservative if I did buy anything.

Eyeballing delights more imagined than real (I know what vending machine food tastes like), I put my little debit card in and came away with a burrito wrap for $3.50.

AAHHHH!!

Don’t tell me this old bird is changing!

The burrito was too spicy, so I couldn’t eat it all.

But did you hear that? The burrito was too spicy! Most vending oddities are bland and dry and you have to squint to see the lunchmeat.

I still believe it’s just another corporation making off with three of my hard-earned dollars. The youngsters of the department seem to hang around the vending coolers a lot around lunch time…the graphic artists and coordinators and even directors seem to return again and again, feeling the few dollars missing from their wallet are worth far more than eating Beef and Rice-a-Roni again. And again. And they seem to be okay with it. So why not me?

There has to be something to glass door refrigerated food. I mean, there’s cameras all over, so it’s not like you can slip out a box of Lean Cuisine under your sweater. And there will be times that I’ll be shaking for a bottle of Coke and not have a penny in my wallet.

I don’t know when I’ll hit the vending machine complex again — it still seems a little high priced for my working woman budget. But this shows me that every now and then I can be fooled, and good things can come out of vending machines.

Now, if I could find a vending machine that dispensed Bloody Mary’s…

Sweet, Sticky Christmas Movies

91QU10iPjGL__AA1500_I do not consider myself a cynic. Maybe a bit disillusioned, but for the most part I’m a pretty good-natured gal.

As THE day approaches,  TV is wrestling with itself to see how many Christmas movies they can squeeze into 24 hours.

Apparently a lot.

I find that movies at Christmas time can really divide a family. If I say there are so many sappy movies on that it makes my teeth hurt, I’m a curmudgeon. If I watch them with devoted fervor, I’m a sap. Every movie is a reflection of Harlequin novels, which have a specific outline. For example, here are a few requirements for one line of Harlequin novels.

Harlequin Heartwarming

  • Clean, emotional, satisfying romances that readers can feel comfortable sharing with their friends and family of all ages
  • Romance, family and community are strong features of these stories
  • Characters demonstrate traditional values, but exhibit flaws and overcome hurdles similar to those in other contemporary series romances
  • Conflict between the main characters should be an emotional one, arising naturally from the story
  • Plots unfold in a wholesome style and voice that excludes explicit sex or nudity, pre-marital sex, profanity, or graphic depictions of violence: references to violent incidents or pre-marital sex in the past are acceptable if they contribute to character development
  • Physical interactions (i.e. kissing/hugging) should emphasize emotional tenderness rather than sexual desire or sensuality: low level of sexual tension; characters should not make love unless they are married

A clean, healthy dose of falling in love. And little (if any) sex.  Fall in true love first, ruffle the sheets later. Oh. And happily ever after. MUST have happily ever after.

Now, before I go further, know that I am for writing anything as long as it holds the reader’s interest and your heart. The same should be true about romance movies, too. But these syrupy sweet movies  make my teeth hurt. The men and women are always beautiful but flawed, their hangups based on past incidents they never quite got over, their kids sweet, the snow perfect.

I have yet to see a made-for-TV movie where the woman is middle-aged, chubby, and works at a diner. I have yet to see young men working as truck drivers or fork lift drivers wind up with the rich debutante. I know these are supposed to be feel-good, make-believe types of stories — ones that give hope to those who have less-than-perfect holidays.

I have had less-than-perfect holidays, and all those movies do is make me itch.

I’ll be the first to admit that one reason I back away from feel-good confections like these is that I’m afraid I’ll start to cry, and the doors to the tear bank won’t stop until I’ve refreshed them with a sandwich or glass of wine. That’s why I stay away from sappy crybaby stories all together. Old Yeller. Beaches. Turner and Hootch. Bambi.

Another reason I tend to stay away from TV Christmas movies is that there are so many commercials they make my eyes sting. It’s like little needles going into my forehead. I hate commercials. Beautiful people selling fun, beauty, and car insurance.

Okay — I’m not really against feel-good movies. The ones I watched last week were pretty decent, considering I saw the same theme played out 3 different ways. And I did wind up admitting they were “cute.”

Maybe I hold a little resentment because my Christmases are always a madhouse. Some is my own doing; some because others hold the strings to my Santa Claus puppet heart. It’s all done with love, but there’s really not much rest, either in front of a fireplace or under the mistletoe, like in the movies. It’s run, hug, kiss, eat, drive to another place, hug, kiss, eat, go home, wrap presents, fall down frozen from exhaust until 5 a.m. when grandbaby comes in and says, “Granny! Santa came!”

I think I’m beginning to hear that sappy Christmas movie music again….

 

Common Sense Spammie Rules

spam2Happy Week Before Thanksgiving!

It’s that time again: time for Black Friday Sales, pumpkin pies, four days of blessed vacation (for some of us), and spammies nestling into your blogs.  I have yet again fended off dozens of false praises/questions/comments from who-knows-who. So I thought in the season of turkey and/or football, I’d repeat a blog from Jan. 4, 2014….

Comments 101

Good morning fellow bloggers, potential bloggers, friends, and curious ones!

I had a totally different blog in mind, but I feel this topic needs to be readdressed, with tips for those of you who are just starting out.

Everyone who writes a blog does so because they love to write. Some have pictures they want to share. Some share therapy. Some thoughts. Most everyone writes from experience, sharing what they’ve learned with others who want to learn.

Bloggers also enjoy the responses and interactions with those who have read their writing. This is where friends are made, ideas are shared, where we feel good about what we do.

Then there are the spammies.

Spammies usually attack e-mails. But blogs are also open season to those with nothing else to do than create chaos. I addressed this topic a month or two ago, and wound up deciding to moderate all comments before they get published. Things quieted down, and all was well.  But the spammies are back, and I want to share with you what is a real comment for your hard work and what is nonsense.

Here is a real comment from a real follower:

Very nice! I hear you on the “creaks from my joints and the squeals from my muscles.” I definitely want to work on those this year, too. Happy New Year, Claudia! I wish great things for you in 2014! Maddie Cochere breezybooksblog.wordpress.com.

And another:

Some how I missed the yellow brick road last time :-)  I loved your story!  Thank you for repeating… Deb Hathaway debhathaway.com

And even shorties:

Great story!   ittymac  ittymac.wordpress.com

Subscribers and nonsubscribers alike usually refer to something specific in your blog. There are times when you do get “I really like this!” or “Great post!”, but usually those are from followers you already know. (I know I sometimes use less than 5 words).

But a spammie is always from someone you don’t know, usually has no image or legit link, and often talk about things that either have nothing to do with your post or use the generic praise for you to keep doing what you’re doing.  In the last two days I received 20 such “responses.” That doesn’t include the 93 comments in my SPAM folder.

Your writing is certainly extremely persuasive and that is probably the reason why I am making an effort in order to opine. I do not really make it a regular habit of doing that. Secondly, even though I can easily notice the jumps in reason you make, I am not really sure of extcaly how you seem to unite the ideas which produce the actual final result. For now I will, no doubt subscribe to your position but trust in the foreseeable future you connect your facts better.   Tata

Another:

Thanks for the comment and shanrig this story. Somehow when this stuff is going on, I tend to attribute also and to myself. Like I’m a faulty adult or something. But having done workplace advocacy for a long time and so to I’ve come to realize just how often this nonsense is taking place, not to mention that many people think that simply ignoring a co-worker they don’t like is so acceptable… Roman

Those are just a few. You can see right away they have nothing to do with your post. I’ve seen tons of others where some nebulous person says, “Your blog is very helpful. I am grateful you are writing these things.”  They are generic and aimless. They usually pick older blogs where no one goes anymore. I’ve seen conversations go on between two different people about a totally different subject right in my comment section.

I don’t know how they get in there or what they want in there. I don’t know if they are just messing around or if they’re pulling information from my blog or just trying to get me to respond so they can continue to fool around. I mean, how do I know they’re not using MY past posts to share secret or illegal information? I’m not behind-the-scenes savvy when it comes to Internet privacy — or piracy. But I don’t appreciate invasion of my personal space by people who are playing in my back yard without my knowing what they’re doing (or talking about).

I’m not saying you should moderate all your comments. Strangers stop by all the time and comment and go on their merry way. You don’t have to have a liege of followers who hang onto your every post. But if you keep an eye on how many people comment on your posts (I think everyone does to one degree or another), be aware that not every comment is a true comment about you. Most of these spammies just sit in your e-mail notifications as someone who commented on your writing. They don’t have viruses or attachments, but yet when you click on their name to see who they are, who knows what that does?

I know anyone can type anything anywhere, and anyone can type your email address into anything. My husband was a victim of the recent Target scandal, and all he did was buy a Christmas present. So all this blog is about is keep your eyes open. If it’s too incredible, it’s not. If you’ve received a ton of comments on your blogs and you usually get a half dozen, sniff around. Something’s up.

But don’t worry — Big Granny is here looking out for you — and reading your stuff — so keep on reading and keep on commenting.

Fakey Spammies Always Get What’s Coming To Them….

Pardon My French

a5398fcb9f0275c8ba5a7abb4dfcc63e

Bon jour!

Dear me — I’m transforming — again. I have been bitten by the Paris bug.

 I have wandered down many a reincarnation in my short 62-year life. As I have said in other blogs, I went through a Renaissance period in my 30s; shields and maiden dresses and unicorn tapestries. There was a cool working-downtown-Chicago phase when I was really young; I was never cool nor chic enough to keep up with the bubbles downtown, but it was fun pretending while it lasted.

Now I’m on the French train.

I am thinking of changing my writing name to either Claudette or Colette or Jacqui; my short term/long term memory is shot, so I can’t really learn French, but I know enough to eat (who doesn’t know Coq au vin or baguettes or Éclairs?) I have watched Midnight in Paris a hundred times, ordered Hemmingway’s Moveable Feast, and Colette’s Gigi; and signed up for a couple of French  accounts (Haven in Paris on Twitter, Tongue in Cheek in email).

My BoHo Chic wardrobe-in-progress will fit splendidly on my pretend-jaunts through the French countryside, along with the pretend-designer purses I pick up at Good Will for my jaunts into Paris Proper. I have glanced at what basics a French Madame needs (flats, cars, cardigan, boots). Well, still working on that.

What is it twith this L’influence française?

It must be my never-ending desire to role play. To know who I am and who I can pretend to be. Who cares? I never did much dress up as a kid; my body was never conducive to mini skirts or leggings or stilettos. But my imagination has always played the boundaries. And the older I get, the more I can’t help but push.

This newly found love of Paris in the rain and wine tasting at La Cloche des Halles and spending the day at Versailles are all pipe dreams I’ll never really live. Kids, grandkids, work, car repairs, second mortgages, school loans, all take a toll on my very small pocket-book.

But then again, I probably will never wander through the lavender fields in England or the Moors in Scotland or the castles in Germany. But through adult-style role playing, I can write and draw and cook and pretend any time I want.

We all grow up too fast. Watching my 5-year-old grandson pretend to be Ironman or a farmer, he finds all the pleasure without the consciousness of pain and labor and broken dreams. They are happy in their own world, happy that you’re in it, too. That’s the state of mind I want to get back to.

People are so cynical these days. Creativity Creates Chaos. If you don’t look and act your age and status, you’re an easy target for rdicule and repremands.

Well, I say — lighten up.

Am I going to raise children through adverse poverty like in Les Miserables? Am I going to drive around aimlessly in the pouring rain singing La Vie En Rose? Am I going to spend an entire paycheck on some overpriced French perfume?

I think not.

Maybe I love getting lost in someone/someplace else because I have an idea for a story about two people who meet at a French bistro one evening and, for one night, find their soulmate. Or maybe I want to write a poem about the remarkable River Seine. Or maybe I want to sketch an op art picture of the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile.

I once wrote a story about a girl who ate lunch at an outdoor cafe, and drifted off to an encounter with a guitarrista in Mexico. I wrote another about a time out of time, a touch of midieval. One of my novels takes place in a displaced Eturia (Rome). I dove into each of those worlds with both feet. I researched ancient Roman cultures, Mexican hideaways, and King Arthur’s realm. And I think it helped make my worlds real.

I want to play with my characters. Feel what they feel. Live in their world. I want to tell their story. And if I get lost in a little pot au feu or astralology or Romans in space, so what?

Use your imagination to be whomever you want to be. You know where your core is — you’ll never get lost. You can come home to your warm bed and IPad and cable TV any time you want.

But in the meantime…(clears throat…)

 

Quand il me prend dans ses bras    

Il me parle tout bas

Je vois la vie en rose…..

 

Fashion Faux Pas

tumblr_manpcrm67D1qae69do1_250I was hoping to hold out on this annual blog a little longer. I was hoping not to coin it as an “annual” thing.

But she wore them today.

I have added a few more categories, highlighted in red, adjusting for newer fashion fads that make my blood boil.

And so, for the third annual “What Not To Wear” blog, I give you…

Not Again

It’s only mid-October…the leaves are glowing in their spectacular colors, evenings bring a cooling atmosphere for sleep, the nights are getting longer (more time for sleep and TV!). We begrudgingly  pack away our summer duds and bring our our winter ones (although, in my case, I pack away less and less so I can deal with those hot flashy moments). We look forward to hoodies and joggies and fuzzy socks. The transition is usually painless.

But it is only mid-October…and the outfit is back. The number one no-no for fashion divas of all ages. And it hurts my eyes. It hurts my eyes and pushes my buttons and shivers me timbers.

And it makes me want to repost a warning from April of this very year.

SEVEN FASHION NO-NOS FOR GODDESSES OF ALL AGES pants

During these doldrums of Winter, I’ve been planning my new fashion statement. Or rather looking for one. I’m up for the Boho Chic style. But I can’t really BoHo now, because there’s something about wind chills of ten below and snow two feet deep in every direction that discourages peasant dresses and shawls and beaded whatevers. I figure between now and Spring I’ll gather up some fun things and have fun being a fun kinda woman.

But lately I’ve been seeing a few “Middle Age Magic” women following their own fashion muse, and, well, the sight is not a pretty one. I am all for comfort, fashion, and practicality. My BoHo is not your BoHo and all that. But good taste should always be good taste. I am all for the “this is who I am” state of being, too, but there are some things Middle Age (and older) women should really think twice about.  Here are a few of my humble fashion suggestions:

1.   Leggings and long sweaters and boots can look good on some women. Velvety purple leggings can not. Ever.

1A. If you MUST wear leggings (as if life as you know it would cease to exist if you didn’t), make sure your top goes down to at least mid-thigh. No one wants to see your jiggles and jellos from the waist down. Especially if they have ripened with age.

2.   Pigtails should only be worn by women under 10 or those who want to play the baby doll thing with their loved one. In private.

3.   Makeup is not a necessity. A fresh face is. Cleopatra’s eyes looked good only on Cleopatra. On older women it just looks scary.

4.   I know it’s sometimes necessary to run to the store in jogging pants. It’s just the nature of the beast. But jogging pants and chuggie boots and parkas are not a fashion statement now or ever. Remember — you are a woman first. Don’t ever be mistaken for the football player down the street.

4a. Lately I’ve seen a new trend that makes me wanna say, “Whoah??” Wisconsiners are known for their shorts and hoodies look — it’s just a W thing. But when women wear leggings under their shorts and big chugga boots when the temperature is below 30 — too much. Like in the circus. Too much.

5.  The office is as good a place as any to try out a new look. Just don’t be the one to test the dress code every time you do. You do nothing but create army punishment for the rest of us, making us unhappy co-workers and fashion enemies.

6.  Did I mention the thing about leggings and sweaters and boots? The older you get, the more you should think twice about it.

6a. That reminds me of boots. I love the look of women in boots. But when you are older and wear boots with short skirts or boots with leggings and short sweaters or boots with shorts, you look more like a rolly polly, not a fashion statement. I’m not saying you don’t have a figure after 50, but face it. Few of us do. Don’t slip back into your teens.

7.   Know you don’t have to spend a lot of money to try new looks. Just use your head. Don’t wear shoes that pinch, pants that bulge in the butt, tops that show too much of your endowments, shoes your father would wear, tops that make you look like a sausage, colors that make you look like a clown, or earrings bigger than your head.

There is fashion, and then there is fashion. And then there is no fashion. And then there is deliberate no fashion. Don’t let your steadfastness close your mind to the colors and sensations of the world. But in the same vein, don’t let your need to make a statement as you get older make you say something you’ll regret later. If a look works, great. If not, make sure you have a great look to go back to. Be proud of who you are and how you got there. Don’t let others dictate the colors of your feathers. But don’t forget you’ve GOT feathers.

And they never look good in velvety purple leggings.

