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4.30.2013

OVERRULED - WITNESS MUST ANSWER THE QUESTION


Holding my hand walking into Bed Bath and Beyond my husband said, "Babe, I love your directness."  I cringed a bit inside.  Sometimes I am very direct.  I had just finished being direct with a sales woman at the Room Store where we were perusing dining room tables.  I never want to be rude or make someone feel stupid, even though at times I feel both of those things!!  But to be sure I don't always mince words.

The conversation went something like this. . .

Sales Lady:  These are our selection of smaller dining room tables.

Me:  This is really the only one that would match our other furniture.  Why does the leaf not fit tighter?  I see it's on sale ending today.  How much will the table go up if  it is not on sale?

Sales Lady:  Actually that table doesn't come in that finish any longer.  It comes in this finish (pointing to the table next to it). Our sales change weekly, but this doesn't go up much even if not on sale.  I'm not sure why that leaf isn't tighter (calls another sales person over). 

Other Sales Person:  Well it doesn't fit right because it is a bit malfunctioned in one of the pegs.  We had our put-together staff look into whether they are all that way, or if this is just an isolated defective table.  They are pretty sure it is just this particular show room table. (I'm not liking the sound of that.)

Me:  You might want to put out a showroom display that isn't defective.  I notice this table is on sale and the tag says the sale ends today 4/30/13.  Do these tables regularly have a sale price and if so, when is the next sale (because we were not ready to buy then and were still looking)?

Sales Lady:  The sales change every Wednesday on different items.  It will go up in price but not much really.

Me:  So you don't know when this table goes on sale again?  What kind of a cost increase on the non-sale price is "not much"?

Sales Lady:  Sales change every Wednesday. Cost increases $100, not much really.

Me:  A $100 is still a $100 dollars.  That to me is a significant sale cost savings.

Sales Lady:  I could honor the sales price for up to 30 days after the sale ends.

Me:   Good to know.  (I was actually screaming in my head, Why did you just not say that from the beginning when I asked about the sale price ending today!)





I'm not into lies, ploys, evasive anything.  I don't
tolerate it well from others either.  If I think for a minute you are playing the game, my directness will ratchet up a notch.  Mean what you say and say what you mean keeps me from having to get blaringly direct.  Don't make me go there!

4.29.2013

LOGIC DEFIED


There are things that just defy logic.  Gravity isn’t one of them.  I mean we know exactly what will happen if you drop something – it will fall.  We know there is a natural law at work there.  Even if we don’t quite get how or why, we know it is.  It doesn’t change. 

We also know the rules of driving.  We had to know them at least at some point in our life when we took our driver’s license exam or sat in a driver’s education course.  What happens to that knowledge with some people later behind the wheel of a vehicle, I do not know.  I never ever forget the knowledge I garnered.  Ever:)

Who drives with both back brake lights not working on a two lane highway with stop and go traffic?  Illogical based on the driving information we as drivers all possess.    Who does not utilize temporary passing lanes on a two lane road as a window of opportunity to get around slow drivers?  It is illogical to me that utilizing those temporary pass lanes would not involve max speeds to allow as many cars as possible to get around slow vehicles.  Who doesn’t pay attention to those drivers behind you swearing and shaking their fists as the passing lane ends with only their own car passing the slow vehicle?

Semi-truck drivers should never ever get in the left lane to pass another truck going up a hill.  That is simply wrong and illogical.  A semi-truck's inability to gain speed up a hill is known without being spoken. Logic usually is!  Did everything they learn in CDL trucking courses leave their brains?  Cars have no tolerance for that. Well at least this car driver doesn't:) Farmers with farm equipment and semi-trucks need to stay in the right lane.  Even if one of them is a bit faster than the slowest member of the right laners, they are still WAY too slow for the fast lane.  Slow drivers should not pass other slower drivers – because slow is slow to the line of fast no matter where you fall on the slow line!

Hotels in Kansas at the end of April are not full and should be LUCKY to have anyone check in.  The rates should not be the same as a hotel in Chicago where there are amazing restaurants and stellar sightseeing ventures to be had. Just because Bob Dole is from Kansas still makes those rates illogical. Remember you are KANSAS!!

Bars of soap should never be made into square shapes.  That is illogical based on the shape of our bodies.  You cannot, without discomfort, fit a square bar of soap into your armpit.  Arm pits are like a bowl and square things with hard corners do not adequately allow for maximum cleaning!    Do hotels all buy their small square bars of soap from the same vendor?  Please give me the right shape of a mini bar of soap or I just cannot feel like I am as clean as I could be.

