Short And Sweet

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“These days, about half the stuff in my shopping cart says, ‘for fast relief…'”

“It’s scary when you start making the same noises as your coffee maker.”

“My memory’s not as sharp as it used to be. Also, my memory’s not as sharp as it used to be.”

Question: “What’s the best thing about being 104?”
Answer: “No peer pressure.”

Authors unknown

 

My Dream Job

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“Hello… Hello… Is anybody there?” I often hear this refrain from my Mom who just can’t seem to figure out ‘call waiting.’ I put it on her phone so that she would never miss an important call (from me) while chatting with her friends. I might need to tell her that I’ll be home late or that they didn’t have the library book she asked me to pick up for her and is there a second choice on her list. But if she’s going over the crossword puzzle answers or debating politics for the umpteenth time with her friends then I better just give up and come home (of course then she’ll tell me she was worried sick and why didn’t I call).

There’s been a fairly contentious TV battle going on in our home, too. We have several TVs (one in each room not including the bathrooms) so it’s not like you’re outta luck if one of them goes dark. I have repeatedly shown my mother the art of HD and explained that the HD TV does not respond as well on standard channels so just add 500 to all your favorites and the TV will be your new best friend. Simply waiting for a service call is, obviously, not an option.

I’ve long since lost the ‘computer’ war with my folks but that doesn’t mean they don’t see the good that my having one does them (in full disclosure, I don’t actually have one either because I do all my business on my phone). 

For instance:

  • “Ellen, what is 10 across and 29 down – can you look that up for me?”
  • “Ellen, can you deposit this check for me and check my bank balance?”
  • “Ellen, can you get me a digital coupon for this week’s shopping?”

And so on and so on…

The bottom line, clearly, for them is that THEY don’t need to have a computer because they have ME!

 

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!

Hurry… Slow Down!

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We’re in such a hurry all the time. We eat fast food, we get instant messages – we place too much emphasis on instant gratification… we do everything at top speeds from driving to speaking to shopping. Why can’t we slow down anymore?

Where’s the fire in our lives?

From the time we’re little we’re in this giant hurry to grow up. Then, when we’re grown, we wonder where all the time went. We have indigestion yet we eat some of our meals while driving to and from work or while standing in line waiting to catch a train.

My mother always used to say: “A watched pot never boils.” Sounds profound but, seriously, it ‘always’ boils. In truth, it only seems to take longer because we’re focused on it and, now that we’re all multi-taskers, who’s sitting around watching water boil?

So, give yourself a break. You don’t have to make every single moment count. Don’t go directly from one activity to another. When eating, don’t forget to chew and (maybe) even savor your meal… There will be plenty of time to rush when you’re done!

Health And Fitness

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I probably climb these stairs between four and six times a day. It’s a fairly good workout (except for my poor knees) but it’s honestly brought about not so much from my need to stay fit as it is because I’m tired of waiting for the elevator to arrive.

Like most conscientious people, I try to eat right and exercise. Of course, my idea of eating right may be very different from yours. I tend to eat mostly salmon or chicken with brown rice and broccoli, cauliflower or edemame. Sounds healthy, right? It would be if I left it at that. However, I have a terrible sweet tooth and must end every meal with chocolate. Dark chocolate but chocolate nonetheless. And even though I break my chocolate bars into pieces, I haven’t quite mastered the skill of eating just one piece at a time.

So, back to those stairs… I have no problem using the stairs instead of the elevator and, when I drive my car someplace, I try to park as far away from the entrance as possible (again, in full disclosure, it’s as much about my car not getting hit by a shopping cart or by another car’s door). Even without trying, I probably walk a few thousand steps each day. And that helps make the chocolate all the sweeter!

Pay It Forward

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We all know about the concept of ‘paying it forward.’ Whether you’ve been on the receiving end of it or you initiated the action, it’s a positive phenomenon that can be a real game changer.

But it has its drawbacks, too.

The other day, while out shopping with my Dad, I let someone (with only two items in their hands) go ahead of me in the checkout line. Not only was he holding a place in line for someone else but that person eventually showed up with an entire full cart. Now, he could have explained that he was waiting for another person or he could have declined the offer but, instead, he pretty much guaranteed me never doing that again.

Another time, on the road, I let someone cut in front of me. One person inside of one car. As a result, an entire line of cars then proceeded to fly right through a stop sign (behind that one car) and try to squeeze in front of my car. Never again.