HallowThankMas

christmas-scraps-145Ahhhh….All Hallow’s Eve is just a few days away. Time for candy and pumpkins and ghosts…and the official start of Christmas advertising.

Forget what used to be — forget that one didn’t hear “Jingle Bell Rock” or see a decorated Christmas tree until Thanksgiving. I’ve been in stores with entire sections cut off for Christmas decor already, and even heard a Christmasy song on TV last week, too.

I’m not even done raking my leaves.

I’m sure there will be hundreds of blogs and articles about getting back to “old-fashioned” Christmases and values and saying bah-humbug to commercialism. And thousands more toting their wares.

How can we escape the mania that is now called HallowThankMas?

I have a 5 year-old and a 8-week-old in the house these days. They make me want to go all out for Christmas — something I’ve let slide the last few years. Trees and decorations and Christmas Villages — all the stuff that made my Christmas fun through my formative years.

Yet they start advertising toys and merchandise so early, that by the time you get around buying that one “special” thing, that “special” thing is sold out. You don’t even have your Thanksgiving turkey bought and you are expected to decorate your house with garland and lights and blow-up snowmen. If you don’t, your kids, your grandkids, wonder what’s wrong with you.

I know it’s a bit early to gripe about a holiday three holidays away, but sometimes the pressure to roll along with the tide gets to be too much. I already don’t put my tree up until after Thanksgiving; I don’t watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas or Elf or It’s a Wonderful Life until Christmas week. I do drive down Candy Cane Lane during December, and enjoy the parties and appearances of the pretend Santas and the choirs in church.

But there has to be a line drawn between the golden hues of autumn and the snowfall of Christmas Eve. There has to be an appreciation of each special day for its own sake. It’s hard to buy Halloween decorations for your own little celebration when Christmas lights are blinking down at the end of the aisle. It’s hard to get your family together for a Thanksgiving Day dinner when everyone’s planning New Year’s Eve already.

I admit, I’m not an angel. “Sleigh Ride” and “Christmas in Sarajevo” never get old. I make an effort to share the “old ways” with my kids and grandkids, the meaning behind the words, the love, the magic of the Christmas season.

But I refuse to give in to full-fledged commercialism.

At least until Black Friday. That’s when my new TV will go on sale.

Me and Motley REALLY Ain’t Old!

I was flipping through old posts today and came across this oldie but goodie from a couple of years ago. Just think — I’m two years older than when I wrote this. And I think I need this more than ever. Happy Thursday!

Motley Crue Then

Motley and Me Ain’t Old

There has been a lot of angst going around the blog world lately. Problems, thoughts, ponderings.  It seems to be hitting the 50+ group, although I’ve read quite a few -50 uncertainties as well.  It is like we all are jugging the self-esteem balls, and we keep dropping one or two on our foot. The foot doesn’t break, but it sure as hell hurts.

Motley Crue Now

I myself was going to write a blog about feeling like I’ve really aged in the past year. You know those movie stars and rock stars that come out of mothballs for one reason or another, and you find yourself saying, “Man, have they aged!”  You know — the ones you loved in your teens or 20’s or 30’s.  You cut them no slack for having lived — whether it be through raising a family or doing drugs or surviving tragedies. You want to see them fresh and perky and full of energy. Not wrinkled or bloated. For that reminds us of … us.

I find that at 60 I’m caught between making excuses and living them. The wrinkles and extra pounds and the inability to fall asleep at night and achy legs and feet are from meds, stress, drinking caffeine, sitting at a desk all day, walking the dog, and a hundred other things.  It can’t be that I’m getting old. I mean, Keith Richards looks old. Chevy Chase looks old. Surely ~I~ can’t be looking old like that.

Can I?

This goes beyond our sound reasoning, beyond the I-loved-raising-my-family and the I’ve-been-through-a-lot-of-stuff stuff. It’s the accumulation of all those years of self criticism and/or questionable choices that’s winds up as lines on our faces and girth around our middles. It’s all those rock-and-roll concerts, college parties, and lonely nights.  It’s the sleepless nights staying up with children, hard physical jobs, and watching all those soccer games in the rain.  All these things play with our skin, our circulatory system, our psyche. We do all kinds of good things for ourselves and others. Still the legs ache at night, the circles under our eyes remain, and our hair still turns gray.

The good news is that we can always steer ourselves in a positive direction. We can become pro-active, getting involved in projects and people that keep us too busy to be counting years. We can — and do — make a difference in the world, in other people’s lives.

But still, there are tinges of regret in the eyes of the woman who looks back at me in the mirror. To be honest, there will always be a tiny flicker of sadness that I will never be as beautiful as Angelina or as smart as Einstein or as successful as Steve Jobs.  Now and then there will be a faint whisper of shoulda, coulda, woulda. Looking backwards is a natural action; regret (in some form) a natural reaction. I don’t like the idea that the road is longer behind me than in front of me. Nor do I care for the fact that there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.

But then I turn on the stereo or put my ear buds in and listen to my IPod, and my youth comes rushing back to me. And I realize it’s never been gone. And will never leave me.

Come on — I know you’ve got it in you. Put on your favorite music — country song, disco song, hairband song. Turn it on and TURN IT UP. You’ll see you’re not an age — you’re a legend.

When we started this band

All we needed, needed was a laugh

Years gone by

I’d say we kicked some ass

When I’m enraged

Or hittin’ the stage

Adrenalin rushing

Through my veins

And I’d say

We’re still kickin’ ass

Kick Start my Heart, Motley Crue

Don’t Fear Pink

detailOkay. When you hear the word “pink”, what do you think of? Girls? Guys?

Girls usually think of girl babies, Barbie doll outfits, ribbons, shirts. Guys usually think of sissy things.

Why is that?

I have to admit that when I first think of pink, I think it a girl’s color. That is my old-fashioned, Catholic school, 50’s upbringing. I’m sure that’s the same problem guys have, too.

Moms in the millennium are a lot more savvy than that. While manufacturers don’t go out of their way to make pink clothes for boys, once they get into their teens, there’s always a pink dress shirt here or there to set off their wardrobe.

But still many people are gender-sensitive when it comes to that one particular color. Sometimes to the point of over-reaction.

Take the NFL, for instance.

They make a big deal of football players wearing pink during October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Accents of shades from fluorescent to carnation to cherry blossom can be found tastefully decorating gloves, sides of shoes, and towels. But once October is done, pfffftttt….so is pink.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams wants to wear pink past the October 31 deadline. His mother died of breast cancer, as did four of his aunts. This is his way of saluting their battles.

Of course, the NFL said no. October only. No exceptions.

Now, I know mostly why the NFL is so staunch about its rulings. After all, one player will want to wear Nikes with a pink streak; before you know it, someone else will want blue and someone will want yellow and it will be a color war beyond imagination. You let one do it, you have to let everyone do it.

Who knows — what if this “pink” thing took off? What if in November someone on the Patriots wore a pink towel, then in December, someone on the Bears wore pink gloves? Would that distract from the game? From the point spread?

There are no rules about hair color. Or beards. So I guess guys dying their hair pink or green is okay by them. But a memorial to a death from Breast Cancer — something we all are fighting — that’s a little too “girly” for  them.

I’m not saying they should change the rules for the NFL. Or any other sport or corporate venue. But this is breast cancer. And breast cancer doesn’t stop growing at the end of October. Someone wants to wear a token color to let the world know they support the cause — I don’t see what’s wrong with that.

But then again, I’m a girl. And I’ve had breast cancer.

All I’m saying is it’s time the world stopped fearing the color pink.

If you fear being judged by the color of your gloves or shoes or headband, then you have a lot more wrong with you than a phobia of a color.

Go Pink!

Dream A Little Dream

GODZILLA - 2014 FILM STILL - Photo Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

In my late night cannot-sleep mental meanderings, I often think how cool it would be if the afterlife were nothing more than eternal dreaming. Long after the neurons stop flashing, I’d still love to exist on a dreamplane someplace. Meeting people, doing weird things, drifting here and there, trying to make sense of nonsense.

Although the way I dream, I’d still have to have a “cosmic” wake up now and then.

They say we all dream. It’s just that some of us linger in the twilight longer than others. Hence, not enough deep sleep equals insomnia, dark circles under the eyes, and weird dreams.

Do you remember your dreams?

I would love to remember more of mine, although the more tendrils I pull out of the dream base, the more nonsense I find.

I do a lot of walking from building to building, making my way through warehouses, offices with eternal hallways, crossing city streets, and back through theaters and more underground buildings. I do a lot of “boss” dreaming, too, past and present, in offices I’ve never seen in my life. Strange people show up in my dreams, often TV or movie types, people I’ve often never given second thought to. I also still dream of my mom, although she’s been on the other side for 30 years.

Of course, weirdness is relative. I’ve seen godzillas in the distance but never a unicorn. I’ve flown and jumped off buildings and been able to take giant bounces down the street but have never gone to another planet. I write a lot of time travel stories, but I have yet to dream about going back in time.

In other words, I don’t encounter my daytime daydreams in my nighttime ones.

Maybe on some level that’s a good thing. Not being able to distinguish dreams from daydreams might be the first step to insanity. And I’m already a deal off-kilter.

But then, that would lead to quite an interesting writing career. Wasn’t Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft a bit on the “eccentric” side? (see http://brainz.org/10-writers-who-were-mentally-disturbed/ for a little eye opener).

I wonder what Stephen King or Dean Koontz dream about?

Maybe I don’t want to see where those tendrils go…

Going One Way Or Another

tumblr_n768syHP341tp9r4eo1_500

According to my online personality profile, Sagittarius is the traveler of the zodiac and considers every day an opportunity for another adventure. This a cheerful, spontaneous, and idealistic individual with an exceptional sense of humor.

Well, I don’t have the money to be a big traveller, but I do try and get away now and then. This coming up weekend is one of those times. Boys are going fishing for 4 days (coming home by dinnertime); a chance to make my days totally up to me. So I have turned the have-to-go-up-north trip for 4 days into a writer’s retreat.

And I can’t wait.

And I know that somehow or another it will get screwed up.

I have made a list of things I’d “like” to get done — “like” the key word, as to leave room for walking and sitting on the deck and nodding off and going to town to hit the homemade chocolate shop.

But Fate and me have a rocky relationship. I imagine it’s going to be more like me setting out my laptop, my notes, opening the window to let the breeze blow through, glass of soda and a few treats at hands-length, and me spending half my time in the bathroom.

My husband says he can’t take me anywhere. And this is not a new thing: I’ve gotten upset stomachs or headaches or whatever almost every time we’ve gone out — for the last 35 years.

I don’t know if it’s my psyche that goes up and over the top, imagining such a good time that it gets sick ahead of time; or my stomach cramping in anticipation; or something innocent I ate the day before decides to do the polka in my intestines. But every time I get ready to have a GOOD time, I spend half my time aching in the bathroom or on the bed.

This time it’s a freakin’ 4-day weekend! No movie stars or famous writers stopping by, no fancy dinner, no wine or alcohol of any kind. I don’t want to mess up, because I have this big novel idea that I want to dig into for a few hours every day. Why is it that every time I go up north I get horrible sinus headaches or crappy stomach problems?

I know — it’s probably psychosomatic. I suggest, therefore I am. I don’t think about it and I still am. These burbles have caused many headaches through my married life; I’m surprised my husband doesn’t have a first aid kit filled with Imodium, aspirin, sinus pills, doggie bags, and crackers. He’s had enough experience in this genre.

So with a Sagittarian outlook, I’m going to be a cheerful, spontaneous, and idealistic individual, and pack my laptop, notebooks, soda, snacks, Imodium, aspirin, and sinus pills, and hope for the best. You can’t keep a good writer down — not when they’ve got the calling.

And, after all, I have written notes in the bathroom before…

Read (ick!) At Your Own Risk

bigstockphotoStickingOutTongue27088I have been working very hard on getting my “new” Sunday Evening Art Gallery website up and running so that you can see even MORE of the unusual, unique, amazing art these artists come up with. There are times when I don’t want to read a thing — looking at pictures will do just fine. So hopefully by a week from Sunday I will have a visual gallery for your perusal as well.

In the meantime… Why not fill your head with a bit of food nonsense? Works wonders for me!

 

An average ear of corn has an even number of rows, usually 16.

Most wasabi consumed is not real wasabi, but colored horseradish.

Oklahoma’s state vegetable is the watermelon.

The winner of the 2013 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest consumed 69 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

The  Dunkin’ Donuts in South Korea offer doughnut flavors such as Kimchi Croquette and Glazed Garlic.

(It’s getting worse…)

There is an amusement park in Tokyo that offers Raw Horse Flesh-flavored ice cream.

(And worse…)

Castoreum, which is used as vanilla flavoring in candies, baked goods, etc., is actually a secretion from the anal glands of beavers.

TMI…TMI..

Coconut water can be used as blood plasma.

McDonald’s sells 75 hamburgers every second of every day.

One fast food hamburger may contain meat from 100 different cows.

Arachibutylrophobia is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth.

When taken in large doses nutmeg works as a hallucinogen.

The red food-coloring carmine — used in Skittles and other candies — is made from boiled cochineal bugs, a type of beetle.

To make jelly beans shiny, shellac is used, which is made from Kerra lacca insect excretions.

 

Thank you Buzz Feed http://www.buzzfeed.com/justinabarca/food-facts-that-will-blow-your-mind. 

Makes me never want to eat again.

 

See you Sunday!

Money Money Money Mooonnneeeyy…

money_dollar_sign_rotate_hb_1_Wishful thinking or Wasteful thinking?

Wasting Time or Planning Time?

Sitting looking at at the lottery ticket I just bought, I wonder — what would I do if I won a million dollars?

What would YOU do if you won a million dollars?

It just be the dog days of summer.  The hard, long, tedious few months of my job where data entry becomes paramount. Too many mosquitoes out to enjoy a lovely evening, trying to fall asleep when the sun hasn’t set yet — daydreams are made from this.

I don’t often buy lottery tickets. I know it’s easier getting struck by lightning, but I’m not one to press my luck during a thunderstorm. So as I sit and look at this little slip of paper that will no doubt take me nowhere, I wonder what I’d really do if I won a couple of million dollars.

Of course, lotteries these days are tens of millions of dollars; for simplicity’s sake, let’s just call it One Mil. You get approximately half of that, so for more simplicity’s sake (I’m really that simple?) let’s say $500,000. Clear hard cold cash. What would you do with it?

The first think most people would say is “quit my job.” Many say that’s not practical (probably my hubby is in that crowd). But for me, being closer to retirement than my 40th birthday, it seems a viable option for me.

“Give to Charity.” God gives to those who gives to others. It is better to give than to receive. Well, sometimes I consider myself a charity case, so I’d choose my philanthropy carefully.  I’d rather contribute locally — an animal shelter, children’s daycare. Something where I could see my money work right here and now.

“Invest.” Well, paying off my bills would be an investment. Maybe not my mortgage — I’d still need some tax writeoffs. And I don’t think a vacation in Florence or Paris would be a write-off. Oh! But I could start my own business! A travelogue blog! Then I could write off all sorts of travel expenses! After I’m done traveling around the world, I’d close the business and take it as a tax loss too.

All accountants in a 100 mile radius are rolling their eyes at my folly. I’m rolling my own eyes.  I mean, let’s say I was lucky enough to live on 10% of my cash stash. That is $50,00 a year — more than I make a year, for sure, but not quite enough to pay bills AND jet across Europe tasting eclairs and biscotti.

Maybe I’d take all my besties out for dinner and drinks. Like to some fancy restaurant in Chicago. Better yet, I’d make some fancy restaurant food and hire someone else to clean up behind me.

Truth is, with a mere Mil, my life wouldn’t change a whole lot. I’d spend some, save some, waste some. Hopefully I’d be wiser, fuller, and a little more windblown from my travels. I’d still write, I’d still look for strange and unusual art, and I’d still run around with my grandson shooting squirt guns or swimming in Silver Lake.

Life is all about the journey. Not the destination. That’s what they say, anyway.

It sure would be a much easier journey not having to wake up at 5:30 a.m. every morning, though….

 

Where In The World Is….

binocularsI don’t watch “Are Your Smarter than a 5th Grader,” because I don’t want to embarrass myself about how much I really don’t know about the world.

When you’re in school, dates, details, facts, and equations fill your brain. Once you get that beloved diploma, though, most of that stuff falls out of your head like dried alphabet noodles.

I was creating a mailing list at work the other day and I had to add all the world’s countries as part of a dropdown menu. Of course, who doesn’t know where France and China are? Smaller countries like Laos and Thailand aren’t too bad either. But do you know where these countries lie?

