Sunday, October 19, 2014

No complaints

I announced to the husband on Saturday that I had successfully completed my challenge to go 24 hours without complaining. He joked, "So is everything all happiness and light now?"

Surprisingly, my answer was "Well, sort of . . . yeah."

It started on Facebook (what doesn't?) when a friend posted a something that said "Go 24 hours without complaining. Not even once . . . then watch how your life starts changing." So I shared it on my own timeline Friday at 3:17 p.m. and began my challenge.

I tend to be an optimist and am not much given to complaining. So, I thought, how hard could it be?

I blew it about three hours later. We were at a restaurant and as I sliced the bread, I noticed the woefully inadequate amount of butter we had. Without thinking, I grumbled, "Nice of them to give us enough butter for only half the loaf!" Then cold realization poured over me. I had just voiced a complaint. It was 6:24 p.m. Time to restart the 24-hour clock.

After that, I found myself considering my perception of things around me. When I had to pay a visit to the restaurant's public facilities, I made myself look at what was good about it instead of what was awful about it. This was tough, because my first reaction when I go into a place like that tends to be, "Ewwww!"

Overall, I was surprised at just how little I talked. The whole "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" adage cut way down on my conversation. Complaints went unsaid and I hoped the husband was enjoying the peace and quiet. By later that evening, I was getting better at it and felt a lightening of my spirit and mind.

The longer I went, the easier it became to avoid complaints. When yesterday at 6:24 arrived, I didn't even notice it. It wasn't until sometime after 9:00 that I realized I'd made it.

I've been cultivating the habit of not complaining ever since then, and I feel much better for it. I seem to be doing OK with my speaking. Now to work on my thinking!


Friday, June 6, 2014

Turning Heads

I am a fifty-year-old fat cow who hasn't turned heads in about thirty years. Back when I was a babe and my measurements were 36-26-36 I turned a few. But add thirty years and [redacted] pounds and nobody gives you a second glance. And probably wishes the first one had never happened. There are some things you just can't unsee.

In the last couple weeks, however, I've discovered a way to turn heads again. Maybe not for the reason they once did, but they're turning. I've started walking around the block in my neighborhood again. It's about 3/4 mile. Because of my health and what rotten shape I'm in, I can't make it all the way in one go. About halfway around, I am saved by a utility box that is just the right size for me to sit on and rest.

The first time I did that, I had fun looking at the cars that were going by. There weren't a whole lot of them, but there were enough to keep things interesting. Then I started looking at the people inside the cars. All of them turned their heads to look at me. Every last one except for one guy who was talking on his cell phone. I bet they were thinking, "Why is that crazy lady sitting on a utility box?"

When I was rested, I got up and started walking again, taking special note of people's heads in the cars that went by. Not one of them turned.

So now when I sit down to rest during my walks, I can experience again what it feels like to turn heads. Even if it's not for the same reason as thirty years ago, it's better than nothing. An old lady has to take what she can get.


Monday, May 19, 2014

A Tale of Two Concerts

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . . OK, now that we've gotten the obligatory Dickens reference out of the way, we can go on with our irregularly scheduled blog post.

Saturday night and Sunday afternoon I went to two very different concerts. Saturday night's concert was performed by the Rochester Community Chorus. The concert itself was pretty good and consisted of show tunes done in a cabaret-type setup. We, the audience, were sitting at round tables with snacks in front of us. So it was a little more informal than a typical concert setting. There was even a sing-along right before intermission.

Unfortunately, the lady next to me decided that the rest of the concert should be a sing-along too.

It can be really annoying when the person next to you is singing along. But this lady took it to higher levels of aggravation. For one thing, she sang just occasional snatches. I never knew when she was going to burst into random song. For one piece, she sang only the title, "All I Ask of You." Another song went something like this:
   Chorus: Five hundred, twenty-five thousand . . .
   Lady: . . .six hundred minutes!!
Even this lady's daughter (maybe ten or twelve years old) turned around at one point and said, "Mom, shut UP!"

At long last, this lady took out her phone. Normally, I'd be irked at this breach of etiquette as well, but in this case, I was grateful for it. I thought it would at least occupy her enough that she'd shut up. Well, this was when she decided it was time to start whistling. . .

Fast forward to Sunday afternoon. That was when I almost became the annoying lady singing along, this time to the Verdi Requiem. It's my favorite choral piece in the world, so it was worth going to anyway, but I went mainly because a former Rochester College student who has done very well for himself since graduating about ten years ago was the tenor soloist for this fabulous work. He had been very good when he was with us, but I could hardly believe he was the tenor soloist for a work of this caliber in a performance of this caliber. As soon as he opened his mouth, my jaw dropped and pretty much stayed that way the whole time. Of course, that's a great facial position from which to sing, so it worked for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the concert.

I just hope I didn't annoy the people around me too much.






Monday, April 28, 2014

Expanding Wardrobe

Today I expanded my shirt wardrobe. I mean that in both senses of the words. Not only do I now have more clothes in my wardrobe, there is also more cloth in my shirts. I had to admit the sad reality that I needed bigger shirts. I was getting tired of constantly pulling my shirt down to hide the deficiencies contained therein.

