Feeling Shiny and New

How did your experience go with finding the “new” in life?  Remember, yesterday I challenged each one of you to do 3 new things.  Here’s what I did:

Ymap21) To get to the YMCA after work, I usually head west on 4th, then go north on Prospect, then right on 10th.  Yesterday I went north on BUCKLIN, then west on SHOOTING PARK, then SOUTH on Prospect.

2) Usually I turn into the YMCA parking lot and then go inside to workout.  Yesterday I drove PAST the YMCA and did NOT go in to workout.

3) I headed to Kentucky Fried Chicken where I usually get a bucket of Original Recipe.  Yesterday I got EXTRA CRISPY.

I feel like a brand, new woman.

OK, technically #2 isn’t all that new.  I’ve been blowing off the Y so often lately it would be more new-ish if I actually went in, regardless of the direction traveled.

Skip #2 and substitute that I visited a new (to me) blog, The Lighter Side of Life, and checked out how Troy gave the Great Books treatment to his dog misbehaving.

Oh, and because I’m an overachiever, I also brushed my teeth with my left hand last night.  Which is probably why I’m still picking pieces of Not So Crispy chicken out of my teeth today.

Do you feel rejuvenated?

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Show Me The New!

climbingoutofmyrut

Spring is busting out all over. Boing! It’s a time of renewal and revival. Time for a new dawn of a new day.   I aim to get me some of that new, and I want you to join me.

I’m in a rut.   Partly due to the never-ending winter from hell, partly due to laziness, whatever the reason, the fact is that I have taken up residence in a big, bottomless rut of Everyday Dailyness.

I… ..get up.

………go to work.

…………go home.

…………. eat dinner

………..watch TV.

……. go to bed.

……repeat.

“Same old, same old” isn’t just an expression to me, it’s my life’s work. I suspect I’m not alone.

Studies show that the human brain never loses its capacity to learn. Not only is it possible, the process of seeking new information and new experiences actually creates new synapses in our brain. This is serious science. Exercising our brains, like our bodies, makes them stronger and keeps them young.

We can use this fact to make a ladder and climb out of the ruts we’re in.   How?   Try 3 new things today.

It may be something you’ve never done before, like trying a new food. Or it could be doing an ordinary thing in a new way, like brushing your teeth with your left hand. It may be a big thing, like jumping out of a plane, or it may be small, like saying hello to someone you always see on the bus but never talk to.

Just for today, make a conscious choice and do 3 new things.  Then report back here tomorrow and tell us what you did.*

We’ll make a pact:

I hereby resolve…(c’mon. All together!).… I hereby resolve to do 3 new things today.

If this works out, maybe we can decide to try a new thing EVERY day. Maybe.

Let’s do it. You and me.

*If reading my blog isn’t the first thing you do each morning, you may need more than one day to accomplish the task.   That’s OK, but we need to talk about your priorities.

 

 

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Presumed Stupid Until Proven Otherwise

washhands

As citizens of the world, we are forced to touch doorknobs, shopping carts and all sorts of community property every day.  That’s why I’m happy to see these signs popping up in more and more public restrooms.

This is a good start, but the sign doesn’t go far enough.   Here is some much-needed clarification.

1) Wet your hands

Use water.  Make sure it is CLEAN water, which is found in a sink sink.  Do NOT use the water in the toilet.toiletbancartoon

 

Turn faucet(s) until water comes out of the spout.   The water should be hot enough for effective cleansing, but not so hot it burns you.  If your skin begins to blister, turn the “hot” faucet down.

Hold hands under the spout, directly in the path of the running water.  Leave hands in this position until all hand skin achieves desired nondryness.

2) Liquid soap

Hold one hand under the spout of the dispenser with the palm facing up and cupped.

Use other hand to press, flick or otherwise activate the release mechanism on the dispenser.

soapLeave cupped hand underneath dispenser until a  quarter-sized glop has been received.  If you have  only a nickel-sized glop (or penny or dime), continue press/flick motion until quarter-sized glop is achieved.   Susan B Anthony dollar or Sacagawea dollar-sized glops are equally acceptable.  However, if a Kennedy half-dollar sized-glop is accidentally dispensed, you have gone too far.  Wipe hands free of soap and repeat step 2.