Anguilla    Belize      Brunei       Gabon     Liechtenstein      Belarus

     Mauritius      Micronesia      Montserrat     Malawi       Togo

I imagine a lot of you do. I, on the other hand, barely know where Prairie du Chein, Wisconsin is (it’s in upper Wisconsin where the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers meet).

It gets worse.

I though Liechtenstein was a made up name from the movie “A Knights Tale.” And the Micronesia was an on-purpose play on the name Malaysia from the movie “Zoolander.”

I’ve spent too much time in front of the TV and not enough in an encyclopedia.

If I don’t have any idea where these countries (and more, believe me) are, I also don’t have any idea of their history, their culture, their arts and their food. Not that in the grand scheme of things I’m missing out on a whole new world of culture, but it makes me feel dumb that I AM so dumb at times.

Anguilla is a British overseas territory in the Caribbean.  It is one of the most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles, lying east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and directly north of Saint Martin.

Belize is a country on the eastern coast of Central America. bordered on the north by Mexico,  on the south and west by Guatemala,  and on the east by the Caribbean Sea.

Brunei is a sovereign state  located on the north coast of the island of  Borneo in Southeast Asia.

Gabon is a sovereign state on the west coast of Central Africa. Located on the equator, Gabon is bordered by Equatorial Guinea  to the northwest, Cameroon  to the north, the Republic of the Congo on the east and south, and the Gulf of Guinea to the west.

Liechtenstein is bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and Austria to the east and north. It has an area of just over 62 square miles.

Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe bordered by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest.

Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 kilometers (1,200 mi) off the southeast coast of the African continent

Micronesia – is a sub region of Oceania, comprising thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It has a shared cultural history with two other island regions, Polynesia to the east and Melanesia to the south.

Montserrat is a Caribbean island—specifically in the Leeward Islands, which is part of the chain known as the Lesser Antilles in the West Indies.

Malawi is a landlocked country in southeast Africa that was formerly known as Nyasaland. It is bordered by Zambia to the northwest, Tanzania to the northeast, and Mozambique on the east, south and west.

Togo is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso  to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea.

 

So there you go. Countries that watch sunrises and sunsets just as we do; people who work off the land, have families, create art, and live and die by the cosmic clock. Cultures so far away, so removed from our everyday life, that we don’t even know they exist.

At least I didn’t. Until now.

Wonder what they make for dinner in Micronesia?

 

It’s A Small World After All

mickey_mouse_tired_wallpaper_-_1024x768In a couple of weeks my crew and I will be heading for the sunny confines of Disneyworld. Besides the fact that for the first time ever I’ve been able to pay for my vacation ahead of time, I am looking forward to visiting the world of Peter Pan and Lightning McQueen. The last time I paraded through those hallowed gates, the father of my grandson was barely older than my grandson is now.  Cosmic synchronicity aside, I am so looking forward to a week of not making my own bed and no extra charge for air conditioning.

Alas, the world of vacation in general and DW in particular is not the same as it was 22 years ago. This spritely body is not as spritely as days of yore. So I think I’d better update my To-Do List.

  • Be prepared for average day temperatures in the high 80’s and lows in the mid-60s. No sweats needed, as DW’s lows equal Wisconsin’s highs.
  • Bring a small, portable container of baby powder. No reason to stick together more than necessary.
  • Less is more. A week’s worth of underwear (Plus 1 method) is okay; 7 pairs of jeans, not.
  • Get a haircut now so that it has a couple of weeks to grow into something civilized.
  • Moving is relative. I can still cross distances as I did in the olden days. It just takes a little longer. Therefore, map out bathrooms and misting stations ahead of time. Note air conditioned venues as well.
  • Food rules from home count double here. No creamy, spicy, or burpy delights. Stock up on imodium and Pepto.
  • No need to try the lobster look the first day. Xtra duty sunscreen at 200+ suggested. ChapStik a bonus.
  • Reinvent your idea of what water play is. A 4-year-old does not hang around the shallow end of the pool for any length of time.
  • There are enough adults in the group that each one can schedule a time out. Use it. On yourself and others.
  • The Smartphone is the new camera. Keep it close. Preferably in your pocket. Also doubles as a patience-building tool, as in Jet Pack, Jewels Saga, and Swamp Attack.
  • Water is the lifeforce of DW. Pack many and refill often. Leave the imported beer until you get home.
  • You will undoubtedly leave one important thing behind. Put something to the side (that you can buy down there) and purposely forget it. Break the curse early.
  • Give up any idea of bringing a purse. No need to always take up two spaces. If it doesn’t fit in a fanny pack, you don’t need it.
  • Granola bars are your best friends at the park. Just make sure to get your system used to all that fiber about a week ahead of time.

I’m sure you have your own dots you can add to my list. Any thoughts, experiences, or reality checks are appreciated.

Let’s hear it for the Mouse.

Fashion Rule Number Two

CAM01211I didn’t think I’d be adding to my Fashion Advice Blog (my FAB blog…heh…) so soon. After all, I just packed two paper bags to give to Good Will.

But dressing this morning Lesson Two dawned on me:

Don’t let the crabbies dictate your outfit.

Now, being on a different shift than my other half, I’m often looking through my closet in the morning with the flashlight app on my smartphone. Yesterday I woke up crabby, and neglected — no, downright ignored — the outfit I had picked out the night before. I couldn’t fall asleep, I didn’t want to wake up. So why should I look fresh to the world?

Because of that frumpy choice I felt off-center all day. Even my bling of a necklace couldn’t push me left or right of the funk. By the end of the day, though, the temperature outside was near 60, the sun danced between the clouds, and I had a great time outside with my grandbaby.

Just think that I could have had that feeling all day long if I’d just dressed in what I had originally chosen.

We’re not big dresser-uppers at work; the younger generation does wear great outfits, but the middlers and post-middlers don’t often follow suit. Well, I want to follow suit. As I said in my earllier blog (Be a Fashion Plate — Not a Platter, http://wp.me/p1pIBL-ZR), I don’t want to be that monochrome person (paraphrasing, of course…)

This morning I was again crabby. Not the I’ll-knock-your-socks-off-if-you-talk-to-me crabby, just a why-do-I-have-to-do-this-five-days-a-week crabby. The sun was rising over the trees out my back window; the promise of 60 degrees in the air. So I went back and picked out yesterday’s outfit: a blue top and flowered skirt, and a pair of blue sandals.

And I feel young again.

Now, I hear many of you say, “I’m not a skirt/dress person.” During the winter I’m not either. But there’s something in a flowy skirt blowing in the breeze that makes me feel fresh. Different. Lighter. As if my cares have fluttered away. Lightweight pants and flowy tops can do the same. Or colorful scarves.

Kinda like church on Sundays back in the old days.

So that will be Lesson Two. Pick out your outfit the night before (when you still have some fun left in you), and don’t be swayed by the grump you can sometimes be. Lighten Up. Take a Chance. If you can’t do the night-before-thing, take an extra three minutes and do it right in the morning. Don’t go searching with the flashlight app. You may pull out blue bottoms and a different blue top.

Think of the horror of mass boredom you might create.

Be a Fashion Plate — Not a Platter

giphyFor all of you who are tired of making sure your blues are all the same blue and you wear only one pattern at a time:

This morning I complimented a girl on the color combinations of her outfit. She was wearing a purple t-shirt over a pink shell, with a bright green jacket. I didn’t notice her pants, because I’m sure they were the basic black/navy/dark brown. And that’s point number one.

I didn’t notice her pants because they were very basic.

Despite the fact that she was half my age and weight, she carried off the rainbow pretty well. And I told her so. (I like to give out compliments when I can.) That led to my second thought — if I were dressed like that, I’d look like I was heading off to the circus.

Tada dum. An instant putdown to a healthy thought.

Now, the outfit wasn’t offensive in any way. It wasn’t too short, too small, too tight, too sloppy. It was a play on colors I had not seen together. And — I liked it.

Yet I hide in my black-on-black and silver-and-black and pink-and-black. Summer may throw in some whites and greens, but it’s pretty much old lady old. Last year I wrote a blog called Old Lady BoHo (http://wp.me/p1pIBL-uu) where I was going to lighten up my wardrobe and wear flowy skirts and peasant tops and whatever felt good.

And here I am, writing this blog, dressed in black pants and a black-and-white mosaic shirt.

Woo hoo.

And I think — I can’t do this any more.

I know there are plenty of women who are perfectly happy in the monochromes of the world. But deep inside I am not. I think I’m so afraid of “stepping out of the (color) box” because I’m afraid of looking stupid, so I pass on a lot of fun, comfortable, ME things.

I’m not totally helpless yet — I do have tops with promise, and I have bought a few of those cotton dresses from India for summer evenings.  But I sure could use some advice — and a boost of confidence. I’m sure there are other readers out there who could use a boost in the wardrobe department, too. Or who have taken the plunge and never looked back.

I want to be that person.

I know I cant (nor do I want to) dress like I’m 20 or 30. I might have the legs for mini skirts, but my buttocks and stomach aren’t quite as accommodating — or forgiving. But there has to be fun colors and patterns out there I can put together and not look like the a haushalterin. But my color palate is like the image above and right. Always moving, always confusing.

So I am starting a class on Midlife Wardrobe Changes. Not a book/notes/regular attendance kind of thing. Just a blog now and then that gives suggestions on what looks good on a 62-year-old hip, fun granny.

And I sure could use your input.

Lesson One: Closet Cleaning.

Less is More. And less makes room for more. Get a paper bag. Open it. Go to your closet. Pick out three things you haven’t worn in a year. Ask yourself why not. If there is ONE NANO-SECOND of hesitation, put it in the bag.

Pick out three pieces you love to wear. Ask yourself why. If there is ONE NANO-SECOND of adoration, put them back.

Pick out three more pieces that you haven’t worn in quite a while. Ask yourself why not. And this time wait for the answer. Was it a little too tight? A little too short? A little too baggy? Be honest. Then put them in the bag.

It might take you a few weeks to do this, but trust me, you will have a thinner collection. It’s the too small/too tight/too silly looking pieces that make you look stupid, not some peasant blouse or Hawaiian shirt.

The next step is stepping over the conservative barrels your youth set out for you. Catholic schools are at one end of the horror spectrum, big city public schools the other. You either couldn’t afford the newest duds, or weren’t allowed to think about them. We have to shed this heavy coat of conservatism.

But that is Lesson Number Two. Fodder for another day.

In the meantime, if you want to give me some fashion advice, please do. What works for you or what you’re looking for.

I only have 20 or 25 years to get this right. Better start sooner than later.

 

 

Breezy Books Make Reading a Breeze!

I love a good book; I love good blogs and good company.51d0NQj9swL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

I seemed to have found all three at Breezy Books.

I also love free books, and that’s what Maddie Cochere is offering. And, from the sound of things, that’s just what I’m in need of.

In Maddie’s own words:

I’ve always loved the name Susan, so I chose to use it for my main character. I decided to write about some of my life experiences from working in a weight loss center by day and playing racquetball at night, but I would have everything play out in a much more interesting way in Susan’s life.

… I completed the fourth book in the series. I know! Isn’t that crazy? But I was having fun – sailing along, writing, laughing, and self-publishing. My books are a fun, easy read. There is mystery, a little humor (sometimes madcap), and a little romance. They are pretty squeaky clean with nothing to make you blush.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of blushing and shifting in my seat every other page. Sometimes I just want to read something fun, something real, something that feels more like me than the color grey.

I’ve downloaded my free books — and can’t wait to start reading. And the great thing is that there’s more to come.

Come check out the Susan Hunter Mysteries!

https://breezybooksblog.wordpress.com/

Read This Right Now!

10410939_10203578780099885_8715010658202880461_nTo all you current and wannabe bloggers, I came across some interesting statistics the other day, courtesy of Statistic Brain http://www.statisticbrain.com/attention-span-statistics .

As far as us lovers of blab go:

The average attention span in 2013 was 8 seconds.

The average attention span in 2000 was 12 seconds.

The average attention span of a gold fish is 9 seconds.

I just imagine the statistics for 2015 are even more mind blowing. What does that hold for us chatterboxes? Are we full of hot  air? Do we think we are Shakespeare when we are merely Rocky?

I tried to think of things you can do in 8 seconds.  You can:

Glance over one’s resume

Count to 8

Delete your Facebook account

Deseed a pomegranate with a spoon

Speed dial Japan

Make a bologna sandwich

So what the article was saying is — keep your message tight, short, to the point.

Right — and Abraham Lincoln wasn’t really our president, either.

I looked back at my blogs. I’ve been chatting away since 2011. I must say I have cut back on my rhetoric. Back then, Dinner with the Queen (6/22/11) was 1015 words. Chocolate and the Tuscan Sun (4/23/11) was 1016 words. My last few blogs have been more reasonable. Incredible Edibles (686).  Evidence was 452 words. BFFs was 564 words. Shhhh Kitty Kitty Kitty was 686 (am I pushing it here?). I am trying to heed the warning that these days it’s really easy to bore people. To numb people. I have them flip past your book/page/article and move onto the next. And the next.

Some articles I’ve read say you should be able to tell your story in two sentences. Anything else is wasted work. (Of course, that particular article was over 1,000 words long). I know we are all used to Yahoo headlines. After all, that’s how many of us get our news these days.

But how do you know if you’re missing anything of substance? How do you know if you’ll enjoy what you read if the story is only 20 words? How do you know what the person(s) is feeling or thinking or doing in less than two sentences? I think eating only one piece of chocolate is easier.

I could shorten my blogs to a couple of sentences:

Evidence: My cat steals things from my purse and leaves them on the dog’s pillow. She is naughty.

Incredible Edibles: Going to a Creative Leftovers School would be fun. You could learn what to do with leftovers.

They just don’t have the same panasche as the thought process of the sneaky fat cat or the  truth behind impulse buying and portion control, do they?

I suppose that’s what Facebook and Twitter are for. Short, sweet spots of information. Glance and forget. Or glance and send to yourself so you don’t forget it. I have about 15 recipes on FB that I’ve sent myself so I wouldn’t lose them in the plethora of information spinning past me every day. Don’t ask me if I’ve ever gone back to look at them, though.

I think writing, like anything else, is done half way in the middle. Sometimes it takes paragraphs to describe scenery or someone’s evil thoughts. Other times, a few words will do. You will “get it” no matter which you choose. Just be careful the tone in which you convey your message.

You may be describing a decadent desert and someone will mistake it for porn. Worse yet, you may be describing porn and someone will think you’re talking about strawberry shortcake.

 

7 Activities to Keep your A.D.D. Busy

circle-back-oI find that I’m always on my way to talk about one thing when I get turn around and talk about something else. I usually attribute this to my adult-onset A.D.D. Not making fun of the condition; just acknowledging that I have most of the symptoms.

I am learning to work with my short attention span. Sometimes it’s waving my arms like an orchestra conductor, forcing myself to slow down and breathe; other times it’s doing the whirling dervish, looking for the TV flipper that I just set down somewhere. There are other odd things that contribute to my upsidedownness — hubby working a different shift, too many dogs underfoot, having to sit still eight hours a day in front of a computer screen. The winter blues are hitting all of us full force, too. Tired of below zero, slush and piles of snow, boring browns and blacks as wardrobe colors.

What’s a feisty granny to do when she’s lost her zest?

I’ve come up with a list of activities that will combine my inability to sit still with my desire to nap half the time. See if you can identify with any of them.

1.  Multitask.  Now, most of you already do that. But if you orchestrate your movements, you can flow from one room to another, putting things away, running a dust rag across the TV on the way to the bathroom where you pick up dirty towels, drop the towels in front of the washer as you continue towards the kitchen, emptying the dishwasher, taking a clean glass to your bathroom where you stop on the way to fold a couple of shirts in the laundry basket. By the end of the night you’ll have cleaned several rooms and burned off a few hundred calories!

2.  Exercise Class. It’s never too soon to start an exercise regime. I’m not much of a class person, but I have an elliptical downstairs that I can move right in front of the TV. Maybe one day I’ll be able to watch all of Gone With the Wind on the thing.

3.  Writing.  Now, I know you wonder, “How can sitting and writing in the evening help with my antsy pantsyness?” Well, no one writes quite like me. I know Stephen King hides himself in a room for eight hours a day, others have great studies, library desks, even a comfy chair in a quiet corner. Not me. Half the time I’m plopped onto my favorite corner of the sofa, TV going on in the background (mostly Sirius radio), laundry rollin’ in the dryer, flash drives and laptop and spiral notebooks and my phone all within reach, a glass of milk, (sometimes a cookie), and a blanket for the chill. It’s amazing what I can get done with I just sit. What also helps is that I have ten things I want to do and only a couple hours a night to do it.

