Search This Blog

Monday, December 27, 2010

A GPS for Santa

Today, the post is a delightful guest post, from Jeanne Kraus, Educator, Author, and Speaker and you can check out her blog at http://jeannekrasus.blogspotcom or her website at  Jeanne was gracious enough to share this post with us.  I believe we can all relate….with a smile, now that it is over.

I must say, my husband, George makes a great Santa. With his red suit and beard and make-up, he’s the real thing. I am his devoted and mostly ignored spouse, Mrs. Claus.

Unforeseen circumstances caused friction between the jolly old man and I as we traveled to do goodly deeds Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, Santa’s twelve-year-old pick-up truck was not yet outfitted with a GPS so we were on our own. And Santa doesn’t have the memory he once had. As we made one wrong turn after another, I began to think that he resembled a Grumpy more than a Santa.

“You said to turn right,” Santa snarled through his beard.

“I can’t remember, “ I confessed. After all, I’ve never had illusions about the fact that I can’t find my way out of a shopping bag.

“Turn left!” I yelled. Santa jumped.

With exaggerated patience and a tad of sarcasm, Santa spoke. “No, we went that way already. We’re going around in circles.”

Santa was posturing, heading for a fight. Where was Rudolph when I needed him?

I gave him my best Mrs. Claus look. “If you don’t talk nice to me, Santa, you can just let me out and go by yourself.”

Despite the fact that he knew I would not get out and walk home, he didn’t take me up on it. I was lucky.

By the time we reached our destination, Santa and Mrs. Claus were not speaking. The front door flew open. Santa belted out in his deep voice, “Ho, Ho, Ho! Merry Christmas!”

Jerk! I muttered.

Santa got a rousing greeting, and was hustled over to the Chair of Honor. Mrs. Claus was flattened by the stampede of children streaming toward Santa. As I readjusted my festive hat and jingle bells, I looked at Santa. There he sat, cradling a three-week-old baby in his arms, surrounded by adoring children. The spirit of Christmas had worked its magic on me. That and our new GPS, which will help Santa on his rounds next year.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

In Flight Magazines

Do you enjoy the in-flight magazines?  I read them just for entertainment as many people do.  After all, on a plane, everyone is literally, a captive audience.

I enjoy the ads and what they are saying…or just trying to imply.  There is an ad for “The Original Hawaiian Slipper Pendant with Diamonds.”  What this represents is the casual lifestyle of the island. Seriously?  Have you been there?  Traffic is horrendous in the city.  Why would anyone want a flip-flop around their neck for $200?   The chain is additional (doesn’t come with the necklace)…isn’t that called a charm?

Then there is one for Garmin, which claims to be the thinnest navigator in the world.  Does anyone care how thin their GPS unit is?  I don’t think so.  What they do care about is that it gets them from point A to point B in a quick manner.  Being voice activated sounds great but in my experience, it doesn’t seem to save you time, especially if an accent is involved.

Welcome to Santa Barbara where women with clingy dresses wear high heels to walk in the vineyards and men with suits dirty their shoes in the mud of the vineyard.  The woman looks at the man with delight while the man looks at the vineyard in lust.  Instead of wine country, they advertise it as WIN country…because they now have casinos.

Last but not least, entertainment at 30,000 feet.  The Pandigital.  “You can take your favorite books, music, videos, photos, and more with you anywhere you go.  Connect to the Internet at home or on the road via Wi-Fi hotspots and check e-mail, surf the web, or keep in touch through all your social networking sites.”  Uh, did someone forget that we have limited space and are instructed to turn off our electronic devices or get escorted off the plane?  Josh, do you care to comment? 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pounds and Time...It is All so Confusing

I recently returned from traveling and can’t seem to shake a problem I had with the airlines on the weight of my luggage.  I am amazed and somewhat ashamed at how much stuff I took with me, but to defend myself, I was packing to be gone three weeks!

How did the nomadic people do it?  Traveling from place to place with all their belongings and no suitcases?  I wish I knew one to interview!  I just know it would have made a difference in the weight of my luggage.

First the counter agent tells me that my  bag is overweight so I take it 30 feet from the counter and put it on the scale across the aisle and it weighs less than 50 lbs. but the counter agent instructs me to open it up and rearrange stuff anyway.  Who knew a fleece jacket weighed a pound and a half?  They understood I had a flight to catch, right?  Did they not see the stress in my facial expressions on being able to get to the airport two hours ahead of my scheduled flight; packing for hours; finding a parking spot for the car; then a shuttle and getting all these bags to the counter?  Did they not smell the sweat from getting these bags here?

Who calibrates these machines?  Why don’t they say the same weight?   Why do the airlines go by the scale in front of them but not the one 30 feet away?  How can they not be the same weight?  The airline knows I have a flight to catch, right?

Welcome to REAL life and all the idiosyncrasies of living in a world of a traveling society.  I found my share of craziness before the flight!

