Category Archives: How I think

Surprises

Unfortunately, not pleasant ones.

Took my hubby’s car in for a tune-up…End up with a brake job and some other adjustments. $600.  Still have to buy tires. $600. My emergency fund has been depleted because, silly me, I took a month off from teaching. I fully intended to do more financial work, and no appointments got scheduled. “Can you catch me after our vacation?” “Can you wait until after the family reunion?” “I have the perfect date!” (It’s while I’m in Denver.)  I don’t call many folks about financial stuff. They think I’m an idiot. I’m really quite good. The people that have worked with me are extremely pleased with the results I’ve given them. They don’t want to recommend me to their friends, though. But I had planned to do more appointments to keep my cash flow up.

I learned that my radical ideas (put a Republican into the Presidency– a REAL Republican, not one that joined the party to get elected) were, in fact, more radical than I thought.  I was expecting a whole bunch of Republicans to run against the incumbent because he doesn’t know what he’s doing.  They’re not fielding anyone? Bill Weld? Who’s he? So I stated that I was embarrassed to be associated with the Republican Party and I thought that the party SHOULD do a better job actually representing their constituents. The Republicans are of the opinion that their chief constituents ARE represented. I haven’t lynched anyone, I’ve been faithful to my husband, and I attend church regularly. I cannot tolerate lying, exaggerating, straying from the truth, and misrepresenting history. I am also not a millionaire. So the man in the highest office of the land represents the complete opposite of what I am and what I believe. I am embarrassed that our president is unfamiliar with our history and doesn’t operate from a basis of reason and rational thought but from emotional impulse.

When I stated that on Facebook, I was immediately criticized by people I thought were like-minded–intelligent, thoughtful, moral, upstanding, people of integrity. That was a surprise! I don’t know what to do! I took down my post, but the damage is done. I will now be a pariah within my circle of friends (that is diminishing exponentially) because I think the president of the USA should be a person of character, not a character from a soap opera.

I am unpleasantly surprised by the things I say.  I sit back and look what I’ve commented, what I’ve said, what I’ve implied and I find that a good portion of the time, it’s snarky and rude. I think I will just hide in my room away from the computer, and if I cannot remain in my room, I shall endeavor to keep my opinions and thoughts to myself.  I shall learn the polite nod and the socially acceptable smile and the genteel laugh. When folks that know me ask me what’s wrong, I will reply, “Nothing’s wrong. I have taken ‘people’ lessons and now know how to be a ‘people’ like everyone else.”

      The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.~

Edmund Burke

So I shall do nothing. I am not a good person. I worry too much that what I do would hurt the cause of good over evil. I shame the good, I embarrass the righteous, and I bring nothing of merit to the cause. If I shake my head and enter my thoughts into the rant book, those will never be read if I can help it. Evil will triumph on Earth because it is supposed to. Good will only triumph if I’m not involved and it will be apparent on Judgment Day. I believe with my whole heart that Jesus loves me and I should go to heaven, but I’ll probably get hung up on a technicality. “I’m sorry,” says St. Peter, “but remember that time you yelled at God because you couldn’t find your keys? What kind of person would trust their souls to God and then curse Him for your inability to organize your purse?  Most take the escalator, but we have a special Bat Pole for you over there.”

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What do you desire?

Read the Think and Grow Rich book, and one of the points is that you have to have a goal that burns into your very being–a desire that you cannot contain, something that keeps you going during the day and awake at night. What do you desire?

Ever watch Lucifer?

I have wracked my brain for decades, going from interest to interest, all fleeting, all shallow. I am addicted to music teaching, but also any kind of teaching, but like most things, after a while, I have to take a break to maintain some sort of sanity and avoid burnout. I have some amazing knitting projects. I have entered those and other crafts into the state fair and won some pretty nice ribbons. I used to make Christmas baskets of homemade goodies–breads, jellies, fudge, and candies. I got very good at financial service. I have a vested interest in Toastmasters. But none of that is really a burning desire. Smoldering desire? Smoking desire? Nope. I thought college would focus my desire and even went back to school to get a degree in business, but though it was interesting, nothing sparked.

Dig DEEPER they said–all the books on “Having your best year ever,” and “Success in ___ easy steps,” (You can fill in any number in the blank, it doesn’t matter.  There ARE no easy steps or the success would be cheaper.) “Finding the leader within you” and “21 irrefutable laws of leadership” tell you that unless you know what you want, you can’t help others get what they want. So deeper I went.

As I was pondering this apparent lack in my personal development about 3:00 AM yesterday, it came to me that the thing I most desire is this:

Are you ready?

Do you have a guess?

No?

Understanding. What a weird thing to desire! Once you understand something, you’re never done because then you want to understand something else. I want to understand the Big Bang. I want to understand Special Relativity. I want to understand how people think. I want to understand group dynamics. I want to know why, when I’ve studied every leadership style, read dozens of books, watched dozens of seminars, webinars, podcasts, and workshops, I can tell you step by step how to be a leader and no one follows me. I want to understand how caterpillars become butterflies. I long to understand why some songs are popular and some are not. I wish I understood why my blogs have no readers. The quest for understanding is not the same as the quest for knowledge because facts without understanding do not answer questions.