4.  Be a Granny. Although this task is usually delegated to weekends, there is never a slow, dull moment when I get together with the world’s cutest 4-year-old. Often there are other grandparents around too, so we all can take a breather when duty calls. But I find trying to keep up — and ahead — of him, especially mentally, is the perfect outlet for my whirling dervish moments.

5.  Research. I know when I say that word you think of  putting together 30 references on the bottom of a 50 page research paper on the life of a paramecium. But that’s not true. No matter what your hobby/career/dream, there is always something you can learn from. Learn about. Some take notes; some have great memories. When people say you can’t be a writer unless you’re a reader, that’s true. Even if it’s Yahoo headlines. But your curiosity should take you places that inspire you. Surrealistic artists, wire sculptors, quilting patterns. Ancient ruins. Alien ruins. You can learn from them all.

6.  Organize. Yes, I know that’s akin to cleaning, something many of us are allergic to. But especially now that winter is thinking about leaving, what better time to rearrange your closet or jewelry box or kitchen cabinets. It’s funny, but organization does bring a slowing of the heartbeat and the feeling of accomplishment. After all, how many bracelets or blue shirts can one have?

7. Music. This is my final go-to when I find I can’t slow down. A piano sonata by Beethoven can work wonders. So can smooth jazz or even a visit to the New Age station. No words, no pounding beat (I leave that for Saturday mornings). Just a steady rhythm, a mysterious melody, to a beat that slows down your racing pulse and forces you to relax. Dim lights help, too. Incense. Candles. Just don’t fall asleep and burn your house down.

We all have hobbies/careers/passions that make our blood boil and our ideas clamor to see the light of day. We have busy days, meetings, conferences, data entry and countless other responsibilities. If you are retired, there is still a list a mile long of things you want/need to get done. And the last thing you want to do during the evening or on weekends is to keep running at that breakneck pace.

Yet your love of your craft won’t let you rest, either.

Your best bet is to channel your energy into a positive force to be reckoned with. You may find yourself writing down thoughts for your next story as you mix cookie dough while watching “The Walking Dead” in the background, but, hey! Isn’t that what life is all about?

Get ‘er done!

 

Evidence!

CAM01055I know this is supposed to be a Goddessy blog, with Goddessy, middle-aged stories. And it is.

Maybe this is just a middle-aged reaction to thieves in the night. Thieves in the cold, crisp dawn. Thieves in the whisper of the early morn.

Last night I went to watch my grandbaby and his swimming lessons. Came home, set my purse on the sofa end table, loved and pet the dogs and cats, and went to bed. Somewhere in the late night I let them come and sleep with me for a couple of hours. (Mistake number 1).  Now, I’m not a sleep-with-the-animals kinda girl, but when I’m overtired and I don’t want to hear the dogs click-click-click across the wood floor, I invite them now and then to sleep on the bed.

Hubby comes home at 4, feeds said cats and dogs, and kicks all animals out of the room, and things are quiet until I get up for work a couple hours later. (Mistake number 2).

I get up this morning to go to work, and look at what I found on the dog’s pillow! My glasses soft case, a bracelet, and my flash drive holder! My first instinct was to blame the dogs…they are big, naughty, lovey chocolate labs. They get into the garbage, run away helter skelter if not watched, and bug me 95% of my waking hours. So who easier to blame for the woes of my domestic tranquility than them?

Later in the day I tell hubby about finding my prized possessions on the dog pillows, and, low and behold, he said it was my cats. My little Tom and my fatty Mysty. I say, “wha?” He says, oh yeah, I hear them playing hockey with things I leave out all the time. Pens, pins, bracelets, all kinds of trinkets find their way off the tables and onto the floor courtesy of my kitties.

Humph!

Now, it’s only the two of us (humans) in the house; it’s babyproofed when my grandbaby comes to visit, but otherwise it’s a kind of pick-up-when-you-feel-like-it place. I lived a long time to be able to live this way.

Now I find I have to kitty-proof my house. Including zipping my purse closed, it seems.

What ever happened to the carefree days of middle age? Those days when your kids are gone and you are free to walk around in your underwear and drink milk straight from the jug? The days when you are free to leave your purse open without fear of some ransacking animal pulling things out of it and seeing if they bounce? Before you know it they’ll be pulling out my toothbrush and brushing their kitty teeth or using a fork to eat their cat food, ordering cat trinkets on HSN and ordering tuna pizza from Pizza Hut.

Now that I think about it, though, it’s actually kinda funny to picture fat cat digging around in my purse, pushing the lipstick and gum aside, just to find the empty cloth glass case, picking it up with her teeth, pulling it out, shaking it around, and fetching it across the room, leaving it on the dog’s pillows, setting them up for the fall.

I guess she’s not such a dumb cat after all.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Wine Glasses

In hand-blown crystal glass I see

Reflections of how it used to be

The finest wines in heaven poured

In vessels fit for any Lord

Chalice of Abbe Suger from the Abbey of SaintDenis

 Finely crafted of wood and glass

A stem created from materials past

To hold God’s work in one’s small hand

Is to drink His brew throughout the land

Creations from His thoughts to man’s delight

Turned into a display of shadow and light

Wine glass, engraved, twisted enamel threads in stem. George Bacchus

So fill your glass with revelry bought

Whether water or wine it matters naught

unusual wine glass 1

Drink to love both present and past

And friendships made that ever last

Medieval wine goblet

Poetry by Claudia Anderson ©2015

Water’s Gate

gateNow Watergate does not bother me..
Does your conscience bother you?
Tell the truth…

…..Sweet Home Alabama, Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1974

 

I must admit that about the time Watergate came along I was working my first job as a linofilm typist, and politics did not really concern me overmuch. Today’s generation looks back fondly at Watergate just as they do the Battle of Gettysburg or the Boston Tea Party. Just another history lesson.

The suffix -gate derives from the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s, which resulted in the resignation of U.S. President Richard Nixon. The scandal was named after the Watergate complex in Washington D.C. What I find really funny, though, is that the “gate” part started a whole slew of scandalous escapades. “Gates” abound everywhere.

There are Arts and Entertainment gates:

* Closetgate (2006); controversy after the TV show South Park aired a parody of Scientology

* Nipplegate (also known as Boobgate) (2004); Janet Jackson’s famous “wardrobe malfunction” during half time of Super Bowl XXXVII

There are Politic gates:

* Billygate (1980); Then President Jimmy Carter’s younger brother Billy legally represented the Libyan government as a foreign agent

* Bridgegate (2014); New Jersey Governor Chris Christie allegedly ordered lane closures from Fort Lee, New Jersey, to the George Washington Bridge, because the Fort Lee mayor did not endorse him for his re-election

*  Hairgate (1993); Controversy surrounding a haircut given to U.S. President Bill Clinton

There are Journalism and Academic gates:

* Hackgate (also known as Rupertgate) (2011); Allegations that the now defunct News of the World had hacked into the phones of celebrities, politicians, and members of the British Royal Family

* Reutergate (2006); The controversy over Reuters photographer Adnan Hajj manipulating news photos with Photoshop

There are Sports gates:

* Deflategate (2015); Did they or did they not under-inflate the footballs?

*  Tripgate (2010); Strength and Conditioning Coach Sal Alosi tripped cornerback Nolan Carroll as he ran down the sideline

*  Bumpergate (1982); During the Daytona 500 race, drive Bobby Allison allegedly modified his car so that his rear bumper would fall off, giving him an aerodynamic edge

Funny thing is that these scandals aren’t limited to U.S. soil. Just listen to the names and places:

* Portraitgate (2009, Ireland): Two oil paintings depicting Brian Cowen, Taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland, in the nude, were briefly displayed in Dublin art galleries in March 2009 as an act of guerilla art

* Toiletgate (2006,  Elista, Kalmykia, Russia); The allegations by Veselin Topalov and his manager Silvio Danailov during the World Chess Championship that Topalov’s opponent Vladimir Kramnik was visiting the toilet suspiciously frequently during games

* Pastagate (2013, Canada); Controversy in which an Italian restaurant was investigated by the Quebec government for using words that do not comply with their language laws, such as “bottiglia”, “calamari” and “pasta”

* Porngate (2012, India) Three members of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly in India resign from their offices after accusations that they watched porn during government proceedings.

* Bottlegate (2001, Ohio); Rowdy fans of the Cleveland Browns threw plastic bottles and other debris on the field after a controversially overturned call in the final minute of the game led to the Browns losing the game to the Jacksonville Jaguars

 

You get my drift.  So I figured, if there’s so many scandals out there with gates on them, why not create a few of my own?

* Grannygate: Busted for keeping grandson up way past his bedtime and offering him sugared drinks

* Catgate: When coaxing live cats to lay on the toy train track didn’t work, I offered my collection of stuffed unicorns as test subjects

* Employeegate: There are enough infractions in this scandal that this blog cannot list them all. I am on double secret probation until I am 85

* Flippergate: numerous violations of the “put the TV flipper back on the end table where you found it” rule. The scandal is that I never remember the rule — until I lose the flipper

* Irishfestgate (2012); I boasted to my 6 foot, 225-lb. son that I could keep up with him beer-for-beer at Irishfest. Guess who won, and guess who was sick for two days

There are a whole slew of gates for those who are curious — check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scandals_with_%22-gate%22_suffix.  I’m sure if you scoured your past you’d find a lot of gates, too. But thankfully, since most of us are just regular guys/gals, the media won’t be knocking on your door — er, gate — any time soon.

Just be smart, and keep your gate locked.

Just in case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magic Shoes

Nike SB Dunk High Heel Shoes 126034

I used to love to go shopping.

An hour or so after work, couple hours on Saturday…check out the shirts, the pants, the shoes. Try on some tops, match them up with a pair of shoes, grab a sack of socks, then move right along to lunch or hanging with the family. Never a big deal.

I am beginning to hate shopping.

I would like to think I’m no more “senior” than the mom with kids next door or the junior executive down the block. But I have never been so frustrated in finding a new pair of “gym” shoes than I have been lately.  Last eve was a case in point.

Went to the mall after work. Stopped into one of the big anchor department stores and headed to the shoe aisle for a new pair of tennies (my dog chewed up the trim on one of my pairs and the other popped a hole in the toe). Not a biggie. I get to the store. There are four aisles of women’s “gym” shoes. I say “gym” in quotes because these days there are no such thing as plain, old gyms. There are walking shoes, running shoes, cross country shoes, all terrain shoes, and volleyball/basketball shoes. There are memory foam shoes, high arch shoes, waterproof shoes, non-sole shoes, and designer shoes.

So, okay. First I had to pick my shoe. Seeing as I didn’t see many marathons in my immediate future, I wandered to the walking shoe, There was an aisle of ASICS, an aisle of Skechers, an aisle of Reebok and Addidas, and an aisle and a half of Nike. There were high tops, tie shoes, slip ons (with or without laces), pink and black ones and aqua and orange ones and all black ones and neon green ones. Some had big wide soles in white and some had cleats that weren’t really cleats but for fashion’s sake looked like cleats and some had toes that turned up like wicked witch shoes. The boxes were beneath the display shoes, and the ones I finally settled on were missing the match (naturally).

Seeing as the plain white tennies were way above my weekly salary, I settled on a mesh-looking lightweight pair of pink and blacks. But to try them on was another story. They were connected with a squiggly, stretchy wire threaded through each shoe lace hole and anchored together by a security tag. And not a paper tag – two of those big, plastic clunkers. The shoe was stuffed with a make-believe shoehorn and an insert liner, and an extra pair of shoelaces were threaded in a different shoelace hole.

Now, you can imagine me trying to try on these magnificent, overpriced, designer tennies. I struggled to get my foot in one, and barely managed to stand straight. I couldn’t test walk in them because the shoes were connected to each other by the squiggly, stretchy wire. I looked for a salesclerk to take the security clip off so I could at least walk down the aisle in the shoes, but no one was in sight. Naturally. (I used to work retail; the clerk was undoubtedly pulled to Women’s or Junior’s to help put away the 30 tops someone tried on and left in the dressing room.)

So here I am, tired, trying so hard not to be a cranky old lady, walking with a bag and a purse and my shoes in my bag because I had store peds on my feet down the main aisle passed the Women’s Today Wear, around the tables of jewelry placed strategically in the middle of the aisle, up to the main cashiers, and asked them if they could please take the security bobs off the shoes so I could at least test drive these overpriced shoes before I bought them.

They looked at me as if I had brought the plague in with me. “Oh, I don’t think we’re allowed to do that.” Like this worn-out, over-worked little granny was going to walk out with their overpriced, eye-bleeding-color shoes.

I suppose store policy is strict in their adhering to their “Do Not Remove Under Penalty of Severe Woowoo and Burning in Hell for Eternity” rules. I’m sure lots of overpriced, designer, hurt-your-feet shoes go walking out the door of their own (or rather of a thieve’s) volition. But I bet they at least get to try on the shoes before they put the squiggly stretchy things through both lace holes.

Needless to say, I put the bunny…er, shoes…back in the box, put the box on the top of the stack of mismatched boxes beneath the bright pink and black shoes (which were right next to the aqua and orange ones), took off my little Peds, put my sandals back on, and walked out.

I guess I must be old, for I miss the two-or-three-choices-of-shoes-and-quit-yer-bitchin’-and-pick-a-pair days. There is something to be said for a nation that has too many choices. For restaurants that have seven page menus and ice cream that has 45 flavors and stores that have more choices of shoes than astronomers have stars to chart.

But I don’t have that word at the moment. I’m too busy trying to trim the doggie teeth marks from my last pair of tennies.

Bread and Butter Badlands

breadA funny thing happened this evening. I was all pumped up to write a blog about scheduling things in your life, when I read a fellow blogger’s (David Kanigan) blog called “Don’t Eye the Basket of Bread: Just Take It Off the Table” ( http://davidkanigan.com/2014/09/16/dont-eye-the-basket-of-bread-just-take-it-off-the-table/). It really is an article about how to exert self-control. Which, in that sense, makes sense. If it’s not in front of you you’re not tempted to eat the whole basket.

But I almost missed the point of the blog because I was thinking about fresh baked bread dripping with sweet, creamy butter.  Crispy crust, fluffy inside.  Which led me to daydream about my homemade spaghetti sauce, full of fresh tomatoes and veggies with a smattering of ground beef and/or Italian Sausage, dripping over vermicelli or linguine, fresh Parmesan cheese sprinkled delicately over the top, a small glass of merlot within reach, sitting quietly next to that basket of freshly-baked bread that I’m suppose to have taken off the table.

And suddenly I’m daydreaming about the wonderful world of food.

I’ve been on a diet — no — food behavior modification — for as long as I’ve been out of puberty. I have always had a love/hate relationship with anything that has more than 2 carbs and 35 calories per serving. It’s that homo sapiens thing…anything that is fattening is worth tasting. Of course, tasting, and indulging, are two different things.

They say one can survive on indulging in one tablespoon of anything. Buffet? No problem. One tablespoon macaroni salad, one tablespoon chocolate mousse, one tablespoon mashed potatoes along with one tablespoon gravy. Just think of what a decorative plate you would bring back to the table! One tablespoon from 50 different dishes!

But let’s face it. Living on one tablespoon of cheese souffle is like smiling at only one child at Christmas. Or having one cashew. Or hugging only one grandkid. Satisfying as a bath in ice cubes. We know we should be sticking to the one-tablespoon-rule for our health, for our diabetes and our cholesterol. And most times we do alright.

But sometimes our libido cries for liberation. It just cannot be satisfied with the one-teaspoon-rule. We try to tame it. We hide the food. We buy celery and apples and lean chicken and fish. We succeed where others fail. We lose weight, lower our cholesterol, add some years to our life.

But then something as innocent as a whiff of freshly baked bread or bacon frying and we’re whipped up into a frenzy of biblical proportions. Why is that?

I do believe in moderation. Fortunately for me, the older I get, the fewer things I can digest properly. A couple of cream cheese canapes is not worth the agony of hours in the bathroom later. Spinach Dip, Ice Cream Sundaes, Hot Cheese Spread, all no-nos with the digestive tract from Hell. Yet I have to admit, I cannot pass a chance to try a scoop or two. Just to check it out, you see.

I try to avoid get-togethers where rich foods are the center of attention. Most times I can say “no thanks.” But just as often I hear myself saying, “Just one bite.” Then my big-mouth libido takes over and bread and pasta and Ceasar’s Salads are the order of the day. And as I hang my head in shame, I still enjoy the crumbs at the corner of my mouth or the sweet slide of butter still on my tongue.