My mind wanders to buying a bathroom scale at the department store.  How do people decide?  If they step on one and they weigh less than they think they should, do they buy that one or continue shopping until they find one where they weigh less?  

Real poundage is almost as confusing as real time, isn’t it?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Snippets of Funny Things

Have you ever walked out of a room with a rug (not wall to wall carpet) in it and walked back in later to find the rug messed up?  What happens to the rug when we leave the room?  Are there invisible gremlins in our houses that love to make us feel crazy?  Do they laugh when they see that our minds are churning to solve the issue of a rug being out of place when we return to the room?

When we are walking and trip, have you ever noticed that we look back to see what the culprit was?  We glare at it!  Are we trying to make the object feel bad for being there when we didn’t watch for a problem in our path? 

It is almost inevitable now days to go into a women’s restroom and a cell phone rings.  Is someone watching to see when someone visits?  Are women setting timers for their phones to ring so they don’t feel alone in the bathroom?

For all the people and birds in the world, isn’t it amazing that there are not more people that get pooped on by the birds?  Is the average 1 in 1000?  How many people do you know that have collected bird poop on their clothes or hair?

Has someone asked you how you feel and you have said one of the following:  like the loser in a prize fight; run over by a Mac truck; gone through the ringer of a wash machine?  Let’s hope none of us find out how those things really feel!  

Friday, November 12, 2010

It has been said that silence is a source of great strength.  There are many types of silence, for instance: anger, grief, sadness and confusion.  The most comforting is said to be the state of being at peace. Using silence takes practice and one of the crucial parts of that practice is observing; observing your own breathing, your thoughts, your feelings and your sensations. 

The ability to remain calm comes in handy when you have moments in life that require the focus of your emotions.  Maintaining calmness and focus under emotional upheaval can save a life.

There is a large body of research that suggests meditation as a form of relief from stress, high blood pressure, and anxiety.  We train our bodies, why not train our minds?

Meditation doesn’t mean you have to sit on the floor in a certain position.  In fact, you can meditate walking in the park…anywhere and anytime you can be quiet for a while.  No special equipment is needed, no special training, just quiet moments.

Balancing those moments with loud and long laughter is crucial to your well being.   A few years ago, I took a class on meditation and could not get focused on being quiet.  I ended up leaving the class and so did a few others since they were laughing uncontrollably.   We had a case of the giggles!  Some days, your body and mind can be quiet and others…well, it just isn’t your day for that.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

In Sync with your Desk

What kind of relationship do you have with your desk?   Most people that have desks, love them.  Despite the growing trend of expecting workers to work on the go, we humans like our desks and can easily make one where ever we happen to be.

Desks can hold books, notes, calendars and of course computers…almost all that a person would need to do their chosen work and communicate effectively with others. 

Some creative minds like having things visible as they never know how stray thoughts can fit together.  Others like their desk to be organized so nothing distracts them from what they are doing at the time.  I have read that people with messier desks are more open to new ideas.  No matter what type of person you are, is seems that if when your workspace is in sync with you, you are a happier more productive individual.

In an office environment, we tend to think of the desk as protection between us and others than intrude our office.  For some, just knowing they have a desk, brings comfort.  For others it is their home away from home.   To most people it is their workspace and they need it to retreat from endless meetings, unrealistic deadlines, constant interruptions, and the time-consuming supervision of others.

Grab that little piece of chocolate stashed in the top drawer and close your eyes for a moment.  Ahhh…now THAT’S  what desks are really for.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Keep going Until We Stop

Scott Stratten spoke at a "TED" event.

For those that don't know, it's an event where speakers go for 5-18
minutes on one idea.
This video is well worth your time!  Take a look!

The session is called "Keep Going Until We Stop"

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Modern Conveniences…Taking them for Granted

Have you thought about how modern conveniences save you time, let you enjoy life more, or are just a wonderful part of your life?

Most of us don’t.  We take them for granted.  We are spoiled in all the modern conveniences and have come to believe we deserve them.  They have become so much a part of our lives; we give little thought to them, unless they are temporarily taken away.  We panic if we can’t find our cell phones, even when we are at home!

If your electricity goes off in the night, you get a wake-up call (not literally) on taking the electricity for granted.  You also get to show your skills on time-management!  A nice two-for-one.

The bathroom is another place we take for granted.  Running water at our disposal 24/7 --- a luxury that the pioneers couldn’t dream of.  The only time we have to go without water is when our pipes freeze or the water heater has decided it is done with our ungratefulness.  A rare occurrence.  Sometimes we get more than we bargained for when our facet water can be lit on fire but for the most part, we take it for granted that when we turn on the facet, clean water spews out quickly.

Yes, in our modern lives we complain about bosses that are expecting too much of us.   NEWS FLASH!  We all get the same amount of time in a day.   We have companies that will bring us food, already cooked, when we want it; deliver clean clothes to our door; we can order nearly everything our heart desires.  We don’t have to plan our lives since we can go online, order what we want in the blink of an eye with a credit card number and have it delivered tomorrow.  After all, purchases have become emotional decisions and life is stressful.   Has stress become the catch-all for our debt mismanagement?

