Thursday, March 23, 2017

     Do you ever think about the joy you get from a chair? the light you feel from sun coming through a glass pane? the sense of control you feel from an organized desktop?

     Yesterday, Mr. Wonderful bought me a new chair for my brand new desk he purchased for me last week. I never thought about the chair I sit on every morning, often for hours at a time. Do you think about your chair? If you have back issues, probably, but if not, maybe you don’t give it a thought. I never did. A chair is functional. It is a necessity, not a luxury—at least not a desk chair. Last night, as I sat down in it for the first time, it felt so good. The leatherette seat was welcoming as I set about answering emails and looking at the latest Trumpmania.

     Today, we will have a new front door installed. It is an exterior door made of lead-glass and Fiberglass. It will allow much more light into our front entry, and I discovered that it will give me a view of our cute little bistro table and garden from the inside of the house. I have been saving for months to pay for this puppy, which I will open and close several times a month without thinking about it. But, maybe I will think about it because I saved so long and because of what it represents. 

     A front door is the first part of your house that people see. It tells them something about you and your home. Presently, the door is slightly scarred from its previous owners, and my holiday wreath is still hanging on it, as there’s no place to store it in our garage. What does this tell you about us? When people stand at your door waiting for you to open it, they may or may not have expectations of how you will greet them or what your house looks like inside, if you’ve never visited before. We have recently moved, so most people who come through our door have never been here before. Will they feel differently standing before our lead glass door than before the holiday wreath scarred version? I have never thought about this until now. (What else would I be contemplating at 6:14 a.m.?) Will people know how long I saved to purchase this puppy? Will they care? Probably not. Most people are still in their own heads standing at your door. Your piggy bank savings is the last thing on their minds. But think about what your front door says about you. Is it inviting? Is it decorated? Does the decoration tell you anything about them? 
If it’s not decorated, does that tell you something?


      This topic is absurd. What about those Wolverines?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

     One thing I’ve learned, but I seem to continue to relearn is that a day doesn’t end with the first good or bad event. Sometimes the day will be going smoothly, and, suddenly, everything will fall apart. I choose not to label it “a bad day.” Most days are not good or bad; they are a combination of the two with some “eh” thrown in.

     Yesterday, I woke up all anxious about my upcoming performances. I had to dig out some serious self-talk, a couple of meditations, a physical workout and some get-to-work tools to get to lunchtime. By 12:30, I was feeling much better, but still unsettled. When I was tempted to label it a “hide-under-the-bed-with-my-teddy” kind of day, I found myself at my Toastmaster meeting.

      This group of highly-motivated, mostly high-energy people always fascinates and uplifts. One friend was giving a final speech for a designated certification, and she was all nervous. Another was telling me how good she was feeling after finally recovering from two knee surgeries. She was feeling like “her old self” and was eager to get going on some new projects. One of our Division Directors tried to recruit us to attend the Spring Speech Competition Saturday. She said, “If I can get up out of my bed after surgery to be there, so can you.”

    How could I think about hiding under my bed after listening to these positive remarks? I am not having surgery. I didn’t have two previous surgeries. I am just scared. Bottom line, from 5:00 a.m. when I got up to 11:00 p.m. when I returned to my nest, the day took on a shape and result I had never anticipated. 

     So what’s the point? Let the day evolve. Take measures to deal with whatever is asking for attention on your plate, and don’t label it before it’s over.


     What kind of day do you have before you? Who knows? Just roll with it, enjoy it as much as possible, be grateful you don’t have others’ issues, and label it, “It was a great day because I was healthy and coherent enough to think about it.”

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

     I have written previously about a word I used to loathe: “appropriate.” I am ambivalent about the term. What is “appropriate,” in my humble opinion, is behavior that is polite, considerate, not offensive or vulgar and acceptable in its context. 

     Recently, I have heard the following topics discussed at length at a dinner table:
gastric bypass issues, food getting stuck in one’s throat, dog’s business, food poisoning, and colonoscopy prep. What?!!! Do we really have to listen to such disgusting topics while we’re eating? 

