Note To Self

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It seems like such a simple and obvious notion – to make time for yourself. But how many of us remember to do it or make the effort to rearrange our busy schedules?

I often find myself, at day’s end, not having completed my mental ‘to do’ list. It’s partly my fault by becoming distracted by other obligations. But there are, after all, only 24 hours in a day. Moreover, 6-8 of those hours (if we’re lucky) are spent asleep so that leaves…

See? I almost did it again. I certainly don’t have the time it takes to do math. What matters most is the quality of our time spent – even with family and friends, it’s not so much the minutes or the hours but the actual together time – without preoccupation or interference from any outside sources.

So: “note to self” – I will always be at my best, for others, when I am at my best for my own self. And, sometimes, that means having to take a moment to look up at the stars or to smell the roses or to hear my sons voices on the telephone. Then, and only then, can I be my very best ME!

Sell By Date

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Whenever I look in the refrigerator and see something that I’m pretty sure belongs in the garbage can, I know it’s time to call the expert on all things date-challenged… my Dad.

Somehow, he has this uncanny talent for distinguishing between freshness and over-ripeness. Sure, I can see mold on a strawberry or on a loaf of bread. And I don’t even need to smell the milk once I see it curdled on top. But it’s the ambiguous items I have trouble with.

I tend to rely on terms such as:

  • Expiration Date
  • Sell By Date
  • Best If Used By Date

But, as my ‘advisor’ has advised me on many occasions, canned foods and boxed foods have different freshness standards. Stale cereal, for instance, won’t harm you but it might not be the crunchy consistency you desire. And I remember all the people stocking up on canned beans and tuna during the days preceding the millennium. Would those foods still be edible today?

I will always have my suspicions and will continue to throw out perfectly good food (like millions of others) because, “why take the chance?” That said, on any given day, you can still find me pulling out all the milks in the store till I get to the latest date at the back and I wouldn’t hesitate to bring back any moldy food (even if I’ve already eaten some of it) for a full refund!

Your Soul Mate

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You can live an entire lifetime and never know true love. You can live a long and productive life and never be loved. You can love someone and never have that love returned. Love is… complicated.

But if you’re lucky enough to find true love and to live a full and joyous life with that one special person, then you’d be in the same small club that my parents are members of. How do you know? Simple.

  • You have been with the same person for more years than you can count.
  • You can barely remember a time when you weren’t together.
  • You think about that person first thing in the morning and last thing before bed.

So… Still not sure? Then ask yourself this question: “Am I a better person because he/she is in my life?” If the answer is, “yes,” then chances are you have found your ‘sole’ mate!

Not Quite Seasonal

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Many days throughout the year are marked by some celebration or another. The major holidays are booming and even lesser ones are becoming Hallmark gold.

But what about those days – you know the ones – where nothing special happens and we’re lucky if we even remember them? Maybe the weather was bad or a game we wanted to watch wasn’t being televised and there was nothing else on TV but repeats… Don’t they matter, too?

Even on those unremarkable days, children are born, people die and life altering events happen halfway around the world. But we aren’t aware of any of it. We just go about our business until the next ‘big’ thing comes along.

So, next time you wake up and have breakfast and wonder what you’re going to do that day… just look at all the gorgeous colors outside your window. It costs you nothing, it (hopefully) puts a smile on your face and maybe even brightens up an otherwise ordinary (NOW seasonable) day.*

*Between one upcoming holiday and the next, casually pick a day (a Monday, for instance) and make it memorable. Go out and take some pictures; look up someone you’ve lost contact with; volunteer at a shelter (be it for humans or for our four-legged friends). Believe me… it’ll matter!

The Paper Chase

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As many of you have undoubtedly tried, at one time or another, I have learned to forge my parents’ signatures. Now, before anyone gets all uppity and tells me this isn’t exactly legal, I have been asked by both my parents to perfect their signatures. Mom wants me to do it because our signatures are similar and, this way, I don’t need to drag her around with me to pick up her meds or to deposit her checks.

In Dad’s case, he just can’t see well enough to get his signature to land in the correct spot. When I’ve taken him to the bank, I have to point to the area where his signature is required. However, between the time I get his pen to the paper and he actually begins writing, he always manages to move his hand. Banks frown on signatures that end up outside the ‘write-in-this-area-only’ section.

And when it comes time to signing your name at the pharmacy counter, it’s very difficult for a sight-challenged person to write with those ridiculous pens that are attached to the machine – especially the ones with the invisible signatures.

When Dad asked me a while back to take him to buy Mom a Mothers Day card, I had to first pick out the card, then buy it (nothing says love like a card from the dollar store) and, when it came time to signing it, Dad insisted he could do that much by himself. So I let him. The end result was a card signed upside down. But we didn’t tell him that. Because we love him.

So here’s my tip when facing the inevitable paper chase:

To save both time and stress, learn to compromise and remember –  it’s the thought that counts!

The Name Game

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Ever notice how the more time you spend with people, the more you start to think like them? We all have those moments when we can’t remember what we were going to say or do. Some call them senior moments and some (more colorfully) call them brain farts. But we all have them at one time or another – some more frequently than others and some who flat out deny their very existence.

Living with my parents is sometimes like living in prehistoric times. I’ve come to realize that the remote control is a clicker, a CD is a tape, the cell phone is a ringer, the printer is a copier and the DVR is a recorder. It’s not that these ‘alternate’ names are confusing. It’s fairly easy to tell what my parents are referring to most of the time – especially when they… point.

It’s when the parentals are at a total loss for words yet they expect you to read their minds, nonetheless, that you become somewhat frazzled and impatient. It can go from one extreme to the other:

1) The Dangerous Chair – a comfortable chair that, once sat on, makes an octogenarian fall immediately asleep. This covers every chair in the home from the most comfortable recliner to the hardest, metal folding chair.

2) Squeaky thingy – this can be anything from the upstairs neighbors walking around on parquet floors to a door that needs oiling.

3) Ice box – an old fashioned name for a refrigerator/freezer.

4) Who-ja-ma-bob – again, could be a razor, an alarm, the doorbell, the tv… anything whose name doesn’t immediately register.

5) Thingamajig – see above.

And don’t even get me started on proper names. Whether it’s trying to remember a person’s name from the past, a character or actor’s real name from tv or even their only daughter’s name (I usually come in at about 5 or 6 down on the list – after my brother, my grandparents, their grandkids), I’ve gotten so used to it that I’ll basically answer to any of the above… especially if it’s for something really good that I didn’t even do!