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2.28.2011

CHOCOLATE COVERED PRETZELS, I THINK

Today a client came in - an older lady with drawn on reddish colored eyebrows that matched her thin, wispy reddish clown-like colored hair.  Her hair cast against her translucently ghostly white skin, made her appear almost like a caricature drawn by a street artist - features distorted and magnified for dramatic purposes.  She was a sweet lady who brings in bags of documents and binders, afraid to throw things away, yet wanting to be organized.  I sifted through stacks of papers, determining what to shred for her and what to organize.  I'm not sure why her family doesn't help her with this, but instead she brings it in for us to take care of.  It's so easy to want to help her despite whether it's my job or not, as she is so thankful and grateful.  In tow today was a Walmart bag with two previously used bakery carry out containers (like the kind you would buy muffins in).  She had brought goodies for us to show her appreciation.  Now, I have a bit of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder - self diagnosed!) and have struggled all my life to eat things made by people who I don't really know or know anything about their cleanliness level.  I took one look at the recycled store bought muffin container that housed her various and assorted white and chocolate dipped pretzels and knew without tasting them what they would taste like.  The first thought in my head, this the last day of February was, "Well, most people don't make chocolate covered pretzels except at Christmas time.  This is not good - these are probably from December."  My bravery kicked in and I smiled as I opened up the old muffin container and laid back the plastic wrap that loosely draped the pretzels.  Which to try - white or chocolate?  I chose chocolate.  As I raised it to my mouth to take a bite I smelled an old smell.  A stale smell.  A, "I have outlived my shelf life" smell and look.  Did that stop me totally?  NO!  I took a bite.  WOW!!  The taste sensation was well, YUCKY   I could smell it as I chewed the bite willing myself to swallow, yet fearing if I did food poisoning would ensue at the speed of light.  I spit out the bite and threw the remaining pretzel from my hand into the trash.  Note to self, "Yet another reason not to get old - you start not realizing there is an expired state of homemade Christmas goodies and February 28th is past that date!!  AND, if I regift using egg cartons or old cereal boxes, muffins containers or the likes thereof when I am old, I want my daughter to immediately place me in a nursing home."

2.27.2011

PLASTIC, CARDBOARD, GLASS

I loved kindergarten.  There were so many cool things to do - the sand box table (elevated sand at waist level - wow!), the mini library, this really cool low mushy chair, oodles of construction paper, napping mats, carpet squares for story time, big huge letters hung around the room with pictures of things signifying that letter.  One of the best parts of kindergarten was snack time.  A member of the cafeteria staff would wheel in a cart with three milk choices - chocolate, white (whole milk in that era) and strawberry.  I never picked white.  Usually it was chocolate, but once in awhile I would mix it up and choose strawberry.  In the 60's and 70's in schools milk came in small pint or half-pint cardboard containers.  In fact, most milk even outside of the kindergarten classroom, was sold in cardboard half gallons - usually a twin pack.  Plastic did not reign the world as we know it now.  I loved cardboard milk containers, mostly because when you poured them into a glass there were no plastic particles floating toxically in your glass.  I have a plastic pint container of 2% milk I use in my coffee.  Every morning when I unscrew the lid to pour some in my coffee there are small plastic flakes that make their way into my cup.  I hate that!  I tried this week to remember when they quit making milk in cardboard containers - 2 half gallons joined together.  Though they still use cardboardish containers for soy milk, cream and lactose free milk.  Why do I really care about the whole milk container thing, I don't know.  I really don't drink milk ever, except a bit in my coffee (it's my attempt to use less half & half).  Pop (northerners version ) or soda (the southern way) or coke (an eastern generic grouping of all carbonated beverages) also has taken on a metamorphosis in the container it is housed in.  When I was growing up pop was typically bought (though there were aluminum or metal cans of some type) in carrying cases of 8 glass bottles.  The bottles were returnable.  They were taken back by each soft drink company, sterilized and refilled.  There is nothing like the taste of a cold pop drank straight out of a glass bottle.  In fact, there used to be pop machines that dispensed small glass bottles of pop.  My grandparents had such a machine at their country store.  I'm not a beer drinker (not morally opposed, just don't like the taste), but those that are tell me beer is better served ice cold out of a glass bottle.  My favorite beverage is a carbonated juice called IZZE.  Now I have tried IZZE out of the aluminum can and out of the glass bottle.  There is no comparison.  Glass makes it taste clearer and colder.  I'm not sure why they ever stopped selling pop in glass bottles.  I would think better for the environment would be reusable glass bottles which don't leach a metal taste into the beverage.  It was a bit of a pain in the ass to take back the returnable glass bottles, but I wish they'd bring them back, along with cardboard milk containers.  Metal tasting pop and plastic droppings just don't seem too healthy!