Can you imagine pioneers getting emotional about flour and sugar?  Chopping wood in minus 30 degree weather to heat the water for a bath or to cook a meal?  Do you think they could comprehend, “emotional eating?”

In our modern day lives, most of us are not capable of making sacrifices.  We only have to pop that container on the corner of the counter and turn on the oven because nothing says lovin’ like something in the oven!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Apple 3G Phone for Dummies

I hate talking about relationships on the internet, but this one isn’t with another person, it is with my iPhone.  Almost two years ago, I got an iPhone.  I was so excited to have it since it was considered an “exclusive” for cell phone users.  It was a gift.   I saw how much other new users enjoyed it and I was thrilled to have one.  I’ll admit that I enjoyed all the bells and whistles that came with it.  Once the glow of having one wore off, I started to see if for what it was.  Oh, wait, this seems like a “person” relationship.

Here are a few things that have become a source of frustration over the last 20 months of my relationship with this phone.

You can have full bars and the call still gets dropped.  3G and full bars mean NOTHING!  As with any phone, the calls get dropped in the middle of huge cities where cell phone towers are abundant… but, it seems to enjoy the outskirts of towns.  When you get out in the country, well, your phone is about as worthless as a tin can…okay, not that bad, you can still text but using the phone as a phone is not an OPTION.

Although 3G was “the best” when the phones came out, my iPhone tends to forget that it is a mobile phone.  The phone works well in the house, most of the time, but get it in the car and it suddenly gets Alzheimer’s.  It can’t remember where I am or where I want to go!

GPS navigation?  You have got to be kidding!  This phone has serious issues! This navigation can’t take you anywhere…ok, maybe to the bathroom, but most people remember that one on their own.

All those apps are fun at first then you realize you can’t use them for very long since the battery wears down so quickly.  The battery needs to be recharged about 3 times a day.  Yes, it eats more power than most humans eat food!

The inconsistency of alerts is amazing!  You chose one tone for the text messages and the crazy phone will do another sometimes when a text comes in…what tha…?  In fact, it uses the same tone you have picked for your “new email” alert.  GREAT!  So, you think an email came in and can attend to it later when it was really a text saying, there is an emergency at work you need to make a PRIORITY!  The reminder of appointments is annoying since you put them in your phone thinking it will be nice and remind you of them, sometimes the phone reminder won’t go off until you slide the slider.  Can you say, ANNOYING?

The auto brightness is inconsistent also.  You can go out in the sunlight and it should automatically be brighter or go indoors and it should be darker…but that isn’t what happens.  Sometimes it works and sometimes…well, you are on your own.  Why take the time to set settings that just can’t seem to work for you 85% of the time?

One last thing.  The phone will allow you to multi-task when you are on a call…sometimes.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason for when it allows you to multi-task and when it doesn’t.  It just seems to allow less and less access to the things I thought I needed to make my life EASIER.

On the PLUS side, the phone does have an on-screen keyboard, so it saves you from flipping the keyboard out each time you need to use it…BUT, you guessed it, it is again inconsistent as to when the keyboard shows up.  Sometimes, it never does…like times when you want to make a list; it seems to forget that you need the keyboard to do that.

You need a crystal ball to work this phone!!!!!

Tell me, how do you like your cell phone?  Is it what you thought it would be when you signed up?  Has it made your life easier or more complicated?  Has it become one of those necessary evils in your life?  Has your relationship lost its new spark before the contract is up?  Is this all too familiar?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Southwest Airlines Rules and Regulations

Okay, I get it that I am a very “interesting” person.  I have been told that many times and if I had a quarter for each of them I can remember, I would not be writing to you today!  I would be sitting on a beach in Cancun sipping a fruity drink.  Since that didn’t happen, here I am today, writing about something equally interesting…Southwest Airlines’ special luggage rules.

Ah, come on, don’t be like that. 

Here are some rules I thought were unique and because I like to give fair warning, please make note of these in case you are planning a trip soon!  Southwest takes these rules seriously!

Alcohol content may not exceed 70% by volume (140 proof).
I didn’t even know they made alcohol with that large of a percentage!  Shows you how long it has been since I had a drink!  Sounds like it would kill anything in your body and maybe your body too!
Can you even read the bottle after you have drank alcohol that is 140 proof?  Who would care what proof it was?

Dry Cell Batteries (these are everyday batteries)
Any Alkaline, NiCad, Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH), Silver Oxide and Carbon Zinc batteries similar to those used in flashlights or commonly used electronic devices are allowed onboard the aircraft.

These items must be securely installed in equipment or have exposed terminals protected in a manner to prevent short circuit. Electrical tape, individually bagging batteries in sealable plastic bags, or plastic covers designed to protect the terminals from short circuit would all meet this requirement.
Are you kidding me?  They have to be securely installed in equipment?  Who knew electronics would work if you didn’t do that?