Justin Bieber’s misguided belief that, wearing his pants so low that the crotch of them is almost to his knees is appealing, is totally illogical.  It is also illogical to me that his wanna-be-black-but-am-white swagger doesn’t totally negate his music to his hordes of fans.  That whole phenom is a vivid picture of logic defied.

4.28.2013

GO WEST YOUNG MAN


Travelling 1800 miles westward across the country for a move, I was struck by the ease of travel .  Easy I realize is a relative word to what you are thinking in comparison to.  But despite even a comparison to earlier more rugged times of travel in history, hopping in a car with the capability of 75 mph was like being a giant and fighting a 3 year old kid – no effort.
 
My mind wandered as we drove.  What would it have been like to travel 1800 miles to the promise of your own plot of land, possible uncharted riches, or just to fulfill a deep sense of adventure in the year 1840.  There was no I-80 or I-70 traversing the country.  There were no paved roads, or even really roads of any kind, GPS’, or Rand McNally maps.  There were no Subways, Hampton Inns, or Panera Breads.  You couldn’t go from Elkhart, IN to Prescott Valley, AZ in 27 hours. 

Did those Wild West travelers merely have a burning desire to see what they had heard might lay out west?  Did they want to see it to believe it?  Even having nothing to compare their horrendous mode of travel to, 1800 miles on the back of a horse or the plank board of a covered wagon would have been hell.  My ass hurts in the car at about hour 2. 

If you timed the length of the journey wrong, the conditions that you would encounter, disaster was at your door.  History proves thousands lost their lives on the same route I was travelling for a new job move.  If weather conditions didn’t cause them to be stranded and perish, disease ran rampant.  It was far more than a weekend hiking and camping trip.  The journey east to west was months and months.  It was brutal, life-changing and in some cases, fatal.  That wasn’t lost on me as I sat in our Rogue jamming to music travelling at speeds of 80 mph on paved roads with my phone’s GPS speaking the directions to me.
Someone always paves the way for others.  I was grateful for those fearless spirits whose quest made possible the life that I led, the ease in which I travelled. 

I declared to Doug, “I would have made a great pioneer.”  He smiled and agreed that my gutsy, tenacious, unrelenting spirit would have served me well in the mid 1800’s.  He also agreed that I probably would have broken cultural standards of dress.   I would have worn pants and travelled with cowboys.  I roared in laughter at the picture of myself in the mid 1800’s.  Thankful I was to though have actually been born in the era I was.
I think I might have a bit of a pioneering spirit in me.  Ready I am to take a risk, to step out of a comfort zone, to believe that things I have not yet experienced may eclipse even the things I have already experienced and know.  I suppose I figure there is only so much time we are given to live a human life.  I don’t necessarily want to waste it.

Tired I was in the car from the weeks of chaotic pushing and shoving that leads up to any move.  It really was the first time I had just sat.  That is a dangerous thing to do – to stop.  All the fast paced life and stress now seemed to slam up against my stopped body.  I turned to Doug in the car as he sang along to “Beautiful” by James Blunt, “I think it might be better to never stop, to keep running and shoving myself forward because when I do it all seems to catch up to me and wallop me!”  He knows all too well my fast paced mind, body and spirit, “Babe, that’s a faster way to death.  In this case, fast isn’t good!” 
I laughed on I-40W going 75 mph at mile 1300.

4.18.2013

AGING CHOMPERS


In an attempt to cram as many last appointments to doctors, dentists, chiropractors, cars, etc., before moving, I went to my six month check-up to take advantage of our dental insurance benefits before departing.  I can think of no other "routine appointment" for preventative care than those twice yearly cleanings where what they say we tend to automatically comply with.  It seems that dentists hold more god-like powers than do even medical doctors.  I do not know why.  They probably hate to see me come as I question the necessity of certain things constantly.  I though love leaving the dentist for several reasons, the best of which is the great feel of my teeth polished clean and that I don't have to come back for six more months!

If I live to be 92 years of age I am presently exactly half-way there.  I suppose I am not technically young anymore and yet not quite to old old (maybe delusional on that!).  One would imagine that the teeth-brushing aholic that I am (nearly 4 times a day I brush!), I would have flawless teeth.  Ok, maybe not flawless, but at least cavity free, right?  Surprised and stunned I was when they informed me I had one massive cavity and another small one. 

Since I am not interested in being scammed and bilked to overly pad my dentist's pockets for his lake house or trip to Aruba, I asked to see my xrays 6 months ago compared to what they just took this week.  How do cavities of that magnitude form that quickly? I wanted him to explain how a brushaholic like me can get that many cavities in 6 months. I don't get cavities! 

