aging, clothing, comedy, Health, holiday, Humor, women, work

I’m Not One of Those People

Halloween is the day when people want to feel scared.  I really don’t understand why people actively seek out scary things but given the number of scary movies and haunted houses it seems a lot of people like to be scared.  I’m not one of those people.

My travels took me to a work-related multi-day conference that was attended by a few thousand people from around the world.  I arrived a few days late and left a few hours early and yes, my abbreviated attendance was a clear reflection of my interest in the event.  I went, hung out with the person I wanted to hang out with, did what I had to do, and left. But the sights and sounds continue to haunt me.

Clearly, some mothers didn’t teach their kids to dress for the occasion. Mini skirts that are way too mini, cowboy boots that don’t go with that men’s suit, and bedazzled booties with a tweed dress just don’t fit the professional occasion. What made you put that on, look in the mirror, and say to yourself, “This looks good”? It doesn’t look good.  It won’t look good even after I have a few drinks in the hotel bar once the conference ends for the day, or maybe an hour or so before the conference ends for the day.  Professional means professional. Don’t scare me with this other stuff. I don’t like to be scared-even on Halloween.

Another clearly, is that some teachers didn’t teach their students to avoid reading their notes when speaking in public. The scary part is that those students grew up to be teachers-teachers who read to professionals at a conference. Do you wanna know what I saw everyone doing while the ‘speaker’ read for 20 minutes?  Tapping their pens. It was like a drum line had formed in the audience as listeners of the reader tapped, tapped, tapped their pens to keep time until the end of the reading. The scariness couldn’t be over fast enough….and I mean the reading, not the tapping.  The tapping gave all of us something worthwhile to listen to.

My last clearly is that somebody forgot to teach people the importance of staying home when they’re sick. I’ll blame this one on dad since mom already took some heat.  None of the 40 people crammed into the 80-degree conference room was happy when the first cough was released by cougher #1. Instead, all 40 of them looked around to see who did it so they could estimate their distance from the germ droplets that floated in the air.  They did the same thing when cougher #2 and cougher #3 coughed.  Germs scare me and I don’t like to be scared-on any day of the year.

I don’t actively seek out scary things but clearly, scary things found me this year. Sure, I could have looked away, stopped listening, and held my breath, but what the hell-it’s Halloween.

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aging, comedy, family, holiday, Humor, women

Start Knocking

It’s Halloween time.  I think I can still use the word ‘Halloween’ without offending too many people. There are so many rules about what you can and can’t say that I have trouble keeping everything straight. The bottom line is this…I have a lot of fond memories about my childhood Halloweens. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve lost interest and only a special treat can change that.

I remember going trick or treating back in the day.  It wasn’t just one day-it was several days-and it began before October 31st.  My sister and I, along with a few friends, collected treats together. We didn’t go to the same houses each day because that would be greedy. Instead, we visited homes on certain streets on certain days so we didn’t double up. The weather was always cold so we had to wear a coat over or under our costumes to keep us warm while we visited strangers.  Actually, our village only had 5 streets so we knew most of the people and stayed away from those who gave out apples or home-baked goods.

I also remember that there was a Halloween protocol.  It went like this…You knocked on the door and said “trick or treat” when the treat-giver-outer answered. They tried to guess who you were-by name, and then you removed your mask so they could see if they were right.  Only then did you get a treat.  You’d say “thank you” and then fall down the steps while hurrying to the next house.  There was none of this running up to the door, holding open your pillow case, getting your candy, and running off without saying a word. You had to say “trick or treat” and “thank you” otherwise you were just being rude to the stranger who was giving you candy.

Today, trick or treat is just a few hours on one day.  Safety is more of an issue now although it could have been one back then too and we just didn’t know it. If you think about it, hiding your identity in exchange for candy isn’t exactly safe. In fact, it’s kind of odd that we send kids out into the dark neighborhood one day a year and tell them it’s okay to collect candy from strangers. Then we spend the remaining 364 days telling them not to do it again.