The screening equipment that inspects your checked luggage may damage undeveloped film in camera equipment. We recommend that you put undeveloped film and cameras containing undeveloped film in your carryon baggage. The screening equipment will not damage camera images.
There are two different types of screening equipment?  One for carry on and one for baggage going in the baggage compartment?  Does the baggage in baggage compartment get screened better?  Or maybe not at all?  How can the carry on screening process not damage film but see through my clothes?  Technology!  Ain’t it great!?

The carrier may contain two (2) cats or dogs and must be of the same species per carrier.
No mixing species, people!
The animals must be harmless, not disruptive, odorless, and require no attention during flight.
Good thing there are no rules like this for the passengers.  The plane would be mostly empty!

Musical Instruments
Reservations must be made and a ticket must be purchased at a charge no greater than the Child's Fare. Musical instruments cannot be transported in place of a free companion under any fare promotion.
Okay, you know this rule was made because someone tried this and because there wasn’t a rule yet, the airline had to let them do it, once.

Our Customers must declare the gun to the Customer Service Agent at the ticket counter (no firearms will be accepted curbside) and ensure that the firearm(s) chambers are free of ammunition and the magazine clip has been removed (when applicable). Paintball guns and BB guns are considered the same as all other firearms.
Can you just see someone getting tired of waiting in line, shouting, “gun” so they can cut ahead?  Everyone would move out of their way and let them through!  No one would be angry at them for it; at least not the first time they did it.

Parachutes are allowed in checked or carryon baggage, but may not be worn in flight.
You know it will be a bad flight when you see a passenger wearing a parachute!  Without any announcements, you might as well grab your carry-on bag and get off the plane NOW!

Overnight Amenity Kits for Lost Luggage
One of the best kept secrets is the small overnight kits available for lost luggage.  The most you will get is:  shampoo, soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a razor and sometimes a little laundry soap to wash out those undies you will have to wear again tomorrow.  ;-)  I know, it sounds gross but you will survive.  You think going without underwear would be better?

When you receive your kit, you will quickly realize that you have been over packing all this time.  Amazing what you can and do get by with in a pinch.  We are all survivors!  (can you hear the “Rocky” theme song?)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

Recently, I took a short trip within 70 miles of my home. What in the world was I doing on this trip? Actually, I am always thinking and I do my best thinking when I am doing something else that may be “automatic” for my brain…driving happens to be one of those things, for me. I needed a break from writing sales copy…FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY…YOU HAVE BEEN EXCLUSIVELY SELECTED…and all of that other crazy stuff written on sales letters.

One of the things that caught my brain cell was a sign that read, “Trucks entering highway”, which appears on many different roads in our wonderful, colorful state. I found this interesting and I am going to share my thoughts with you whether you like it or not.

If a truck is entering a highway, I do believe, even with my limited vision, I would see it and don’t need a sign to tell me there is one coming (which could make me paranoid) and I could run off the other side of the road watching or looking for a truck which may or may not be coming my way. Something much smaller could justify a sign…a snake, wildlife, glass on the road, a stopped vehicle, or a pedestrian? I can see a truck! I would probably see the other stuff too, but I am trying to make a point.

Another sign I thought was an interesting one was a sign that says what county you are in. Does anyone really care what county they are in? Couldn’t we save the material that goes into that sign for license plates of something useful? Can’t we find a better use of the person’s time than putting up a county sign that only I will see? I could have done without it, truthfully!

I care about what city I am in, but only barely. I care more about an address or street name than anything…beyond that, I don’t think I need signs that tell me where I am and mile markers that tell me how many miles since I entered the state.

And speaking of mile markers, why do we need one that says, 67.5? Is that information relevant to anyone? I guess for someone whose car just broke down…possibly it could be important when you were calling for help. Generally, people just look for a person, not a mile marker, don’t they? Who can see those little things in the dark? Besides, your car knows better than to break down by a mile marker…that would make it easier for you to actually be located and for someone to help you.

Life doesn’t always make sense, does it?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Old Friends

Isn’t it great when out of the blue, you hear from a friend that you have wanted to talk with but never made the call? I feel bad, embarrassed and so happy all at once!

Bad because I didn’t take the time to call them when I was thinking of them.

Embarrassed because I didn’t take the time to call them when I was thinking of them.

So Happy because they didn’t put it off calling any longer and they were thinking of me too!
 We remember that she introduced me to funnel cake and that I drag her to every waterfall on the planet! We are great travel partners and seem to be on the same waking and sleeping schedule. We talk about all our memories of how we met and what we have been doing in the last few months…soon, we realize that we are still talking to our dearest friend although many, many years have gone by since we first met.