2.24.2011

URGENT VS IMPORTANT

Which do you think should get first place in life -  urgent things or important things?  By definition urgent means - pressing, immediate, screaming for attention.  That gives the connotation of a police car, lights flashing, siren roaring, speeding through an intersection.  Something is happening NOW and it needs immediate attention.  Important says - of value, enduring, deep, lasting, of significance, prominence, priceless.  It gives the image of my grandmother's one hundred year old rocking chair that sits in my living room.   Something of value that needs prominence.   I have battled urgent over important all my life.  It's been an on-going battle to not succumb to the screams of the urgent things (which have wanted my attention), to the exclusion of the important things (which need significance & value from me).  Writing this blog has been a study in urgent vs. important.  For five months I chose, with single mindedness, to make writing important.  It has deep value to me.  In spite of the events of my life (and there have been a lot, just read earlier posts), I cradled the importance of writing.  I guarded it and nurtured it.  Recent events have screamed for my attention - dating, marriage, combining households, changing jobs, an endless supply of business decisions, new family relationships, trips, etc...  I folded to the urgent over the important.  My craft that I love, the thoughts that I let out, the expression of words on a page got crowded out.  I found myself saying, "After we complete this.  Next week will slow down.  After I get my office more organized after combining household belongings."  The list went on and on.  One day I woke up and the gnawing sensation in my soul that had been quietly speaking the importance and value of writing was now wanting its place of significance it once had.  I had once again in life said "uncle" to the urgent!!  Time to reorganize my determination to live this half of my life differently than the first - time to stay to what is vitally important to me.  It was time to not veer from what my soul knew was important - my design, what was valuable.  I pulled my vehicle back on the road, so to speak, and started again to build, protect and give prominence to those things that are of great and lasting value, which bring significance, which deserve prominence and dedication daily.  A compass correction has occurred.