3) Lather and scrub – 20 Sec

Lathering is best achieved by rubbing 2, soapy hands together briskly. As the pictures show, each hand should belong to someone with a different skin tone.

If you are African American, locate a Swedish American lather-buddy.  If you are Asian American, partner with a New Yorker who has retired to a seniors-only community in Boca Raton.  This unites us all in a Rainbow of Cleanliness.

20 seconds is the recommended time for the lather and scrub portion of the process.  This is the length of time it takes to whistle The Star Spangled Banner or say an Our Father.  For non-religious/non-patriotic American washers, recite the “what is your quest?” bit from Monty Python (just the part with King Arthur.)

4) Rinse – 10 sec.

See step 1 for a description of the proper liquid to use.  This is the amount of time it takes to sing 3/4 of the chorus of “Mairzy Doats”  Sing out loudly so you don’t lose track of time.

5) Dry Your Hands.

The sign appears to suggest the hand-washer is using a paper towel.  Since these are no longer available in public washrooms, washers should use any clean piece of beige paper or cloth.  Savvy public-washroom-users make it a point to wear beige clothing with long sleeves or really full skirts so they are always prepared.

faucet6) Turn off tap

You should NEVER turn off the tap with your freshly cleaned hands. That is because the washer just before you may NOT have actually washed.  Some just wet their hands to give the illusion of cleanliness, without going to the bother of finding a lather-buddy.  Then they turn off the tap with hands full of staph germs that have been merely moistened.  All that does is make the germs mad and even more potent.

See #5 for a discussion of how to locate a beige cloth.  If you do not have a beige cloth, you may be able to turn off the tap with the force of air generated by the Xcelerator hand dryers found in many modern washrooms.  Merely aim the air stream toward the faucet until it has been turned the desired amount.  Be careful, however to turn the stream away before it totally shears the faucet from the sink.  NEVER let your hands interrupt the air flow produced.  This may strip the skin right from your bones.  Always use ear protection when using this method of faucet-turning.

Don’t Forget To Wash

A few last words on this topic remind us to clean between the fingers, under the nails and on the tops of the hands.  Washing wrist skin is recommended, but not required.  This depends on the bathroom activities you participated in prior to washing.  Wash up to the shoulders if you think you will be called upon to perform surgery in the next 10 minutes.

What’s next on the horizon for instructional signs?

“How to Poop”

Coming soon to a public restroom near you.

 

 

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Sorry, Did You Say Something?

tellingmystory2

 

People are rude.  By which I mean they won’t drop everything and listen when I’m talking.

Family members are the worst offenders.

Let’s say my husband is tippity-tappeting on his computer when I approach to share a truly fascinating anecdote.  As I launch into said anecdote, he drags his eyes from the screen (with unbecoming reluctance) and fastens them on my face.  This kind of full-on, direct, eye-to-eye contact lasts about 10 seconds.  Then his eyeballs commit the initial look-back at his computer screen.   Not a long look; just a brief glance.  But this is the beginning of the end.  The no-attention-for-me stone has started rolling down the hill.

I talk faster and start gesturing.

He’s looking at me once more, but his eyes dart away again, even quicker this time.  It’s now about a 5-to-1 ratio of seconds-looking-at-me vs glances-at-the-computer.  The attention stone is rolling faster and it’s gathering no moss.

This is my cue to talk even faster and put more enthusiasm into it.  I’m dropping exclamation points all over the narrative and practically baton-twirling lit sparklers in the fading hope that we will achieve full conversational engagement.

But his attention-to-glances ratio has dropped to 1-to-1.  Even worse, he’s started making the Noncommittal Grunt of Supposed Attention.

“u-huh, u-huh”

Not really signifying agreement, not really a question, it’s a sound that is supposed to indicate he is with me all the way on this.  Clearly, he is not.   He’s looking at the computer now.   He’s gone back to HIS big, important stuff and is no longer even pretending to listen to me.   Once they give you the Noncommittal Grunt of Supposed Attention, you’ve lost them.

Tippity-tappety, tippity-tappety.

The flip side of this rudeness-coin is when somebody starts babbling at me when I’m obviously in the middle of something.  Can’t these people see that I’m busy?  What is WITH that kind of self-centered oblivion?