When understanding is your underlying desire, it is hard to justify to those who long for proficiency in their fields, who long for a certain income, who crave a big audience, who long to help lots of people with their skills. What kind of job requires understanding as opposed to facts in evidence? Psychoanalysis? Understanding is gleaned from asking the right questions. And your understanding of your client is based on incomplete information because it is impossible for someone to convey thoughts, attitudes, perceptions, and philosophy to someone in such a way that every single darkened corner is flooded with light. Your total focus is in asking the questions that make the client self-aware and lead them to a better understanding of themselves. You will NEVER understand them totally.

Case in point:

If we continue in our current behavior, the earth will be destroyed in less than 50 years. That is a FACT! Deny it if you can!

Ok, denying it.  It is the principle of unintended consequences. Greenhouse gasses cause the planet to warm up, the ice at the poles to melt. It changes the migration patterns of the birds and the sea creatures. It allows tropical flowers to grow in Nebraska. It makes things like the bomb cyclone happen. The reduction in the sheet ice also reduces the albedo or reflective surfaces of the earth which causes more absorption of solar radiation further raising the temperature. It may change the gulf stream and change the salinity of the oceans. What if it turned the Sahara Desert back into the rain forest it used to be?

Have you seen the pollen storms?

Never in my 60 years have I ever experienced that. Why is that happening? As the water heats up and the surface area of the oceans expands, there is more evaporation which causes more humidity which makes the air less stable. This increases the number and size of hurricanes and cyclones and bomb cyclones. What do we know about these clouds?  The tops of the clouds increase the albedo of the planet, which cools the planet. The increased pollen causes more plants to grow and thrive. The fires cause more dust particles in the air which gives the moisture in the air something to cling to and increases the precipitation rates.

The earth is not a completely closed system since it receives energy from the sun continuously, but it is pretty darned close. The earth doesn’t care if there are humans on it. There will be life on the planet: civilizations, teeming and swarming life because of the proportion of water to land and the proximity of the moon. Greenhouse gasses are called greenhouse gasses because they are favorable to plant life. I tell you if you go back 10k years and say to man, “Man? QUIT PLANTING AND DOMESTICATING FOOD ANIMALS! 10 THOUSAND YEARS FROM NOW IT WILL KILL THE PLANET…AND PUT OUT THAT FIRE!” they will not listen. Note that the amount of dust and ash spewed out by volcanos completely dwarfs the number of particulates and gas in the air (including cow farts) produced by man and his manufacturing and agriculture. I could go on, but I won’t.

So here’s the thing. How does understanding this do me any good?  Does it make me money? Does it make me famous? Does it make me powerful? No? Then why would I desire it? It’s a mystery.

Because I still get paid for giving music lessons and the financial business, I am not considered a drain on society, but if I only did what I desired, I would be reading, sucking up information and formulating theories and plausibilities for my own amusement and would be considered a lazy bum. My son Ben also ponders things like this though he’s more into human behavior than I. (https://puppettron.wordpress.com/) My daughter Jo writes fantasy/fiction based on a desire for understanding as well.  https://ithilen.wordpress.com/2019/05/20/freshman-francis-the-library/

Maybe we all have that thirst for understanding, but for some, it’s not a craving or a desire, just a mild curiosity.  Let me tell you though: once you have delved into the mystery that is understanding, every single other desire seems shallow and inconsequential. I am not ready to settle for a lesser desire. Though for the sake of society, maybe I should.

I’m Fat

I was listening to a show on NPR this morning and they did an issue about obese people. Fat people haven’t always been considered gross and disgusting. Botticelli and Raphael featured full-figured women in their paintings.

   

Now, they are considered lazy, undisciplined, and weak.  Wait?  What does that have to do with weight? Do people think that fat people just don’t care about how they look?  And it is alllllll about how people look isn’t it.  Observe in the pictures that the women do not have defined abs and muscular shoulders. Normal people cannot attain that measure of fitness, but we’re shamed by the fact that we don’t.

The woman in the interview said she came out to her family and friends that she was fat. This was not news to the people she told. She didn’t do it for them, she did it for herself. She now defined herself as a fat person. How can weight define a person?  That’s ridiculous! She had some valid points though.

People view fat people in two different ways. Sloppy, lazy, undisciplined, weak fatties, and fat people trying to get thinner. They patronize the fat people trying to get thinner. They shame the fat people they perceive aren’t trying. They complain about sitting next to them on public transportation, in movie theaters, at events, because they take up soooo much space! They consider fat rolls gross. They make fun of women of significant size in leggings.

What do I mean about patronizing fat people trying to get thinner? “Oh, you just have to eat more salads!”  “You should try this exercise.” “Are you going to eat all of that?!” I have news for those well-meaning people. You couldn’t keep up with me in the gym. That’s right.  You heard me. I do 90 pounds on the crunch machine. I do 70 pounds on the lat pull machine. I do 15-20 pound biceps curls. I do 80-pound leg presses. I can go 30 min on an elliptical machine on level 6. I do 90 crunches and 45 push-ups. I live on about 1200 calories a day. I do not eat burgers and fries three times a day–more like 3 times in a month. I have pizza twice a month. So yes, some of us are really trying to lose the weight. It is NOT however because we can’t find clothes that don’t look like circus tents or Macy’s white sale bedding. It is NOT because eventually, we’ll be diabetic. It is NOT because we feel guilty that our “fat-related” illnesses are a drain on the public health system.