    People do and say some of the weirdest things. I think there should be an Art Linkletter show for “inappropriate” adults. Remember, “Kids Say the Darndest Things?” Well, how about “What Will Adults Reveal Next?” 


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 Speaking of polite, what ever happened to “Excuse me,” and “I’m sorry?” We were at the theatre the other night, and at least a dozen people had to walk in front of our seats to get to theirs. Now this is not their fault, as there is no center aisle in one of our theaters here. The point is that we all know we will have to walk in front of those already seated, so it should be obvious that an “Excuse me” would be in order. Of the dozen people who walked in front of us, some not so steadily, some rather ample in size, two said “Excuse me.” How difficult is it to be polite? The lady next to me put her glass of wine in the cup in front of her, and I kept fearing that one of the passersby would knock it over all over my brand new shoes. I even said, “I’d watch that wine of yours.” She just laughed and left it there while some guy brushed by with his cane and nearly sent it flying. What’s wrong with people?

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     In my day, it was “inappropriate” and “uncouth” to:

1.  climb over the seats in a theatre to get to yours.
2.  put your dirty shoes on the seats in front of you.
3.  push your way in front of others in a line.
  4.  discuss private information in public.
5.  leave your garbage on the floor at the movie theatre.
6.  change your kid’s diaper in public.
7.  let your kids run around a restaurant when people are trying to have a quiet meal.
8.  talk loudly in public so others can hear your conversation.
9.  talk on your cell phone when you’re out with friends (yes, we had phones in my day, albeit with long black curly cords)
  10. make fun of someone’s hair cut or weight.
  11. brag about anything!
12. reveal your income or how many cars and houses you have.
13. interrupt. 
14. dominate a conversation.
15. not look at someone to whom you are speaking.
16. bring your pets to our home without asking.
17. let your pets trample on our flowers and shrubs.
and the list goes on. What a fuddy-duddy I am, huh?


       I guess I’m weird. Maybe I should start a club, “Be Weird, Try Polite.”
     


     

Monday, March 20, 2017

                                 FP and SM

     This is for vain people who dream of a flat stomach and low numbers from the scale. Do you suffer from FP  and SMs? FP is what my dear friend, Marion, has fondly labeled “Fastener Pooch.” This is the annoying phenomenon of the zipper placket that sticks out in the front of one’s slacks and makes one look pregnant. If you’ve spent more than half your life as I have trying to achieve and maintain the flat tummy, then FP is very annoying. You buy a lovely pair of slacks, a gorgeous blouse, tuck it in, only to have the FP make you look like you’re in your first trimester. wtf. No matter how much you hold it in, the FP sticks out. Why didn’t it show at the store when you tried it on? Because the SM, the “Skinny Mirror” doesn’t show such things. If it did, you wouldn’t make the purchase.

      It has been discovered that certain stores have installed skinny mirrors that make the customer look about ten pounds thinner. This does wonders for business but creates an added stress for the buyer when she looks at herself in her own mirror and realizes that FP and SM have royally sent her day into the tank. 

     Some people might say, “Well, it’s obvious that it’s fabric sticking out, not you.” That’s b.s. The vicious females who love to one-up each other in their minds are saying, “Look at that woman. She’s quite attractive and thin, but what’s with the tummy?” Some kind women might say, “That woman is lovely. Look at her cute little tummy. She’s obviously a mother.” Vain women take no pride in such comments as we have been trying to get rid of the recently-touted “baby bump” for twenty years. Bump, schlump. No FPs, and down with SMs, I say. Give me the side-zipper and a Cosmo.


    

Sunday, March 19, 2017

     Last night, we attended a fabulous production of Brownsville Song, a poignant play about one poor black family from Brooklyn, New York. The production began with a monologue delivered by a middle-aged black grandmother who had just lost her 18-year-old grandson to a senseless murder. The message in her soliloquy was, “This is just one more of those.” She tearfully spoke of “those” as “hers,” and asked us to think about what it would feel like it one of “those” was “ours.” 

