Sep 30, 2009

Taking the Good with the Bad

half storm, half sun, all gnat
Pros: The boost in your confidence because all the fat bulges are smoothed out.
Cons: The uncomfortable, sausage-like feeling you get from being encased in tight lycra.

Pros: Crisp, cool air that makes you feel alive. Beautiful fall colors everywhere you look. Football and hockey season are starting up.
Cons: Winter peeking around the corner with it’s grey clouds, ready to blanket Michigan for the next 6 months.

Pros: The boost to your energy level from getting the heart pumping. The weight loss.
Cons: Fumbling around trying to follow the instructor which is really difficult for you because you couldn’t dance if your life depended on it. Sweating profusely.

Being busy at work
Pros: The productive feeling you get from accomplishing things. The day goes by faster.
Cons: The constant, nagging feeling that you are dropping the ball on something important.

New outfits
Pros: Feeling all sassy and kicky in your brand spankin’ new work outfits.
Cons: Your old outfits feel frumpy and dumpy in comparison.

Two weeks and 3 days until the wedding
Pros: The big day is in sight and it involves a big party with all our friends and family there. Spending time with the family to plan and do all the little tasks that need to be done before the wedding. Get to meet both the fiancĂ©’s parents.
Cons: Two weeks and 3 days until your little girl goes off to have a house and home of her own. All the crazy, little details we have forgotten that keep popping into my head in the middle of the night.

Making your blog public
Pros: Making lots of internet friends.
Cons: Strangers being led to your blog by creepy google searches like "pretty boys in dresses". pretty-boy  This type of search has now by-passed the former leader "good blog names".  Yes, I know repeating it will  only make it worse.   I guess the more time they waste here the better.

Sep 28, 2009

Compromise is Old Fashioned

Some of my fondest memories growing up are the discussions held at the Holiday dinner tables. The fun started after the dishes were cleared and the adults were sitting around drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and discussing politics. We had the full political spectrum represented. My father is about as far left as you can get and my grandfather was his polar opposite. Discussions got heated and somebody usually ended up pounding on the table.

I find that now I tend to agree with my father’s way of thinking in most things but I recognize my grandfather’s influence in some of the opinions I have formed. Dad and I sometimes have heated discussions of our own. But I love and respect him even if I don’t agree with everything he says.

The table pounding didn’t alarm me, it fascinated me. It taught me so many important lessons. I learned that often there are no easy answers. I learned that passion about ideas is important. I learned that it’s important to hear both sides of an argument before you make up your mind about something.

I fear that thoughtful consideration of the issues isn't a common practice these days.  Subtleties and nuances are lost.   We want the quick fix and the easy answer.  We've been trained that way by the idiot box.  Everything is about the sound bite and the gotcha.  The shock factor has become the barometer for coverage.  It all gets wrapped up in nice little 60 second packages with enticing graphics and no need for thought.

This is the reason we have become so intolerant.  Opposing points of view are rarely presented side by side in any rational way.  I worry about this country's ability to make good collective decisions.  Common sense flies right out the window because of some poorly chosen words.  Especially if they play upon fear.  Isn't that how George W.  got his second term? 

Have things really changed or was I placing too much faith in the American people all along?

Sep 22, 2009

Tick Tock

Been busy lately.   I have been traveling quite a bit for work.  Today I was in Boston, (love the accents).  I am currently on a train heading to Stamford CT.  New England is beautiful in the fall.  Tomorrow on to Kansas City and finally back home to Detroit on Thursday only to leave again for Friday and Saturday for an event at the factory. 

All of this traveling is occurring right in the middle of wedding crunch time.  T-minus four weeks until go time.  Looming over us like a shadow.   We have been spending a lot of time making all the little decisions.  The big stuff was decided ages ago.  Some of the decisions we had been putting off:

Menu – Happy to report to the carnivorous guests that it will NOT be a vegetarian menu.  We went with a standard beef choice, chicken choice and of course, the Midwest wedding staple of mostaccioli.