Why do we try so hard? Because we remember how it felt to be thinner. We remember not having to have help getting out of the couch or the car. We remember not wheezing when we went up the stairs. We remember not hurting when we walked long distances. We remember being able to walk into a store and just buy something because it looked cute. We remember knees and ankles and backs that didn’t crack when we moved. We remember running to fly kites and taking hikes and climbing trees.

My Fat does not define me. (Obie is surprised–Obie is my sentient fat by the way.) My size does not determine my intelligence, my work ethic or my self-discipline. It does restrict my activities and how I feel.

I am fat. And I don’t like it. And I’m working to get rid of that fat.

Giving stuff up for Lent

This has been the most painful, the most difficult Lenten season I can remember.  You’re asking yourself, “Did you give up chocolate?  Pizza? Pop?”  It always seems to revolve around food, doesn’t it?  One year, I gave up speeding.  I had to make extensive use of my cruise control.  I changed my behavior and haven’t gotten a speeding ticket in years! After working in fast food for 5 years (boy did that seem like ages!), I gave up cursing for Lent.  I had called it Hardee-speak.  There were lots of blanks and long pauses in my speaking pattern from self-censoring.  I sounded like a cd with skips.  But as hard as both of those actions were at the time, they’re nothing compared to this year.

Got you curious now, huh!  I gave up…

ranting at people.  I can only rant at inanimate objects. My brain is fizzling out.  I had no idea what a rampant behavior this was in my character! I live in Lake Nebraska on a little island called Omaha. I can rant at the rain, the flood, the winds, and the blizzards. Plenty to rant at right? But I cannot rant at all the people that look at these pictures and have no other adjectives other than, “It’s so sad.” Get a freakin’ thesaurus. (Notice the self-censorship?  It’s getting harder!) “You cannot make light of these tragedies you cruel, insensitive jerk!” I say to myself. “People do not understand gallows humor,” I explain to myself. Should we all tear our clothes, put ashes on our heads, and wail for the next 2 years while they fix our infrastructure? In my humble (or not so humble) opinion, Heck No!  We’re Nebraskans.  We take this in stride. We knew the job was dangerous when we took it. I understand; some are still in shock. The whole country should be in shock. Heck! (self-censoring again) We should be getting aid from Africa, India, Japan, China, Europe, Malaysia, Kuwait, Middle East…all those disasters we went in to help clean up.

*Warning!  Gallows humor follows. Move to a safe part of your brain and suspend your disbelief at the incredibly inappropriate humor.*

We should expect Russia, who has such a vested interest in this country, to be at the front of the line when it comes to aid.  We’re not talking loans here, we’re talking

  • people with shovels,
  • volunteers with buckets and mops,
  • bridge building engineers and equipment,
  • road construction crews and materials

–real help.  Yeah, I thought so. Just going to get pity parties from the rest of the people outside the MidWest. (Yay South Dakota, Texas, Kansas!) We’ll get viral views of the floods and blizzards all over Facebook with 216,042 comments all saying, “How Sad.”

We got it. We’ll handle it without fanfare, without the national news.  We’re a fly-over state, and now a fly-over lake.

I cannot rant against idiot drivers, who honk at me when I’m avoiding a pothole that would swallow a bus. I cannot rant at people who park on both sides of the street so the snowplow cannot get to our road. I cannot rant at the guy who had to go out of his way to ding my car with his pick-up truck door and hit it so hard it dented and left lovely red and white paint on my navy colored Buick. I cannot rail at the people who see pictures of our president in jeans and a t-shirt and a MAGA cap rescuing cats from a flood and not wonder how he lost 30 pounds and 40 years, gained muscular forearms and was in Iowa during the 2008 flood. (Which would have been before the MAGA hat) Then they suggest that that picture is from the current flood and think this is a believable situation. Where are his Secret Service guards? The President as the office holder cannot spend time getting into the water with the victims.  That’s not his job.  The President as a person, Mr. Trump, may own a pair of jeans, but he wears a $1000 jacket and a shirt with cufflinks with them. He may feel for the victims, but though he might send someone to help rescue cats; he wouldn’t do it himself. That’s not in his character.

I cannot rant against the President, the Congress, or the local politicians.  I cannot rant against the referees and the umpires and the Little League parents.  I cannot rant against the unethical salespeople, the telemarketers, the frauds that take advantage of people in the midst of a natural disaster.  I cannot rant against the people that robbed the flooded houses instead of cleaning them up (though that’s a rare case in Nebraska.)

I can only rant at inanimate objects. I may not make it to Easter.

 

HOW DO YOU TURN IT OFF?!!!!

