Saturday, October 22, 2011

Standing in the Wrong Line

When I am shopping in a store and I position myself at the checkout line to purchase my items I always seem to get in the wrong line. I try to gauge and guess which line is going to move the fastest but I always seem to guess the wrong one.
I repeat my mantra "this is a test of patience" and dial myself back a few notches, "no biggie". I hate to admit it but while trying to bide my time I'll peruse the handy magazine racks to read the celebrity gossip on Brad and Angelina, or some other celeb.
What usually holds up the line is also a guessing game. I try to look the other way, feigning indifference, not register any emotion. Yes, I have been in the position where it is one of my items that requires a price check. When it is me, I usually turn to the people waiting in line and make a lame apology. Sometimes this reminds me of the need for civility among strangers. If I exercise patience maybe others will also. I'm not sure if this a mistake in logic but by modeling the desired behavior perhaps it will lead others to be kind.
There are definite "vibes" I pick up on from other people. One of the biggest is lack of awareness, how their behavior might effect others. Is this related to intelligence or manners? I think it can be a lot of both.
All I know, is when I'm waiting in line to buy stuff, it doesn't take that much effort to give the person in front a little space, and act a little polite, it is not a direct affront to me personally. Stop being in such a hurry and be nice once in awhile to other people.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I've been thinking alot lately of my late mother. She died around this time of year and that always raises poignant and sometimes painful memories of family and childhood. We are the sum of our experiences so it is better to acknowledge this rather than bury it.
I'm going to tell you something that I have not shared with another living soul. I was with my mother at her death. I had never witnessed death before and so you really do not know what to expect. You see it at the movies but you know it's not real. When someone dies it is sometimes a slipping away and hopefully peaceful.
That day I tried to feed my mother yogurt and some banana. What a foolish thing to try and accomplish when there are only short hours left. Maybe I was in denial and thought the food would give her strength and she would live. It's just part of my memory now.
I bent over and whispered to her that I was there. My emotions were all over the place, being alone, not wanting her to die alone. I guess it is a daughter's duty to hold her mother's hand as she lay there dying. Believe me, I knew this was something that I would play back over and over as time goes by but I trust that what I saw has not been altered by time.
I philosophized about how death is a reminder to us of the preciousness of life.
She marshaled strength near one of her last breaths, sat upright and raised her fist. I do not know if it was to signal anger or perhaps victory. I guess I'll never know. I know it is something I'll never forget nor the memories of the life she had which at times was a struggle. A child remembers things thru their own child like perception so the accuracy of my recollections has had years to ferment into what I think happened. Even if some of it was true.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

blogging retrospective

The blogging world has its own reality which I have gradually been learning over time. There seem to be sub-cultures that have their own unique followings. Some people just like to post pictures of their family and have cute fluffy posts about muffins and kittens. I'm not sure they are what my blogger circle would really be interested in. I've seen some of my favorite blogs grow stagnate yet others continue in their proliferation, often reinventing themselves like our friend Michael R. from "The Psyche of Mikey". I know sometimes it is difficult to be spontaneous or to come up with new ideas to write about as I myself seem to be going through a bit of an uninspired phase, probably because my brain has been a bit fried at work lately or I'm just busy living life. Sometimes I just need to veg out. Okay, I confess I've been distracted by facebook lately, even as I say "I hate it". It is the lazy man's blog, short and sweet and oh so superficial, doesn't take much effort and always receiving immediate gratification. But I digress here because recently Michael has given my blog an award for substantive writing. I guess I do make that effort to be genuine and less motivated by what other people think so it allows me the ability to be real, no excuses, no apologies. So to Michael thank-you.
I've been asked to sum up my philosophy about blogging, my motivation and experience using only five words, so here goes:


Although I wish I could honor the true spirit of the award by passing it on to ten others I'm not sure there are ten other blogs that I follow regularly enough to know their writings and to do them justice. Some of my favorite bloggers have not been that active lately, for various reasons. I guess sometimes life may take precedence at times or for reasons unknown. I guess maybe that is a sign I need to be more active about following other people's blogs and maybe finding some new ones, but that takes time. ( My apologies for flaking out on passing things on. )

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I've begun to collectively realize that as human beings we all possess a certain level of prejudice which we may not even realize at times even exists. Of course there are the obvious ones about race and skin color, but let's not forget religion, both of which wars have been fought over.