Yet another time I held open a door for a woman using a walker and also holding onto a dog’s leash. By the time I got to the elevator (after quickly checking my mail) she had already gotten into the elevator, closed the door and gone up to the top floor of the building – not even bothering to hold the door an extra second for me.

So, what’s the bottom line? Never go out of your way to help another human being? Only think of yourself in any and all situations? Do unto others… just don’t expect them to pay it forward (or back)? Or maybe it’s a simple case of nice guys DO finish last!

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!

Piece Of Mind

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Did you know that when you live with your parents, later in life, you actually start to lose large pieces of your mind on a daily basis? It’s not like when you temporarily lose your keys or forget someone’s phone number. Or when you sit in traffic because it was decided that rush hour was a convenient time to pave the road or there’s an accident on the other side of the divider and all the drivers in front of you decide to look and take photos and you think, “there are two hours of my life I’ll never get back.”

No, this is something entirely different. 

When my Dad – who has very limited sight and even more limited acceptance of that fact – insists on pouring his own drink and I then spend my few free moments of the day cleaning up the spills that could have been avoided if he would have just allowed me the privilege of doing it for him in the first place… there goes one piece of your mind. 

Then when my Mom thinks she is saving 15 cents (yes, cents) by using a coupon from one particular store that is miles away from where I’m doing their regular shopping – resulting in my having to spend a half hour more of my valuable time, traveling in the car (not to mention about 10x as much in gas as the coupon is worth) – just so I can buy that item that she didn’t really even need but had a coupon for… there goes another piece of mind. 

And, finally, when I spill some yogurt down the front of my new shirt (because I’m so tired from running around doing errands and fixing things around the house) and I realize I’ve witnessed this same scene before but, instead of me, it was with the very people I’m usually helping clean up after – that’s when it occurs to you that it’s not a piece of mind you’ve lost but your peace of mindfulness!*

*Don’t sweat the small stuff… Listen to your heart… Take time for yourself… Set clear boundaries… Give yourself the gift of forgiveness… Go ahead and vent… Remain calm… Make the best of a bad situation… Don’t take it all so seriously… Treasure the journey… And when all else fails – LAUGH!

Self-Serve Checkout

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I am just as guilty as the next person of sighing when there’s a ‘newbie’ at the checkout. I know they’re learning and I realize it’s to make them better at their job once they’re on their own but, seriously, every time and on every line I choose to stand on… what are the odds?

Now that it seems like I’m constantly on line buying groceries (I used to just pick up what I needed when I needed it) and picking up prescription renewals (I’m sure it would kill the insurance companies to have all the meds be due on the same day), I thought it was time to ‘check out’ the quick checkout (usually referred to as self-serve or self-check).

By virtue of its very name, I assumed it was a quick way to help myself out of the store during the busy shopping hours. But you know what they say about people who assume…

First obstacle: There is no SELF in self checkout because almost every time you weigh an item, the machine tells you to wait for assistance. Call me crazy but, if I thought I was going to need assistance, I could have stayed on line.

Second obstacle: Every item in the store is not necessarily marked and, if there’s no price or store sku, you’ll again need assistance.

Third obstacle: Just because there’s a price or sku doesn’t mean the machine can read it and… yup, here we go again.

Fourth obstacle: When it’s time to pay, oftentimes the machine won’t accept your credit card/cash/other payment. So, why did you choose this method of self-serve checkout?

Oh yeah. You were in a hurry. Or you didn’t want to stand on line. Or you’re just a glutton for punishment. Whichever the case, assume you, once again, made an ASS out of U and ME!

Me Before You

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As a former city girl, I basically walk at one speed and one speed only… Fast. I don’t consciously do it and I certainly don’t do it to prove anything to anybody. It’s just my regular gait.

So if you’re walking with me, you’d better keep up. And if you’re near me when I’m walking, you’d better be prepared to get out of my way when I pass you. If your head is down because your eyes are focused on your phone instead of where you’re headed, you’ll hear my wrath when I tell you (in no uncertain terms), “heads up.”

If I’ve just spent the better part of the last hour grocery shopping with a bunch of senior citizens who have an unlimited amount of free time on their hands (kind of like Sunday drivers only with shopping carts), you may well experience a lot of, “excuse me’s,” and “watch your backs,” and “on your lefts.” 

And when I finally get back home – I’ll be the one pushing around a heavy cart full of maybe twelve bags of groceries –  and I exit the elevator and start down the hallway, be prepared to step aside as I shout, “me before you.”