I am co-writing a book:  “Spotlight on the Art of Generating Energy.”  I am also editing said book which means I have to read all the contributions.  One of the chapters is about the interplay of all the energies–intellectual, creative, and emotional.  Fascinating theories!  If any one aspect of energy takes control to the exclusion of all others, your brain may be overwhelmed, your body might be compromised, or you could spiral emotionally (either up or down by the way!)

Unfortunately, I have experienced what happens when two of the energy sources conspire against me.  Yup…  In addition to editing this book, I am running for a district office within an organization to which I belong.  I am actively marketing my skills and my qualifications and vision for the organization so I am making use of both my intellectual and creative energy sources.  You may or may not have read my stuff in either this blog or my other one.  You know how creative and intellectual I can get.  Let me put it in perspective.

I had coffee with dinner, a couple of cups, about 8:00 last night.  Then I watched NCIS, 3 episodes in a row.  I was nodding off during the last one.  I thought, “I’ll just head upstairs and check the weather and go to bed.”  3 hours later…

Creative energy Creature: “Hey!  That’s a great idea for promotion!  Let’s go to all the contests and provide a one-sheet and meet the folks at the contest so they get to know you.”

Intellectual energy Imp:  “Ya!  Did you see your competition’s flyer?  She listed her grandkids by name as part of her qualifications for the position!”

CC: “How does that help?  She procreated kids that were also able to procreate and she remembers their names…so she doesn’t have memory problems?”

II: “Our stuff is better.”

CC: “We could add all the Girl Scout information…We could name all our students…we could perform the Bach Prelude that we learned at age 9 to prove our memory capacity!”

II: “We have plenty of good stuff in our flyer.  We’re good.”

Me:  “Ok, good.  We have that settled, let’s go to sleep.”

II: “Did you hear about the guy that felt so bad about the Girl Scouts standing out in the cold selling cookies at their booth that he bought them all? $500 worth!  Then he was arrested for drug trafficking!”

CC:  “Hahaha!  It makes perfect sense!  You KNOW how addictive those cookies can be!  He was shipping the cookies back to the Cartel!”

II:  “You mean…trading one addiction for another!  Oh wait!  Maybe the cookies were how he was getting drugs into the country!  He ships them down, they alter them and ship them back!  Hey Kid!  you want some peanut butter patties?”

CC:  “Well that would explain why you can’t have just one box of Thin Mints!”

II:  “I had two boxes of Thin Mints and I’m still 50 pounds overweight.  Is that false advertising?”

Physical Energy Phiend (Fiend see?): “Shut UP!  I’m tired!  I want to sleep!”

Emotional Energy Elf: “I don’t know how I feel about that: forcibly shutting down two other energy sources to serve your needs.”

PP: “Well if you want to get UP in the morning, we have to turn them off!”

EE: “I’m still not convinced.  Some of our best ideas happen when those two pull an all-nighter.”

PP: “Do we ever remember what they did overnight?”

II and CC:  “Hey!”

EE: “Ok, I see your point.  Could you two tone it down a bit?”

II: “I will if she will.”

CC: “I can be totally silent.  How well do you sign?”

PP: “Her eyes are closed, idiot.  II can’t see a thing if her eyes are closed.”

EE: “Please try to be civil.”

PP: “I’M TIRED!  I’M TRYING TO SLEEP!”

II: whispers “Remember to get the flyers from the printer and stop by the college to get the Speaker’s and the Conference ads for tonight.”

CC: whispers “I really don’t think the Conference advert is very good–too busy and too much information.”

II: low voice “And the wrong information…it doesn’t have start times.  We could redesign it…”

EE: low voice “But how would Colleen feel about our stepping in and fixing it?”

PP: low voice “So tomorrow, breakfast, Bible study, pick up flyers from college, go to printers and pick up personal flyers, deliver print instructions for conference flyers…100 enough?”

II: normal voice “to start with I think.  It will cost more due to having to print both sides.  And don’t forget we need to stop at Wally World to get frames.”

PP:  “Yup.  Then drive to contest…Says it’s a little over an hour’s drive, but with traffic, could be longer than that.”

II: “Take the Prairie View Road instead of the interstate, less traffic that way, and it’s prettier country.”

PP: “Contest starts at 5:30, and since it’s Area level, only 4-6 contestants in either contest.  Figure we’ll be done by 8:30 by the time we get our glad-handing and clean-up done, then an hour home.  Figure 314 Joules.”

II: “That would convert to 75 calories.”

PP: “So the minimum amount of sleep would be…”

II: “Figure about 6-7 hours.”

Me, still awake, and I check the clock.  “Guys, it’s 1:30 AM.  We get up in 5 hours.”

PP and II stare at each other.  CC jumps in to the rescue.

CC: “We can take a nap after we get home!”

EE: “Um wha?  Did somebody say something?  Weren’t you complaining about all the noise, PP?”

PP blushes.

Momentary silence.  I drift off to sleep…

II: “Did you see that snow forecast?  It just went around our city!”

CC:  “Gandalf was standing on the interstate saying, ‘You SHALL NOT PASS!'”

II: giggles “Maybe one of the wind turbines got turned on and blew it away!”