We talk about bad perms, our hairstyles over the years, how important fashionable clothes were when we were teen-agers and first entering the working world, how comfort over fashion wins every time with shoes now, and how crazy our lives were when our kids lived at home. But mostly, we talk about how precious our friendship is and how it remains one of the top ten beautiful things in our lives.

As always, we vow not to let so much time pass before we talk again…but we always do. Thankfully, we are in fairly good health and don’t give a thought about the other person not being there.

After we have talked for hours, we say silly things like, “don’t be a stranger” when we are not strangers at all. We are so much a part of each other’s lives in so many ways, even though we live 1600 miles away from each other. We tend to pick right up where we left off the last time we talked without missing a beat!

I, for one, believe true friendship aids tremendously to the quality of my life. Don’t let another day go by thinking of someone and not calling them…they are probably thinking of you too.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Good Advice is Not Always Good Advice

Have you ever gotten words of wisdom, integrated them into your life, and then discovered that they were counter-productive to your goals and dreams?

We all mean well in giving advice, but seldom know others well enough to give them good advice. Good advice is based on conventional wisdom. It takes into account what has worked fairly successfully for some but that doesn’t mean it will work for you. The advice may have merit, but is it right for you?

If you solicit advice, you are sure to get a ton of it! It can kill your dreams quickly if you don’t listen to, and more importantly, understand what has happened in the person’s past that molded their way of thinking.

You see, there are people that view the world as a scary place and others that view the world full of opportunities and joy. That is not to say that every day is joyful, but that those joyful people tend to lean towards the “fun” part instead of the “fearful” part of life and see it through eyes of understanding instead of eyes of control.

For me, I believe the only thing we really have in life that cannot be taken away is our knowledge. I believe I have good advice to give but truly, the advice I would give is good for me and not many others. I choose to give encouragement instead.

One thing for sure is that if you can’t hear advice with a critical ear, you shouldn’t ask for it! You have a responsibility to hear the advice and take it, hear it and take portions of it, or hear it and be critical about whether you believe the advice is good for you and your situation. You can also disregard the advice altogether.

Good advice can be deadly to your dreams. Your responsibility is to view all advice with the awareness that it is your dream and your decision.  Every dream involves risk.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Complete Idiot’s Guide or the Dummies Book series?

Have you ever read these books? Do you feel like you must really be dumb when you don’t get what they are trying to explain? I do. I have read many of them and am fairly well educated and I still get confused on how to do the things that they are trying to explain.

Take for instance the SEO Idiot’s book I just read. It talks about activating Google analytics; you sign up then are given instructions to cut & paste a given code to paste into your website code…I don’t do code and haven’t the faintest idea where to find it for my website. The instructions say “this code must be inserted into the underlying HTML of each page you want to track”…I am happy to do that but again, don’t do code, so where is the underlying HTML code for my website?

After some searching on the internet, taking with two friends and my mother, I finally find it! Then you are to place the code they have given you in the body text section of the section of your page. The body text section of the section of your page? What the heck does that mean? There is nothing in the HTML code that says </body>…I put it in the search box…it comes up with nothing.

Maybe, they should start from the beginning and tell us where the underlying HTML code is before they have us cut and paste something into it that may or may not work. After hours of searching for an answer, I realized I was dealing with something beyond my education, understanding or comprehension. I lost my motivation to track the traffic on my website. Where is the IT person when you need them?

Silly me, what did I expect from a company named GOOGLE? Or a book with “ Idiot’s” in the title?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Pet Ownership

Statistics show us that about 60 percent of American households have at least one pet. That’s the majority. That leaves 40 percent of people who don’t have a Fido or Fofo living in their home.

Are the 40 percent, the smart ones? I believe we are. We get to sleep without hearing the whimpering of a pet that has been called by nature to empty their bladder. We sleep without worry of being awakened by a pet. We may worry about a burglar breaking in… but our pet waking us up, NEVER!
Some of us avoid pets due to allergies. I agree that wheezing and sneezing are not a good way to live and taking allergy medicine to have a pet seems well…just a little crazy.
People that don’t own pets get to walk bare foot in their homes without having to pick pet hair out from between their toes; they get to wear black pants without worrying about pet hair on them; they don’t trip and twist their ankles because they were trying to avoid a pet; they never have to smell that sickening aroma of pet food, wet or dry; they never have to worry about someone staring at them while they eat (unless they are in public); they still live plenty long without pets and parts of their lives are not spent yelling at an animal that doesn’t understand English; they don’t have surprises on the carpet when they have been gone longer than a pet bladder can hold it; they fill their purses with wallets and money, not doo-doo bags and pet treats; and the best reason is they don’t have to clean up large piles of poop in a public place!

Many pet owners will disagree and say that they get so much unconditional love from their pets; it makes up for all the “icky” stuff. I say, you are fooling yourselves: there is no unconditional love in the animal or human world and pets only love you because you feed them…stop feeding them and see if they hang around very long!