He willingly puts up the pictures.  BTW, teeth up close on a TV screen are just not very attractive.  Further away is much better:)  I can clearly see, running underneath a tooth colored filling I already have, a large crack.  He shows me several more teeth with cracks in them while stating, "You will eventually need root canals and crowns on 3 or 4 of these teeth."  The cavities are a result of a crack and microscopic bacteria that my brush can't get to.  [More crowns, I sigh inside.  I already have 5 in my mouth from the same scenarios - large cracks.]

I ask the question, but pretty much already know what his answer will be, "So, is this just a result of the aging process in my body?"  I don't like his answer, "Yes, unfortunately you are not in your 20's or 30's any more.  50 is headed is your way."  He smiles.  I shake my head and declare to him that it ticks me off that everything has started breaking down.  I didn't fully know how good being young really was. I took it for granted.

For a split second my one grandmother's teeth flashed before me.  As she aged her teeth got very yellow and almost rotted.  Was this my fate?  I started to hyperventilate!  I was not going to let that happen even if it meant every last tooth in my mouth was crowned or I had to have them all pulled to get all new shiny white false teeth. 

As I worked on my mental tooth aging dilemma, I handed the front desk lady my debit card to pay my $239.00 saving-of-my-aging-teeth bill.  I would no doubt need a trust fund established for all the impending dental work that lay ahead of me to get me the age of 92.

4.17.2013

SPANNING THE GLOBE


This blog is back powered by blogger.  They provide stats on number of reads, countries of readers, pages read, operating systems that are used to view the blog, etc....  Today I clicked on audience to check the stats for where readers are coming from (origin of country).  It said among other strange countries, KazakhstanI giggled out loud as the image from a scene in "Austin Powers" came to mind - they use Kazakhstan as a reference in that movie!


I suspect that those stats of country of origin aren't always accurate.  I do not believe that there are a large number of readers in China, though it tells me there are.  What I think is that my blog is somehow being used abroad for something fishy.  Occasionally spam comments come through.  They are funny, usually not relevant to what I have written about, and really bad English.  I did though once get a comment on a post written in French.  I had to have my son-in-law, who is fluent in French, translate it for me. 

My wonderful husband, who foolishly believes I am one pen stroke away from a Pulitzer, says he thinks they are reposting my blog in Chinese and making money off my words.  To which I replied, "Well, at least someone is making money off it!"  Which reminds me of the "Seinfeld" episode where Jerry gets royalty checks for a penny from Japan and has to endorse them all.  The exchange value stinks! 

I really don't believe that the Chinese have a desire to read what a middle aged white woman from America thinks.  Nor do I think people in Kazakhstan care either.  Most of the time I question the validity of the U.S. readership:)  Stats can be skewed easily.  We can make something look better or worse very easily with a spin. 

The one area that I know is correct is the amount of people who surf for porn and click on my blog post titles from a Google search thinking they are going to get an eye full of porn.  I regularly have massive reads on post titles such as, "Cleavage Wars", and "A Salute To The Small Breasted Gals".  I track their entry point on Google and it is a porn search.  It gives me pleasure and comfort to know that I basically performed a bait and switch on them.

I am desperately hoping to pick up a reader or two in some other strangely obscure country whose first language isn't even English.  Accomplishing that feat will most definitely make me feel like I am impacting the world, or possibly like I am being used as a spam front across the continent of Asia.  Either one is a feather in my cap for me.  I mean really, who cares about real readers, fake ones will do
 
Like ABC's Wide World of Sports program with Jim McKay, that aired from 1961-1998, said in its weekly introduction . . . "Spanning the globe . . ."  That's what my blog is doing:)

4.16.2013

POTATOES ARE CARBOHYDRATES? what!!!


I sat with a dear friend last night.  It would be our last hooray in the physical kind of way for some time to come.  I was moving 1800 miles away across the country.  She was staying put here in the place she grew up in - where she had always been all 52 years of her life.  I, on the other hand, was setting out on a whirlwind life changing adventure once again. 

Disclaimer:  This is not her, or her cleavage!
She would say hers is waayyy better!
The necklace though is a close
replica of many she wears.

Her and I are wired somewhat different.  And yet, there are strings in us that are connectively same and familiar.  She is a recovering Mennonite and me, a liberated 2.5 steps up from there.  She has far more patience than do I.  I have far more speak my mind right out loudishness in a single breath than she would have in a lifetime.  She is overly organized and anal, likes big jewelry, has large breasts and boasts of tons of cleavage on any given day, doesn't fully comprehend the healthy food pyramid and drinks Miller Lite.