CC:  “I wonder if they’re maneuverable remotely.  Hey!  It’s Hot over there!  Aim them that way!”

II: “I heard that they tell the wind farm tourists in Texas precisely that!  *with a Texas drawl* ‘Yep, gets up to 110 we turn them puppies on and they’ll pretty much cool Austin and Fort Worth.  Dallas is a whole nuther story though.'”

PP: “HEY!!!”

EE: “What?  What’s going on?  Why is PP yelling?”

Me:  It’s 3 AM!  Go to sleep!

CC, II, PP, and EE, ashamed, do not answer.

II:  whispers, “Did you know her husband snores?”

CC, PP, EE and I shout: SHUT UP!

Husband wakes and turns on the reading lamp just as the alarm goes off.  It’s going to be a long day.

 

Unintended Consequences–Thanos snapped

So if you don’t know, Thanos, the big bad scary planet eater (Talk about KETO diet!!!) has acquired all 6 of the infinity stones.  He has a gauntlet that holds them and the result is that when he snaps his fingers, 1/2 of all the living creatures in the universe just disappear into dust.  This includes SHIELD, and the Avengers, and normal people, and all the weird aliens in Guardians of the Galaxy movies, and Aasgard…  Now they’ve reduced all our favorite heroes to a manageable number, and all our favorite villains as well.  But…there are always unforeseen consequences.

Picture a middle school.  Mrs. Hightower has just announced a grammar quiz.  She disappears into dust.

Picture a guy in a race car sitting with his window down, about to get a massive ticket.  Policeman disappears.

The bottom layer of the pyramid of cheerleaders disappears.

The pitcher is throwing a shut out and the batter disappears.

The robbers of the bank are disappointed when the bank manager with the safe combination disappears.

Housewife is vacuuming floor and husband gets sucked in.

“Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded…dust pile?”

“If you don’t have that report on my desk in 5 min, you’re fi….”  poof!

Donald is starting to sign the wall bill into law and disappears.

Russia’s FSB disappears and now there are several US government positions that need to be filled.

The cop is cornered in the alley and the drug dealers disappear.

Joel is talking about the rapture and 1/2 of his congregation disappears, and he doesn’t.

Call center for Missing Persons is suddenly understaffed and all the lines are lighting up.

You’re on a crowded plane and the big sweaty guy in the middle seat disappears.

You look out the window on your plane and discover that all the luggage is falling onto the tarmac.

Your stewardess comes over the intercom and says that for some reason, the pilot, copilot and navigator are missing.  It could be a rough landing.

The runner in 3rd place discovers the 1st 2 have disappeared.

“I can’t believe it!  I’ve just cured cancer!  I need to write this down…”  poof!

The nuclear launch codes have been issued, and one of the key operators disappears (with his key.)

Westborough Baptist protesters are surprised to find the funeral attendees have disappeared.

Zombies are disappointed.

Tom Cruise and Simon Peg’s scene in Mission Impossible 12 gets cut short.  No cameramen or stunt doubles.

Ohio State Marching Band doesn’t have a dot for its I.

Now, “You and what army?” takes on an ominous meaning.

All the mimes disappear.  Nobody notices.

All the Macy’s day Balloons are now untethered.

The Metropolitan production of Aida is cancelled.

All Universal Life Insurance salesmen disappear.

All the 2nd violinists in the Chicago Symphony disappear.  Like the mimes, they’re not missed.

Half the Chiefs disappear during half-time of the championship game.  Their performance doesn’t change.

Strange blogger is noting unusual consequences of Thano’s finger snap and doesn’t finish her

 

 

 

 

 

You need HELP!

So I have heard this 3 times in the last week.

Here’s the problem: I am simultaneously the smartest person in the room, and the least equipped to handle anything.  The first thing people notice about me is that I’m not very bright, but I am very loud and annoying.  No, the first thing people notice about me is my size, and they are shocked to find out I taught ballet.  No, the first thing they notice about me is that I’m always talking.  No the first thing they notice about me is I stand in a corner just watching.  I am a dichotomy.

I agree with the person that said I needed help with the house and recommended a cleaning company.  I think I’m going to do that.

I agree that I have a bad self image.  I don’t know how to fix that, so I would need to find someone to help me with that.  But see above…I’m always the smartest person in the room, even if I’m not.  When my boy was having problems in school, we went to a therapist, and he learned how to say exactly what she wanted him to say.  He thought it amusing.  One of the sessions, I was required to go with him.  She diagnosed me as Obsessive/Compulsive, Anal Retentive, and manic/depressive.  This is after talking with me for about 20 min.  I was shaking my head in disbelief.  Then she sent him out and told me in no uncertain terms, “No wonder your kids are all messed up!  You shouldn’t have had any!  You should have been in therapy for decades before you had kids.  It’s all your fault that your kids are useless.”  Remember, smartest person in the room…  I believed she was so set in blaming someone for the fact that she couldn’t figure out how my boy thought (because he was so much smarter than she).  I met a family therapist that thought he could solve our family’s problems with 3 sessions.  Tada!!! You’re normal!  Well, if we were normal, why were we required to have therapy?  Yes, again it was a requirement by the CPS.  I must have rose-colored glasses and be completely deluded about the mental health of my kids.  I couldn’t think of any kids that were as smiley and engaged as mine.  I have since been informed that all of them were extremely depressed and couldn’t wait to get out of the house.  (Oh?  then why is one of them still in my basement?)