Alcohol – We had three levels of bar service to choose from.  The planners fell into one of two camps.  Those that wanted the upgraded bar service which adds top level alcohol and those who wanted the premium bar service which also added specialty liquors like Kahlua and Bailey’s.  I was in the latter group but I lost out.  We are going middle of the road.  Personally, I think the bar is one of the things people notice most at a wedding.  They like being able to order whatever they want.    Sad to find out that the reception hall has a “no shot” policy.  What fun is that?  NONE.  We must have at least one relative get rip roaring drunk and embarrass him or herself to the delight of the rest of us.

Chairs – No, it’s not a decision about whether we will have chairs.  It’s about what kind of chairs we will have.  Cost was the deciding factor on this one.  Standard banquet chairs…  Chairs covered in satin with a ribbon tied around them…… $3.50 per chair.  Fancy cane chairs in either gold or white …….. $9.50 per chair.    I nearly choked on that last one.  We went with the free chairs.

Decorations – Finalized our plans for the head table, the guest tables and the room in general.  Think autumn leaves, trees, and apple harvests….. sounds awesome doesn’t it?  It will be.  My daughter and sister are very creative. 

I have had to give up on a few things that are considered old fashioned by my daughter.  She will not allow us to do the “Chicken Dance”, the “Hokey Pokey” or the "Macarena".  Guess I’ll just have to be happy with the “Hustle”.  I need to practice though.  Otherwise I will be the relative that embarrasses herself, no alcohol needed.

Sep 14, 2009

Florence Nightingale he ain't

I barged in on my husband while he was in his study yesterday. He jumped in surprise, swung around from his computer and said “What?”. His face was red, so right away I figured he was up to something. Turns out he was reading my blog.

Now, normally it is a matter of pride for him that he doesn’t read my blog. I don’t take it too personally. He is more of a facts and figures kind of guy. My blog isn’t really his kind of thing. He also likes to point out that he hears me go on and on every day, he certainly doesn’t need to read it too. I understand, there’s only so much of me one person can take.

ME:     Why are you reading my blog? Have you been reading it secretly?
HIM:    No. I was just wondering if you blogged about the duct tape.
ME:     No, I didn’t. I think I’m a little too embarrassed on your behalf to do a blog about it.
HIM:    Oh.
ME:     I'll blog about it if I have your permission.
HIM:   (Silence)

Well, everybody knows that silence in response to a request for permission equals permission. So here goes the duct tape story.

First a little background to let you understand my husband’s attitude about what constitutes first aid treatment. He was a roofer and re-modeler for the first 18 years of our marriage. Sometimes the need to get a roof covered before a storm comes through overrides everything else…. including trips to the emergency room. He has…
  • Pulled a nail out of his thigh that he got from resting a nail gun on his thigh with a heavy leather glove on. Apparently the glove triggered the gun on its own. I think he may have visited the doctor a few days later for a tetanus shot.. but only because I insisted.
  • Sewed up a cut on his forearm himself. He said he needed to cover the roof and the blood was getting in his way.
  • Closed numerous cuts and wrapped smashed fingers with duct tape in order to keep working.
His need to keep the job rolling (along with being a cheapskate) has driven him to extreme measures. He deems duct tape to be an acceptable alternative to proper bandaging.

Enter the dog… Chance. He has been scratching lately. Took him to the vet a few weeks ago.  The vet couldn’t find an explanation (think we need a new vet). Over the Labor Day weekend the stupid dog scratched a raw spot on his shoulder (or are they called flanks in a dog?).

The vet was closed and I had to travel to California on Tuesday, bright and early.  I left my husband in charge of making an appt. for the dog… right away. I distinctly remember saying those words.

I call Tuesday night to see how the dog is doing and find out that the vet is out of the office until Thursday. He set the appt. for early Thursday evening. I expressed concern about waiting so long and got my husband to promise to watch the dog carefully, keep cleaning the hot spot and put powder on it. I NEVER UTTERED THE WORDS DUCT TAPE.

Late Wednesday I get a picture from my daughter by cell phone. Apparently, my husband thought it would be a good idea to give the dog a duct tape yoke to keep him from scratching. I kid you not. He put some medicated powder on the sore, covered it with some paper towel and duct taped the whole thing up.  He was very upset with my daughter for sending me the picture.