I do equally well at planning but find greater freedom though at times with a measure of winging it.  Big, shiny anything, let alone jewelry, is not my cup of tea, nor do I have the boobs or cleavage to fully highlight that sort of gaudiness.  A lover of all things healthy food and body-wise, knowing a potato is a carbohydrate no matter how it is prepared is like breathing to me.  I would not drink a beer, but rather a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon or possibly vodka with a splash of cranberry.

We share though this deep vein of parallel living - the belief that there can be imperfect, even hard things in our lives, and in-process things in ourselves while simultaneously finding joy, laughter, nixxieness, realness and still loving God deeply.  She lets me totally be who I am without condemnation, judging, or preaching.  She meets me exactly where I best abide as Nancy, fans it fully into flame and then jumps up and down when I get there.

On the crux of another wild adventure in a few days, she sat with me in the restaurant - her with a Miller Lite, me with a glass of Cab.  Her with cleavage.  Me with none.  Her declaring after the meal did I notice she didn't eat her bun because it was a carbohydrate and she was trying to be good.  Me responding with, "Well, you do know French fries are potatoes.  And potatoes are carbohydrates, and you ate them all!"

There are a handful of people God brings to us over the course of our lifetimes.  She is one of those rare finds of true friendship, camaraderie, all out want the best for me, matched wit and intelligence with a big dose of junior highish hijinks rolled into one. 

For old times sake, I wrote some words of wisdom on the corner of the table paper (a practice I have done with her over the years while thinking some great thoughts she brings out in me while in her presence!) and tore it off to her pure delight and laughter.  Many blog post ideas early on in this blog came by conversations and meals at restaurants with her.  She brings out the creativity in me - it's part of her fanning the Nancy flame into full light.
She makes me better, and I would like to think, I make her better too.
    

4.11.2013

I THINK I CAN, I THINK I CAN



Some things are psychological for sure.  Most all things are to some extent. 

When I have to run indoors on the treadmill due to inclimate weather, I have to have the TV on for mental distraction from the sheer monotony of it.  I also do far better and am able to go much further in distance if I cover up the time and distance screen.  Since I run in my basement in only my underpants and running shoes, my shirt comes in handy to drape over the screen.  Running in only those items is an extreme feeling of freedom.  And, since I can't run outdoors in that condition without being arrested or causing people to want to gouge their eyes out, it's yet another psychological boost to do something I don't like - running on a treadmill vs running outside.  My friends giggle at my treadmill attire to say the least.  Mental advantages come in all forms I say!

Chronic illness is obviously very physical.  It alters your life on a daily, sometimes minute by minute basis.  Anyone who has a chronic health issue would tell you the burden of it physically is heavy at times.  The weight though of it psychologically is much greater ultimately than even the physical.  Keeping mentally on top of it, not letting it suck who you are away, stealing joy from the present, or succumbing to fear is harder work some days than the limitations or boundaries that chronic illness brings.


Grief is most definitely very physical.  The loss is not there anymore - the physical part of a relationship is ceased. Even the pain and heartache of loss can manifest itself in physical pain.  But, grief is most definitely far greater psychologically than it is physical.  It seems as if our hearts and minds are a bit like silly putty when you press a newspaper against it - the image stays imprinted and just never leaves us.  Making mental peace with a loss is a tall order.  Finding that place of accepting an enemy (loss and grief) that we did not want becomes a very big and deep mental challenge. 

Physical tasks are extremely mental.  You wouldn't think so, but our head controls so much of how we respond, our staying power, and ultimately whether our ability to conquer wins. Just ask athletes, extremers of all sorts.  Getting your game on is far more mental than physical.

Sometimes the job before us is big, beyond maybe what we think we can do physically.  Deciding years ago to take a wall down by myself between my kitchen and dining room, I checked out whether it was a load bearing wall.  I had to break this overwhelming and really bigger task than I had experience, knowledge or even strength for down mentally.  

SNL years ago had a character called Stuart Smalley, played by now Senator Al Franken.  He had a great deal of emotional baggage from a very dysfunctional family upbringing and touted self-talk as the way to psychologically deal with hard stuff.  Though very tongue-in-cheek and satirical, Stuart was right.  His sketch on SNL, and later a book entitled,   I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!: Daily Affirmations With Stuart Smalley, was both hysterically funny and somewhat accurate though dramatically presented.



