Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My Big Fat Lip And My Big Fat Mouth

My Big Fat Lip
Yesterday morning, at about 3:00 a.m., halfway awake, I grabbed the end of the bed sheet to pull it up over me.  My hand slipped and I literally punched myself in the lip. I immediately felt my lip start to swell.  I got up out of bed, went into the bathroom to check out my injury.  My lip was split and indeed it was swollen.  As I stood in the kitchen with an ice cube on my face,  I wondered how many other people surely must have done the same thing.
It’s not funny! Okay maybe a little.

My Big Fat Mouth
Yesterday afternoon our bowling league met at Il Giardino’s restaurant for our end of season luncheon.
Our league is called the "Tuesday Morning Ladies”.  This year there were seven teams. The members range in age from the 40’s to the oldest who is 92.
Two of the four members of my team rarely showed up to bowl this year.  So our team, most of the time, was just Sandy and me.  I guess that might account for us coming in 7th.
The luncheon was pleasant.  That is up until the moment when the topic of conversation turned contentious.
Before I continue, I should explain that I am very low key and extremely quiet.  I usually sit and read or knit while I wait for my turn to bowl.   Oh, I cheer on the others, but other than that, as I said, I keep to myself and keep quiet.
Okay, back to the luncheon.
I was sitting across from the 92 year old, Mary.  I always liked Mary.   We would exchange pleasantries whenever we bowled her team.  Mary does not look, or act like you might expect a 92 year old woman to act or look.  She is one of the best bowlers in our league.  She still has a spring in her step and is mentally sharp.  You might guess her age to be at least 20 years younger.  I felt so sad when Mary’s husband of 69 years passed away a few months ago.  I was inspired to see her pick up and continue to carry on with life.
Somehow the conversation at our table turned to our welfare system.  I was taken aback when I heard Mary say, in a disapproving and judgmental tone,  that the highest percentage of unwed mothers in this country are black.
I could not let this go.  I just couldn’t sit and smile and nod my head as if I agreed or condoned her statement.
I said, “Mary, that is not true.”  
“You don’t think so?”  She asked.
“No absolutely not!”  I replied.
“Well, she said, most of ‘them' are on welfare.”
I said, “Look, first, one thing I cannot tolerate is when someone makes such a broad and generalized statement.”
“Second,” I continued, “there are all types of people who need help at various times in their lives.”
“And finally,” I said, “I suspect that most people who are on any kind of public assistance would prefer that they didn’t have to be.”
Mary, began to strongly disagree with me.
I could see that the other people at the table were becoming uncomfortable with the way the conversation was going. There was a lot of seat shifting and eye averting going on.
I backed off and someone else changed the subject.
Later, when I reflected on the incident, I realized that Mary, along with the coach of the Clippers, Donald Sterling, are part of a generation who continue to have deep seated and strong prejudicial feelings.
 Also, like Sterling, Mary staunchly denies begin a prejudiced person.
Would ignorant be the better way to describe those people?
Perhaps my big fat lip got in the way today, but I did not regret expressing my opinions.  I do, however, feel a little sad that my opinion of Mary has now been somewhat altered.

I got an award for having the “Highest Individual Game” of a 204.  Our team got an award for having the “Highest Team Game”.   Not bad for a two woman team.

That 204 was an anomaly.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Rest of The Stories - Deja Vu All Over Again

Here are some updates to previous posts:

Everything But The Kitchen Sink:
We had our new faucet installed.  It looks nice and best of all it works.   What I like most, though, is that we also had a water filter installed.  So good-bye to the 4 Brita pitchers we used to keep filled at all times.  Two in the fridge and two out on the counter.   It’s wonderful to be able to get a glass of water, fill up the tea kettle and pasta pot right from the tap.

Scooting Around Town:
I decided to give Curves a “just one more month" chance.  I have stuck to that promise. If I go tomorrow, I will have been there three times a week for the past month.  The women and the conversations are still the same. But,  I am getting some form of exercise and physically feel better.