As you may have guessed, I do not like being categorized.  I may have stressed this fact in this blog, and this one.  Never-the-less, I know from working all the myriads of jobs I’ve done that most of the people will take the easiest, least complicated path in solving a problem and then blame you if it’s more complex than they can handle.  I am fortunate to belong to a group of people who are very smart and in different ways.  One has 2 PHD’s in  the Sciences, and one in has a PHD in Human resources.  One is gifted in the emotional arena, and one in the ability to read and understand people.  3 are amazing in computer programming.  2 of them are wise on the spiritual level.  1 is exceptional in communication.  (That is good since we’re in the book writing business…)  Where does that put me?  I guess I connect all these various and sundry interests together.  So when I need some advice in my psychological state, and I talk to a psychiatrist and this person doesn’t measure up to this level of intelligence and takes short cuts–putting me into a box that is entirely too small and ill-fitting, I get discouraged.  I’m tempted to have a cattle call and have all the psychiatrists come to my office and give me their best shot so I can eliminate 3/4 of the incompetent people right off the bat.  Ya, right.

As for the 3rd time someone told me I needed help, I have been on this stupid diet/exercise/pill/herbs/mental trip for 4 years and I’m about 5 pounds heavier than when I started and that’s when I thought I was 45 pounds too heavy.  I’m going to try the Kathy Diet…forget to eat for a year.

New year’s resolutions?  Stuff I can handle, 1 more DTM, done with 1 full path in Toastmasters, read 10 more books, work out 3 times a week for an hour, replace the front door and the bathroom, hire a cleaning service, find my office and change it into a real library so all our books are in the same room instead of scattered all over the house, and dispose of the bunk beds…my grand kids will never use them.

Friction Fiction

How many times have you depended on Friction and it failed you?  How many times have you been frustrated by Friction?  I submit there ARE NO LAWS of Friction!  It is capricious and mean and actually has evil designs on humanity!

You know what they call fingerprints?  Friction ridges!  Yup.  Humans and in fact all primates have fingerprints.  Why?  So they don’t slide off of tree branches and rocks and ledges and tall buildings.  Do they work?  NO!  If you’re trying to pick up the spoon you just dropped, you will drop it 3 or 4 more times before you have a tough enough grip to get it to the sink.  If you are dangling from a building and the only thing keeping you from falling is some superhero’s grip on your hand, YOU WILL FALL!  They’re superheroes for pity’s sake!  They are certainly strong enough to crush your hand and lift you up and toss you about.  But there you are and they have a moment of regret that the tossing has caused irreparable harm to their image as do-gooders and they try to save you as you go off the building.  Suddenly, they cannot lift you with one arm, and the massive strength in their hands is reduced to butter.  Just once I’d like the villain/victim to yell on the way down, “YOU Sonofabitch!” Splat.

Do you know why there’s tread on tires?  Friction.  Have you ever hydroplaned?  Friction failed.  Traveling home in a rainstorm, only being able to tell where the road is by following the tail lights on the truck ahead of me, and going really slowly, I hydroplaned at least 4 times.  I caught some road just before I slid off and maneuvered back and not five minutes later had to do that again.

Have you ever driven a road you’ve traveled 1000 times and wondered why your car is going sideways?  I remember driving about 15 mph on a highway covered in ice.  It was a flat road (Nebraska!) with no turns, no hills.  Front wheel drive, no wind, and suddenly I’m doing 360’s.  You know that roads are higher in the middle than at the edges?  I started sliding off the side and corrected.  The car continued to go toward the ditch, regardless of the way the wheels were turned.  The brakes stopped the wheels from turning but didn’t stop the car.  The back end of the car came around and I turned into the skid like I learned in driver’s ed.  No effect.  Now, I’m going backwards down the highway at 15 mph.  Now sideways, now forward.  Whew.  Ooops!  Now sideways and backwards and sideways again, but crossing the center line.  Traction!  whoohooo!  Doesn’t matter.  I’m now in a ditch.  Here comes a pickup truck!  He slows down and stops. (Show off!)  He attaches a chain to my car and pulls me out. I continue on the road and finally get to my destination, about 3 hours later than I had planned.  Why was I spinning around and he wasn’t?  Because Friction Doesn’t Like Me!

Getting into my stupid car shouldn’t be an opportunity for friction to get the best of me, but it IS.  I have a long coat.  When I walk or sit, it’s constantly tangling up my feet.  I expect it.  When I get into the car, it DOESN’T stick to my pants like it does every other time I wear it.  NOOOOO.  It falls off my leg and gets caught in the door when it closes.  So I open the door and pull my coat up to catch on my knee and close the door.  Between the time I set my coat and grab the door, it falls back in between the seat and the door AGAIN!