It’s okay to keep hanging on to those thoughts and PLEASE keep telling yourself that when Fofo poops on the carpet; or gets you up in the wee hours of the morning for a nature call; better yet, hang on to the unconditional love crap when you are smelling and scraping huge piles of dog poop off the grass at a nature park to carry home.

I will be the one staring, pointing and snickering at you. I still believe I am the SMART, no-pet owner!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Having Your Cake and Eating it Too

Recently, I decided that I was done with depriving myself of not having cake just because I am alone. I always felt that it would be a waste of effort and time to make a cake for one person. I like cake. Especially spice cake with cream cheese frosting. I don’t want it all the time, but once or twice a year I do actually want a slice of cake. Why was I not making something I truly enjoyed? That seems more than a little odd, doesn’t it?

I had to change my thinking and yes, it took a while but I managed to turn things around in my head enough to feel good about it…ok, I finally accepted it.

WHAT was I thinking when I couldn’t allow myself one indulgence in life? Good grief! Cake mix has gotten CHEAP! You can make a cake and frost it too for two bucks! What tha…? That doesn’t make any sense in this economy!! Does anyone else know about this??

Anyway, I hid the mix in my grocery cart and got through the check-out stand without being mauled. WHEW!

It took me a few days to give in to the whining and fussing, but I caved. So what! I know you do this too!

In the process of making the cake I remembered giving the batter filled beaters to the children…right now, I was the only person in the room so I was the child and the adult (since you don’t allow children to use the electric mixer) and I was wondering how that might feel (to be an adult and lick those beaters clean, since they were so full of batter and I would go to hell if I just washed that wonderful spice batter down the drain.)

I was punished! I got a phone call within 20 seconds of indulging my tongue on those beaters…I licked quicker but knew I couldn’t lick those beaters clean before it went to voicemail. The rings were annoying me! I gave in! Licked those suckers so clean they looked like they just came out of the dishwasher.

Ahhhh…to nurture that inner child…so satisfying!

If the phone call was you, please call back.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

You want what information for a Passport?

For years, I have wanted to get a passport but obviously, I haven’t wanted to badly enough. I have found and maybe created so many excuses not to…then, eventually, I forget about it.

Recently, I have again decided to get one. The excitement this time was overwhelming and I had to have one. I already had a destination in mind…in fact, I picked out many destinations and I wanted to go NOW!

I got on the website and after a long, tedious, time-consuming search; I finally found the form I needed. I didn’t even look at it on the computer screen, I just hit the print box on the screen and my printer was obliged to register my command.

When I looked at the printed form, I was flabbergasted at what it was asking…who knew I would have to know any of this information??? My mother’s maiden name… got it! Father’s name… got it! Place of birth for mother, a little tougher but I got it. Father’s place of birth? A little tougher but once I sent away for and received my long form of birth certificate, I had that too. It was interesting that on my birth certificate, there is no time of birth. Did they not record that back when I was born??? No sense of time back then apparently. I digress.

I had to wonder how someone born in New Mexico meets with someone born in Missouri back then. How were they in the same place at the same time? What happened to get them there? How did they travel so far? Where did they meet? My father was 11 years older than my mother and I can’t help but wonder how well that went over with family. All questions that will go unanswered since anyone who might know those answers has long been gone.

Back to the #$%&! form. Seems fairly easy, so far. Now, that I have received my long-form birth certificate which I had waited two and one half weeks to receive. Now, comes the hard part. Being divorced more than 20 years ago and getting rid of the divorce papers more than 5 years ago, I now need them for a passport. Perfect! I am required to have my former husband’s place of birth, his birth date, and when we were married and divorced. This information will be tougher to find so I will need to go to the county in which we were divorced and pay someone to find these papers for me so I can fill out the paper for a passport. Can you believe this? The government keeps records on all of us and I have to pay someone in the government to find this information for me so I can obtain a government issued passport in the U.S.

This is just plain SILLY! I may be able to obtain all the information required on the form before I have to take my walker with me...then again, maybe not! Wish me luck!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Funny Things

We have experts that tell us we are born to move…then we learn that being still is the only way to hear.

As we get older, is it our bodies that fail or is it that we are just suppose to be an enthusiastic reader and a comfy lap for the small grandchildren?

It is the same world, but since we have had many years in it already, aren’t we supposed to slow down and enjoy it more as we age?

I received a joke over the internet the other day poking fun of senior citizens and their lack of knowledge in technology. It was a cell phone with a rotary dial. What the person didn’t realize is that our memories are so short, we have forgotten how to use that dial too.

Funny, how we used the word retirement so often 10 years ago and now we rarely hear the word except for in magazines and books…not in conversation. We know that we are not going to retire but how many of us can be employed as the Walmart greeter…we will continue to have an unemployment issue the rest of our lives.

If sweating is so good for us, why do we have to raise our blood pressure to do it? Why is it so uncomfortable?

If I have so many toxins in my body, I would just as soon let them stay in there where they can’t do any harm!

Monday, June 14, 2010

The sleepless need to go to the doctor!