Bottom line, if you want people to think you have good manners, you need to follow these rules:

  1. If I’m reading/watching/listening to something, zip it.
  2. If I start talking to you, drop everything and listen up.

It’s a simple matter of being polite.

 

 

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A Brief History Of WordPress As It Pertains To Why I Rarely Get Freshly Pressed Anymore

A chart can simplify complex ideas.

Graphs can help simplify complex ideas.

The beginning

Whiz kid Matt Mullenweg sits in his parents’ garage, hunched over a computer he crafted from salvaged parts.  He is anxiously looking for signs of activity on his newly launched blogging site, WordPress.

“Hey, we have a subscriber!” he says excitedly to his companion, Mrs. Feebles.  “Somebody named Peg-o-Leg posted something!”

Matt stares intently off into space, lost in an interior dialogue only he can hear.   He snaps his fingers decisively.  “I know!  We’ll put our best posts up on our homepage and call it Freshly Pressed.  Today’s lucky blogger will be Peg-o-Leg because… she’s all we got.  We’ll leave her post up for, um, let’s say a week.  Or until we get more bloggers.  Make it so!”

Mrs. Feebles does not reply because she is a cat.

A year later

The fledgling WordPress operation has moved into a storefront in a strip mall in Van Nuys.  It is conveniently located next to a Thai take-out restaurant.  Sadly, Matt Mullenweg suffers from a severe lemongrass allergy.

Business has expanded to the point where he has been able to hire a human assistant, Charleen.

“Freshly Pressed options today are a free-verse ode to belly button lint, something from Peg-o-Leg on talking to herself, and an advertisement for genuine, Christian Louboutin handbags and shoes,” Charleen tells Matt.

Matt stares intently off into space, lost in an interior dialogue only he can hear.  He snaps his fingers decisively, a move he is becoming known for.  “Read me the one about the knock-off designer handbags again.”

“You can’t choose that for Freshly Pressed!” Charleen protests.  “Besides, you picked it last week.  Better take this Peg-o-Leg post.  It’s not too horrible.”

“Well, if we have to…OK.” Matt says, reluctantly. “Make it so.”

“Make it so? MAKE IT SO?  Do it yourself, Captain Picard, I’m not your flunky,” Charleen says, indignantly.  “I’m only helping you out because Mom said I had to.  You know she likes me best, right?”

Now

WordPress Worldwide Universal Industries, Inc has taken over the top 50 floors of the tallest skyscraper on the eastern seaboard.  The task of selecting Freshly Pressed posts now falls to a bullpen of talented Story Wranglers.  (Did I mention that they are all really, really good-looking?  Stunning, actually.)

Just like the Story Wranglers bullpen, except they are much hotter.

This looks just like the Story Wranglers bullpen, except they are smokin’ hot studs and studettes.

The dedicated staff is criminally overworked now that WordPress has grown to encompass 60,000,000+ bloggers.  Story Wranglers wade through an average of 1.3 million posts every day to select Freshly Pressed winners.  I am not exaggerating.

Matt Mullenweg’s assistant, Mrs. Vandenpoop (a human,) enters his mammoth corner office.

“I’m sorry to bother you, Mr. Mullenweg, but it’s about the email I got from Peg-o-Leg today.” Mrs. Vandenpoop gestures to the tablet in her hand as she crosses half of an acre of silk carpet to reach his desk.  “She says she has been with you practically from the start.  That half the bloggers she started with have dropped by the wayside, but she remains loyal.  Yet you don’t write, you don’t call.  She wants…”  she begins.

“I know what she wants.” Matt explodes.   “To have that comment etiquette post she wrote made into required reading for all new bloggers,“ he ticks off on his fingers as he continues, “to be Chairman of the Board, and to have her own, permanent spot on the Freshly Pressed page.  She sends the same damn email every day!  That’s why I had my Sadness Engineers create a special, lead-lined spam folder just for her rants.  And why I told you never to read them to me.”

“I thought you’d want to hear this.” Mrs. Vandenpoop worriedly scans the message. “Let me see…”ungrateful…people who knew you when….” oh, here it is.  “I am at the end of my rope.” she says,  “If I don’t get Freshly Pressed again soon, I am going to climb to the rooftop of the tallest building I can find and throw myself off.”  I think she means it.”