      The point is that when we read about senseless killings, especially in impoverished neighborhoods, we don’t get upset. We barely react, as it is so common. We have become numb to violence, as long as it doesn’t impact us. Well, all violence impacts all of us, and
the play goes on to show us the family dynamics and the struggle poor young people have trying to make it out of the ghetto.

     The play was riveting. The acting was phenomenal, and the message hit home. It is true. We have become numb to much of the violence and vulgarity in our society because there is so much of it.  Most of the local violence doesn’t even make the papers, much less a headline. The more there is, the more numb we become. How tragic is that? Would we be numb if one of our children was shot senselessly walking down the street? Would we be numb if our spouse was mugged or shot randomly from a neighboring car on the freeway? 

     The issue isn’t even the numb; it’s the lack of power to do anything about the violence. When our leaders are numb to our voices, we are powerless. That powerlessness fuels rage, and the next thing we know, there is more violence. Reasonable voices fall on deaf ears. 


    I was reminded last night of the message that came out of the recent Oscars ceremony:  theatre and film are powerful voices for those whose cannot be heard. That play last night spoke so loudly, and people in the audience had to hear the words and see the results. Our devices were turned off, and our attention was on the stage. We paid to be entertained and enlightened. Some may not call what we saw last night “entertaining,” but to me, the message that resonated loudly and clearly engaged my mind and made me think. Am I powerless? Are you? What can we do to un-numb ourselves? What can we do to stop the violence? 

Saturday, March 18, 2017






     I have been thinking very hard all week about certain issues, and I have yet to come up with answers to simple questions like:
                a.  How can I pay my bills and still get those shoes I want?
                b.  How can I import an audience to listen to my show so I know what I have yet to work on before going on stage?
                c.  How can I get everything done by the deadlines and still do an A+ job?
                d.  How do I do these things and stay calm and relaxed?
                e.  How can I take ten years off my face by Wednesday?
                f.   How do I get people to pay me back money they owe me?
                g.  How do I get to Wednesday on $9.21?

    By looking at this chart, I realize it’s simple. All I have to do is put on my headphones and listen to some good ole’ rock n roll, think positively, meditate daily and crank up my subconscious, and I’ve got this nailed. Here I go. Stay tuned.

                 

Friday, March 17, 2017

     

     Have you ever been a few minutes into a conversation with someone, and you think to yourself, “Wow. This is exciting!” or “Omg, this person is taking me somewhere I’ve never thought I could go!” Every so often, I meet someone like this, and I am at a loss to describe how that person can take me to that “place,” but it’s always a positive experience, and I usually come away enlightened, energized or, occasionally, on fire. I want to be that person for someone. I want just one someone this week to walk away from me feeling better than when they met me. How do you do that?

     There is, obviously, no formula. People who inspire, energize, enlighten do so by who they are and how they see their world. They see things through a lens that only they understand. They observe, listen, reflect, process in a unique way that others may never have considered.

     Think about the people in your lives who have motivated or inspired you. How were they different from you? The ones who have taken me to these “places,” are those who read, who reflect, who have taken what they’ve discovered and done something with that information. Some are eccentric, I must admit. (That may be a nice way of saying “weird.”) Some are super intellectual;  their brains are far beyond where my IQ could take me. Some are “march-to-my-own-drummer” types. Some are radical in their thinking or outrageous in their demeanor. But they all ignite a place inside me that often propels me into action or at least into deep thought.


     Do they have to be famous or recognized publicly? No. They could be a next door neighbor, a clerk at Target or a custodian in your office building. There is no stereotype. Who do you know who has taken you to such a place? Did you ever thank them? Are you one of them? Where do you “take” people? Do they walk away from you feeling better, uplifted, energized?  

     Here are a few of mine. Some are still living:)
Elliot Engel
Margaret Anderson
Brené Brown
Robin Williams
Mrs. Milne
Chet Bloomquist
Hilda Blommquist
Dorothy Benton
Evelyn Rigby
Antoine Adam