Not having the benefit of being there in person to give him the evil eye, my pleas to remove the tape went unheeded. I rushed home Thursday from the airport to find my poor dejected dog begging me with his eyes to undo the horrific, gooey bandage my husband had put on him. It was not a pretty process. I had to cut his fur in some spots to get it off. Plus he had sweated underneath the duct tape and stank to high heaven.

Dogs don’t talk, but Chance looked at me with his sweet, brown doggy eyes, thanking me for rescuing him and pleading with me never to be left alone with the madman again. I of course called the husband up on his cell to give him a piece of my mind, (not peace).  He reported to me later that he had been in a room full of people who heard me yelling through the phone, word for word.

Chance, you ask. Well, he is doing fine. He has a cone on his head, a laundry list of medications and a sock on his foot to keep him from scratching.  He will recover and his fur will grow back.

My husband's defense …. “I duct tape myself all the time.”

Sep 10, 2009

That doesn't sound right.

One of my former co-workers used to say “exspecially”. Well, I'm sure she still does, I'm just not there to be annoyed by it. Every time she said it I winced inside. It distracted me to the point that I didn’t pay any attention to what came after the exspecially. I’m guessing she wanted to exspecially highlight the information that came after exspecially. She was unknowingly defeating her own purpose. I always wondered if she thought the rest of us were dropping the “x”.

Another of my co-worker’s used to slaughter a common figure of speech. This one just made me laugh inside. He would say “Well, it’s not rocket scientist”. Particularly humorous because he said it when questioning somebody else’s mental prowess. Ironic, huh?

I'm no grammar fanatic but I do read a lot. I know what sounds right to me. There are three common phrases that I notice people use in a slightly different way. Before doing a little bit of research I would have bet money that I was using all of them correctly. Turns out I am using one correctly, one incorrectly and the last is in transition, so either usage is correct.

“All of a sudden” vs. “All of the sudden” The correct usage is all of a sudden. It's actually an idiom, which by definition has a different meaning than the words used to convey that meaning. Even though neither one makes grammatical sense, one has been deemed correct.

"Speak my piece" or "Speak my peace" So long as this phrase is spoken and not written, everybody agrees. The trouble starts when it is written down. This is the one I have been wrong about. It is "speak my piece". I still think peace makes more sense. I picture somebody having a clear conscience after sharing some deeply held opinion or getting something off their chest that's been bothering them. They are at peace. Piece is too neutral. If you are speaking your piece.... it could be a piece of anything.... nonsense, idiocy or some inconsequential fluff.

"You've got another think coming" or "You've got another thing coming" According to some linguistic type article I read, the correct usage is "think". But language is a fluid thing. The first documented usage of "thing" dates back to 1919 and in the ensuing 90 years "thing" is much more commonly used than "think". Over time "think" has become, if not outright incorrect, at least outdated.

Repeated usage makes it correct. Now that I've spoken my peace, I'll end this post all of a sudden. You have another thing coming if you think I have more to say.

Sep 3, 2009

How Do I Look?

So I asked my daughter this morning if my shoes looked OK. I was worried about the color. They are white sandals and my outfit was mostly black with some small white flowers all over the skirt. She answered me with a sideways tilt of her head and raised eyebrows.

Me ----> "What’s the matter with them?"

Her ----> They’re kind of 90’s aren’t they?

Hmmm, I might have bought them in the 90’s. I can’t remember. Maybe I need to start affixing expiration dates to my clothing and shoes, except for anything made of wool or cashmere. My grandmother told me items made from these fabrics are “timeless” and worth the investment.

Ever since our 25th Anniversary party in May I have been looking at old pictures with a new perspective. As a surprise my daughter put together a wedding album for us. It got passed around to everybody. There were quite a few comments about the mullets and the outdated styles worn by our wedding guests. What can I say? Everybody had a mullet back then. We also had leg warmers, ankle boots and white leggings. I make no apologies.

Let’s fast forward 25 years and see what the next generation thinks of your skinny jeans and big baggy purses with chains and baubles hanging off of them everywhere. They will wonder why you wore shirts that don’t cover your bellies. I bet they’ll get a kick out of how your pants hung halfway down your ass too. And croc's... I defy anybody to explain why they were caught dead in a pair of those godawful shoes. Today’s fashion is tomorrow’s fodder for ridicule.