Daylight Saving Time

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I doubt there’s a person out there who really thinks we need daylight saving time. For most of us it’s just a huge inconvenience. When my kids were younger, it was a nightmare because they either went to school in the dark or came home in it. Now it’s just a drag because we have to set all our clocks forward and backwards. Granted, modern technology takes care of some of our devices but we still have to manage more than our share.

I know a few people who refuse to give in and, although forced to live with the time change, feel a certain amount of pride in defiantly not changing their car clocks. The reason, I’m told, is that in six short months the time will be corrected (much like people who refuse to make their beds because they’re only going to sleep in them again??). The problem is, you’re never quite sure which cycle you’re in and that can make for some very late arrivals.

Mostly, I think, people tend to get slightly depressed during the time change because it represents shorter daylight hours and the coming of winter. But, like all things worth waiting for, there is (literally) light at the end of the tunnel!

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In Your Dreams

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We all wish for things we know we’ll never have – ‘the grass is always greener…’ However, sometimes our dreams represent not so much our desires as our shortcomings. We may have watched a movie or read a book or heard a tale told to us by a friend. Something as simple as that can trigger our mind in its most relaxed state.

Since losing most of his sight, my Dad often dreams about things that happened a long time ago. It was explained to us that this was most likely due to his inability to create new memories. It’s like he’s stuck in a kind of time warp (his own version of ‘Back to the Future’ where his past and his present have become one).

So next time you wish for something outrageous that you know, deep down, is beyond your reach – wish instead for the fundamental ability to dream of a future that is indeed foreseeable!

Give And Take

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Call it compulsive but whenever the cashier tells me it’s okay to short them a penny or two (because another customer conveniently left some behind), I search through every nook and cranny of my bag to come up with the exact change for my purchase. It’s not that I’m overly honest – I just figure it makes it easier for them to close out their register, at the end of the day, with the correct amount of money in the cash drawer.

That said, I can always be counted upon to have more than my share of little sample bottles to take on any trip – even at the very last moment. Hotels put them out there for guests to use (ostensibly for that particular stay) but we all know they’re for us to load up on so that we don’t run out on the next visit somewhere and so on and so on…

My ‘toiletry bag’ has grown exponentially, over the years, to the point where I now have to spend extra time pairing up assorted sample bottles of shampoos and conditioners, tubes of toothpastes and flosses and bars of soaps and body lotions. That way I’ll always know when it’s time to replenish the supply (yeah, like I’ve ever NOT taken them home with me anyway).

And at this rate, I’ll never be without the comforts of home while far away from home!

Better With Age

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Some things (I’m told), like wine and cheese, taste better with age. Art is more valuable with age and our taste in music tends to get better with age (you might not want to admit that to your parents when you’re younger, though). 

But not everything works that way. 

You certainly don’t feel better with age. You have more aches and pains and you complain a lot more. You can speak your mind more freely because, let’s face it, you’ve got nothing to lose. Life has probably thrown you its share of curveballs and you’ve, most likely, lived through some great personal loss in your lifetime.

So live every day like it could be your last, love your family and friends unconditionally and maybe, just maybe, the best is yet to come!

Card-Carrying Sleuth

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It is becoming yet another full-time job of mine to troubleshoot everything and anything my Dad thinks he hears:

  • Voices outside the door
  • Chairs scraping from the condo above
  • Banging from the garage below 
  • Motorcycles revving up on the street

It’s entirely possible that some of these noises DID occur, at one time, and some I have actually heard myself. But I simply cannot track every sound and motion – even as it becomes his latest obsession. Then, when I tell him to please stop tapping his fingers or grinding his teeth because it’s distracting me while I’m trying to write (this blog post, for example), he gets all bent out of shape because he doesn’t think THOSE noises are annoying.

So, what’s the solution?

The solution is: turn up the volume of his TV (even more, if possible); wait for him to fall asleep in his comfy lounger (oops, he just did) and Voila… Problem solved!*

*at least until next time…

Face The Facts

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Many times I’ve heard my Mom say (to no one in particular), “this bottle used to be much bigger,” or “it used to be ____ ounces and now it’s only ____.” We’re a nation of label readers but what other choice do we have?

It’s a well-known and accepted fact that prices rarely go down (sale items not withstanding). But then, why should the size (or the quality of the product, for that matter) diminish? Here are a few ripoffs I recently discovered in our kitchen:

  • 1 lb can of coffee is now 11 oz
  • 1/2 gallon tub of ice cream is now 1.5 qt
  • 6 oz container of yogurt is now 4 oz

This might not come as a surprise to some of you but many people, especially those on a fixed income or budget, rely on these foods as part of their regular diet and sustenance.

Did you know that you used to be able to get two decent sandwiches out of a can of tuna? Now, an 8 oz can of tuna is only 5 oz (4 oz drained) – which barely makes one tuna sandwich. For elderly people and even mothers of school aged children (who make their kids’ lunches), this means having to buy twice as many cans at twice the cost.