2.23.2011

HYBRID CARS AND HOLIER THAN THOU'S

I live in a state where it is still legal to talk on your cell phone while driving.  Maybe it won't always be that way, but presently there is no law against it.  Is it smart, wise or road savvy - questionable.   It is also very subjective to say that some people are better equipped personality and driving skill wise to handle adding another task to the driving mix.  Now who then would like to become the judge of that:) Is self nomination too pretenuous on my part to nominate myself for that position?   Seriously there are tests to determine personality types, IQ, educational placement markers, and Vogue even has a test to find out whether you really love the person you're with.  Shouldn't there be another test given through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to decide competency of driving and talking on the cell phone?  Today on my way home from work I was talking to my friend.  Glancing (really looking good I might add) behind me there is a car about 3 car lengths back.  His lane and my lane merged coming up to the stoplight.  I pulled ahead with considerable space between us.  As he came closer to me I could see him over exaggerating the motion of talking on a cell phone with his hand to his ear and then taking it down and shaking his fist at me.  He repeated this thespian act following me to the entrance ramp to the highway I was entering.  I waved to him at one point as he continued his gesturing with his hand the universal sign for a phone - thumb to ear and pinkie to mouth.  I continued to shake my head in laughter and tell my girlfriend what the guy behind me was doing.  Upon closer investigation I surmissed that it really was not my driving, as I had not pulled in front of him dangerously or recklessly, but rather based on the small hybrid car he drove and how he physically looked, he was just morally opposed to talking on the cell phone while driving.  My initial reaction was laughter but as I pen these words I am compelled to hope that his deep seated anger of cell phone talking drivers stems from more than a hybrid car-earth loving-hemp wearing position he seemed to hold.  But, maybe he or someone he loved dearly had an accident or even a death due to cell phone usage while driving.  I'm not sure - it's just a theory I came up with to give him grace for his ridiculous behaviour.  My next thought was I wished I had a bull horn attached to my car as I would have said the following to him, "Please Mister, I not only talk on the phone while I drive, but have actually changed my clothes while driving.  On top of that I used aeresol hairspray this morning too - widing the hole in the ozone and possibly contributing to global warming. Oh, and last night....I was too tired to clean out the three cans of tomato products I used to make lasagna and place them in the recyclables.  Instead I threw them in the trash.  What exactly do you think of me now Mr. Hybrid?" 

2.22.2011

DATES TO REMEMBER

For those of you blogites out there who have quit logging onto this blog because you kept checking it daily and realized I had become firstly, a slacker breaking my 130 day run.  And secondly, I became totally absent from expressing mind boggling, earth moving and soul changing thoughts.  My daughter informed me tonight that I needed to dedicate a post to confessions of an errant blog poster and beg for your forgiveness.  I asked who "your" encompassed and she responded with, "the faithful one, Maude".  There are things in my life that I can remember in generalities.  I can remember the time frame, but maybe not the exact date or day of the week or sometimes the exact year.  Is that a sign of aging or that certain events don't warrant those types of minute mental postings?  There are other things in my life that I can remember with the utmost clarity - the date, the day of the week, the weather conditions, what I thought at that moment, and can clearly feel it all over again when I recall it.  Five dates stand in extreme bold yellow highlighting in my heart and mind.  First, the birth of my daughter, my only child, on July 24, 1987.  It was a hot day with high humidity and I panicked in labor stating, "It's ok!  I'll just stay fat forever.  I don't want to give birth!"   July 24th in 1987 was a Friday and it was then my beautiful and sparky daughter entered my world.  Next, I can remember Tuesday, November 2nd, 2000.  You might think I readily remember that date because of the greatly contested presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore.  No, for me it's the night that started an eight year journey of cancer for my ex-husband.  It's the day I heard a surgeon call me into a small room from a waiting room of people to tell me he had removed what he could but there remained still a considerable amount of cancer.  Vividly I recall March 12, 1999 as the day my family doctor called with the results of some tests and let me know I had full blown Type I diabetes from a virus that had attacked my pancreas.  Most recently I remember Tuesday, December 28th, 2010 as my first date post-divorce from an E-harmony.com matching.  It was a day that changed my life from that day forward.  From that December 28th date it led to the most remarkable day of my life - Friday, January 28th, 2011.  The day I stood in the city clerk's office next to this man I passionately loved and said "I Do" to a life of love, passion, laughter, playfulness, soul connection, shared interests, intellectual stimulation and magical physical attraction.    And thus, those last and most recent dates directly correspond to my absence from blogging - though just a bit of a sabbatical.  I'm back - just mark the date:)

2.21.2011

SHOULD I?