I guess I’ve lost the thread of this whole blog to the whims of the wonderful world of food. So let me ask you — what foods weaken your will power? Which sumptuous feasts make you moan with delight? Which part of the banquet table can you not pass by without sampling?

Think I will go bake a loaf of bread while I wait for your answer…

 

Camping for Seniors

luxury-campingI just spent the holiday weekend camping up in Door County. It’s an annual multi-family gathering, full of great food, great company, and great outdoors. There is nothing more delightful than being in the Great Outdoors, sharing secrets with Mom Nature, roasting marshmallows over the campfire and hiking down the trails. We don’t do hotels, nor can we afford a pull-behind camper. My hubbie and I are quite content to  use my son’s popup tent. But I have decided that next year is going to be different. At least comfort-wise.

Now that I’m sitting dry and comfy back in my livingroom, I’m going to change my comfort plans for next year. My body’s aches and pains are telling me that this was the last year for army cots and mummy sleeping bags. I think that I am old enough to bring a little more comfort into my camping zone.

I want to go out and get a nice, fluffy pillow for starters. It can be polyfill, but I’m tired of my neck being stiff from flat head. I also am tired of the mummy-bag-look. It was alright when I was in my 20’s and camping with the gang. But with my hot and cold flashes, I can’t breath when I’m a half inch away from poly filling. Besides that, I need to be able to accommodate my Restless Leg Syndrome. I need room. So next year I’m bringing a fluffy, over-sized comforter as my bedding. Floral preferred.

I also need something better than an army cot to prevent stiff bones and joints. Between my tail bone and hips stiffening, I need something that at least pretends to be a bed. A twin-sized air mattress should do the trick.

While we’re at it, this past weekend was a rainy one. Mud everywhere. We do take the luxury of putting a mat outside the tent door, but I think a few wash ‘n wear rugs on the inside floor would be the perfect resting place for my muddy shoes and callused feet. Floral also preferred, although these should be a darker color scheme.

I do set up a little table in the tent, but, alas, my husband’s bag usually takes up most of the room. The table also doubles as a holding spot for glasses, bottles of water, phone, and other oddities that goddesses need throughout the night. So I have to remember not to fill it with silly fluff just for fluff sake. But I need some ambiance, something to keep his stinky clothes at bay. A throw of some sorts should work as a tablecloth, along with  a solar centerpiece or battery operated candle. Nothing bright — just enough light so I can find my way to the door. Nothing like stumbling over stinky dog on your way to the bathroom.

I know you are saying to yourself, Hey — this is camping, you know — not an evening at the Hilton. Camping is made to be a little rough, a little dirty. I so agree. But I also know that my “seasoned” bones need a little more pampering than they did 30 years ago. I have to understand that it’s okay to be a little slower, a little more cautious when it comes to doing the things I love. I can’t run down the road with the four-year-old, chasing him and his bike. So be it. I can be standing in the middle of the road when he circles back, though. That’s what granny’s do.

Granny’s also take care of their surroundings. Both for themselves and others. And this granny deserves to have a little softness in her rough and tough camping world. I don’t think adding an air mattress or a fluffy pillow takes away from the glory of a tent in the woods. These “additions” would bring comfort to my body and my psyche, translating into a happy camper. And isn’t that the point of going?

I might think a little more about throw pillows, though…

 

 

Colorful Language

adjectivesTell me what you think when you read this sentence.

I stubbed my toe today.

What is my tone? What am I saying? Am I crying (I stubbed my toe and it hurts like hell)? Am I laughing (I stubbed my big fat stupid toe today)? Am I rolling my eyes in mock disgust (I — yes, I — stubbed my toe today)? Am i kidding you (I “stubbed” my toe today)?

What is your instant reaction to that two-dimensional statement? Laughter? Sympathy? Lack of patience at such a clumsy move?

Reading another’s writing is a wonderful experience. With one or two strokes on the keyboard you can find out about someone’s day, love life, depressions, and funny escapades. One-on-one or reading a book, words can open doors to worlds only once dreampt of.

But basic, simple sentences are often prime grounds for speculation. Without adjectives or adverbs, a sentence is open to interpretation. Depending upon your mood at the time, you could laugh or get bitchy or get depressed by what you read. Reporters do their best to stay unbiased, but if they have indigestion or are being threatened by a bill collector, their “tint” might be more or less shaded. It’s not bad journalism — it’s just the nature of the beast.

I have often texted or emailed someone, only to get a response that upset me one way or another. I don’t think first — I just assume. Yes, yes, I know what happens when you ass-u-me…but it’s more a knee-jerk reaction. Only with more conversation does the dust in my head clear and I see what’s really going on. When my friend texts “I can’t make it tonight,” all it should mean to me is “I can’t make it tonight.” Not “I can’t make it because you make me sick” or “I can’t make it because my dog died” or “I can’t make it because I have to study for my finals tomorrow.” All it meant was, she couldn’t make it tonight.

It’s the same for writing things for others to read. If I write “I stubbed my toe today,” most of the time it just means “I stubbed my toe today.” But if I’m trying to be funny, “I stubbed my toe today” doesn’t reflect much humor. If I’m angry about the rock on the side of driveway that got in the way of my toe, “I stubbed my toe today” doesn’t translate that, either. If I’m embarassed about my own stupidity of kicking that rock on the side of the driveway with my toe, that doesn’t translate, either.

I suppose what I’m saying is that God gave us creative words for a reason. They are supposed to take the place of facial expression when we can’t talk face-to-face with others. Looking into each other’s eyes, watching body language, hearing the inflection of your voice, all clarify simple statements. Even lies.

But writing just for the sake of writing can be a one-sided world, too. You need to throw some emotion into your statements. Some color. Some emphasis. That’s the only way we, the readers, can know where you’re coming from.

Don’t let us wondering what you’re thinking. Or what we’re supposed to be thinking. If you want to make us laugh, use your words. If you want tears to come to our eyes, use your words. If you want us to feel depression or elation, use your words.  Let the reader feel what you want them to feel. Like…

I stubbed my %@^?>$ toe today!!!

When is a Cherry not a Cherry?

cherryLike an artist loving colors, like a potter loving texture, I love words. I love the written word, the spoken word. I love the English language in all its curly q’s and static punctuation marks. I love reading, I love creative conversations, and, as you know, I love writing.

I’m also such a child when it comes to words.

Take today. I’m entering catalog copy onto the website, and the product is hoes. I chuckle as I type. I wouldn’t have chuckled 15 years ago, but the world of English has changed since I was a young tart. One of my favorite movies is Fred Astaire in The Gay Divorcee. More giggles. Pussy used to mean cat. Cock was a male rooster. Chuckle chuckle. A shaft was a vertical opening or passage through the floors of a building. Jugs held moonshine or water. Laughing with me yet? Now I find myself avoiding those words just because of today’s connotations.

The same is true with reading and writing sex scenes. Now, I’m not a puritan. Through the years I’ve had my share of “love on the picnic bench” or “kitchen table bumps.”  But as I get older the words just don’t stimulate like they used to. There are lots of books out today where women are ravished and men are studding and the language is as red as bing cherries. I mean, how many erotic positions and sounds can there be? I’m not a prude either. Healthy libidos are what keep us young. So how do you balance sex and love and lust in your blockbuster novel without being embarrassed about every other word?

One way is to write sex scenes that explode without saying one dirty word.

Ever try saying something without saying something? Now, that’s a challenge! Funny thing is, I enjoyed the challenge. Try out this passage from my latest creation:

His sensuality devoured me, sparking a hunger I never knew I had. I was not a virgin, but I might as well have been, as I surrendered to his caresses and his demands. Falling on the feathered bed, his hands found every curve, every fullness of my body, sending electrical currents through me. Currents I almost could not stand. His mouth followed his hands, and I found myself following his lead, my needs exploding into sounds and screams of pure pleasure. When he took me it was if a monster roared above me. Guttural, wild, transcending this plane to another and another. I matched his transcendence, spiraling out of control, the heat from our stones exploding inside of us, inside of each other.

Not one male chicken, not one kitty cat.  Not one moonshine container or vertical passage in a  building. Normal “words” like hands and mouths and explosions, but nothing is ever really said. Just implied.

I suppose for most it’s a pretty boring passage. The point of using variations of cats and roosters is to get that extra blush that words like kisses and hugs can’t bring. It’s like using swear words when you’re a little kid. You’re not supposed to say them, but every time you do you get that little thrill of being naughty. And that’s the power of words. One word can launch a thousand dreams, a thousand nightmares. That — is power.

I must admit I do miss some of the old-fashioned words, though. I personally miss — and use — the cat’s meow, groovy, the cat’s pajamas, jive, holy mackerel. I’m not going to stop watching The Gay Divorcee or Leave it to Beaver just because slang has twisted the words around.

But that’s not going to stop me from giggling every time I type the color buff or cherry.

Escape With An Oldie But Goodie

2013-08-14 16.59.06It has been one heck of a week. I shall not go into the sorid details, but suffice it to say I’ve come out on the other side clean and meek and reformed. So to speak.  I’m going away for the weekend to sit and look at the lake and play with my grandson and go for walks and watch cheesy videotapes (no TV). I don’t get phone service up there, which is probably a good thing (except I’ll have a lot of posts to read when I get back).

So I wanted to leave you with some fun reading from June of 2012. It’s about a disease I still have….Italktoomuchitis.

Happy Memorial Day!

 

 

Chit Chattin’ Chatty Cathy

doll Chatty Cathy

I subscribe to a few blogs where the author has broken out of their silent shell, finally finding a voice that is sparkling and true.  It’s not easy sharing something as personal as one’s self ― especially if that “self” has been suppressed for longer than one can imagine. I appreciate their efforts to finally let the world know who they are.

I, on the other hand, suffer from Italktoomuchitis.

I don’t remember when I contracted this disease.  It certainly wasn’t in grade school (too ugly), nor high school (too busy trying to get pinned). I worked in downtown Chicago for a PR department, but trust me, it was far from glamorous…or talkative. ( I was rather submissive in those days.) Found love, got married and had babies. I didn’t think of myself as overly verbal back then. But now I wonder — when did I become so…chatty?

Chatty is a relative word. Those of us old enough can remember the “Chatty Cathy” doll.  Pull her string and she’d say a half dozen things. What a novel idea at the time. For those of you a bit younger, this phenomenon was a highlight in Steve Martin’s tirade in Planes, Trains and Automobiles: “It’s like going on a date with a Chatty Cathy doll. I expect you have a little string on your chest, you know, that I pull out and have to snap back. Except I wouldn’t pull it out and snap it back – you would. Gnah..gnah…” Well,I’m beginning to think I’m that doll — and I’m the one pulling the string.

These last few years I think I’ve carried the chatty thing a bit too far. One question and everybody knows what I had for dinner last night, why I think my cousin’s child is out of control, the cramps I had this morning, and how much my dentist charged for root canal. I spill my son’s secrets to his wife, and tell my customers not to buy today for it goes on sale tomorrow. What is wrong with me? Since when have I become this effervescent fount of non-interesting information? I find I want to respond to everything. I have an answer for everything. Whether or not it’s informed. I find I have little patience for opinions other than mine, and need to comment on every and all things that come my way. Fortunately, I keep my mouth shut most of the time, but believe me, sometimes it’s a struggle.

I wonder if it’s that old person syndrome. You know ― the older you get, the less you care about what others think.  That seemed like such a cliché when I was younger. All those old fogies saying what they want to, not caring if they offend this person or that.  Most over 70 were a little crotchety and unreasonable, but hey, maybe they just weren’t thinking straight. Pre-Alzheimer’s and such.

As I got older I started to get where they were coming from. Now that I’m teasing the 60 mark, I’m finding those outspoken 70-year-olds weren’t so far off the mark after all.  Having spent a lifetime trying to get my thoughts and opinions across to others, I can see why caution is thrown to the wind and oldies say just what they think. I’ve been questioned and second-guessed more times than you can count; I’ve been unsure of my choices and bothered by the choices of others. I sometimes wonder if I should have turned right instead of left, if I would have made a difference, if I should have said something back then.

And I have gotten to the point where I’m tired of not being listened to.

I’m not saying that my opinion is any better than anyone else’s. We know the world by what we’ve experienced. I have kept my thoughts and opinions respectful and private. But in suppressing the nonsense that runs constantly through my head, I find myself talking and sharing more than when I was 20. It’s like the filter is broken. And I wonder — is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Through this need to reveal more than the neighborhood stripper, I find myself volunteering information that no one is interested in. Well, maybe they are, but in a superficial sort of way. I think we all do that — we listen to others babble their life stories, their grocery store nightmares, their crazy family history or their list of illnesses. We listen because we really do care. Not that we can do anything about their stories, but because we know that sometimes others just need someone to listen.

Often the babble that comes out of other mouths has nothing to do with what’s really going on inside. Maybe the storyteller suffers from insecurities, or illness, or loneliness. Maybe sharing the story of their kid’s accomplishments is a way to assure them that they did a good job as a mother or father. Maybe all they want is to be noticed. To be cared about. To be liked.

Many things fuel our chatter — or lack of. Where we’ve come from is not nearly as important as where we are headed.  If chit chatting about great recipes or the knucklehead in the cubicle down the hall gives us a little clearer sense of self, I’m all for it. We all need to get the chit out of our heads so we can think clearer and feel stronger. And as long as the chat is not destructive, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of babble at the bubbler.

Alas, sometimes I think my only solution is to wire my jaws shut.

I Am (some kind of) A Flower

Banksia-Coccinea_webThe first taste of Spring — REAL Spring — brings an antsyness to me that supersedes any residue A.D.D. I have. Having been cooped up in the house since December, I am ready to take on the world…at least my little part of it.

I have had my share of crap through my life, but have usually come out of it with a fairly clean shoe.  I’ve put up with crummy jobs, crummy friends, and crummy situations. When Spring comes I always want to kick the world in the teeth and strut boldly and successfully into something new. Something exciting. Something different.

But I always run into the same obstacles. Money. Age. Bad Timing. Energy. All the obstacles I swore I’d overcome next time.

I don’t want to confuse the good part of my life with the bad. It’s taken me years to finally be accepting of who I am, flakiness and all. I’m not beautiful, I’m not thin. I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed. But I am happy with my health, my family, and my loves. I’m a fairly decent writer, artist, and cook. I’m a great granny, friend, and colleague. That part is a lifetime commitment, one I think I’ve handled fairly well.  But that’s not the only side of my growth.

I think we all get frustrated at points in our lives. We get tired of taking the bad with the good. Tired of bending like a reed and blowing in the wind. Tired of turning the other cheek.  We tell ourselves we can do better. We deserve better. We’ve worked hard all our lives and we deserve more than this (whatever this is). So we work a little harder, save a little more. Go back to school. Lose weight. Whatever it is that makes us feel we have a say in our future.

And sometimes we make it.

More often, we stall out somewhere along the way. The road is too rocky, too twisty. We really believe we want a new job or a new style. Yet we never quite get there. We send out a few resumes, enter our artwork in contests, buy healthy food. We start walking or jogging or whatever it is we need to jump start our new direction. But the frig goes on the fritz, we twist our ankle. We need to proofread our novel one more time. Legitimate reasons we can’t move on right away. Legitimate. Yet a reason. There’s always a reason.

I suppose that’s why I feel so strong every Spring. It’s a chance to replant those seeds that have been gathering dust all year. I need to believe I’m not really getting older, although all signs point in that direction.  I’ve already started my BoHo chic thing (swingy skirts work better in warm weather). I’m due for a vacation renewal May 13th.  My husband finally found a job.  So things in general are quite good. But I have the desire to do more. Now that the daffodils are popping through the dirt, I should be popping through my own dirt. I need to keep my goals in sight. Even if I don’t get there.

I see shadows on the horizon…they seem to come more in waves these days than ripples. But I’m determined to make it through the rough patches so I can coast when things get smooth. Not only that, but I want to be strong for the others riding this wave with me. Because it’s important to believe that you have a purpose in this world. A reason for hanging around. Every day we achieve something, every day we learn something, is a good day. Never forget that. Even if I can’t find a new job or a new body, at least I can accept what I do have with grace and a smile.

Not to mention that I’ll kick anybody’s bootie if they say different.

 

Fashion No-Nos for Summer

thSummer is much more forgiving of fashion faux pas than other seasons, as the variety of dress and style dances all over the board. Gone are the black and dark browns, in with the peach and lavender. Hats and jewelry and sandals take over the sanity of minds both male and female, as we try and beat the heat by being chic. Even the velvety leggings are put away for the season!

But there are many ways us summer “kids” give away our age and our sanity when it comes to fashion sense. It’s more like nonsense. So here are a few tips to keep you in the game and not locked in the yard somewhere.