Now before you think I am advocating some sort of New Ageish mumbo jumbo, calm down!  What I am saying is that we hold within us the power of our thoughts and mind to propel us to completing the overwhelming, facing down challenges, and motivating ourselves through the I don't wanna dos.  We hold the power in our minds to be able to do more than we think we are capable of and scale walls that seem unscalable.

Endurance is far more mental than it is physical.  Far more.

4.10.2013

OF DEATH AND DYING and how we get there


I read the obits daily.  It's yet another sign of me aging and turning into my mother. I have, as of yet anyway, not started reading them verbatim out loud though as she loves to do. One begins to see glimpses that you are aging when you see people in the obits your own age. 

This morning I had an inner dialogue over a 45 year old (as I pen this I am presently 46 years old) obituary I saw in the paper.  [45.  It says they died unexpectedly in their home of natural causes.  Natural causes - shouldn't that be what eventually happens to us in our 90's, you know the warranty has run out, there are too many parts that need replacing.  What is natural causes?  I am 46.  Should I be worried about natural causes?  Wait a minute!  For me natural causes would a blessing to die from instead of the long lasting effects of the chronic illness I deal with.  I mean at 45 you are in the middle of life - some behind you but some more ahead of you.]

While recently in Arizona, we visited my aunt and uncle.  They are respectively 80 and 88.  My aunt is a beautiful woman with gorgeous skin still at 80 years of age.  She has relatively few wrinkles and that enviable milky even texture of skin that we women long for.  Her mother, my great-grandmother, also had beautiful skin which she retained until she passed onward in her 90's.  I don't think I got that full gene:) 

I did though get the vanity gene from them.  Kudos to you Aunt Dee and Great Grandma Marie!  My great grandma, with only days left on earth, ran out of her very expensive wrinkle cream she slathered on daily (right there might be evidence that those creams do work - or evidence in genetic disposition as well).  She wanted my aunt (her daughter) to get her more.  Now logic and science were showing death was near.  My aunt, not wanting to disappoint her mother or withhold something from her that brought her some sort of comfort about her looks (that will be me on my death bed too!), took the empty bottle and refilled it with cream - just not that expense wrinkle cream.


If you were to look in my drawer in my bathroom you would also, much like my great grandmother, grandmother and aunt, see presently around 24 tubes of lipstick.  Yes, you read that right - 24!  Mind you though, some are almost empty and a new tube of the same color is there waiting to take over.

This week in the newspaper I saw a man's picture in an obituary who appeared to be in his 70's.  The picture his loved ones had chosen to post with the blurb of his life and death was him with silly string hair and a pipe cleaner moustache.  I laughed, hard!  What a great mental image it left the reader with about him - full of life and energy - someone who didn't take himself too seriously.  Death is somber enough.  Maybe facing it by smearing wrinkle cream on days before you cross the life to death threshold, or posting an obit picture of the deceased in silly string hair makes death not so somber, not so serious.  It makes it part of life.





I still don't know exactly what "natural causes" means for cause of death.  It sounds rather delightful.  I am though going to fight the urge to read the obits out loud verbatim.  But, I am planning to carry my vanity right into the crematory - wrinkle cream and new tube of lipstick freshly applied.

4.09.2013

PORCUPINE SYNDROME


You would have to ask those closest to me, but I am normally pretty even keeled.  Life brings newness to me every day and I find things to celebrate, entertain myself over, enjoy and actually find contentment in almost daily.  I think most would say I am what you see for the most part.  That is, except today.

Grouchiness came over me last evening and I was hoping to sleep it off.  I unfortunately awoke with the same grouchiness I hit the pillow with at midnight.  It was a case of the I- wanna-eat-you-for-breakfast growlies.  I wish I really knew where exactly this cross demeanor descended upon me from, the reason it seems to have overstayed its welcome, and how exactly to get this unwanted house guest to leave my mind, spirit, soul, and body.

Since I am not normally grouchy it feels foreign to me - much like I suspect I would feel in tight leather pants.  This grouchy feeling makes me feel ungrateful and lacking in grace.  My intolerance for everything moving and breathing, and quite possibly all inanimate objects, smacks of impatience and selfishness.  I do not like who I am today.

The origins of grouchiness are muddy waters.  It is probably partly circumstantial, partly environmental, maybe physiological, and possibly a chemical/hormonal thing in our bodies.  It could be the delay of spring and too many gray days.  Too many changes too quickly.  Not enough hours of sleep over the course of a period of time.  Disgust over situations far from our control.  I just really don't know.  It is though part of the human experience.