Sometimes we inadvertently " out" ourselves with out realizing when we make generalizations regarding certain groups of people. The economically challenged are often part of a disenfranchised group with no voice or power in our society. I'm talking about poor people. They get no respect as Rodney Dangerfield would say. Most of us just treat them like they are invisible.

Developmentally disabled people used to be locked away in asylums, treated like defectives, until Geraldo Rivera published Willowbrook and exposed the way the severely mentally retarded and physically disabled individuals were being treated.

I've heard comments directed at fat people that they should just stop eating or somehow they are just "weak".

I've heard people stereotype Asians and the way they make jokes about their driving abilities.

I've heard people refer to individuals with mental health issues being "crazy". I believe this has more to do with ignorance and fear.

I'm commenting about this right now because I just spent the last five days with my family and close friends and realized how sensitive I have grown about the way people refer to other groups of individuals in such negative ways and I don't even think they are aware sometimes of how they sound. Let me further say that I rail against political correctness so there is a certain level of dissonance I experience regarding the whole thing but have concluded that people's ignorance can sometimes lead them down the wrong path of generalizing.

Are you really aware of what your own prejudices might be?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Fashionista Speaks

Do you ever wonder how some women's sense of fashion can be a disaster yet other's seem to make it look effortless and always seem to look good. Well, news flash, looking well put together does take effort. I realized awhile ago that if I wanted to look halfway presentable I would need to focus a bit more on some basic rules which I formulated after witnessing some mistakes made by my contemporaries. For the working women dressing the part regarding your employment or career should be taken somewhat seriously, not necessarily fastidiously, but at least take a rational look at what your job description requires and the work setting.
  • Unless you work in a bar or nightclub you shouldn't look like a cocktail waitress who lost their way trying to find their office. That means wearing see through shirts, and short mini-skirts are not really appropriate for a professional setting. No one wants to see your bra straps either or your bra showing through your blouse. If you are aging into your forties or fifties you are going to look like a desperate women seeking attention.(Oh yeah, and wearing a bra is mandatory for the girls).
  • When the warm weather is here,it is not permission to look like you are going to the beach instead of your office. I love wearing flip flops for casual outings or around the house but I think this should be avoided in an office setting unless they are dressy type sandals. If you are going to show your toes, splash a bit of paint on them. Let's face it, not many of us have perfect looking feet, so no one wants to be treated to the sight of gnarly toes and bunions.
  • I realize younger women very rarely wear nylons anymore and I don't really have a problem with that especially on a very hot day. Just look at what you are wearing, and if it involves wearing a suit, wearing nylons might perhaps give a more finished look, especially if attending a meeting outside the office. ( By the way, wearing knee highs under a long skirt is a major fashion faux paux.)
  • I have a major issue with showing too much cleavage. Some men would probably insist there is no such thing as too much cleavage. In the office I think you may have difficulty being taken seriously or thought of as some type of bimbo if you are displaying the girls as a way of looking sexy. If there is a man you are interested in save it for after work because office romance is way too complicated and could derail you chances for professional advancement.
  • We're not in the sixties anymore so shaving your legs and armpits should be a no brainer. I have a visceral reaction when I see hairy body parts on my women peers. Forget about "hippie chic" it's more like "hippie eek!". It also doesn't hurt to do a little plucking and shaping of the eyebrows, and applying some facial makeup to hide some of the blotches and irregular areas.
  • We have a dress down day in our office now on Friday's. This has turned into dress down every day and no one seems to care about whether there is a dress code anymore. I think it is fine to wear jeans to the office as long as you are not looking like you are going out to pull weeds out of your garden or clean the garage. There are so many fashion programs on the television now that show the fashion challenged how to mix and match their clothes. It is possible to look quite nice in a pair of well fitting stylish jeans, sans muffin tops, with a cute jersey or top.
  • When I go out to the stores on the weekends to do my errands I take a look in the mirror at myself just to check before I leave my house. I am not going to wear something that is soiled or covered in lint. Actually, I think athletic clothing can be quite acceptable however, women with big rear ends wearing tight stretch pants is a horror show. I have actually flown on planes in a cute (matching) jogging or athletic suit. I have discovered that comfort is important but do not want to look like I am on my way to the gym.
  • It's important to dress your age. I think it is totally pathetic to see a women in her forties or fifties trying to squeeze into junior size or style clothing. Even if someone has a nice figure trying to look like a teenager or a "twenty something", just looks desperate. I won't say that older women should dress "frumpy", I just think age appropriate clothing is much more attractive.
  • So now you know that I'll be taking notes and watching, just kidding. I am not as superficial as this might sound but there is no excuse for looking like you just rolled out of bed and look like a rumpled mess or a hippie prostitute looking for a date at a cocktail lounge.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Buccolic Landscape

