Thursday, August 28, 2014

Melancholy

Uh-oh, today is the first day of my annual autumn 'melancholy'.  It happens every year.  For ages I've tried to deny this is going to occur.  I've finally come to grips that it will.  Actually, I can trace this melancholy to its origin when I was a very young woman...it involved the loss of the man with whom I though I was going to live the rest of my life.

It was the Labor Day Weekend.  I won't go into great detail 'cause I don't want you to become melancholy, too.

Needless to say, with that holiday weekend approaching...I can feel my inner-self preparing for yet another anniversary of September sorrow.  However, today, I took a different approach to this folly.  Remember yesterday I advised everybody to "Breathe deep, and go with the flow."  I decided to do exactly that.

So, I went outside and simply sat in the sun.  I didn't take a book, or even some crocheting.  Nope, I simply sat and let the last of the August suns wash over me.  It was wonderful.  I watched the clouds, I watched my dog, I looked and examined my brown, water starved lawn.  How interesting...the grass wasn't dead...deep, deep, close to the soil, there were tiny, almost microscopic blades of green.  Peculiar I never took notice of that. I think I simply took for granted the grass came back with the October rains, when actually, (like spring buds) the blades are already there, waiting, waiting, patiently waiting for their moment of rebirth.

Oh, how wonderful the sun felt.  It crept to the core of my melancholy, and soothed me.  The melancholy, slowly crept back into the crevice of 'time to come'.  I eventually walked around the house, and saw spider webs glistening in the sun, wafting slowly in the morning breeze.  I didn't have the heart to destroy them and ducked my way under or around them.  Then Zorro and I meandered back to the house, I could feel my melancholy was at rest for the day.  I vowed, I would keep it there, with my mind open for unexpected pleasures and explorations.

So, here I am, back at work.  I feel regenerated, renewed, eager to start new projects.

Perhaps it's time to put my melancholy permanently to rest.  No, I can't allow that to happen, because if I did, that would mean I also had to permanently put to rest the memories of the love of my life.  I simply cannot, I will not allow that happen.

Welcome back September, welcome back, old friend, melancholy.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I've got the giggles.

Seriously.  I would have thought people understood construction.  I am getting such a kick out of the comments left at the construction site in Times Square.  (Yes, I know I wouldn't write about this any more.) I guess I lied. But, it's just so darn funny.  There are comments like "Same old digging, same old spot."  "Is this construction e-v-e-r going to end?" "When are things going to get back to normal?" "I hate all the noise!"

Well, let me tell you.  Digging in the same spot is routine, either somebody didn't read the 'specs', or they've discovered, the original plan didn't match up with what the 'city thought' was buried in the first place.  Oh, yes, the construction will end...supposedly at the end of 2014, hopefully in time for the New Year's Eve bash. People!!! Times Square has never been and never be normal...that's what makes Times Square, Times Square.  I know I'm the odd man out here, but I happen to enjoy construction noise, it shows progress is being made if even at the slowest pace possible.

Relax people!  Get a grip!  It's going to be okay.

On a small scale, I've had some remodeling done.  We had a completion date, and our intentions were good, very, very good.  However, stuff happens.  Perhaps the tile you want is suddenly, and always mysteriously out of stock...so if you want to stay on track you can either change tiles or you can wait.  Then something unexpected happens...like a worker putting his foot through your dining area ceiling.  (OMG, THAT WAS SOOO FUNNY!)  That still makes me giggle to this day.

It got so quiet in my house you could hear a feather drop.  After the foot slowly retreated out of sight, I inquired "Is that an ooops?"  And we all laughed.  Which all goes to prove that no matter how much you want to have any project move along normally, there are times...mostly all the time...things will hiccup.  My advise is, breathe deep and go with the flow.  Those hiccups will make a good story some time in the future.

So, construction workers in New York, keep doing your thing.   And, I bet a thousand dollars, six weeks after construction is completed, somewhere, somehow, for some reason, part of that new construction will be under repair.  But, it's all good, it's all good.

Breathe deep, and go with the flow.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Dang washer!

Sunday afternoon my clothes washer went belly-up.  Sigh.

It washed my first load (whites) per usual, and the water drained out.  After a while...I don't know how long...I heard a musical bleep-pity, bleep, bleep sound coming from my laundry room.  What the heck was that?