Getting my phone out of my purse should not be an exercise in futility.  BUT IT IS!  I reach in to get my phone and cannot grip it.  My friction ridges are providing no friction.  When I do get my phone out, I have pressed every application I have.  Yes, the phone was locked when I put it into my purse, so in grabbing it, I somehow managed hit the home page, bypass the password, turn on my flashlight (which I find difficult enough to do on purpose) hit youtube.com video that plays a song I’ve never heard of before at an embarrassingly loud volume, startles me, and I drop it back into my purse.  I try in vain to pull my phone out to shut the danged noise off, but once again my friction ridges are providing no friction.  Now that the members of the church are staring at me with consternation, (Oh NOW I recognize it.  “Thong thong thong thong thong…”)  I can finally turn the dam thing off, and I don’t remember why I was getting it out of my purse in the first place.  Phone is off.  Put phone in outer pocket.  It WILL NOT GO IN!  The lack of Friction I experienced in trying to remove it from my purse is now obstinately in place again.  This pocket in my purse is full sized.  There are pens and a bulletin and a name tag in the pocket, yet my phone will not go in all the way.  In fact it only goes in 1/4 of the way and threatens to fall onto the floor.  I curse under my breath.  Oops, I’m in church.  The little boy ahead of me smirks.  My phone catches on something and will not budge.  THERE IS NOTHING FOR IT TO CATCH ON!  Nevertheless, it’s catching on something.  It might be something in an adjacent pocket, so I slide my hand into the pocket to find the obstruction.  There isn’t one, so I try to force the phone into the pocket.  It finally concedes and goes in.  The preacher booms from the pulpit, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord Thy God in vain.”  Oops.

Over and over and over again, we trust friction to keep glasses from sliding off the table.  They slide anyway.  We depend on friction to keep us standing when we open or close doors.  We fall anyway.  We depend on the apparent lack of friction to throw something into the trash. It comes up messily short anyway.  We depend on the low amount of friction when brushing our hair.  It tangles and eats our brushes, combs and barrettes anyway.  We expect the friction to keep our hair in place.  It comes out of our elaborate hairstyles anyway.

There is the Men’s guide for friction…

This won't turn out well. - Imgflip

The Women’s corollary:

If it shouldn’t move, even though it’s duct taped, IT WILL MOVE.

If it should move, even though he’s WD-40’d it, IT WON’T.

In other words, if you depend on Friction to act a certain way, and it is to your advantage for it to work that way, Friction will do exactly the opposite. Fickle Friction!  It is Flighty and Fractious–a Fiendish Fraud–a Foul Effluvia–a Freudian Froth of Fervent and Feverish Foolishness.  Pha I say!  Friction is Fiction played upon us by an evil Fairy bent on our destruction!

When people drive me crazy

I had a busy day yesterday.  It’s my day off.  Do you see a disconnect here?  I purposely do not schedule any recurring activities on Tuesdays.  It allows me clean my house, decompress, bake, do fun things.  If however, I have some business to do or make-up lessons to schedule, they go on Tuesdays.

This was my schedule for Tuesday:  5:00 lesson

This was what actually happened.

  • 8:00 Write an article for the news letter
  • 10:15  Study group for Bible Study
  • 12:00  Gym (for a whole 15 minutes instead of my regular hour)
  • 1:00  Mentoring session
  • 3:00  Follow up with client
  • 4:30-9:30 Toastmasters training session

I had to cancel the 5:00 lesson.  During the training session, I led a discussion among the treasurers and secretaries.  I presented some training to the group of about 48, and they had no PA system.  They also had no sound for the video clips so that totally messed up the session on judging by the poor guy at the end of the program.  He was supposed to have some recordings of some award winning speeches and we were to practice judging using the methods and the sensibilities gleaned from his presentation.  After that, since hubby and I took separate cars, we were to just head home, but no.  Our logistics manager is in the postal service and they run him ragged this time of year.  The next event is Saturday a distance away and we volunteered to transport all the necessary equipment for him.  We had to load up the car with coolers and containers and banners and easels, and then we also had the leftover sandwiches from the night’s training.

I am a “T” personality, or “Green” or whatever Meyers-Briggs classifies me.  That means I’m most comfortable one on one, but even more comfortable squirreled away in my little office behind mounds of junk just working on my computer or reading.  Big crowds and lots of personal contacts make me anxious (?) so I have to decompress for a while.  It tires me out!

I enjoyed the study session, no one says much, and we just study and fill out the questions.  I don’t interact with anyone at the gym.  When I mentor, that takes some concentration.  I have to ask questions that bring my mentee to greater awareness.  Sometimes I fall back into teacher mode instead of asking questions so he thinks for himself.  When I do that, I see his eyes start to glaze over, and have to work on bringing him back to himself with some questions.  It mentally exhausts me.  Then I went to follow up on a client, and I love this woman to death.  She’s fun and lively and unstoppable.  But she’s a client so I need to make sure she’s on the right track.  I have to ask the questions and get the answers from her so I know what things I need to do to make sure she stays on the right track.