Matt Mullenweg.  Or it could be P. Diddy. They hang together so much people get them confused.

Matt Mullenweg on his way to Nova Scotia to see the total eclipse of the sun. Or it could be P. Diddy. They spend so much time chillin’ together, people get them confused.

Matt stares intently off into space, lost in an interior dialogue only he can hear.   He snaps his fingers decisively, a move he has become known for.  “That reminds me.  When the chopper sets down on the rooftop, tell the pilot we have to swing by and pick  Diddy up on our way to that party in the Hamptons.  Make it so.”

“Yes, Mr. Mullenweg.” Mrs. Vandenpoop says as she backs out of the office, bowing.  “Whatever you say, Mr. Mullenweg.  Right away, Mr. Mullenweg.”

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Bag Ban Scofflaws May Soon Be Saying “Sack It To Me”

Dateline: Chicago

June 2014

Three months into Chicago’s total ban on plastic bags, pundits are examining its effects.

Having successfully addressed such petty issues as sky-high crime rates, sinking school test scores and potholes big enough to park a Buick in, city fathers turned their attention to the more pressing need for legislation vis-à-vis plastic bags. Read the back-story  here:  Chicago Plastic Bag Ban Has Enough Support To Become Law, Sponsor Claims

Supporters say they are pleased with results so far, but the law doesn’t go far enough.   As this secret footage shows, environment-hating shoppers still abound:

The Chicago city council will meet in emergency session tonight to discuss ways to put teeth into the law.  Tough, new penalties are expected to be put into place.  Suggestions to be considered include reintroducing the practice of displaying scofflaws in stocks on the village green (Daley Plaza.)  Law-abiding citizens would be encouraged to spit on or pelt offenders with (heirloom organic) tomatoes.

Next on the city council’s agenda: legislation to address the unexplained explosion in the amount of doggy doo-doo on city sidewalks.  As summer temperatures climb, the steaming piles are fomenting a Canine Crap Crisis.

stocksindaleyplaza2

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It Is A Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Indeed!

The Irish Sea- she's a hoary bitch

The Irish Sea- she’s a hoary bitch

Five years ago today, my sister Lib had to cancel her annual St. Patrick’s Day party.  Our hometown always has a big parade, and her apartment is right on the parade route, the perfect location for viewing and celebrating.  She couldn’t have the party that year, because she and I were on our way to Ireland.

We got a great deal by traveling on St. Patrick’s day, and we arrived in Dublin in time for the national hangover.  I started blogging as a travelogue of our adventures for our family.  If you’d like to read all about it, start here. **Warning**  The posts are longer than the actual trip, at least according to my loving family.

Three years ago today, we had to cancel the annual St. Patrick’s Day party.    We gathered around Lib’s hospital bed, instead.

Lib was out of town and I came home to help host the party at her apartment.  My sisters and I were at the grocery store the night before the party, when we got a call.  Lib had suffered a seizure and friends rushed her to the hospital.  CAT scans revealed a shadow on her brain.  My sisters and I made arrangements, packed bags and all hit the road, arriving at the hospital late at night.

It would take weeks of testing before the doctors were sure of their diagnosis; she had a brain tumor, a nasty piece of work called an oligodendroglioma.  The same type of tumor that killed our brother, Pat.

Today, Lib is recovering…from too much celebrating at her annual St. Patrick’s Day party.   I wasn’t able to make it home this year, but I’m sure it was fab.

Lib has been living with cancer for the past three years.    Surgery isn’t a good option for her, so she first did an extended chemo treatment.  She completed a course of radiation less than 2 months ago.   I’m thrilled to report the tumor responded well to the radiation, showing significant shrinkage.  Yeah!

She’s a little worn down by the treatment, but she’s back to work and, most importantly, able to host great parties.  She has her ups and downs, but she’s playing the hand she was dealt with grace and humor.

Next year, I’m sure the annual St. Patrick’s Day  party will once again take place.  I’m volunteering right now to make the beer run.   I like my Guinness fresh, so it’s best to get it straight from the source.   Who’s up for a beer run to Dublin?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day – sláinte!

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