Too Much Bare is Hard to Bare.

Unless you are at the beach or in the privacy of your own home, showing more skin than allotted in the Garden if Eden is frowned upon. Showing way more than a healthy proportion of legs, middles, breasts, and other body parts is not safe nor wise. This includes too-short-shorts, too mini mini’s, and too skimpy shirts.  No one wants to see bubba thighs or pooky middles. I’m not saying hide those parts — hey, we all have them. But find ways to cover without confrontation. Besides, getting sunburn on those rarely-shown skins is pretty painful.

Two Piece or Not Two Piece

I am all for whatever kind of bathing suit fits your fancy. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Just do the rest of us a favor and wear one becoming of your age and style. Bright fluorescents and too-small tops are just as bad as big, flowery things. A splash of color, a cup size too small, bottoms too big, all can be uncomfortable and distracting. Do yourself a favor. Be pretty, be masculine, have fun, but wear something that fits.

Strap This

I am of the do-not-show generation, but I have lightened up quite a bit the last 15 years. You can’t always hide your bra strap with today’s fashions, especially if the shoulder straps are thinner than vermicelli. But if you are going to show the strap that holds your all, make it a part of the look, not apart from it. With all the colors and patterns of underwear these days, there’s no reason why you can’t color coordinate your straps and tops.  And BTW, straps that fall down your shoulders aren’t sexy…just annoying. To all of us.

Stained for Life

Sloppy is as sloppy wears. Get real. And know everyone at Walmart can see the spot that never quite washes out. Get rid of all positively, slightly, and barely perceptible duds with tell-tale duds. Take pride in your look and know you can do sooooo much better.

Too Small T’s and A’s

Most people are not the size at 50 or 60 that they were at 20 or 30. Face it. Until the day you wake up pencil thin (unless you are pencil thin), stop dressing in the past. Stop wearing shirts that gap, shorts that rise, tanks that squeeze, and Ts that don’t meet your pants. The hot weather may tempt you to wear less, but spare yourself — and us — a lot of embarrassment. We all hate to get rid of the t-shirt from Woodstock or cargo pants from the start of millennium, but you look so much better these days in clothes that FIT.

Grown Up Feet

With all the gorgeous (and inexpensive) sandals around, the last thing the world wants to see are socks shoved into them. Although this is a popular “man” thing, is also is a “silly” thing. Wearing socks with sandals makes you look fuddy duddy, not to mention uncomfortable. If you must sock, white socks with shoes, bare feet with sandals. You are allowed splashes of colors if you want to match your outfit, but, again, keep the shoes tenny or loafery.  (You think I wouldn’t have to mention something so obvious, but you have no idea how many toddling adults walk around looking like that).

Flower Gardens

The sun and shine of a beautiful summer day is often a temptation to bring nature into our wardrobe. A splash of nature’s pattern here and there is bright and fun. Looking like a giant sunflower isn’t. Avoid the temptation to be covered in daisies, sunflowers, or unclassified species. Pin one to your hat, clip them to your sandals. Know that there is nothing more uncomfortable for the viewing public than seeing huge flowers winking at them as you and your body creases walk by.

Getting older is a wonderful time to establish yourself through what you wear and how you wear it. I don’t have a big wardrobe; I hate most of the stuff I have most of the time, so I make quite a few visits to Good Will and  Kohl’s and Aeropostale. I finally am getting used to this body and want to make it stand out in unique and refreshing ways. What I don’t want is someone snickering behind my back because I look like Granny Does Disco or the Writer-Who-Wore-Too-Tight. There are so many opportunities to create a new and sparkling version of the women I’ve come to love through the years.

I just want to be able to breathe while I create that version.

 

 

 

Comments 101

spam2Good morning fellow bloggers, potential bloggers, friends, and curious ones!

I had a totally different blog in mind, but I feel this topic needs to be readdressed, with tips for those of you who are just starting out.

Everyone who writes a blog does so because they love to write. Some have pictures they want to share. Some share therapy. Some thoughts. Most everyone writes from experience, sharing what they’ve learned with others who want to learn.

Bloggers also enjoy the responses and interactions with those who have read their writing. This is where friends are made, ideas are shared, where we feel good about what we do.

Then there are the spammies.

Spammies usually attack e-mails. But blogs are also open season to those with nothing else to do than create chaos. I addressed this topic a month or two ago, and wound up deciding to moderate all comments before they get published. Things quieted down, and all was well.  But the spammies are back, and I want to share with you what is a real comment for your hard work and what is nonsense.

Here is a real comment from a real follower:

Very nice! I hear you on the “creaks from my joints and the squeals from my muscles.” I definitely want to work on those this year, too. Happy New Year, Claudia! I wish great things for you in 2014! Maddie Cochere breezybooksblog.wordpress.com.

And another:

Some how I missed the yellow brick road last time :-)  I loved your story!  Thank you for repeating… Deb Hathaway debhathaway.com

And even shorties:

Great story!   ittymac  ittymac.wordpress.com

Subscribers and nonsubscribers alike usually refer to something specific in your blog. There are times when you do get “I really like this!” or “Great post!”, but usually those are from followers you already know. (I know I sometimes use less than 5 words).

But a spammie is always from someone you don’t know, usually has no image or legit link, and often talk about things that either have nothing to do with your post or use the generic praise for you to keep doing what you’re doing.  In the last two days I received 20 such “responses.” That doesn’t include the 93 comments in my SPAM folder.

Your writing is certainly extremely persuasive and that is probably the reason why I am making an effort in order to opine. I do not really make it a regular habit of doing that. Secondly, even though I can easily notice the jumps in reason you make, I am not really sure of extcaly how you seem to unite the ideas which produce the actual final result. For now I will, no doubt subscribe to your position but trust in the foreseeable future you connect your facts better.   Tata

Another:

Thanks for the comment and shanrig this story. Somehow when this stuff is going on, I tend to attribute also and to myself. Like I’m a faulty adult or something. But having done workplace advocacy for a long time and so to I’ve come to realize just how often this nonsense is taking place, not to mention that many people think that simply ignoring a co-worker they don’t like is so acceptable… Roman

Those are just a few. You can see right away they have nothing to do with your post. I’ve seen tons of others where some nebulous person says, “Your blog is very helpful. I am grateful you are writing these things.”  They are generic and aimless. They usually pick older blogs where no one goes anymore. I’ve seen conversations go on between two different people about a totally different subject right in my comment section.

I don’t know how they get in there or what they want in there. I don’t know if they are just messing around or if they’re pulling information from my blog or just trying to get me to respond so they can continue to fool around. I mean, how do I know they’re not using MY past posts to share secret or illegal information? I’m not behind-the-scenes savvy when it comes to Internet privacy — or piracy. But I don’t appreciate invasion of my personal space by people who are playing in my back yard without my knowing what they’re doing (or talking about).

I’m not saying you should moderate all your comments. Strangers stop by all the time and comment and go on their merry way. You don’t have to have a liege of followers who hang onto your every post. But if you keep an eye on how many people comment on your posts (I think everyone does to one degree or another), be aware that not every comment is a true comment about you. Most of these spammies just sit in your e-mail notifications as someone who commented on your writing. They don’t have viruses or attachments, but yet when you click on their name to see who they are, who knows what that does?

I know anyone can type anything anywhere, and anyone can type your email address into anything. My husband was a victim of the recent Target scandal, and all he did was buy a Christmas present. So all this blog is about is keep your eyes open. If it’s too incredible, it’s not. If you’ve received a ton of comments on your blogs and you usually get a half dozen, sniff around. Something’s up.

But don’t worry — Big Granny is here looking out for you — and reading your stuff — so keep on reading and keep on commenting.

Fakey Spammies Always Get What’s Coming To Them….

 

Solstice Resolutions

winter-solsticeThe Winter Solstice was the other day…a prelude to Christmas, the New Year, and all holidays (made up or real) in between. I thought about the meaning of this ancient celebration…the length of the night its longest, on its way once again to the shortest, a new beginning, a new year. Another year older, another year wiser, another year wilder. I thought about going outside and dancing naked to greet the new year, but the 9 inches of snow, the below-zero temperatures, and the thought of my naked body made me choose a bubble bath instead.

In the magic bath, I remembered a poem I had written back in 2006. Instead of New Year’s Resolutions (which are never really kept past the first few days), I wrote Solstice Resolutions. Somehow they felt more ethereal, more arbitrary. Easier to read, easier to keep. And it’s funny — the thoughts, the feelings, the resolutions, all resonate the same 7 years later. I share them with you.

Solstice Resolutions

Take my vitamins
Eat more fruit
Watch the moonrise
Write a great novel
Open my mind
Leave my shadows behind
Define Gypsy Renaissance Style
Dream
Whisper

Laugh
Control my finances
Listen to more music

Hug my kids
Meditate
Slow down

Make a new friend

Find time for others
Find time for me
Do my job
Tolerate the wild ones

Age gracefully

Thank the Goddess
Share my thoughts
Get published
Dance in the rain

Offer friendship

Be strong

Offer strength
Redefine sensuality
Reawaken sexuality
Love
Love
Love

Look Through Any Window

CAM00209I keep saying over and over again that I’m not getting older, that technology isn’t getting the best of me. After all, I do work in an office; I do code copy for the Web; I do work with spreadsheets and word documents, and do design a website here and there. So it’s not like I’m a rookie here.

But I recently bought a new laptop with Windows 8, and I can’t tell you how lost I am.

There are boxes on the startup screen that mean nothing to me. Boxes I want nothing to do with. Yet it is nearly impossible to figure out how to get rid of them. I’ve been looking for how to open the DVD drive (besides pushing the button on the side), or how to put an icon on the desktop. Every corner is a link to another universe. Is this supposed to be the new wave of enlightenment? The “world” at my “fingertips”?

I am beginning to understand why my father wanted to cocoon himself in his apartment in his later years. I can see why seasoned veterans would rather make phone calls with a flip phone or turn on the telly and have only 5 stations to choose from. Every time I turn around I have to learn something “new” which, to most of us, means “complicated.”

I am all for growing and learning something new. Or reinforcing what we already know. You’re never too young or too old to develop or refine your skills. I know a lady who is learning to speak a new language, a girlfriend who is going to cooking school, and a couple of guys who are building a car practically from scratch. What’s not to learn? So it takes some of us a little longer to put piece 1a3 into 2f6; sooner or later we figure it out, and are (hopefully) wiser for the fact.

But back to Windows 8. Who really needs all this stuff? Who needs three different browsers and two photo saving programs and clouds and Skypes and skies and a dozen game icons? I know – they all have their special place in others’  lives. My girlfriend used Skype to talk to her husband who was in Thailand, and many people would never know what their nieces or nephews or their kid’s friends’ kids look like if it weren’t for downloading their photos into one of the galleries. Listening to your own music from your laptop is really nice, too.

But what I don’t need is to click on four different corners to change screens, or a plethora of icons that will take me weeks to figure out. Am I just lazy? I don’t like that word. Stupefied? No…not that word either. Mystified? Well, I do like that word, but I hate to use it on such a three-dimensional object as a laptop. Maybe it’s more like being … distracted. I am such a sensitive, awakened, seasoned, middle-aged persona (like you) that I don’t have time to waste learning things that aren’t important to me (kinda like the subjects in college).

I already have a hard enough time coordinating jewelry and outfits. Or keeping my laptop files in some semblance of order. I’m not up for figuring out squares and corners. I just want simple word documents and chat boxes and an easy way to get to WordPress. For me and my limited play time, all I really need is a laptop with a smooth keyboard, a bit of Photoshop to play with images, and, okay, I-Tunes. And that mahjong game. And the link to Yahoo TV.  And, okay. The link to my horoscope. You get my drift.

My head’s already in the clouds enough the way it is. I’m not sure I need my laptop there, too….

What’s Back There?

book4Greetings! I did a little “rollover” dance with my Explorer the other day. All is well, thank the Goddess, but I thought a little backwards glance into my glorious blog might entertain you while I recuperate a little…

Chocolat and the Sun 

Escapism with a Reality Check.  http://wp.me/p1pIBL-2w

2 Chocolat and the Tuscan Sun1

Life is a kaleidoscope of feelings: it is pain and death, birth and life. Because the cosmic implications of these things are way above my head, I would rather contemplate my own daydreams.

I Can’t Believe I Believed That

Legends are So Much Fun…  http://wp.me/p1pIBL-6g

Dolly-Parton-with-Crossed-Eyes--58695a

Urban legends are as old as Medusa turning those who look at her to stone — old as dirt.  The more society has matured, the easier it is to decipher falsehoods from the truthhoods. Or is it? Here’s a list of ditties I found on my wanderings while doing research for my Great American Novel #3 (let’s hear it for the Internet and a few spare hours!)

Fashionable Hobos from Hoboville

Dressing comfortable is one thing … dressing like a hobo another … http://wp.me/p1pIBL-67

31 Fashionable Hobos from Hoboville

Are you one who enjoys presenting your best side to the viewing public?  What I mean is, do you spend time fixing your hair, pants, shirt, purse, shoes, the whole bit?  Not that you strive to strut your stuff down the Chanel or Yves St Laurent runways ― it’s just that you want to be presentable. Most women who take care of their heart and/or soul take care of their appearance, too.  What I’d like to know, then, is why is it when we are away from the public eye, we look like hobos from Hoboville?

I Didn’t Know I Spoke Chinese

Parents and their kids often speak two different languages. http://wp.me/p1pIBL-8N

chinese_symbol_for_laugh_postcard-p239398313843791555trdg_400

Do you believe that children and their parents speak two different languages?  Do you ever try and communicate with someone who hasn’t a clue as to what you are saying?

You Make Me Dizzy Miss Lizzy

Ever feel like you’re always doing the spin-a-roonie?  http://wp.me/p1pIBL-jt

dizzying

Not so long ago I wrote a blog entitled, “I Make Myself Crazy.” You know ― it’s the on-sweater, off-sweater, hot/cold thing.  http://www.humoringthegoddess.com/2012/04/07/i-get-on-my-nerves/  Nervous ticks aside, I now try to slow down and think before I flutter.

Trippin’ Right Along

2013-08-16 21.17.40
Gaelic Storm, Milwaukee Irishfest

One of the keys to surviving middle age is to balance your complaining with your freedom. People like to read about your older “boomer” adventures, but few have time to listen to a thousand words of whine. As a friend once said, things of a personal nature have a short shelf life, because people quickly confuse your madness with theirs.

I had a great time this past weekend. Went to the zoo with family, went to Irishfest Friday evening, then back to Irishfest all of Saturday with family and friends. The music lightened my soul, and walking and eating and talking with friends and family strengthened my heart.

That’s what people want to hear.

They don’t want to hear about my aching legs and feet, or my Alzheimer’s moment of leaving a tube of ointment in the bathroom stall, or the five dollars I lost by stashing it in a place that jiggles too much. No one wants to know that I took a tumble trying to step over a chain that was a wee bit too high for my short legs, or that the cause of my headaches was more likely from dehydration than stress.

People love to read that I took my grand-baby playing in the Irishfest park and that we walked to the lake and watched the boats and threw rocks in the water. They don’t want to read about the almost-twisted ankle I got because I climbed on rocks I had no business climbing on.

I wonder if I was this muddled 30 years ago? If I was as prone to forgetting and stumbling? Back then I’d get drunk and others thought it was funny and entertaining. If I’d do that now people would think it embarrassing and senile.  I’m sure I dripped food on my chest from the time I was 16; now, if I do it at 60, it looks like I’m feeble. I never was a jogger or a marathon runner, but having to stop and sit now and then makes me look like I’ve lost my get-up-and-go. Did I ever really have it, though? And did it ever matter?

Ah, but I don’t let that fear stop me from living. Neither should you. Once you get passed your bruised ego look at all the good things that come from it. I listened to music I loved; I played with my grand-baby and almost-grand-baby; I got a nice sun tan; I leaned to drink more water, I sang my favorite songs with the band; and walked so much my legs are ready to walk with the girls at break again.

I also learned that nothing is safe when hidden in places that jiggle alot.

The Ball is not Crystal

??????????????????????????????????????What is the purpose of blogging?

I imagine you will get as many answers as there are construction barrels in Wisconsin.  But I ask myself that a lot.

I wonder why it is I chose to write this sort of blog. I subscribe to others, and they, too, run the gamut. Some are funny, some are inspirational. Some get personal, some are spiritual. I think of the scope of this blog. Is it too long? Too short? I see lots that are under 300 words. I see lots that are 900 words. I see blogs that have thousands of followers. What makes a person follow one and not another?