Just Wait, Just You Wait:
This one has to have its own post.  Basically,  I’m still waiting.

Mean Girls in Fourth Grade?:
So, apparently the girls have all made up and want to be best friends again.  One of the girls has invited Bella to her birthday party.
Bella asked her mom to unBlock the girls so that they could start texting each other again.  Jen said no.
I have mixed feelings.  I understand that constant drama is something that girls seem to thrive on.  For me it is a trust issue.  I wouldn’t want Bella to get hurt again.
But, Bella is young and still naive enough to be able to give second and probably third or maybe even fourth chances.

The Other Linda:
Well, I had to return a few items.  I refused to go back to that same location because I just couldn’t deal with the Other Linda again.
We drove a little further, but it was worth the extra few minutes because I had a more pleasant experience.  The sales staff gave me just the right amount of attention.
After we left the store, we decided to take a stroll around the mall.  I couldn’t believe what happened next.
As we were leisurely window shopping, a woman across the way was motioning for us to come over to her.   She was standing in front of one of those Kiosks, holding up a packet of something and saying “free gift.”  I shook my head no and wanted to keep walking.  She persisted.
Okay, so I have to explain a little bit about Ross here.  He is a very curious person.
He looked at me, shrugged his shoulders as if to say, “why not” and went over to the woman.
I didn’t move and stayed where I was, which was a safe distance away from her.    I watched for a few seconds while she and Ross were talking.  Ross finally waved to me to come over.
This woman, her name was Chana, was an even more impressive salesperson than the Other Linda.
Her pitch was perfect.  Not a note out of tune.  It was purely symphonic.
She amazed us with her demonstration of the product.
 “Hold your two hands next to each other. Do you see the difference?”
She was right.  There was a difference.  Wow, I thought! Ah Mazing!
“Okay, I’ll take one kit,” I said.
“Trust me, you won’t be disappointed,” she said.
She put the kit in the bag and started to ring up the sale.  But, wait…
“Can I ask you one question?”
Something So Appropriate About The Name
“Uh, okay”  I said.
“Do you know of anyone else who might like one of these?  Because I am running a special sale. Just for you.  Just for today.  You know because of Memorial day.”
Before we walked away, now with three kits in the bag, Chana wanted a group hug.  Darn, another missed selfie opportunity.

Hmm, so I guess Bella isn’t the only one is who still young and naive and too gullible and trusting.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Other Linda

It’s that time of year when I go through my closet and try on clothes from last summer.
Boy, doing this was a shocking reminder of how much time I spent being a couch potato this last longest of winters.
Ugh,  I grew a whole size bigger.  Nothing fit me from last year.  This meant that I needed a completely new summer wardrobe.
Oddly enough Ross likes to shop with me.  We went on Saturday.  It was quite an experience.
I was accosted by the most aggressive sales woman I have ever encountered.
She approached me immediately.    She asked if she could help.  I said no and told her that I was just browsing.  I had a pair of capris in my hand.  She asked if she could put them in the dressing room for me.  I said no and told her I wasn’t ready to try anything on just yet.  She then asked me what size I was looking for.  I told her what my new size was.
She introduced herself and asked me my name.  She expressed delight when she discovered that we were both Lynda’s.
She then proceeded to gather items in my size that she thought I might like.
I started to show some interest.  And that’s when she reeled me in.
The next thing I knew I was being held captive in a dressing room, most of the time in my underwear, while the other Linda constantly brought things for me to try on.
Now, I should mention here that Ross was also looking for pieces for me to try on.  It was double trouble.
Linda’s MO was to take away the things that I absolutely wasn’t going to buy, and put the things that I “might” like to have by the register.  She was good!
After a solid hour, I had had enough.  I should have taken a selfie right before I left the dressing room.  My hair was standing on end and I looked like I had just finished a marathon of one kind or another.
By the time I got myself together, put a comb through my hair and exited the dressing room the other Linda was ready to ring up my purchases.    I gasped when she told me what the total was.
Ross was not very helpful.  He kept saying things like, “Do you like it?”  I would say yes.  His response was, “It looked so nice on you. So, you should have it.  You deserve it.”
I’m sure it was just my imagination, but I swear I caught a glimpse of the other Linda gleefully smirking and wringing her hands while Ross was doing his best to convince me I should keep all of the items that were now wrapped and bagged.
I wondered if the sales staff at this particular department store worked on commission.  The way the other Linda worked, that certainly seemed to be the case.
I googled that very question and discovered that indeed the sales people at that store worked strictly on commission.
At first I was a little taken aback by the other Linda’s tactics.  But, I have to give her props.   She works hard for the money.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mean Girls in Fourth Grade?