Yes, I have a lot of fond memories about my childhood Halloweens.  I don’t have much interest in it now because I don’t have to dress-up to get candy. I just go to the store and buy what I want from strangers at Dollar General while wearing my every day clothes.  But this year is different.  I’m interested because a shiny new Halloweener-well, minus the weener-is supposed to be trick or treating this year. Hopefully, she’ll take after me and her grandmother and start the protocol a few days before the actual holiday. But time is running out so come on little lady, start knocking.

1980s, aging, comedy, family, home, Humor, women

The Trouble with Tweeners

Downsizing isn’t easy.  I’ve been working on it for over 4 years now and I’m not sure I’m making much progress.  I keep asking myself, “How did I get so many tweeners?”

Let me start by saying that I don’t consider myself to be a hoarder. I can get rid of things that I don’t need or use without a problem. The ‘go pile’ contains things that can be donated, recycled, or as a last resort, taken to the dump. They are dumpers. Yes, I know, I heard it too-the collective gasp of the tree huggers when they read the word, ‘dump’. I can’t help it-some things just have to be dumped. Anyway, I also don’t have a problem holding onto the things I definitely want to keep.  Keepers are things that I use and/or that hold personal value for me so I have a good reason for keeping them. I do, however, have a problem with tweeners; the things that are between the dumpers and the keepers.

Living and raising a family in the same house over a 26-year period played a big role in the number of tweeners I am dealing with during downsizing.  For example, in my sons’ bedrooms I found things like academic award medals, graduation tassels, artwork made in high school art class, and baseball bats used in what seemed like a million baseball games. These things marked life events, but what do I do with them?  They are not trash-worthy but if kept, where do they go?  Sure, I can send them off to the rightful owners who now live somewhere else, but what will they do with them?  Store them for another 30 years?  Show them to their children and their children’s children while telling them about the time that they won the award, graduated from school, made the piece of art, or hit the winning run? Better yet, how did their things become my tweeners?

The reality is my kids’ things are not the only tweeners that are holding up my downsizing project. Some of my own things are tweeners. My wedding dress, shoes, and purse are at the top of my tweener list.  I don’t need and I certainly don’t use them. I tell myself someone else might wear the dress, but then I realize the only place they’d wear it is to a Halloween party and for some reason I don’t want that to happen. So there it sits, nicely folded in the dry cleaner box with the ‘fra-gee-lay-handle with care’ label on the outside.  It’s not a dumper or a keeper; it’s a tweener. And there are many others.

I keep asking myself how I got so many tweeners. I think I finally found the answer. I kept ‘this’ because it reminded me of ‘that’. I guess when it comes right down to it, I am a hoarder-I just don’t want to forget.

 

1980s, aging, comedy, family, Health, Humor, women

I’m Not Humpty-Dumpty

My last story about almost falling brought back memories of quite a few times when I actually fell. I made out a little better than a certain nursery rhyme character we’ve all read about, but it wasn’t easy to always be the faller.

When I was little-in age, not size-I used to fall quite often. Sometimes I fell on my own like when I pushed the merry-go-round too fast and couldn’t keep up. That was in elementary school and it took a long time to recover, but I got put back together with only a few scars. Other times I had help falling. My Pammy, who was bigger than me in both age and size, knocked me over as we raced to get a winning egg at the annual Easter Egg Hunt.  Two skinned knees didn’t stop me. I won a rabbit. As a consolation prize, My Pammy got some marshmallow peeps, which she really didn’t need. I guess sometimes you get what you deserve.

Regardless of the severity of the injury from falling, my parents used Mercurochrome or Merthiolate as part of the first aid regimen. Back in the day, that stuff contained mercury yet it was common practice to smear it all over cuts and scrapes to help prevent infection.  It burned like hell on open skin and my mom and dad would blow and fan to try and make it bearable.  My dad used the applicator to draw things around my boo-boos just to add some fun to it all. The year of the egg hunt mishap I wore an iodine-colored TV set with antennas on each knee. The color just happened to match my Easter dress, hat, gloves, and pocketbook. My sister wore the same outfit, minus the TV sets with antennas.