It was my washer.

Hmmm.

Oh, perhaps my load was 'off balance', so I opened the lid and moved the clothes around, closed the door and 'pushed the button' to restart the washer.

It sounded like it was going to work...but stopped...

I tell ya, I fooled around with that washer for a couple of hours and finally got it to advance through and complete the load.  Talk about frustration.

I knew I was going to have to call for repair service...oh, the dread.  My mind raced back to the trouble I had with Sears right before I kicked their repairman out of my house telling him in no uncertain terms I was sooooooooooooooo done with Sears they would never, ever darken my door again. What a comedy of errors. I was without a washer for a month, and in the end the repair guy who showed up was so young he had not a clue what to do with my old 1973 machine.  He said he would have to schedule an 'older guy' to come work on it.  Grrrrrrrrrrr.  That's when I threw him, his tools, and the replacement part out of the house.

I had no choice but to buy not only a new washer, but dryer as well because my old dryer was the same vintage as my washer.  Whew, I thought after spending close to a thousand bucks, I'm good for another 25 years.  Yeah, right.  Today manufacturers build things to last about seven years...guess what??????????

So, I've got a repair guy coming Saturday the 30th, between noon and three.  I've already given them my appliance name, model and serial numbers.  This should be a piece of cake, right?  However!!!!!!!!!

Here's how it's going to go.

First, my machine WILL WORK PERFECTLY!  Therefore he will not believe me, and even though I describe in great detail what went wrong, he will look at me as though I'm some kind of fruitcake.  He will shrug, tell me to call to make another appointment if it happens again.  IT WILL.  Probably as soon as he leaves and I start to do laundry.

Second, I will call back, and be told the next open appointment is at least a week out, I take it.

Third, I begin to do my 'unmentionables' by hand.

Fourth, the guy returns for a second visit...again my machine snickers and works just fine.

Fifth, (Repeat from step two.)

Sixth, repairman makes third visit, this time he actually looks at my machine thinking maybe the only way to get this crazy old woman off his back is to spend time physically looking at the works of my machine. He actually finds something, and orders the part...it will be sent to my home via USPS, FedEx or UPS, and I should call and set up an appointment as soon as the part arrives.

Seventh, the part will arrive, I will call, AND IF it is indeed it is the correct replacement part, in about a week the repair man arrive at my front door and will actually fix my machine.

Now, I would like to say this is a fictional story.  It is not.  This is exactly what happened with my old washing machine, except, the first part that arrived at my door was not the correct part, and a new part had to be reordered...they found it somewhere in Texas.  All in all it took that saga slightly more than a month to resolve.  I'm hopeful, that saga will not repeat this time around.

Am I really, really hopeful?  No.  My seven years is up...the company who build my machine is probably not even in business anymore.  There probably aren't replacement parts available...even in Texas, and the repair guy is going to be so young he will have never even heard of my machine.  And, that dear folks, is when I'm going to kick him out.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

So...

I'm back.  It was a busy week, not that I did anything exceptional.  I tried to stick to my normal routine, but since I was also dog sitting for my daughter, it was an added responsibility.  Dear dog, Rascal....I kept wanting to call her Patches....don't ask me why...is 15 years old, still gets around pretty well, but...you know me I'm an Ace of a Worry Wort.  I watched her like a hawk, didn't want anything to happen to her while she was in my care.

I discovered she had just about as many idiosyncrasies as I do, I guess that comes with old age...but certainly brought home (again) the fact I never want to have to live with any of my children.  I would drive them insane...even if they took turns looking after me.

Dear, dear Rascal.  She has one of those 'fatty growths' that comes with old age. Hers is on one side, mine is all over my body.  She's got this nerve problem where her right back leg suddenly stiffens up and shoots out behind her.  First time it happened, it scared the wits out of me.  I get leg cramps, really bad leg cramps that force me to extend my leg out straight too.  I hope her problem is nowhere near as painful as mine.  Just writing about this makes me get goose bumps.  Ouch, ouch, ouch.

