A Perfect Marriage

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A man and a woman had been married for 60 years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other, except that the little old woman had a shoebox in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about.

For all of these years, he had never thought about the box but, one day, the little old woman got sick and the doctor said she would not recover.

In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoebox and took it to his wife’s bedside.

She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box. When he opened it, he found 2 crocheted dolls and a stack of money totalling $95,000.

He asked her about the contents. “When we were to be married, my grandmother told me the secret to a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll.”

The little old man was so moved he had to fight back the tears. Only 2 precious dolls were in the box. She had only been mad at him 2 times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness.

“Honey,” he said, “that explains the dolls but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?”

“Oh,” she said, “that’s the money I made from selling the dolls!”*

*Author Unknown

It’s Payback Time

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For all those wasted hours spent with my ear to the phone, here’s a brand new spin on how I think answering the phone should really go:

If you are canceling my upcoming doctor’s appointment and expecting me to reschedule it (because something came up for the doctor) after making me schedule it months in advance, please press 1.

If you are about to tell me that your _________________ repairman will be here between the hours of 8am and 6pm, please press 2 and I will return your call with my hours of availability between the hours of 8am and 6pm.

If you are trying to sell me car insurance or health insurance, refinancing or leasing options, cheaper long distance rates or airline tickets, or wanting my vote in the next election, please remember my number because it’s payback time!*

*~#<%>^€*£+¥ (LOUD BEEP SOUNDED)

Over And Out

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The very first thing I often hear (after returning home from work at night) is my Dad talking back to the TV. This is something a lot of people do – not only the elderly. Whether it’s a televised sports game (“what are you, blind?”) or a game show (“buy a vowel, you moron”) or a myriad of other brain-numbing, soul-sucking, waste-of-time forms of entertainment, it amazes me the number of sane human beings who are glued to this never-ending cycle of visual stimulation. And my parents aren’t even aware of the modern concept of ‘streaming.’

It’s no wonder the television set has oftentimes been referred to as an ‘idiot box.’

I stopped reading the newspaper years ago because all I ever saw was murder, celebrity gossip and sports. Add to that the local weather and traffic report and that’s basically all that’s on the TV news as well. As if that wasn’t bad enough, there are tons of additional stations that keep replaying accidents and general mayhem 24/7. Such fun.*

So here’s some free advice:

STOP WATCHING. Like they used to say on walkie-talkies and CB radios: “over and out.” There. Problem solved, right? You’d think it would be that simple but, as bored as my Dad is these days because there’s only so much he can do with limited sight, he constantly sits down in front of the TV – knowing that, between watching every televised political debate, all my Mom’s game shows and soaps and his round-the-clock CNN, his blood pressure will no doubt be raised at some point. Maybe TVs should come with a warning from the surgeon general!

*Anyone who watches ‘Miranda’ on public television will get that reference.

Ways And Means

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What’s the best way to make money after you retire? Well – you could take part in online surveys, you could sell digital photographs, you could trade items on eBay, you could teach an online course, you could write an ebook

After I stop laughing, I have to remind myself that:

  • My parents don’t own a computer
  • My parents don’t know how to use a computer
  • My parents can, therefore, do none of the above-mentioned

Okay, they can still invest their money the old-fashioned way and they could look through their old crap (sorry, stuff) and find out if any of it has any real value whatsoever.

Or… they can continue to complain about the rising cost of gasoline (they don’t own a car), keep cutting out coupons and only shop for sale items (whether or not they need them) and, like the rest of America, decide how the country ‘should’ be run – if they were actually in the driver’s seat!

Three Magic Words

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Once upon a time… you fell in love, you got married, you had some kids and you lived happily ever after. At least that’s how all the fairytales went. Now, however, families come in all colors and genders; they sometimes have the kids before the marriage; and the story often does not have a happy ending. Oh well – that’s life.

That might sound kind of harsh but it’s realistic. For some. We don’t always get what we want out of life. Sometimes, when we expect to hear those three little words: “I Love You,” they come out sounding more like “fool me once…”

We’ve come to expect a certain amount of sentimentality and even magic in our relationships. We watch too many movies and read too many trendy novels to the point where we actually start believing that they represent reality. The secret to their success, sadly, is that they’re so far from what life is really like that they have become our fantasy escape. We envy what those characters have and they’re not even real. 

I know money can’t buy happiness (although sometimes it may ‘buy love’) but it certainly can give off that illusion!

At First Glance

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At first glance, you might think this plant is real. Clearly it’s plastic and will, therefore, never die. It doesn’t require watering or any other maintenance. It’s pretty to look at and reasonably inexpensive.

So why buy the real thing?

If you’re a gardener or have plenty of time and money to care for flowers and plants, your first choice would undoubtably be to purchase and/or grow them yourself. This goes for both indoor and outdoor varieties. But, if you’re not in the market for something fragrant and don’t really need the extra work, why bother?

I think there’s a fine line between personal gratification and the simple pleasures in life. Some people need to have a hand in everything. Others are quite content to sit back and enjoy the fruits of others’ labor. I’m a knitter and I prefer, whenever possible, to create or recreate (using someone else’s original idea) my own projects. It’s peaceful, it’s therapeutic and (in some cases) it’s even less expensive. Plus, more often than not – especially if it’s a gift for someone else – it comes from the heart.

And you can’t put a price tag on that.

So, next time you buy something that you did not make yourself, remember that someone else DID make it and maybe you’ll appreciate it even more!

Happy Holidays!

Old Wives Tales

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If your parents ever told you, “that’s just an old wives tale,” you aren’t alone. However, these ’stories’ can run the gamut from curiously helpful to completely whacky. Here are the Top 5 best ‘luck’ ones I’ve heard to date:

     1) A cricket in the house brings good luck – not to the person who can’t sleep through the noise.

     2) It’s bad luck to leave through a different door than the one used to come in –  ummmm, anyone ever hear of an apartment?

     3) If the palm of your right hand itches it means you will soon be getting money – that’s not what the nuns told my male Catholic school friends.

     4) It’s bad luck to leave shoes upside down – especially if you stepped in something outside.

     5) An apple a day keeps the doctor away – not a good thing if you’re married to the doctor.

So, all in all, as long as you refrain from crossing your eyes, making an ugly face, stepping on a crack or swallowing a watermelon pit, you should be just fine. At least until the next time you eat before swimming, sit too close to the tv or crack your knuckles!

Giving Thanks Day

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Once a year on Thanksgiving, we sit around a large table filled with an abundance of food. I won’t even bother mentioning how gluttonous that is. But what I’d like to focus on is the custom of giving thanks. It’s not a custom in every home and it shouldn’t only happen once a year. But it usually does. And it goes something like this:

I’m thankful for…

  • My family
  • My health
  • This food

But what we’re really thinking is:

I’m thankful for…

  • The big screen tv we’re about to watch the football game on
  • The yelling and screaming around the table that is ‘expected’ and somehow okay on the holidays
  • The weight I will enjoy putting on today because I can always go back to dieting tomorrow 

Like most holidays, we’ve lost sight of their true meaning. They’ve become commercialized, money-oriented and largely NOT having much at all to do with why we’re supposed to be gathering to celebrate in the first place. One day observances have now stretched into months-long events. Between over-advertising and decorations, it’s all a bit nauseating. And, instead of spending ‘that’ special day with friends and family, we’re more apt to spend it out shopping for the next ‘big’ day.

So, what’s the solution? I’m not sure there is one. You could volunteer at a soup kitchen or donate canned goods at any number of locations to ease your conscience. But, at the end of the day, your thanks ‘giving’ is really a self-giving of yet another year of excess!

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!

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!)