It’s funny how one shuffle stumble brought back a lot of childhood memories.  Sure, who wants to remember falling or being covered in substances containing mercury?  Probably nobody. But when you fall a lot you learn that sometimes you fall on your own and sometimes get pushed, but somebody is always there to help put you all back together again. Sorry Humpty!

aging, comedy, Community, exercise, fitness, Humor, introvert, Pets, women

Life Throws You a Willy

I was out for a shuffle and realized that sometimes, you just don’t see it coming.

It was early Monday morning when I headed out the door dressed in my shuffle shorts, shoes, and shirt.  That’s a lot of S’s at a time when the only ‘S’ I really wanted was sleep. Shortly into my shuffle I encountered a man with two bulldogs and each was on a leash.  He was the only person I saw during the entire shuffle, which was good.  That meant I didn’t have to bob and weave around cyclists, walkers, or runners or engage in any social interaction.  Yes, I’m an introvert-even when I shuffle.

Things were going along smoothly when I reached my turnaround point and headed back home.  As I got closer to the end of my route I stared down the clear path and felt happy that the shuffle was almost over. But then out of the blue, he reappeared from a driveway-the man with the two bulldogs, each on a leash.  He and the dogs were standing off to the side of the sidewalk looking in my direction.  As I got closer, maybe two cracks away-you know, the ones you’re not supposed to step on because you’ll break your mother’s back-the man bent down and released the leash from one of his bulldogs. In a split second, my path was no longer clear. That damn dog ran over between my feet and slowed my shuffle to a stumble. I was a stumbling shuffler. Luckily, I still have some cat-like prowess because that’s what saved me from being a skinned hands and knee shuffler or worse.

As I dealt with what I didn’t see coming, I could hear the man with two leashes, one of which was dogless, saying “Willy, come here Willy.” Actually, I shouldn’t even use the word, ‘saying’ because it was more like a murmur-like he was afraid he’d wake the neighborhood by yelling at frickin Willy. Meanwhile, I’m stumbling around like a drunken gymnast trying to get Willy the hell out of my way.  After regaining my composure, I paused and restarted the shuffle, and so did Willy. Again, after a few more shuffles, I stopped, and so did Willy. We did the start-stop shuffle a few more times until the man with two leashes and one bulldog finally got hold of Willy.  “Sorry about that,” said the man. I said nothing because I’m an introvert. Instead, I restarted my shuffle and looked towards the clear path home. Sometimes, life throws you a Willy and you just have to deal with it.

Here’s to more clear paths and fewer Willys!

Cheers,

Eliza G.

aging, comedy, customer service, family, Food, holiday, Humor, music, shopping, women

Can’t Always Get What You Want

Someone I know had a birthday last week.  I ordered a cake and yes, it was from the same store where the lady talked deli to me so it didn’t go off without a hitch or glitch or whatever you call it. In fact, the whole experience reminded me of a song that came out when I was in first grade.

It all began three days before the party with a call to the bakery.  Someone sort of answered, but they didn’t want to talk because they sat the phone on the counter without saying a word. I could hear bakers chatting and laughing with each other, but none of them were chatting and laughing with me. When there was a break in the action one of them picked up the phone and asked what I wanted. I told her that I wanted to order a white 8-inch round double layered cake with 10 orange and yellow roses on top.  The birthday boy wasn’t turning 10-he did that about 44 years ago-but his favorite part of the cake is the icing so getting a lot of it is important. One rose was the ‘to grow on’ rose. Given the amount of icing that would be on that cake there definitely would be some growing, but it was gonna be out rather than on. The call ended and I began to wonder if I would actually get what I wanted.