Then, God love her, she has the 'Pacings'...she roamed, and roamed, and roamed. Up and down the hall, in and out of rooms, for hours, until she was so exhausted she flopped onto her bed and finally slept for hours, the tip of her tiny pink tongue hanging over her lower lip.  Me, well I don't roam, but when I'm finally at rest, I have to keep my hands busy, mostly I crochet.  But when I don't have a project going, I rip the label off my water bottle and play with it for hours.  I roll and unroll it, forming it into a cigarette, then hold it between my fingers. Seriously, I fiddle with it all evening.  It's ridiculous.  And as for my tongue hanging out when I sleep...I don't think I do that...but boy, do I drool.

I worried.  Mostly that she would fall and hurt herself.  I worry I'm going to fall and hurt myself...is it time I get myself one of those buttons to wear around my neck.  I worried she would get sick.  I worry about that for myself, I don't want to become a dependent.  I worried she might die.  Well....we all know eventually we have to walk into that...."good night".

She was funny.  In particular, if she wanted my attention, and I didn't respond quickly enough...she would sneeze.  At first, I thought it was just 'a sneeze' and I would say "bless you".  Then, after a few days I discovered it was deliberate.  Like if she wanted me to pet her, and I was ignoring her.  She would sneeze, and sneeze, and....sneeze.  Oh, in the morning she wanted me to get up and I was not ready, she would sneeze, sneeze....sneeze.  I can't think what I do as a similar thing, but I'm sure Frankie can think of several.

My dog sitting job came to an end yesterday afternoon.  Boy, Rascal was sure happy to see her owner.  She squealed and squealed in delight.  It was only after we were sitting in my living room for a while that I gave a long and sincere look at Rascal, there was something different about her. It took a bit to realize what it was. It was a simple thing really, I almost missed it. There was a shiny, bright look in her eyes, they had become alive.  During the week, they were dull, and almost black as bituminous coal.  Now they had a glossy sheen, like anthracite coal.  It was an amazing transformation.

And when it came to getting into the car for the ride home, I mean, there was no hesitation at all, she jumped in there like a six month old pup.  Happy, happy, happy was she.

All in all it was quite an experience.  Not only did I learn a lot from her, I learned a lot about me...I learned a lot about aging...it's not pretty folks...whether you're man or beast.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I'm back baby!

After my curiosity got the best of me from watching all the commercials about something called Lumosity I decided I needed to check it out.  I discovered it was a web-site designed to keep a person's mind active and to increase a person's brain activity.  I thought, what the heck.  Why not give it a go.  Turns out it's a bunch of games specifically designed to increase one's agility in various parts of your brain. In particular, speed, memory, attention, flexibility and problem solving.  I was impressed when my first score was 107...I was appalled that for my age group...this was a horrible, horrible, horrible score.  I was at the very, very bottom.

That made me mad and I continued playing through the free introductory offer.  I found I had made a little progress, and I enjoyed the challenge so I signed on for a year.  By the time the year was over I'd increased my brain activity in every area so that I was midway through the ninety percentile for people my age.  My score was 1177.  New games were added and I found some of them were harder, but I managed to increase my brain activity in them as I learned to play.

Then...earlier this year, I found my scores started to drop.  At first I was frustrated with myself, and a bit angry, too.  What the heck was wrong with me.  The worse I got, the more angry I became.  It got so I began missing days of play.  Maybe (for my age) I'd reached the top of the ladder, there were no more rungs got climb.

I stopped playing for a whole week.

Played for a while, with no success, although my scores stopped falling.

I stopped playing for a month.  I worried I might have had a stroke, it was obvious something had happened. My scores in all my brain functions had stagnated badly. I fretted, I know it affected me in other areas of my life.  I was grumpy, miserable, unhappy, and I know it showed in my blogs and postings on Facebook.  I even stopped making merchandise for my store.  I....wallowed.

Then, one evening I decided to see what was new at Lumosity....and I discovered everything was.  They had redone the entire site, and also changed the scoring for all the games in all the categories, for all the age groups.  Oh, I was still in the ninety percentile for my age group, but the very low 90's.  And they had changed my overall score so that it had dropped from 1177 to 1144, which (after all their studies) was a much more accurate score for my age.  On one hand I was delighted to know I had not had a stroke or some other mental breakdown, while on the other I was very angry with them they had not told me they were upgrading the web-site.  Grrrr.

My gene pool stubbornness kicked in.  I decided I was done, done, done with them, and even though I had months to go on my membership I decided I didn't give a fig...and was never going to play again.  Then, I decided I'd show them...buddy...I'd show them!