At one time I thought about writing a funny blog. My friend at The Return of the Modern Philosopher (http://moviewriternyu.wordpress.com) mixes writing about talking to Zeus and aliens and all the weird goings on in Maine with personal glimpses of the writer behind the madness.  Then there are others like David Kanigan  (http://davidkanigan.com) who makes you think and feel, sometimes with as little as a couple of sentences. My friend Itty( http://ittymac.wordpress.com/) is a font of inspiration and strength pulled from her life experiences. I am a fan of so many others, just like you.

We all read blogs for all kinds of reasons. But how do I figure out what others are looking for?  Yes, we write for ourselves. The more we tap into our “talent” the more believable — and readable —  we are. But what do readers want? How do you get to the thousands of followers mark? And does that necessarily mean you have a good product?

And, as you all are saying back to me — what does it matter?

I don’t really have an answer to that. I want to entertain, I want to encourage, I want to make people laugh.  Do I want to be a famous blogger? A famous writer? Do I want to dazzle the world with my keen insight into getting older?

Or do I just want to write?

Entertaining friends and family, both old and new, means more to me than having hundreds and thousands of followers who never open an e-mail. Having fun writing is more important to me than forcing words out just to make a dollar. Writing is therapy in a hundred different ways — I am no different.

So tell me,  friends, readers, writers — what makes you follow a blog? What do you look for?

Digging Around

dachshund-digging-5449136_sDigging around for some of my blasts from the past? Dig no more!  Here are a few fun ones you might have missed…

 

 

 

 

doll Chatty Cathy  Chit Chattin’ Chatty Cathy

https://humoringthegoddess.com/012/06/06/chit-chattin-chatty-cathy/

I subscribe to a few blogs where the author has broken out of their silent shell, finally finding a voice that is sparkling and true.  It’s not easy sharing something as personal as one’s self ― especially if that “self” has been suppressed for longer than one can imagine. I appreciate their efforts to finally let the world know who they are.

I, on the other hand, suffer from Italktoomuchitis.

 

pig_toy_pigletBuh Buh  Buh Blues

 https://humoringthegoddess.com/2012/02/15/the-buh-buh-buh-blues/

(Base guitar)

da da da thump…

Don’t wanna write ‘cuz there’s no light…

da a da thump…

Don’t wanna sing or work on my bling…

da a da thump…

Don’t wanna jog in my new tennis shoes…

(Loud and bluesy)

Don’t wanna do nuthin’ cuz I got the blues….

I’ve got the (loud) no-sunshine, no-energy, don’t give a whack ‘bout nuthin’ wintery bluuuueeesss..

.

4 Feng Shui Inside the Cubicle 1  Feng Shui in the Cubicle

https://humoringthegoddess.com/2011/05/04/feng-shui-in-the-cubicle/

One day I was sitting at my desk at work, green computer screen glowing, honky-tonk music spurting out from a speaker not far above my head, trying to concentrate on a long list of numbers that needed to be entered into the computer, glancing at pages waiting to be proofread and images to be downloaded, when a word drifted across my consciousness – Feng Shui.

38 Dinner with the Queen   Dinner With the Queen

https://humoringthegoddess.com/2011/06/22/dinner-with-the-queen/

In the mundane throng of your very predictable life, don’t you now and then want to just break out of the box and do something different? Now that you have the experience of all those years behind you, don’t you want to make that experience mean something? Don’t you ever want to be bigger than life?  Just for a day?

51 On Base of Bony Orbit  On Base of Bony Orbit

https://humoringthegoddess.com/2011/11/08/on-base-of-bony-orbit/

When not being busy as a Goddess Gypsy Irish/Polish Writing Queen (I’m not really sure what that is…), I also spend 40 hours a week working on catalogs. I enter data, order images and copy, and proofread everything from the original description to the final glossy prepress page. One of my catalogs is dedicated to health care. Besides pages being filled with replicas of every body part (inside or outside) you can imagine, I also come across some extraordinary vocabulary.

 

41 Merlot at the Lake HouseMerlot at the Lake House

Quick. Name a handful of your favorite movies. Not the “great” ones that are in your library ― the ones that define you. The ones you don’t admit entertain you time and time again. Are you what you watch? Are you big enough to admit that you are what you watch?

`

Tuning In

Tuning In

I was watching an old “Closer” tonight. Brenda’s kooky future sister-in-law was calling herself an “intuitionist” (as opposed to a psychic), reading auras, getting signals from skin-to-skin contact, and receiving telepathic messages, helping the Task Force solve another murder.  It was an amusing combination of murder and mayhem, and, as usual, the character was so obnoxiously cosmic she made everyone roll their eyes.

After digesting this hour and moving forward, I started to think about the validity of one’s second sense ― something we all have, and all dismiss.  How many times have we met someone and instantly made an impression that later proved to be right on? We do it all the time. We instantly like or dislike someone. Admit it. It is only when our guilty conscience kicks in that we note our prejudices and tell ourselves that no one is always as they seem at first glance. The book-and-its-cover thing.

We get impulses and intuitions and psychic images all the time. Sometimes we know the phone is going to ring before it does. We have an urge to leave for work early only to find that just ten minutes later there was an accident that tied up traffic for three hours. And it’s not always the big-deal intuitions we get.  Moms know their kids are sick long before their kids do. Kids know when their moms are about to call (or text).  We know when our friends need to talk without them saying a word, and when our check is going to bounce.

Yet we dismiss these quirks as just that ― quirks.  No one can know the future. No one can channel energy from the cosmos or talk to dead people.  It’s all in one’s imagination. An active imagination.  Yet how many times do you talk to your mom or dad who’ve passed away some time ago? How many times do you connect with someone’s intimate feelings through the power of the written word? How many times do you walk through the woods and feel the energy around you? Energy you can’t see, energy you can’t explain. There are people who talk to God and Archangel Michael and others who swear their grandma is right there giving advice.

Humans have a need to label everything around them – compartmentalize what they can so they can feel they have “control” of their world. Which, we all know, is impossible. Nevertheless, we all do it. To me, mathematics and physics are in the same world as astral traveling. I will never understand the p’s and q’s of combinatorial geometry and lepton flavor violation, but they hold as much fascination to me as the Kobayashi Maru or the Dementors.

So someone outside of our sphere says they can talk to ghosts or read the glow around the human body.  Just because we can’t see or do out-of-the-ordinary things like that doesn’t mean they can’t. We can’t see electrons with the human eye, but scientists insist they exist. We say there is not life on other planets, yet there are giant tube worms that live a mile below the ocean surface under incredible pressure, and gain nourishment in an environment with chemistry radically different from our atmosphere.

Some psychics and mediums have devalued the importance of true life intuition. But you see, you don’t need a cosmic guru to tell you you are making bad choices — that you are overeating, in a bad relationship, or smoking too much. You are your own best intuitive when it comes to these things. You just have to listen to yourself. To the magic that speaks to you every moment of the day. Don’t be so quick to dismiss your innate ability to feel and understand the world around you. 

Can others read auras and predict the future? Can the future be seen in the spattering of tea leaves in the bottom of the cup or in the alignment of the stars?  What does it matter? All these connections to the world of the mind and the Otherworld are nothing more than people paying attention.  Those who seem gifted do nothing more than pay attention to the world around them. They watch people’s faces, notice the tapping of impatient feet or hear the anxiety in their voice. They know you are looking for answers, for guidance. So they do their best to guide you on your way, or to open your mind to new possibilities.

They do it — you can do it too.

I’m not saying the “intuitionist” is the wave of the future ― I’m just saying that there is a bit of the “intuitionist” in all of us. Seek guidance when you need it, listen to your own spirit guide when you don’t. Have fun lining up planets for your next shopping spree or matching your astrology sign with potential love interests. Just have fun with your intuition, period. It’s a part of you, of your very DNA.

Ah…DNA… Deoxyribonucleic acid. Another one of those winjy kinds of words. Think I’ll put that in the same pocket as ESP. Extra Sensory Perception. I don’t understand the depth of either word, but they make me feel good, knowing that they’re both a part of me.

Now…what do I “feel” my hubby will make for dinner tonight?

Get ‘er Done

thThis is a question everybody can answer. There are no rights or wrongs — just a lot of points-of-view and lots of fun.  Youth vs. Age, married vs. single, male vs. female, 30 vs. 60. And my guess is that the results will be quite telling of what side you are on.

My question is:  If you had a weekend all to yourself, what would you do? I mean no guilt about leaving friends and family behind; no guilt about not fixing the car or doing the dishes or playing fetchie with your dog. Finances are taken care of if need be, but not the focus of the daydream.  How would you like to spend the hours between, say, Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon?

I’ll start.  I’d love to check into a hotel ALL BY MYSELF, with my laptop, 3-ring binder, paper and pens, Ipod, bottle of wine, bubble bath, great snack food, and chocolate truffles. I’d write, organize the files on my computer,  research, download images for my blog, edit the novel in the 3-ring binder, enter writing contests, go back and work on stories I started 6 years ago — along with using their WIFI and watching their movies.

How boring, you say. My husband said the same thing. He thinks I’d do nothing but surf the net for two days. Not So. I have sooo many things I want to do in the writing world that two days would barely be long enough. Just think — no cats climbing over my laptop; no dogs bugging me to play fetch; no Swamp People or Deadliest Catch. No questions of “where’s the ___?” or “Did you do ___?” Just me and Gaia Borealis and Darren McHale and Ginny Huntington and a boatload of other characters just waiting for me to tell their story.

Now.

My husband, bless his pea-pickin’ heart, is one of the most linear, in-the-box thinkers I know. I  asked him the same question the same way.  First he said he’d spend the two days with my grandson. No — no family members. Then he had to think about it. He loves fishing and hunting. What about a fishing trip  somewhere? No — he’s a people person. He loves to do things with other people. Me too — but that’s not a part of the HYPOTHETICAL question. After a few more rounds of “reasoning” I decided he just wasn’t going to play.

I would love to know how YOU would waste two days. And don’t feel you’re slighting your “others” if their name doesn’t show up on your guest list.

If they played this game, your name might not be at the top of their list either…

A Rose by Any Other Name…Could be Rosetta, Roze, Roase…

name-tag-11I’ve always had a “thing” about the name Claudia. It was rare and, when I was growing up, a tad odd. Seeing that the most popular names the year I was born were Linda, Patricia, Mary, and Deborah, it took a while to feel comfortable with an unusual, yet pretty, name.

The other day I was importing thousands of names into an e-mail data base, and  couldn’t help but notice the variety of names that are popular these days. There is a much wider rainbow of names that paint the sky than ever before. Yet in this realm of creative namesakes, I often find myself more than just gender challenged. I find I am way out of my league in name recognition and pronunciation.

I took an informal/unprofessional/spur-of-the-moment survey of data that crossed my desk. The lists came from people interested in the following subjects: Arts & Crafts, Science, Farm & Ranch, and Early Learning. Out of approximately 16,000 names, here is what I found:

The most popular over-all name (i.e., most frequent), was John, followed by Mary, Michael, David, and Jennifer.

The most popular Arts & Craft name was Susan, followed by Mary then Jennifer; the most popular name in Science was Mary, followed by John then Jennifer. Farm interest was strongest by those named John, followed by David (not Dave) and Michael (not Mike); and those interested in teaching younger students topped off the name chart with Amy, followed by Mary then Jessica. Other top 10 names included Nancy, Andrew, Brian, James, Barbara, and Jeff. Simple, easy-to-remember names.

There were normal amounts of Barbara, Rachel, Matthew, Kevin, Vicki, William, Gail, Carol, Tara, Paul, Leslie, and Sharon. There were lots of Lindas and Julies in Science, lots of Charles and Bens in Farm, lots of Nancys in Arts & Crafts, and lots of Lauras in Early Learning.

But I found a bunch of other fun stuff, too. (here comes the disclaimer bubble..I like ALL these names…that’s why they’re here).

I came across a lot of names that I consider “cute”: Gipsy, Deva, Roark, Stormy, Faughn, Sunny, Dash, Harmony, Mystica, Vanilla, Autumn, and Misty.

Then there are the “unique” names: Aletheia, Barbarita, Charlesetta, Anjanette, Candelaria, Dainko, Jasbeth, Merywynn, Vetrice, Tenancia, Descea, Elicinia, Dazanne, Torianne, Brack, Mireya, Lorendana, Nanise, Narshara, Garnetta, and Bernel.

Then there were the names that are sure to be misspelled: Khara, Alizabeth, Jacqui, Steav, Kasi, Kristopher, Rebekah, Tracee, Raechel, Symantha, Jackelyn, Rhoni, Tobye, Wendee, and Niqui.

I don’t know about you, but there’s no doubt I’d flunk the name game these days. I have a hard time figuring out if it’s male or female, and I’d hate to get yelled at for misspelling someone’s name. The most popular male names for the year I was born were James, Robert, and John. It was hard enough remembering if it was James or Jim or Jimmy, or Robert, Rob, Bob or Bobby. Maybe Deborah dropped an “h” now and then, and I was shocked when in 8th grade my best friend Linda changed her name to Lynda. I couldn’t do that with Claudia — unless it was Claude, Claudette, or Claudine. Ick to all.

Tell me about the unique names you’ve come across in your life.  The beauty of the written word is that new words can be created out of old ones. And, anyway, it’s what’s inside that counts.

And, just as a reference, the most popular names for girls a hundred years ago were Mary, Helen, Dorothy, Margaret, and Ruth. Popular men’s names included John, William, James, Robert, Joseph, and George. To be fair, there  also was Edna, Ethel, Ralph, Gladys, and Mildred.

So revel in the uniqueness of your name. If your name can’t be unique, make YOURSELF unique.  And be glad you weren’t named after a piece of furniture or a digestive part.

Madness Feedback Time

thCACKVOVZI really love my Goddess followers.  I may not have readers that rack up into the hundreds or thousands, but those of you who take time to read these middle age ditties (or tell someone else about them) really help keep the magic alive.  Some of you I know personally; others I have the pleasure of reading your blogs. Some of you merely peek in now and then. I hope all of you “get” something from these posts and use them to make your own magic.

I don’t know if it’s the “getting older” thing, or the “being in a hurry” thing, but lately I feel the stress of not having enough time to do what I want. Oh, you say, join the crowd! The whole world is like that! And it’s so true. But there is something lurking deep in the deep recesses of my subconcious cerebral cortex telling me I’m running out of time. Not in the most direct sense, mind you — I plan on being around another 30 years. But that’s not the same as being around another 40 years. Or 50 years.

I try not to live by the “If I only knew then what I knew now” motto, for, obviously, I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t been there.  It just seems that my NOW is a lot more crowded than it used to be. During the birthing babies stage, my life was split between work and children. Outdoor activities? Soccer or baseball games. Moving up the corporate ladder? More like moving up the playground ladder.  Dinner parties? Hot dogs on the run. I didn’t know what I was “missing” because there was no time to “miss” anything. Back then I really wanted a career. I did spend a number of years working in downtown Chicago, but to me it was more of a job than a career. (Like there is a difference).

Now that I’m suffering from middle age madness, I feel a second wind coming. But that’s just it…it’s somewhere around the corner, behind the neighbor’s barn, stuck in the bushes with empty frito bags and dried fall leaves. I keep thinking that as soon as I catch up with the dishes or mowing the lawn or organize my dresser drawers or reading my favorite blogs that my time, my body, and my life will be “organized” enough to be expanded.  

But it’s just not happening.

So I’m looking to my Goddess followers to give me a few tips. I’m serious. In a funny way, of course. How do you choose? 5:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. is taken by the Big Boss. But what next? How do I find time to sit down and write (my favorite past time) and cook great meals (I love to cook) and clean up from said great meal and vacuum every other day (with dogs and cats it should be three times a day) and spend time with my family and wash and put away laundry and mow the lawn and catch my favorite TV show and take the dog for a walk and clean out the basement and write a blog and do research on the Internet and….

Okay. You get it. Do I let housework slide to do the things that I love (and who knows..maybe make me money in the future)? Do I get on the hygene horse and get super organized in my house so that everything is always done (so we don’t have to call the health department)? Do I record all my favorite television shows and leave them for  one snowy day when I’m 88 years old?

Give me your thoughts. Help me not feel guilty about being Superwoman. Give me an idea on how to get that second wind blowing straight into my living room window. I promise not to stand there naked to catch the breeze.

No one should have to go through something like that.

Enter Stage Right …The Drama Queen

opera-singer-1Ahhhhh…the life of a Drama Queen. Always in the spotlight. Always one-upping friends and family with tales just this side of Edgar Allan Poe. Their problems, their accomplishments, are always bigger/sadder/more confusing than anything you may have experienced. You’re allergic to cat hair? They’re allergic to cat hair, laundry soap, pollution, and chocolate. You get headaches? They get super-duper three days-in-the-dark whoppers.