My granddaughter, who just turned 10 years old,  received an iTouch for Christmas.  One step closer to a cell phone.  When she first got it she used it to play games, take photos and FaceTime with me and one of her friends.
She soon discovered the text message feature.
Her contacts were initially limited to family and a couple of her BFF’s.
I looked forward to a sweet “Good Night Grandma” message every evening from Bella.
Since her parents allowed her to use the alarm clock feature on the device, she would take it up to her room each night.
My daughter began to get suspicious, though, when Bella, who normally would get up for school as soon as her alarm went off, started to have a hard time waking up in the morning.  
Jen suspected that Bella was using the iTouch and staying up well past her bedtime.
I was no longer getting those sweet messages from her.
One night Jen told Bella that she had to leave the iTouch downstairs.  After my granddaughter went to sleep, Jen took a look at the text messages that Bella was sending and receiving.
She discovered that Bella was a participant in a group chat. She was upset to learn that the messages going back and forth were mean spirited.   She found out that three girls were ganging up on Bella and one of Bella’s best friends.
Jen had a talk with Bella and she finally confided in her mother.  She told Jen exactly what was going on.
Bella had been trying to handle the situation on her own by deleting the “mean” girls from her contact list.  She didn’t understand that deleting the names would not stop the girls from contacting her.
Jen used the *Block Contacts feature on the iTouch to stop those particular girls from being able to contact Bella.
At this point it has turned into a “she said, she said” scenario, with a guidance counselor involved.  Oddly enough, however, Jen was never contacted by the school to inform her of the matter.

I am curious, though,  about the psyche of individuals who perpetuate bullying behavior, particularly girls.
Who are these girls?  Why do they lash out?  What makes them want to hurt another person?
What need is it satisfying in them?

What is it that they say?  “Life’s lessons begin on the playground.”
I understand that “mean” girls have been around forever.   Yes, today’s technology gives them another method to channel their meanness.
I know that Bella will face many such challenges during her life because she will encounter all kinds of people along the way.
My hope is that she will gain the necessary insight and perception to recognize decency and kindness and form friendships and relationships with people who possess those qualities.

*The website “Be Smart Web” is a  helpful resource.  The link explains how to turn on certain parental control features such as Blocking Contacts.

Monday, May 12, 2014

For The Record - Mother’s Day on May 11 2014

For The Record
Mother’s Day May 11, 2014

First of all the weather was just right.  The sky was blue, the sun was shining and the temperature was a comfortable 80 degrees.
Each Mother’s day the Sayen Botanical Gardens, located in the town where my daughter and her family live, hosts an azalea festival.
That’s where we decided to meet this year.
There was an assortment of crafters, musical entertainment, food and activities for the kids.

There were hundreds of people strolling through the gardens.  There are many pretty spots which are prefect for picture taking.                                  

After we made the rounds and took our share of photos, we decided to go for a bite to eat at a Massimo’s, a local Italian restaurant.
My granddaughter wanted a story while we waited for our lunch to be served.  I told her that it was a little too noisy in the room and my brain needed quiet to make a story.  I promised her one later.
When we finished lunch we went to my daughter’s house for desert.  My daughter-in-law came over with my grandson.