Recently I went to Savannah, Georgia to meet my new husband's father and his significant other for the first time.  I usually pack fairly lightly when I travel.  Checking bags slows me down getting here to there and I hate waiting in the baggage claim watching circling luggage, silently praying that mine will show up and not have my underwear hanging from the sides after the airport security does their random bag checks.  And, since I am a person of minimalism anyway, how much stuff do I really need!  Even my toiletry bag is rather sparse with only; deodorant, toothbrush, wrinkle cream (a must if you are over forty but unfortunately the airlines have this 3 ounce liquid rule which keeps me from bringing my 50 gallon drum I slather myself up with daily) toothpaste (Tom's if you must know), a comb, hairspray, perfume, eyeliner, mascara, brow pencil , lipliner and lipstick.  That's it.  Ok, maybe Q-tips too:)  In my purse you will find another lip liner and three or four tubes of lipstick.  I am a frequent reapplier of lip liner and lipstick throughout the day.  The second night we were visiting we went to a fairly famous and well-known restaurant in Savannah called, The Pirate's House.  It has a deep history in its building, and the food was quite good as well.  Having eaten a great meal (and way too much I might add), I excused myself to the bathroom.  The bathrooms were actually quite amazing with two hammered copper sinks and beautiful tiled floors and walls.  Amazingly enough I found myself alone in this magnificent bathroom.  The hammered copper sinks were surrounded by a beautiful granite counter top with a center hole for disposal of your trash.  I placed my purse on the counter and proceeded to dig around its general messiness for my lipliner and my favorite tube of lipstick.  After securing both, I laid them on the counter for a brief moment.  As soon as my hand removed itself from them I watched in horror as my lipliner quickly rolled into the granite cutout for the trash.  I tried to catch it quickly but I was too slow as I heard it hit the trash below.  Now, I had a dilemma.  I did not have another lipliner in my purse.   And, I am fully and completely addicted to lipliner and lipstick.  If there were support groups for people with my addiction, I would have to stand in the group's circle and say, "Hi, my name is Lynn and I am addicted to lipliner and all things lip related."  For me not to wear lipliner I feel like some do if they were to go out in public without their bra on - NAKED!!!  What was I going to do?  I looked around toward the door exiting the bathroom.  No one had entered since I had been in the bathroom.  Was I going to try to reach my hand down through the trash to find my lipliner?  If I did and someone walked in, would I explain and would they react with horror that I was shoulder high in a public trashcan just to find a $7 lipliner pencil?  I quickly figured out that I could not reach my hand down through the hole where the trash was and get any further than 6 inches into the trash.  My deduction was that the the weight of the lipliner had caused it to fall to the bottom of the trash.  Still no one entered the bathroom.  I finagled how to remove the trash container from underneath the hole in the granite counter top.  I started laughing at the absurdity of it all - me riffling through the trash openly in front of the sinks.  My OCD was starting to kick in at full speed as my hand touched something wet in the trash.  UGH!!!  This was not working as I had still not encountered the lipliner yet in my bobbing for makeup attempt.  I stopped and looked around again.  No one still.  Wow!  I am desperate now and feeling that I may be caught at any given moment, and yet my addiction drives me deeper still.  In a wild move to find the lip liner fast, I dumped the entire contents of the trash across the tiled bathroom floor and got down on my hands and knees and began sifting through it.  With a bit of paranoia, I glanced toward the door and then back to the mess I had created on this beautiful bathroom floor.  I was getting a bit grossed out as I thought about what may be on these pieces of paper towel.  That was it. I could not find it.  I stood and perused the strewn mayhem from a standing position.  Where in the hell was that lip liner?!  I had gone through every piece of trash but could not find it.  My heart rate increased a bit thinking if someone walked in at that moment and saw what I had done no amount of explaining would have worked to convince them I was a normal person!!  I quickly picked up the contents of the quite large trash container and threw them back into the trash can and then slide the container neatly back underneath the granite opening.  All that work, all those germs, all that mess and still no lip liner.  I again laughed wondering now what my family back at the table must be thinking I was doing in the bathroom taking this long.  Thoroughly convinced that I had encountered ecoli or Asian flu germs in the trash I washed my hands 3 separate times in the hottest water I could stand and used several swipes under the auto soap dispenser for each hand washing round.  Still alone in the bathroom I laughed out loud again at what it was to be Lynn and the depths I would go for an addiction.