I have trouble sleeping like so many other people I know.  Just recently, I was up all night painting my garage.  It wasn't so important that I had to go without sleep to get it done, it was just I couldn't sleep so I used the time wisely.  I have never been a really good sleeper and don't think I ever will be.

One thing that is comical to me is that no matter how much sleep I have had the previous night, I can go into the doctors office and within ten minutes,  I fall asleep. 

It is as if they have a sleeping spray they spray in the room to keep us from getting impatient if we have to wait too long!  I tend to laugh when I open the door to the doctor's office just because I know I will be asleep if I have to wait more than 10 minutes. 

I don't fall asleep in the small room they put me in...oh, no, much too cold in there to sleep... but the waiting room...that is a whole different animal.  I see others doing the same thing...their elbows falling off the arm rest then quickly looking around to see if anyone noticed (only the people that have been there less than 10 minutes)...they soon will understand how you can fall asleep in a public place in the middle of the day!!!!!!! 

I simply can't stay awake any longer in the doctor's office.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Sounds of Life

Have you ever noticed that it seems really quiet until you want to sleep? The day is the perfect temperature, no clouds in the sky, and you have about an hour before your next project needs to be started…what can you do? Sleep, of course. A little nap is so good for your soul. So, you lay on the porch swing and think the movement will lull you to sleep for a quick nap.

You start swinging and within minutes; birds are squawking ; the neighbor decides to use the weed whacker, another neighbor across the street arrives home and has to ensure that the car is locked so they hit the clicker twice; construction up the street begins and you hear the beep, beep, beep of the truck in reverse. You feel your tension rise… then realize all you need to do is breathe deeply.

The peace….the breeze through the trees sings to you and you once again feel you can slip into slumber…you are so close… slipping, slipping almost there….then the phone in your pocket rings and startles you… with one eye, you check the number… no one important and you hit silence; without skipping a beat, you are back into sleep mode.

Ah, yes, you are hidden in the folds of life where you are safe, no worries and no cares. A place where snoring and drooling are allowed.

You are dozing in painless slumber and jolted to an upright position when you hear the deafening clap of thunder and the cold rain starts to slap your bare skin…you immediately jump up and run into the house. That nap was a quick one.

You look down at your phone and realize you were only out for 10 minutes. A power nap. You are disappointed but amazingly refreshed and ready for dinner on the grill.

The rain has cooled the air and you’re famished. Steak anyone?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Accurate Weather Forecast Why is it so tough?

Last March, I visited and toured the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Boulder.  I learned the local weather forecasters generally, but not always use NOAA's  forecast for the weather...yes, they are to blame for all the wrong forecast predictions although the local weather personalities take the brunt of vocal people for their missed guesses.

Weather forecasting is the only job where you can be wrong 90% of the time and still be employed and overpaid for what you do!  It is amazing that there are so many people that are employed at the NOAA facility in Boulder and how many of them only do tours across the country.  Do we really need that?  It seems it would be more cost effective to have local contractors do the tours and stop all the waste! 

Seriously, you can walk outside, look up to the sky and have a more accurate forecast than any government administration can give you each day...or watch the behavior of the birds...that will tell you all you need to know without having to watch that crazy weather person on television. 

Happy bird watching!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Majestic Horses

Photo by Peter J. Markham, Loretto, MN

One of the most majestic things I have ever viewed with my own eyes has been wild horses running together. Maybe, it is because I can identify with the wild spirit and seeing them without a saddle, rider or a bit in their mouth is heart-warming.

Where I live, there are still a few ranchers in the area and since there is an open field behind my house, I am often blessed with a bird’s eye view of ranchers exercising their horses. Since the horse is not running free, I feel it unfair to capture the picture on film, but the sound of their hooves pounding on the ground and their deep breath breathing so much air stops me when I hear it.

On another ranch, one young horse in particular is very spirited and playful. It will tease the older horses, get up into their faces and wait until they have had enough to take off running. I find his spirit delightful as he brings the corral to life with his shenanigans. In his own way, he is ensuring that the older horses don’t act old and get some exercise…not to mention feeding his own ego for his quickness.

It reminds me of when I was young and my brothers would tease me by doing things that would antagonize me just to get me to react. Even though I complained about those days when I was growing up, as I have gotten older, I somehow remember those times with fondness.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Customer Service at Wal-Mart

I went into Wal-Mart the other day to get garden soil for my yard. It seems like a routine thing that happens every year about this time and I don’t give it much thought…that all changed this year.

This year, as I am in the line with my other purchases, I tell the clerk that I want to get 4 bags of garden soil, which is located outside the store. She rings me up and as I go outside to get what I thought was my purchase, I discover that the purchase price is nearly double what I thought it was. I really look over my sales receipt and found out that I have been charged for potting soil, which won’t work for my needs. Oops! I see what has happened and go back to the same clerk and let her know what has happened…she is very nice an apologetic and sheepishly says, “you will have to go to customer service to get it taken care of”…I smile and say, “ I figured that was going to be the case.” I laugh as I am leaving as I just know this isn’t going to go well.