Pop-Pop and the boys playing Trouble
It’s impossible to be sad when I am around the kids.
My daughter told me about the gift that her six year old son gave her.  I thought it was pretty neat.
So, the father of one of the kids in my grandson’s class works for a cosmetics company.  He brought all of the ingredients in for the kids to make lip gloss.  The kids each got to pick out a color and a flavor.
My grandson’s favorite color is green.  Yes, my daughter had to put on green lip gloss to show her son how much she loved his gift.
As we were getting ready to leave, my other grandson decided that he didn’t want us to say goodbye.  For a 3-1/2 year old, he is quite the negotiator.  When I told him that we had appointments this week, he had a ready solution.  He pointed out to us that his mother could come to our house and stay with him until we finished with our appointments.  Then she could go home.
We managed to convince him that he could visit soon.  He then gave me the biggest and tightest hug.
My son, who had to work today, called me to wish me a Happy Mother’s Day.
When I told him about our day, he said “It sounds like you had a very nice day.”
I said, “You know, yes, I did.”

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Mother’s Day Reflection - White Carnations & Pink Azaleas

The origin of Mother’s day is a true testament to the significance of the day.  A daughter, Anna Jarvis, who wanted to memorialize and pay tribute to her beloved mother, Ann Jarvis, campaigned to have a day set aside to celebrate all mothers.

I have mixed emotions about Mother’s day.  My own mothering began at an early age.  I was the oldest of 6 siblings. 
My mom relied and depended on me in many different ways.  Even at an early age, I sometimes felt as though our roles were reversed.
I admit there were times I resented it.   I guiltily and vividly remember incidents when I lost my patience with her.  
Up until she passed away, in 2009, I spent every single Mother’s day with my Mom.
Funny, but now, upon reflection, my recollections of my mother are so different.  Now, especially today, on Mother’s day, I have fond memories of the days we spent together.  I remember the many times she was there for me.  No, let me change that.  I understand and realize that she was always there for me.  
Today, on this Mother’s day,  this third Mother’s day without my son, as I achingly grieve for him,  I miss my mom so much. 
I want to talk to her,  I want to cry with her, be comforted by her, and most of all be mothered by her. 
Anna Jarvis referred to a carnation as the perfect flower to symbolize the significance of honoring mom.
"Its whiteness is to symbolize the truth, purity and broad-charity of mother love; its fragrance, her memory, and her prayers. The carnation does not drop its petals, but hugs them to its heart as it dies, and so, too, mothers hug their children to their hearts, their mother love never dying…”

Today,  I will try to stay present in a garden of pink azaleas. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Just Wait, You Just Wait.

I don’t remember what the ad was for but I remember how it made me feel.
The scene featured two women sitting in a waiting room.   My impression was that they were sisters.
The one woman looked worried.   She said, “This is the way it started with Mom.”
The sister, trying to re-assure her, replied, “It’s only a test.”
A nurse came out and took the woman into another room.
She had been able to be strong for her sister.  But now, sitting there alone, waiting for her sister to finish with the test, she whispered under her breath, “It’s only a test.”  This time she was trying to re-assure herself that her sister really would be okay.
Obviously, the two sisters had already been through a similar situation with their Mom.   It was also apparent that the outcome had not been a good one.
The ad touched me because I empathized with those women.
I have been the one having “just a test” and I have been the one re-assuring a loved one that everything was going to be all right.
Last week I went for an annual physical.  I expressed concern to my doctor about a few troubling symptoms I have been experiencing.  After he examined me, he said that he was fairly certain that I was fine.  Then came the but.  “But, lets run a few tests, just for your peace of mind.”
After I left the doctor’s office I went right to the lab to schedule the test.  The earliest appointment they could schedule me for was in two weeks.
Sometimes I think the waiting can be scarier than the test.