The best solution I could come up with to counter this grouchy beast within was to hide from all of humanity today.  I had no desire to engage people in conversation.  No desire to extend warmth or grace.  Everything seemed highly annoying and irritating.  Even running was hard and not fluid today.  I suppose my rhythm is just off today.  My synapses are not firing correctly.  My mind is cloudy.  My spirit is gray and unsettled.  And, my head is murky. 

I do not like being grouchy.  I totally understand Oscar the Grouch's (from Sesame Street) famous words, "Now leave me alone, and get lost!" 

If I were an animal today I would most assuredly be a porcupine - quills up!

4.08.2013

THE ME-MONSTER


We get in the way of a lot of things.  The me monster as comedian Brian Regan likes to refer to people who only talk about themselves, exuding this misguided belief that they are far more interesting than they really are and who turn back every conversation to themselves, is just that - an out of control monster.  They are the sun, moon and stars in their own planets.  With no external forces able to penetrate the misaligned view they hold of themselves, they can, if taken to an extreme form, become menaces if given or forcefully take an authoritative role in public life. 

Those that hold an unchecked view of superior self, combined with the authority and power they hold (either taken or gained), are some of the most frightening players on the world front both presently and throughout history. 

If you were to look back to the rise and complete flourishable domination of the Roman empire, you would clearly see this pattern of the empirical view of self skewing ultimately the substance of the grandiose power achieved.  That which was the reason and drive for their rise to domination, eventually when unchecked, when unhealthy, became its unraveling, its annihilation.

We really are our own worst enemy when we always put ourselves center stage to the detriment of others.  Hitler did that.  His own warped and elevated view of self drove him to make decisions to gain power and ultimately kill a people group that he deemed not clean and pure.  Me monsters are seldom truly understood.  Like I tell my husband sometimes, crazy isn't usually rational.

The view of superior self creates a very real thought process that drives people to truly believe (not just think) they are above the written law of our culture and also just the basic laws of human nature.  They truly believe they are the rule makers and that laws are not meant for them.  North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-ung falls very clearly into that category.  You combine that superior self view with a bad haircut and you have a highly volatile and unstable wing nut of a leader  In the extreme form their narcissism bleeds into everything and over on everyone around them - even and including other countries.

That superior view of self, the me-monster, drives leaders in public to sexual indiscretions.  They see a disconnect between their actions and their position.  In fact, their position in their minds gives them cadence to exercise their power.  Power to a me-monster person usually is domination of sorts if not kept in check.

Those who were proponents of slavery believed in the complete superiority of the white race. They believed that the worth of anyone not white was minimal. That crooked view of color and humanity kept a culture and a race oppressed for hundreds of years.  It probably still does in some ways.

We are all born with a me-monster.  One of the first words we say as a child is NO.  You can argue that might be because parents spend a great deal of the first couple of years of a child's life setting safety parameters which involve the word "NO".  It's there none-the-less whether inherent or learned. 

Celebrities, or sometimes the wealthy, have an air of entitlement.  Based on the non-reality world they live in, it's no wonder there is a real left of center view of self in their lives.  The news reports incidences of celebrities melting down over not getting their me-monster demands met on a regular basis. 

The world would probably be quite different if there were no me-monster leaders wielding crazy unchecked power.  Crime would definitely diminish if me-monsters respected laws of our culture and laws of basic human nature.  Peace might be achieved in the Middle East, domination would not be a way of life for whole cultures and we would not have a national debt if the me-monsters denied themselves.

4.03.2013

DEGREDATING CHEERIOS



Words entertain me.  I find them quite fascinating.  Words are as exciting to me as probably a football game is to some or antiquing for treasures or web designing is to others.

I can think of nothing that hits and parodies what our hearts, heads, hopes, hurts, humor, joys, fears, questions, doubts, and triumphs hold silently like the power of a word to set them in concrete.  Not only do the words pronounce a precise Webster's definition, but they also paint a brush stroke of the inside of a person through the delivery of the words, the timing, and the emotion behind the words.

Over for dinner tonight, a dear friend of ours let fly the statement, "Who pissed in your cheerios?"  I let out a hearty laugh as I had never heard that phrase exactly.  Come to find out, I was the only one in the room who had not ever heard that vernacular. Where had I been all my life!!! 

The connotation of it was sublime.  It was concise, to the point and explicitly clear in questioning the origin of a persons foul mood from the moment they started the day off.  I just had to use it.  It had to be spoken.  It was a bit of truck driving blue collar so you think I'm a redneck kind of a statement.  And, I liked it. 