I headed out too late and got to the training session 15 minutes later than I intended.  I facilitated the small group of Treasurers and Secretaries, and to tell you the truth, they didn’t have much to offer.  They were forced into the office because someone had to do it and they were “voluntold.”  This office is an “easy” office, not much for you to do.  Liars.  So we discussed the ways that we contribute to the club that no one in any other position can.  Morale went up, and we weren’t lowly Treasurers/Secretaries.  No, we were the power behind the throne!  (Insert evil laugh here.)

 

Getting them to contribute was like pulling teeth.  Then they asked me to speak for the group since I was the only one taking notes.  Did you get that?  3 Secretaries there and I was the only one taking notes.  I had some rudimentary ideas that we’d discussed, but I’ve been doing these training sessions since I joined TM in 2008.  I expanded on the stuff I had written down so we sounded amazing.

Then my part of the presentation came up and I was helping people get started on a new educational program.  The only thing they remembered about my presentation was the word, “SAVE.”  In truth, the presentation I gave was written by someone else.  They wanted consistency through out the training sessions: 2 here, 2 there, and 1 way the heck out there.  Then we had an interactive session, and one of the activities didn’t go through.  We had to tap dance waiting for it to show up, and it never did.  We would have answered questions, but there were only a couple.  They didn’t know what they didn’t know.

By the end of the night, I’m REALLY short tempered and anxious to go home.  I still have to be nice and smile and laugh.  I helped my hubby get stuff out to the car.  He had the sandwiches on top of the cooler and the storage bin.  I figured to put the sandwiches in my car so I could get them into the house.  I opened my door (which was not locked) and asked for the sandwiches.  At this time I discovered that my hubby was also anxious and short tempered.  “Close that door and open my car door!”  So I did.  Then I grabbed the sandwich plate and squirreled it into my car and took off.  The cooler and the big storage unit, his briefcase, the banner, the easel and the paper went into his car.

When I get home, I jump out of my car.  (OK that’s funny because you’ve never seen me jump out of any car!)  This is how it actually goes:  open car door, stick foot out, watch as car door closes and try to catch it before it cuts my foot off at the calf.  Re-open the door, and get second foot out, and again catch the door as it’s about to hit me in the head as I lean out. Watch the colorful blue smoke and sparks emanate from the driver’s side, the paint peels and the window cracks from the vehemence of my cursing.  I finally get out of the car, hobble over to the passenger’s side, carefully open the door and grab the sandwiches.  Close the door and it catches my coat.  My hands are full of purse, notebook and a big tray of sandwiches.  More colorful adjectives and vindictive curses escape my lips.  More melted paint.  I get the door unlatched, and it immediately closes on my coat again. The temptation to throw the bag, the sandwiches and the notebook rises, but gets subordinated by a new stream of invective. Re-open the car door, pull coat out, move away from door and close it with foot.  March into house.  Deposit purse and notebook, carry sandwiches to kitchen, return to entryway and remove coat, take phone from purse. Stomp into living room and look for murder and mayhem on Netflix.  Watch 2 episodes of Glee.  Yes.  I was looking for Frontier, but I’d seen all of those, and all the Criminal Minds, and all the CSI and the Vikings, and and and…Glee was the only thing left.  There was not nearly enough blood.  I went to bed slightly unsatisfied.

A Bad Winter

What an intriguing idea.  How do you define a Bad Winter?  I think there are actually two schools of thought on this.

               and          

Bad Winter…Blizzards                                                   Bad Winter…Too HOT

High winds and snow                                                       Heat and Humidity

Power outages                                                                    Turn on Air conditioning?

Damage                                                                                Hail?

Hazardous driving conditions                                        Who dreams of a Brown Christmas?

Good Winter… Blizzards                                                Good Winter…Just Right

Smell of pumpkin bread                                                   No coats

Hot Mulled cider                                                                 Ice Cream on Pie

Quiet of snow landscape                                                    Thunderstorms and Lightning

Sledding                                                                                 Football outside, no coats

Ice Skating                                                                             Skateboarding in Park

Holiday Inn and White Christmas                                    Latest blockbuster at the theater

Which camp do you belong to?  I’m weird…I love the snow.  As long as it’s OUT THERE and I’m IN HERE.  Baking bread, pies, soups, and other wonderful warm savory foods, and experimenting with different teas and coffees.  Netflix binges.  I love watching the kids build forts and snowmen, and making hot chocolate for when they come in, red nosed and laughing.

I didn’t love it when I was hanging out a window working drive through in the fast food joints.  I’m warm, I’m a Popsicle, I’m warm, my teeth are chattering, I’m warm…I remember thinking, “OH LORD!  Please don’t let me get the ones that have to count out their change and they’re 2 pennies short and HAVE to find those 2 pennies!”  “O Please!  Don’t want to talk to me while you’re waiting for your food!  My left arm is frozen!”  I didn’t love it when I had to walk 3/4 mile to my class from the dorm with a head wind and sleet and snow pelting my forehead.  I didn’t love it when I had to drive 180 miles on the interstate at 12 mph because of bad roads and accidents.

The idea of a Brown Christmas is not appealing to me.  Spending Christmas in Florida or Hawaii just doesn’t do it for me.  I’ll take a White Christmas please.