So, while I’m waiting I walk around the neighborhood taking photos of whatever I happen to find interesting.
Yesterday, I found this guy hanging at the edge of the Carp pond.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Scooting Around the Town

It was cold and damp a good part of this last month.  Old Man winter was not letting go.
So far, though,  May has been darn right spring like.
Today the sky was so blue that I decided it was time to venture out of the house and scoot around town.
This morning I went back to Curves.  I haven’t been there in, well probably not since winter set in or about a hundred years ago.
I went today for a couple of reasons.  First and foremost, I am paying $39.40 a month whether I go or not.  I have been feeling rather guilty about that and I just couldn’t ignore it any longer.
Second, I see that I am starting to get squishy and mushy.  I hate when that happens.
I really don’t like to go to Curves for a couple of reasons.  First, since I always go at the same time, between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m. I see the same women who also go at that time.  I’ve been going to Curves on and off (mostly off) for the past ten years.  Individually and as a group we have gotten larger, in size, not in numbers.  That’s discouraging.
Second,  individually and as a group we have gotten older.  As I went around the circuit, catching snippets of conversations, I realize we have also gotten grumpier.   That’s annoying.
My preference would be to plug my ear phones in and listen to my choice of music.  But, the way Curves works is you have to listen for the every 30 second announcement to “change stations.”
I listened to complaints about Obama Care, and warnings about how “things are going to get much worse.”  Another pair exchanged stories about their knee replacement surgeries.  The two women who came in about 15 minutes after I did, were talking about “that younger generation.”
However, I am going to diligently try to commit to three times a week for one month.
Then I will make a decision about whether I want to hand in my Curves resignation.

When I got back home, not feeling as invigorated as I had hoped, I decided that what I really needed was an appointment with my hair dresser.
What I found out at the salon was that “selfies” would not be allowed at graduation this year.
Also, girls are ordering their prom dresses from China and they are not getting them.
Another thing I learned was that the girls who were buying their dresses locally were guaranteed that their dress would not be sold to another girl who was going to the same prom.
I guess it’s like a wedding or baby registry, the stores maintain some kind of a list.
I felt less squishy and mushy after getting my hair done.  The conversation was more interesting and I felt more in touch with “that younger generation.”
I figure if I quit Curves, I can go to the beauty parlor more often.

On the way home,  I drove by the restaurant that burned down two years ago.  I saw a “Coming Soon” sign.  I was a little disappointed to see that what was “coming soon” was another strip mall.
Well, perhaps one of the stores will be a Yarn Shop.  I can dream.

Oh, one other thing I found out today, our town is participating in Meridian Health’s campaign to “Paint the Town Pink.”

"The month of May, from May 1 to June 1, 2014 Meridian Health with the help of our Pink Towns will raise awareness of the importance of annual mammography.
Also money raised from this effort will go towards helping those women who can’t afford mammograms to be able to get them. 
 For the month of May our town of Barnegat will be known as Barne“pink”gat.
The whole town is pink.

I declare my hibernation to be officially over.  

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Everything But The Kitchen Sink

We had a decision to make today.

You know how there are some things you just take for granted.  For instance when you flip a switch the light goes on or it goes off.  You don’t wonder about it, you don’t give it a thought.

You have a wide variety of choices on your TV remote. Among these are turning on the power, selecting a channel and controlling the volume.   I’m pretty certain that you are not in awe each time you select an option and it works.

When you turn the knob on the stove you get a flame. 
Your refrigerator keeps your food cold and safe.  It just does.   
Your washer washes and your dryer dries. 
You get the picture .
The washer and dryer I wish I had. 
So a few weeks ago when I went to turn on the faucet, and the top fell off, well I didn’t expect that.  Ross kind of jury rigged it so the faucet works, but we knew, after 12 years, it was time for a new one.

The plumber came today with pictures of faucets that he thought might work in our existing sink configuration. 

 Ross wanted to know which one I liked.   I said, “They all look the same to me.”
Then I said, "Well, that’s not really true.  I, of course, can see the subtle differences.  But I am not that fussy.”  You pick.”

We both agreed to eliminate number three.  And then we decided that number two wasn’t the right one.

So now it was between one and four.  
As it turned out I am a little more fussy than I thought.
When Ross said that it didn’t really matter to him, but he thought number four was kind of the right one.
 I said, “um…no.”  It has to be number one.

I wonder if the faucet is going to look too new for our old sink.