It was one of those statements that came in under the radar directly into someone's personal space.  This direct line of fire statement got the point across because it was cloaked in a reference to both urine and the toddler loving cheerios cereal.  Who is going to continue their growlie behavior when someone uses the word piss and cheerios in one accusatory question?

I thought about the places that it would fit for me to repeat this phrase - a time in which I could fully utilize its humorous power to call someone out for their grouchiness.  My sisters came to mind.  The thing is they are never grouchy with me.  They occasionally tell me about feeling grouchy which usually involves being irritated with their mates or children, or possibly a co-worker from time to time.  It just didn't fit for use with them.  

There was a definite glimmer of use with Big D.  She can get sassy from time to time (who could figure a recovering menno getting sassy!).  The phrase might snap her from her sass back to her people pleasing ways.  Since she is recovering steadily from the bondage of being a people pleaser, I didn't want to stop her from sassing.  Sassiness is way better than people pleasing bondage.

Since I couldn't really come up with a time or person to use it on, I decided to post it as a comment on our friend's (who had said the phrase to me earlier during dinner) Facebook post of a picture of the dinner I had made.  He said something like, "Dinner at Doug and Nancy's was very good:)"  Out it came, inappropriately in response to his compliment..."At least I didn't piss in your cheerios!" 

He informed me it was a statement that needed to be made in the morning.  I told him that you just can't keep a good quote in until morning!  For me it was like putting a Brach's caramel in front of me and telling me not to eat it until tomorrow.  It can't be done!

The next time I encounter a disengaged or rude sales clerk I think I might have to whip that phrase out. 

4.02.2013

SPILLAGE


I was in an upscale department store in another state recently.  Most of the clothes were beyond the prices I was willing to pay, barring the bathing suit bottom I was in the dressing room trying on.  The dressing rooms were befitting the caliber of the store I was in - you had to be escorted to one by an associate where your name was written on the chalkboard on the door as it was unlocked for your use. 

It was also one of those stores where, if you so desire, a professional bra fitter would accompany you into the dressing room to fit you properly for bras.  My bathing suit bottom thankfully did not need me to enlist the help of a "fitter".  I needed only to turn my ass sideways in the three mirrors to catch a glimpse of what my aging butt looked like in it.

Fortunately for me my dressing room came with entertainment - the dressing room next to me held a bra customer and the store's professional bra fitter.  Now there is nothing funnier than hearing conversation that is of a delicate nature and not being able to see those participating in it.  It's even funnier when it is being spoken a bit louder than maybe it needs to be. 

The sales lady's voice was loud and a bit nasally, "Well the best way to know if you are wearing a well fitting bra is if there is NO spillage."  I started to giggle alone in my adjoining dressing room.  Deciding this was going to be worth hearing, I sat down on the little triangular corner bench that wasn't designed for a whole butt.  "See here, there is excess spillage on the sides.  You need more coverage.  It will look smoother through your clothes."  Flesh, say flesh I said inside my head.  It's fat, it's boob flesh!  Call it what it is.  Breasts are comprised of mainly fat tissue.  Spillage.... is that the new politically correct way to say it?

I looked down at myself.  There was absolutely NO spillage of any kind. I wondered what size you had to be to really have any sort of spillage?  Was it purely size that created spillage?  Was it a combination of large size breasts and an ill-fitting bra?  Would it possible to create spillage even with small breasts if they were crammed in a too small bra (ok that one might be hard to do unless you utilized a young teen training bra!)? 

I was snapped back by their continued spillage conversation. 

Finally the customer spoke. "Well this was the best fitting bra I could find.  When you wear a G cup you just get the one that feels the best on."   Ok, did I just hear that right, a G CUP!  What exactly does a G cup look like.  Holy cow of course there would be spillage.  I'm not sure if even construction cones could contain a G cup.  I looked down at my barely A's as mentally I sang the "ABC's" to know how many letters away G was from A.

Unfortunately for me I left the dressing room before they did.  I was disappointed that I did not get to see this G cup woman and the professional bra person as I exited. 

Walking through the store I reached in my back pocket for my cell phone and realized it was missing. I bolted back to the dressing room to see if it had fallen out of my pocket when I was trying clothes on.  Who should be exiting their bra fitting session at that exact time - the bra customer and the "spillage" bra fitter!  The voice and person now came into my full vision.

Perfect timing!!  So that's what a G cup looks like. The bra fitter woman wasn't far behind in cup size.  I had to turn sideways to let them pass:)

4.01.2013

THE WINDS OF CHANGE



My bus has been parked on the ever shifting sands of change lately.  I tried to logically think through things that don't change.  The list was very small.  That in and of itself gave substance to the reality of living life surrounded and filled with change.  There was brilliance to this design of change - a reminder that life is moving, finite.  We are transients in it really. 