I wait patiently at the customer service line which is 18 people deep at this time of day and located at about half the length of the store. After about 15 minutes, it is my turn to explain to the clerk my issue. As I am explaining to the clerk, she interrupts and says that a manager has to approve…I half expected that so I wait in a line I have formed on my own, for the manager. I am frustrated but still willing to go with the procedures.

The customer service manager arrives about 5 minutes later and goes directly to the clerk so she can explain why she has called such an important person over to mingle with the lowly customers of the store. After the manager is done listening to the clerk and comes to my line (which is only me), I explain my issue all over all over again…I feel like an echo or a parrot.

The manager explains to me that I have to go to my car, get the correct bag of garden soil (which had to be wrestled in my trunk), bring it back in the store, walk one half the store AGAIN so she can see the correct bag…I pause for a moment then ask why she can’t go out to my car with me which is parked just outside the garden area and she can see for herself? She says, “I am here by myself .” I am not sure exactly what that means but I explain to her that I too am here by myself and so we can do this together. She finds no humor in that statement and I quickly find that she lacks more than a sense of humor…I end up walking the store once again to get a bag of garden soil from outside in the parking lot so she can get the correct bar code. At this point, I am not sure why she or a clerk cannot look up a bar code for the garden soil but figure I am wasting my own time if I don’t get a bag so she can have the bar code. I get the bag off the top of the stack in the parking lot (at which time I almost grab a bag that is opened so it will make a mess all the way through the store but decide it will only be all over me in the end) come back in, walk half the store one more time AND have to wait in line yet again. I am getting to be good at waiting by this time. I have to explain my story again to the new clerk, which I also add that this is almost comical. He comes and gets the bag out of the cart, takes it back behind the counter so he can get the bar code. WHEW! That is done! The nice young man apologizes as he hands me my cash back for my purchase and I gladly leave the store.

Next time I will entertain the notion of just putting twice as many bags in the car and calling it even! Next time I will entertain the notion of just putting twice as many bags in the car and calling it even! Oh, did I repeat that again? I am getting use to that too!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Strawberries in season

Okay, it is official. You can call me Miss Piggy. I bought a container of strawberries at the store and cut them up today...they looked so perfectly ripe...this afternoon, I was working while eating and ate the entire bunch in one sitting....BURB...those were GREAT!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

1440 Beautiful Moments

Everyone that knows me knows that I read a lot of books. I review books, I read them for information and I love being entertained by books. Sometimes, there is nothing better than the feel of a book in my hand. On my many sleepless nights a book is what keeps me from feeling sorry for myself because I can’t sleep. I am just not wired for long sleeping hours, which is perfect for a writer/photographer/reader.

I was reading a book on photography yesterday (the second one I finished in a day) and read about the moments in a day that we have at our disposal. This following quote was taken from that book, “Today, be aware of how you are spending your 1, 440 beautiful moments and spend them wisely.” It is quoted but has an unknown source…apparently the person was too busy with the thought of their moments to put their name to what may be quoted in the future.

I have to agree with the number part of that statement and do understand the meaning of “paying attention” to what you do with your time, but so much of our time is not under our control, is it?

If we sleep 8 hours a night (which most of us don’t but I am just using it as an example) then 480 moments of the 1,440 moments in a day are gone…right off the top…just like a puff of smoke! Now, you only have 960 moments in your day to be pressured about. Ahhh! Doesn’t that feel better?

Then we have the moments in the day that someone else needs us to help them with it a child or adult. On average, that is about 2 hours, so there goes another 120 moments of your day. Then you have another 40 moments of exercise and 10 minutes to squeeze yourself into those exercise clothes and 15 minutes to take them off after they are all sweaty...there goes that time too! Don’t forget the shower again…another 15 minutes out of your day and then to dry your hair, 10 more minutes, clean out the locker and pack your dirty clothes away…another 10 minutes to get to the car…down to 745 moments.

Then, checking for messages on email and your phone can be a large chunk of your day...say 3 hours…565…oh, and eating takes up another 2 hours out of your precious moments because you have to either shop for the ingredients or wait for it to be served to you at a restaurant…down to 445 moments. Then we have to include the 2 hours of drive time to get to work and home in the traffic...down to 325…then our conversations on the phone or in person take up another 2 hours during our waking hours…down to 205 now. We also waste err...use about 30 minutes daydreaming and then we have a practice game for Johnny tonight, so there goes another 2 hours of your day just getting everyone there on time and watching the practice (sort of), then returning home, we now you have to sort the mail, pay the bills, and supervise the kid’s bath time…down to 10 minutes and that is all yours! WHEW!!! Don’t you feel better knowing you spent your time wisely and still had time left over for you? Aren’t you glad you paid attention to your 1,440 moments?????