I know we all have our physical and mental ups and downs…no race is run without sore feet. It’s just that most times Drama Kings and Queens are more…dramatic…than their counterparts. They always have something wrong with them, whether it be their health, their job, their relationships, or their kids. Every time you turn around — well, you get my point.

Now — what do you do if one day you yourself become the Magi of Drama??

It’s so easy to cross that barrier at times — often you don’t even know you are one. When my friends tell tales about their kids, I always have a story to tell about my kids. You’re going to Las Vegas? I’ve been there three times! You had the flu for three days? I had it for a week! Are these the signs of one-upmanship?  Am I competing or sharing? Encouraging or bragging?

I suppose what it comes down to is how deep the puddle is that you’re/I’m splashing in. I waver between telling friends about serious situations (such as illness or death), and trying to mind my own business. Yet these things boil and bubble inside of me until I find it’s easier to tell the truth than get tangled in the web of lies and half-truths that trinkle out. Before I know it I’ve offered TMI, and think — Drama Queen.

Yet I find there is incredible healing in slipping into the DQ role at times. Like the day I found out I had the big C. My husband and I were shocked enough, and when I went back to work, I immediately told my workmates.  It just kind of bubbled out. I found so much support and tears and understanding that I suddenly was embarassed. Yet relieved. The same was when I had a bit of surgery a few months later. Or my mini bout in the hospital. Not a big deal. Yet it was easier to tell others where I was than pretend I was in Graceland for three days. Same with my dog passing away. As my last blog indicated, A Dog is Just A Dog and a Cat is Just a Cat…Right? was a therapeutical way to deal with a sad situation. Yet as soon as I hit publish, I thought — Drama Queen.

But I also offer sympathy and a lending an ear to others who are in need. I don’t think twice about listening to friends about their saddest moments: their father passing away, their bouts with Crone’s Disease, their inability to find a job. My heart hurts with them, as if it was me going through the ups and downs. Their happiest times, too: a friend at work got a beautiful tattoo; I gushed over it to the point that I want to get one, too. My kids are going away for five days (their first since they were married 7 years ago); I gushed over their adventure to the point that I want to go, too.

So I think — are my friends and family Drama Queens and Kings too?

When you think about it, talking about your ups and downs is very therapeutic. I know at least half of my recoveries have been because of friend and family support. The pressures that build up inside of us are more than we can handle. Even if we are SuperMan/Woman, we all get to that point where, if we don’t let our anxiety out, we turn and twist into something ten times as messed up as before. Sometimes we need an outlet, an ear, of someone who can do nothing about our problems, but still can relate to the feelings. They are our pressure cooker valve, our second glass of wine.

And they are our mirror. Good friends and family don’t let us become Drama Kings and Queens. We get too dramatic, too out of control, they steer us to calmer waters.  Which is what we needed in the first place. The point is, don’t be afraid to share your highs and lows with those around you. Your therapy is their therapy.

And after a hot spell, what’s better than a cool dip? I know lots of people who are cool dips….

Grrrrr Woof!! I’m Baaaaaacckkkkk!!!!

big-nose-dogChange is a wonderful thing. You and your friends and the lady down the block and the crazy driver behind you are ever evolving…even if the moron behind you is up your bumper and the lady down the block recycles dog hair for her art projects. It’s just one of those “getting older” things. And whether you are concerned about turning 30 or turning 60, the shadows of change forever dog your steps.

I had taken a “hiatus”, if you will, from blogging. Too many other things to do; too many blogs to read, too many 7:30 to 4:00 work days ,too much housecleaning, too many buzzy bee activities to be involved in anything personal. Reading? I tried Fifty Shades of Grey, but I lost interest in about Shade Six. TV shows? I am still trying to catch up with the finale of House. Dealing with employment issues, dog and cat issues, hot flash issues, all took a bit of zip out life of my daily 24 hours in the past months.

But I really missed blogging. And I figured – if I’m going to angst about getting older, why not get back in the get in the groove and angst with others my age? With others of any age? I found that teeth gnashing and deep, dramatic, sad sighs about getting “older” were not limited to my own private sphere. One girl at work was struck with the painful reality that she was now 40, and even my 30-year-old son is having flashbacks to carefree days in high school. Life is rushing by for a family member that just turned 70, and I can barely think about my own turning 60.

No one is immune to the effects of aging. Whether it’s crows feet (I’ve seen some in women as young as 35), the groaning ache of getting up out of a chair, indigestion from something as simple as mushrooms, or hitting the mute button on the TV because the noise has finally become too hard on your ears, age creeps up on us whether we want it or not. Our ability to handle the madness of middle age becomes just another brick in the preverbal wall, if you get my drift. So why not handle it together?

Come back and play with me ‘n the Goddess!! Let’s celebrate with the Goddess the fact that we are at least coherent enough to feel the aches and heartburn and dizzying pace of the world around us.Whether you’re in your 20s or in your 60s, tell me your funny “getting old’ stories, your “senior” moments, your attempts to regain your rock-and-roll youth. You’ll find your concerns aren’t nearly as bad as you thought…that getting older (and, if we’re lucky,  wiser) isn’t half bad when you see that everyone else around you is getting older too.

As one famous terminator once said, “I’m baaaaaackkk!”

What Is True Success?

So many things make us happy; so many things make us sad. So many times we wished we  had turned left instead of right; so many times we are soooo glad we did turn right instead of left. Sometimes I get really sad that I’m soon going to turn 60 — where has my life gone? Other times I look back and am sorry my mother never made 54. I’m sad that I had breast cancer; other times I’m so glad they found it when they did.

Life is packed with highs and lows, yellow and blacks, snow and scorching heat. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what it’s always been about. For us, for our grandparents, for George Washington and Kublai Khan and St. Joseph. I’m sure they all had a hundred things they wanted to do at one time, too.  Just like us. We all want to be appreciated for what we’ve done. What we’ve become. We all would like to think that our time here on Earth has been for the Greater Good.

This is not a confessional blog; this isn’t a tell-all or a bad news bomb.  I’m sitting on my sofa this cold Sunday afternoon, looking at the bare treetops in my front yard. Of course, you know me — I’m also watching football, eating lunch, doing laundry, getting ready to write some in  my latest novel, wondering what I’m gonna wear to work tomorrow. I’m also thinking about the fun I had with my grandbaby this weekend, thinking of taking some drugs for my achy legs, and feeling guilty I haven’t played fetchie with my dog today.

That’s really what this blog is about. Sometimes I feel I should be pushing this blog harder, trying to share the Word with more readers. Other times I think I’ve run this horse to the finish line, and should start a new creative venture.  Yet more often I think  I’ve let my writing simmer on the back burner for so long it’s started to dry up and stick to the pan.

How do you know if you’ve succeeded at what you tried to do? What is the measure of success? Big paychecks often are an indicator;  good health, always. Waking up every morning is a success all on its own. Family? Kids? Making the perfect apple pie? All of the above are successes if never done it before. Success has always been measured from the heart first, from the masses second. And often it takes on a meaning more cosmic than one thinks. I think I make the best spaghetti sauce this side of the Mississippi. If you don’t agree, does that mean it’s not good? Of course not. All it means is that I can eat it all myself.

Writing is the same thing for me. What is being a successful writer? Have I ever been published? A short  story here or there in the past 10 years. Have I won awards for my creativity? No. Have I ever I gotten a call or email from a publisher? No. Do I think I’m a successful writer? Yes. Definitely.  I’ve had people say positive things about my stories; I’ve brought smiles and tears to readers.  I’ve written 4 novels, 1 novella, 32 short stories, 42 poems, 84 blogs, and 3 novels in-progress. I think that’s being successful. Why? Because Ive continued to do what I love, no matter what the  result. I’ve had fun making friends, creating worlds, and trying things that make me uncomfortable. I encouraged people to believe in themselves, given life to middle-age heroines, and never killed off  the main character.

There are still so many paths to follow, worlds to explore. And that’s only after I play with my grandbaby, fetch my dogs, pet my cats, cuddle my husband, go to work 40 hours a week, clean my house, grocery shop, get together with family and/or friends, and dozens of other responsibilities. Life has only so many hours, and I’m still struggling on squeezing a few more out of every week.

So what this all boils down to is that I’ve driven the Humoring the Goddess train long enough. Hopefully I’ve encouraged you to believe in yourself, have fun with your life, and laugh as much as you can. There are so many things you can’t change, so why not toss your hands up and laugh and move on? You’ll know the things you CAN change..that little voice in your heart/head/soul is always there to remind you. Your job is to listen.

I have enjoyed entertaining you all these years more than you know. I have learned so much from you. I might try another blog, or finish one of my novels, or sit and spew poetry until I feel nauseated. I’m sure I’ll be back and visit sometime. If I start something new I’ll post it. I will look foward to hearing from you and YOUR projects. You will always find me at my email world…  humoring_the_goddess@yahoo.com.

There is always a path ahead of you. Always. It’s up to you which one you take, or how often you turn left or right. In the end, none of that matters — the only thing that matters is that you keep walking.

Keep Humoring the Goddess…and Loving your Life…

Claudia Anderson

Movie, Movie, Who’s Got The Movie?

I wrote a blog not too long ago called Hannibal Lechter vs. Harry Potter  https://humoringthegoddess.com/2011/07/27/harry-potter-vs-hannibal-lecter/ .  In that ditty I had just finished watching Hannabal’s first movie, and wondered if I was a reflection of that movie. Having decided that I am everyone and everything I see and do, I took the cosmic message and moved on.

Well, there I was, alone for the weekend, hubby gone up north, no one here but  me and the girls (2 dogs and one cat) and the boy (TomCat), and, left to my own whim, in charge of not only the TV but the movies.  And I am sorry to say I found myself falling into the same familiar grooves. I did watch a brand new movie sent to me in the mail…Wrath of the Titans…which said something about my taste to begin with. But I found myself falling into the same familiar pattern of watching movies I’ve seen ten times before.  Does that mean I’m more predictable than I ever imagined?

In my Lechter vs. Potter rant, I found myself defending polarity ― or bipolarity, if you wish. I found myself saying:

 But back to the crazy movie. In watching this psychological mess, I oft-handedly wondered if this kind of movie reflected my inner self. I have many friends who talk about the movies they watch:  middle-aged love comedies; retro pot-smoking, chick-banging absurdities; historical pieces.  Some are huge fans of horror; others cannot live without  lots of sex and drama. Do these favorites define who they are? Do these choices influence our cosmic journey?

 I was content thinking that we are not our movies. We are not our job, we are not our clothes or our car or our choice of beverage. But the older I get, the more I see that we are all of the above ― and more. On the positive side, I believe it’s good for us to go outside our comfort zone now and then. Finding a new job, trying tofu burgers, watching a documentary on polar bears or the creepy world of Hoarders, all are experiences that may or may not add to the wonderful sparkling jewel we call ME.

Yet, when I find some real free time, all by myself, my energy level not high enough to write a sonnet or a novel, I find myself searching the cabinet for movies that will make me feel good. And, most times, there are the “eternal” movies. You know ― the ones you can watch over and over again and over again. Mind you, not all movies fall into this “special” category. There are many, many movies I’ve seen once, and once is more than enough. There are some that I enjoy if I come across them on TV or if I walk into someone’s house and they’re watching them, but wouldn’t go the extra mile to bother with after that.

Then there are the die hards that I always, always enjoy. For me, Avatar, The Rock, The Mummy, Con Air, and Closer reruns, all can entertain me almost any time. (It used to be tearjerkers, but menapause has turned me into a crybaby.) I sometimes wonder if that means something. For my fun stuff is not my son’s fun stuff. Or my husband’s fun stuff. Or my friends at work’s fun stuff. And I’m sure my stuff is not my kid’s stuff. At least some of my stuff.

On further reflection, I think age, social circles, emotional states and personal history all fine-tune us in one direction or another. There are no “right” or “wrong” movies ― what makes one person feel wonderful makes another sick to their stomach. What is righteous to one is sacrilegious to another.  I suppose that is why humanity is such a varied, colorful tapestry. And I do love tapestries.

Are there movies that you return to time and time again? Do you think they reflect a deeper part of you?  Or are they just oddities in the rainbow of life?  Actually, this isn’t a cosmic question.  Just think about the movies you love to watch time and time again, and let them be a wonderful reflection of your heart and personality. 

And, hey — don’t worry if you love the Freddie Kruger or Saw genre — there’s a place in this world for you, too.

Just don’t move next door to me…

You Make Me Dizzy Miss Lizzy

dizzyingNot so long ago I wrote a blog entitled, “I Make Myself Crazy.” You know ― it’s the on-sweater, off-sweater, hot/cold thing.  http://www.humoringthegoddess.com/2012/04/07/i-get-on-my-nerves/  Nervous ticks aside, I now try to slow down and think before I flutter.

I was reminded of this “crazy” thing today as I ran around the house doing  … everything. It was a beautiful ― and I mean beautiful ― Sunday outside. My first Sunday home in a long time. Husband was at a football game, son was sleeping (or at a friend’s watching the game ― I never know)…a perfect day do to nothing. As some of my confidantes know, I’ve been pretty run down lately, and have finally quit my second job in an effort to get my sanity and energy (what’s left of it) back.

Well, if today was any indication, I have a long way to go before I am able to get my mojo back.  Last night I was full of mental energy. Not having been around home much these past few weeks, there were dust bunnies doing the waltz across my floors, I could write my name in the dust on my dresser, and the pile of dirty laundry in the laundry basket had morphed into a snake-like creature that has started curling towards the bed. I told myself I would not allow myself to get lost in my art until I could sit without fighting the dog/cat hair bunnies for a spot on the sofa.  Good intentions. And, for the most part, I accomplished some of the above. But I made myself goofy doing it. Or, rather, I knew I would make anyone watching me goofy.

Most people start with a list, the most important (or most obvious) tasks on top. You do the task, you finish the task, cross the task off the list, take a break if need be, and move onto the task. That way task number one is done and finished and buried.

Not me.

I woke up, slipped over to my computer, did a little blog page work, got a plate of spaghetti for breakfast, threw some laundry into the washer, went outside to the back porch, thought I needed a couple of plastic chairs on either side of the table,  went to the barn and brought them back, cleaned off said table, put a tablecloth on it, came back in, took everything  off one of my dressers, went out and turned on the football game, threw towels in the dryer, went back in to dust the dresser, went downstairs to find a container for all the odd things ON the dresser, walked out to the kitchen and unloaded half the dishwasher, went back to the computer and found the story I was working on and corrected a page or two, went back into the bedroom and started folding laundry, looked at the stuff on the dresser and wiped some pieces off, putting them back where they belonged, hung up some clothes,  came out and had another bowl of spaghetti for lunch,  switched the laundry, made brownies, watched the football game, nodded off for a little bit, got up and put a solar lamp on the table on the back porch, put a couple of things I took off the dresser into the library to sit and collect dust until I get to work in there, went to the front porch and picked up the chairs that were blown over, went back to the bedroom and cleaned off the second dresser, stopped and rolled a few towels, came back out to watch the game, got on the computer and did some more proofreading, got up and finished emptying the dishwasher, let the dogs out, then sat back on the sofa and starting writing a blog.

What is wrong with me?

Why do I have such a hard time walking a straight line? These past few days, all I could think about was sleeping in late, taking naps, eating healthy, going for walks to get my blood pumping, and resting. Sure, I knew that not all of that good stuff was going to happen, but the intent was there. Along with the promise to myself that I wouldn’t write until the fat lady cleaned. Never happened.

When I’m at work I’m focused. It’s hard work; it’s computers, it’s accuracy, it’s a logical process. But it’s like the minute I walk out of that building I’m bombarded with a thousand things to think about and do.  And I don’t even have kids running around to mess things up (except a college student whom, like I said before, isn’t here half the time anyway). There are TV series I’ve recorded that I want to watch, things I want to research, books I want to read, along with wanting clean clothes hanging in the closet (not to mention just being able to walk into said closet), fish to feed, meals to create, dust bunnies to vacuum, grandbabies to play with, kids to talk to ― how can I possibly get all that done in a day or week ― not to mention a lifetime?

I can’t believe I get so disjointed spending a Sunday home alone.  So…befuddled. So…disorganized. If good intentions get me to heaven (or at least to some unicorn fields on the other side), I suppose I will be able to flood the gates open.

On the other hand, if organization is the cornerstone of the afterlife, I’m going to have to take a lot of pens and notebooks with me. Not only will I have to take precise notes, but I just might have to write a blog on the way.