If that is indeed the case, that there is more change present in our lives than things are are static and same, why do we sometimes wrestle with it?  Why do we sometimes have a love/hate relationship with change and the movement of time?

Time is itself a thing of change.  It is constantly moving.  Time changes almost everything that popped into my head - our looks, our age, the start and close of a day, the seasons, our schedules...  Time marks itself on literally everything in life. 

I felt that yesterday once again.  Poised on the edge of change, I tried to drink in the things around me that were oh so familiar and were such a big vein in my life.  As I engaged with those that I love deeply I also tried to pull myself away, to watch it in third person too.  I didn't want to miss all the nuances that make each of my family members who they are.

Change had come to everyone around the Easter table.  My two twin nieces and one of their boyfriends were finishing out the last 3 weeks of their sophomore years in college.  They were more grown-up even though my one niece still picked me up off the floor to squeeze me tight as she did every time she saw me.  One of my other nieces would graduate from college in another month and then with another change swift on her heels, get married in June.  I marveled at them grown up and changing into adult versions of themselves.  They had not stayed the same nor would they no matter how hard I remembered them as kids or heard them say "Aunt Nancy".  Another niece and her husband were new parents of a four month old girl - Emmie.  I watched them now as a mom and dad. 

Change was full of blessings and yet always left just a whisper of the wistfulness for the times that had past and/or changed.  As my eyes filled with tears that I tried to keep from spilling out, I wondered what other changes would come to their lives in the months and years ahead.  More changes and less things that were static seemed to be a theme with all who had gathered at the table.

I thought about my middle sister and her husband sitting at the table too.  Both my sister and Kent, my brother-in-law called me "Nanny" - their term of endearment for me.  My brother-in-law was much more than an "in-law" to me, he had been my brother for almost 30 years.  His warm embrace and kiss on my cheek as he whispered, "Nanny, I will miss having you here.  I love any time I get to spend with you", filled my heart with joy. That was his very normal way with me and a language of love that we both spoke.  Kent had seen his own massive changes to his life over the years.  So it was with both an understanding of the changing movement of all things in life, and wistfulness that it wouldn't change that mixed thoroughly in with his love.

I always felt big love from my middle sister Diane.  It was never condemning love, or preachy love.  It was just wild-i-love-my-nanny kind of love.  She giggled at my irreverence, made a trip to the bathroom with me (that is what sisters do!) so we could continue our conversation, dried the dishes as I washed them after Easter dinner and always made me feel like if there was anything physically she could do to fix anything in my life, she would.  She was the one who had dropped everything when I came home from the hospital on several occasions over the years just to take care of me.  I hated the thought that my physical presence wouldn't allow me to be in her presence.  She made me feel like being me was more than ok.  I loved her fiercely.

My parents sat at their normal end of the big oak table my dad had made to accommodate the large and growing family he had.  It could seat around 15 if we all scrunched in.  It was a comforting sight to see them in their spots, to hear my dad's prayer and his voice crackle as he prayed for the Easter meal.  I have to think part of his emotion was the bigness of the love he had for God who had loved him and he had loved all his life, and the realization that things were shifting - that his youngest was moving away from the sheep pen.

There were absent members of the family too that also marked changes in our family.  My own daughter and husband were in Africa.  My oldest niece and husband now lived in Indianapolis and were expecting their first child.  My oldest sister and husband decided to get away to Florida spur of the moment.  Everyone had movement and changes in their lives too. 

I too had experienced more changes than things that I could count that had remained unmoving and the same.  Why then did I feel a bit wistful about changes yet again? 

As we pulled out of the driveway of the house that I grew up in, that my parents still lived in after 50 years, I tried to capture and bottle the feelings that came over me every time I was there.  I tried to memorize the look of the farm fields that surrounded my parents house - the fields that I had spent most of my childhood running through. 

I smiled at my silly wistfulness knowing it was all futile really.  Life was designed to change.  We are born and travel to death.  Everything from start to finish is a work in progress, moving sidewalks, ticking seconds, changing of the guard.  I opened my hand to what lie directly in front of me.  I was as ready as I could be for a move, a change, a new direction. 

Mixed into this change was a bit of nostalgia, a shake of fear, and a belief that change is a necessary and constant part of life.  I was thankful amidst all the change that the love of my life, Doug, was in it with me.  That made change less like change and more like an adventure.