The next evening, my phone rang. It was the bakery lady and she wanted to talk bakery to me. She called to make sure that I really wanted 10 flowers on top of the party cake. “Yes” I said, “I want 10 flowers.” She laughed and told me that 10 was a lot of flowers to put on a small cake, but that she’d do it anyway.  It’s great when the bakery lady agrees to do what the customer wants. When I hung up the phone I wondered if I would actually get what I wanted.

Birth Day arrived and it was time to pick up the party cake.  I arrived at the counter and nobody was there. I looked around and saw a lady standing about 10 yards away from me emptying boxes.  I kept looking around, including back at her, but nothing.  Finally, she walked over to another customer whom she clearly knew and they sauntered off to the produce section as they got caught up on things.  When she returned, I was still standing there in plain view, but she said nothing.  So I yelled over, “Excuse me-Do you work in the bakery?”  “Oh yes” she said, as if nothing unusual was happening, “What do you want?”  When I told her I’d been waiting to pick up a cake she proclaimed that she was busy helping another customer. I bet she got a black mark by her name.  That’s what my mom said you get when you lie-even if you don’t want it.

It was time for the reveal party-the one where I got to see if what was on the cake was actually what I wanted.  It’s like the party before the real party and most of the time I’m more surprised than the birthday boy is when he actually gets the cake.  It was a white 8-inch round double layer cake with yellow and orange flowers on top…9 of them.  There was plenty of room for one more so either the flower maker couldn’t count or she decided birthday boy really didn’t need the one ‘to grow on.’  Should I tell the lady with the black mark by her name that I ordered 10 globs of butter and sugar instead of just 9? That I’m not leaving until another rose was added to the cake? I decided to let it go and that’s when the Beatles’ song…oops…Rolling Stones’ song…started playing in my head.

“…You can’t always get what you want

But if you try sometimes you just might find

You get what you need” And nobody needs 10 roses.

 

Thanks for reading. Remember to always #sharethelaughter!

Eliza G.

aging, comedy, Humor, language, women, work

She Left a What?

Over a 3-day period I participated in several meetings with a few people I had just met. Something funny happened during one of those meetings that got me thinking.

We were heavily involved in our first discussion when one attendee leaned forward to rest her arms on the table while she shared her perspective.  The only problem was, I think she shared a little more than she intended. She left a pooker. That’s what we used to call it when I was little-a pooker. I’m not sure I’m spelling it correctly because I searched over 200 synonyms and couldn’t find the word pooker. It sounds like cooker and looker, but it’s pooker.  Perhaps my Slovakian family was the only one to use that word, but you know what I mean when I say, “She left a pooker.” Well, her pooker was clearly heard by everyone in attendance because there was a split second pause in the discussion and people didn’t know where to look. I’m not gonna lie, it was hard to hold in the laughter.  I had to clear my throat a few times and shuffle through some papers just to redirect my attention and gain internal composure. That was one time when I didn’t want to share the laughter.

That was the first time I’ve heard that happen in a business meeting. I’ve heard it at grandma’s house when she shuffle-farted as she moved around the kitchen cleaning up after dinner.  Everyone sitting within earshot snickered because it sounded like she was walking across bubble wrap-the kind with big bubbles. Grandma didn’t miss a pop and never let on anything happened. I know, it was grandma, but come on, it was funny and a snicker was more polite than an outright laugh so I did hold it in.

I also heard a pooker at yoga class. Someone got into a pose and had a little trouble not letting out.  I thought the seam on the lady’s denim yoga pants was giving way, but that wasn’t the case. Trust me, it’s hard to hold a pose and keep your balance when you’re trying to hold in a giggle.  You thought I was gonna write, “fart” but I didn’t because it wasn’t me.  She did it.  Yeah, I know, it was a stress fart, but it still was funny.

Which leads me to what I was stinking. Oops, I mean thinking. Why is it so funny when it happens in some situations, but not in others? Is it the circumstance under which it happens?  The nonchalant nature of the pookerer or the reaction of the pookeree?  I guess it doesn’t really matter because when it’s funny, it’s funny and while someone else let it out, you have to hold it in.

Toot-a-loo,

Eliza G.