Spring tends to introduce itself in stages up here in Northern New York. We've had a few very nice seasonable days however it does not mean that we are done with old man winter. There are remote areas where the dense trees do not allow for the sunlight to sneak its way in to the shadows of the dark forest and stubborn patches of snow remain resolute to the last vestiges of winter.

The stark trees still naked of spring buds. The tree bark evident of the deep color charcoal. The deer still display their winter colored coats with no sign yet of a lighter hue of golden brown. The robins are persistent in their daily cheer leading of coaxing spring. The soft muck in the driveway threatening to suck up one's impractical high heel shoe. The nearby brook running rough from the thaw of winter, hearing its clamorous cachophony.

The raw wind still capable of leaving a cold bite to the face. Collars turned up especially in the early morning. The damp feeling of rain that could easily turn to snow if the temperature allows to dip below freezing. Not yet time or practical to switch to lighter gear but soon the shedding of layers will hopefully be opportune.

Maple sugar season. The maple trees donating their sap for the cause of gathering syrup by the farmer entrepreneur. Cold nights and warm days needed to encourage the giving of amber. Dented buckets with lids perched precariously from the tap waiting to be emptied. Long nights of boiling in the sugar shack. Boilers heated by natural wood.

Time to take a promenade through the neighborhood and survey the early signs of spring!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Value of Friendship

Growing apart from a friendship can be inordinately painful. Don't ever take a close friend for granted because if you do you or the other person may end feeling disappointed or experience hurt feelings. During my life time I have felt very fortunate to have maintained a few very close relationships with people whom I have known since early childhood. It isn't the quantity of friends, it is really all about the quality of the friendship. The commonality of experiences growing up with a best friend can cement that closeness over time even when people take different paths in life.

A very old dear friend of mine that I have known since infancy who knows nearly everything personal about me and has seen and heard it all may no longer value our friendship as much as I have. Naturally people grow apart especially when geography becomes a factor. Attempts to keep in touch over the years sometimes have occurred during holidays or birthdays but now that seems to be happening less often too. Telephone chats seem to resort back to talking about things we did and said when we were kids and often sharing a memory of a humorous incident. E- mails often an attempt to stay connected yet long palpable lapses involving lost connectedness.

We both had our share of challenges growing up in dysfunctional families and part of the reason we were able to get through some of it is because we had each other to turn to during some of the difficult times, not feeling so alone. We used to be able to finish each other's sentences now we have difficulty knowing what the other person is saying or what they really mean.
Misunderstanding and perhaps hurt feelings have fallen into an abyss of lack of communication.

Perhaps I have made a fatal misassumption about realistic expectations on what friendship should mean. Once or twice a year I am able to return home to visit family and I truly make an effort to connect with close friends. I know they have busy lives and for them it might mean trying to fit in some time but I do so appreciate it when they make that effort. I guess maybe I miss some of them more than they miss me because I was the one who moved away. So naturally my feelings end up being hurt when it appears they seem to lack any sense of enthusiasm or excitement towards planning to get together socially. I really don't know how to interpret this other than to take it a bit personal since the last two times I have made it home for a visit my efforts to get together were thwarted.

Maybe I need to be less sentimental about friendship and just accept that growing apart is no one's fault and despite years of growing up together sometimes you try to hang on and it just becomes increasingly difficult to maintain for one person or one reason or another.