As unfair as it sounds, we must face the facts… Less is not always more and you don’t always get what you pay for!*

*StarKist Tuna – listed at $1.29 a can, paid $.89 on sale (but still used to be a bigger can)
 Friendly’s Ice Cream – listed at $3.49 a 1/2 gallon, paid $2.50 on sale (but still used to be bigger)
 Dannon Greek Yogurt – listed at $4.99 for a 4 pack, paid $3.33 on sale (ok, you get it)

Do It Yourself

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DIY – there are some things I enjoy doing for myself. These include: knitting, needlepoint, coloring, collage-making and jigsaw puzzles. Granted, they’re all mostly artsy-crafty types of activities but I get a lot of satisfaction out of completing my own projects, without help, and with (hopefully) pleasing results.

But when living with my elderly parents, I find it much easier to just pick up the slack. And that seems plenty agreeable to them as well… most of the time.

I understand and respect their need for independence – but only up to a point. Sometimes it just makes more sense (and takes less time) to do things myself. I also hate feeling like I’m overseeing them or rushing them to finish certain tasks because I have other places I need to be and work I need to get done.

It’s not like I plan on remodeling or doing major electrical work around our home. But, between my constant need for organization and cleanliness (above all else), I’ll continue with my little projects as long as they make me happy… busying my hands and keeping them far away from the cookie jar!*

*Cookie Jar – from Paint Your Own Pottery, Stowe, VT
Plate – from Fishs Eddy, NYC
Cookies – from Keebler

Enough Is Enough

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I remember when my Dad used to drum.  Long after he retired from teaching and playing club dates on the weekends – weddings and Bar Mitzvahs – he continued drumming, almost as if his fingers had a life of their own. I never did that. My oldest son, also a drummer, occasionally does that. Maybe it’s a guy thing.

For years my Dad’s fingers would drum and drum and drum. Every surface had permanent dents or dings; every tabletop was worn of its natural patina of wood; every arm chair’s upholstery was permanently thinned – some worn right down to the material below.

But I haven’t heard that familiar sound in ages. At some point, Dad just gave up. When he finally decided, “enough is enough,” I’ll never know for sure. Was it when the phone stopped ringing for gigs or when the students stopped needing lessons or when time just passed by and all those years of experience and knowledge stopped mattering?

I know he sometimes has dreams about those days of working and teaching. He says they’re quite vivid and he remembers them all. The mind is a funny thing – focusing on some events, no matter how trivial, while fogging over others that seemed so important at one time. So maybe, in hindsight, enough is never really enough! 

Five Second Rule

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Everyone knows about the five second rule where food is concerned. Supposedly, if you drop food on the floor, it’s okay to still eat it or serve it if it’s been picked up within 5 seconds. I’m sure people with extreme OCD are silently cringing right about now but, for the vast majority of us, this rule is fairly acceptable.

So what else might it work for?

  • If someone doesn’t react ‘promptly’ when a light turns green, is it alright to blast your car horn at them?
  • If you have something important to say and someone holds up their finger indicating that they’ll be with you in a second, is it alright to start talking after you’ve checked your watch and five seconds have gone by?
  • If a waiter tells you he’ll be back in a second with the check and, after 10 or 15 minutes you still haven’t gotten it, is it alright to walk out without paying?
  • If someone is holding the elevator for another person (while carrying on a conversation with them) and you have places to go, is it alright to press the ‘close door’ button?
  • If you, yourself (“guilty”), have done any of these because you truly believe the five second rule is an appropriate measure of your patience level, then I say to you, “_________________________”*

*sorry, my five seconds were up!

Running Me Ragged

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Today I saw a young mother outside chasing after her toddler. She said, “stay on the grass,” so, naturally, the child ran toward the street instead. I thought, “well, at least she’ll get that baby weight off faster.”

Now that my own kids are grown, I have no incentive to run around and lose weight. Oh yeah. I forgot. Of course I do. It’s called constantly-running-errands-for-my-parents. Don’t get me wrong… I exercise for a few hours every day anyway. Of my own free will. I always have… (and when I say always, I mean since having children).

If it wasn’t so time consuming I’d say it was almost funny – how, as soon as I return home from running their errands, my parents remember something else I need to get for them. And, for those errands that are so close by that it’s almost easier to not have to drive and then park my car, I generally just walk. So, technically, I’m still being run ragged – although, now, I get to choose when and where I’ll lose those extra few pounds!

*** 3 simple ways to lose weight without really trying:

  1. Eat less (try eating dinner on a dessert plate rather than on a much larger and more gluttonous dinner plate)
  2. Move more (drive less, if possible – the planet will thank you)
  3. Repeat (or, if you’re young and in love, have more children – that’ll keep you on your feet)*

*4 out of 5 dentists recommend it… (and, why wouldn’t they? They stand to make even more money!)