I started to play again.  Yes, even the more simple games (I can't explain how) were harder, I had to work with stony resolve to keep my scores where they were, and didn't seem to be able to move up by even one measly point. Grrrr.  

Then, one night, my scores didn't fall, and actually went up a point or two on some of the games.  Well, howdy!  It's funny how such a simple sign of mental agility brought me encouragement.  At first my over all score read 1145, then increased to 1147,  then it went over 1150.  Oh, it fell a couple of times, as I began to learn new games, but at least I knew my mind was still okay.  Whew!

Then, last night it happened.  My over all score hit 1177.  I'm back baby, I'm back!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Staycation

I'm sure you remember last month I followed my sister's vacation on the Internet. She had sent me a copy of her itinerary and every day I would go on-line and check out where she was and what she was doing and seeing.  I had myself a grand time without having to drag suitcases around.

While I was at it I made a scrapbook for my sister and myself, with pictures of everything I could find. When she got home I sent her copy to her.  I was surprised to find the book had over thirty pages printed front and back.  When she got her copy she called me and we spent over an hour going over what I had included in the book along with side notes of the things I liked the most.

She told me she had picked up some brochures and postcards and would send them to me, so that I should expect a package in the mail.  It arrived today.  Oh, the wonderful things in the package, I was amazed. Before sending the package she informed me I didn't have to send every/anything back to her and I could add them to my scrapbook.  Well, this package was amazing, it was loaded with brochures and postcards alright, but there were also amazing booklets, schedules of events and menus from restaurant.

I immediately called her and asked if she was sure she didn't want me to return some of these things and she reassured me, these were copies meant for me.  I can't believe all these treasure.  So, I'm sure you can imagine what I'm going to be doing today, yep, I'm going to devour every single article and then place them in the appropriate places in my Staycation scrap book.

I gotta' go now, time's a wastin'.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Mall Walking

Here's what I think.  We need to adopt rules of the highway for walking the concourses of any mall. Especially during sale times and holidays.  It's a simply concept really.

Pretend you are still in your car.  Pretend you are on a freeway.  Just as cars, trucks, and buses, all stay on 'their side' of the road going in one direction, pedestrians walking the mall concourses should do the same, with planters, benches and mall decorations acting as meridians.  All the pedestrians going one direction on one side of the concourse, with all pedestrians going in the other direction staying in their lanes (so to speak).
 
Imagine, not having to confront a child/package laden stroller charging you doing 10 miles an hour...also, wheel chairs and motorized chairs as well.  I for one have on numerous occasions had a lovely conversation with a shopping companion interrupted by pedestrians walking on the wrong side of the road. It seems to me it would not be too difficult to educate pedestrians to the 'one way street' (aisle) concept. Arrows painted or glued/taped to the floors might just do the trick.  Plus at each entrance there could be a nice size easel with a message on how pedestrians are to maneuver along the concourses.

Okay, U-turns are required.  Suppose the store/boutique you wish to browse/shop is midway down the concourse.  This is where the 'median strip' comes in handy and allows for you to make the turn, waiting for a break in traffic and making for the entrance to your particular place of business.

Frankly, I can't believe, with all the thousands, and thousands, and thousands of drivers, someone...including the folks who construct the malls to begin with have not figured this simple concept of directing traffic through the malls.  Am I the only one who has ever given this any thought?  Don't you think this makes sense?

I've been giving this a lot of thought lately...and have been thinking about how I walk through the concourses it has occurred to me I always, always walk as though I were in a vehicle. Whether going north, south, east or west as I walk a concourse the median is always to my left. Imagine how nicely the traffic would flow if everybody followed this concept.

Of course, this is a 'better late than never' kind of blog, because recently the news, informational TV shows, newspapers and word of mouth have started reporting that malls are....on their way out.  And that smaller 'strip malls', on-line shopping and catalog purchases report constant sales and seem to be on the rise.  Don't get me wrong, the malls are not going to 'close their doors' anytime in the immediate future...but think about the anchor stores that have already 'jumped' ship.  Mervyns comes to mind, and I've heard in some places Macy's and Nordstroms have closed as well as some Sears and JCPenney's stores.  If they can't afford to keep their doors open, what chance does 'the little guy' have.

However, regardless where you shop, I think keeping to the right side of any aisle is a good rule of thumb. Think about it.