Those who know me are well aware that I am not a fashionista. I dress for comfort, so that means I have a grand total of four pairs of shoes (none of which are high heels) and zero pairs of pantyhose. Being a klutz, I find this almost a physical necessity. I do not want to fall from a greater height than I already regularly do. Neither do I wish to have the life crushed out of me by a piece of sheer fabric that's not doing a whole lot to make me look better anyway.

For those who don't know me, my fashion sense is so underdeveloped that I generally put clothes on my Christmas list and hope that my mother and sisters will buy me something that looks better than whatever I might choose. (I once accidentally bought scrubs, not knowing them for what they were.) Fortunately, they've done a pretty good job of dressing me over the years.

But the shirts I bought today were much more adventuresome, fashionably speaking, than those I usually buy. I got a couple tees that actually have designs on them as opposed to the plain, solid colors I typically get. And one dressier shirt I got is a salmon color. I generally prefer blues and browns (and purple!), so broadening my color palette is a huge step for me.

I just hope my sisters and mother will approve. At the very least I will no longer look like I belong on the pages of People of Walmart.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Neglected Blog

It's official. I have joined the ranks of people who were once eager writers, but now have nothing to show for it but a neglected blog containing outdated posts. I could sit here and make promises to write more, but I know better than to say something like that.

At least I can say I wrote today.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

As days went, Wednesday, December 19 looked to be a good one. It's part of my favorite time of year - the week before Christmas. I woke up looking forward to a day off work and a nice lunch with a good friend. Then I noticed my head was starting to hurt. Just a little. Not enough to really do anything about, but enough that I noticed it was there.

I was meeting my friend at 2, so I figured I'd post December's bills. This is usually a fun thing for me. I don't approach this event with the sort of dread most people do - I actually look forward to it. But things weren't adding up, and I couldn't remember the finer points of some financial juggling I'd done. And the headache started getting worse.

Before lunch, I figured I'd have time for a couple errands that would normally take about 20 minutes. So I left a little after 1:00 to make my first stop: my place of employment where the business office had a check for me. I got there at 1:15 and was greeted by a locked door and a sign that read "The business office is closed from 11:30 to 1:00 for lunch." Now, I don't begrudge my wonderful co-workers their annual Christmas lunch, but when someone says they'll be back at 1:00, shouldn't they be back by 1:15? Maybe I was doing the math wrong. By 1:20 I was starting to think that maybe they just kept time differently than I did. By 1:30 I was wondering if they were in a different time zone altogether. Finally at 1:35, they came in. A wasted 20 minutes for me. And my mind was still whirling with numbers and the headache was getting even worse.

My second errand was to a local candy store for stocking stuffers. They were out of the stuff I wanted (figures!) with the exception of nine little peanut-butter-filled Christmas trees. I snapped those up and thought I'd ask hubby to get the rest from the store near his work one day. More wasted time, my mind was still whirling with numbers, and the headache was getting even worse.

Then the traffic conspired to turn a five-minute drive to the restaurant into about fifteen. Sitting behind the second cycle of a left-turn light, I glanced at my watch. Great. It was a little after 2:00. What the heck, wasn't anybody at work?

So I waltzed into the restaurant where my friend, who is usually 10 minutes late to everything, was patiently waiting for me. Of all the days for her to be on time. Numbers whirled and the headache worsened.

By this time I was ready to drop my head onto my arms and start groaning. Instead, I took some pain pills and kept plugging away. Lunch was very nice. But it was spiced with a lot of interruptions. I'd found out at the business office that my timesheet hadn't been approved yet, so phone calls and texts flew between me and hubby and boss. Both of whom, of course, were away from their computers at the time. Of course. Still, numbers whirled and the headache hung on.

Then I realized that this was the last day hubby was going to actually be at work before Christmas. So I called him yet again to ask him to stop by the candy place near his work on the way home. By this time, I had about 1200 milligrams of ibuprofen in me and my head was still pounding. As if by a tack hammer now instead of a sledge hammer, but still . . .

Then at 4:45, my phone alarm went off, telling me I had to take my pills. Which reminded me that I needed to pick up said pills at Kroger. So I said goodbye to my friend (yes, we have long lunches) and headed to the store. Some lady near the pharmacy counter decided that the place she was standing was the line rather than the marked lane, so she wiggled in ahead of me. It would have been only a minor annoyance on any other day, but today . . . And the headache went on.

And of course, the second it was finally my turn, the phone rang. It was hubby at the candy store. So I stood in front of the sign that said "Please finish all cell phone conversations before approaching the counter" and told hubby I'd have to call him back when I was finished at the pharmacy counter.

So I headed to the car with my hands full of drugs, a gallon of milk, and a couple other odds and ends. Naturally, that's when the phone rang again. When I didn't have a hand to reach into my pocket with. Hardly anybody calls me, but when they do, it always seems to be at exactly the wrong times. The tack hammer hitting my head seemed to swell.

I finally made it home and thought I could relax a little. I just had to wait for hubby to get home with the goodies. When he did, he announced that he'd gotten a ticket on the way home. Of course he did. I should have expected nothing else. What a way to wrap up to my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Now, I realize that these are all minor things. There are a lot of people in the world who have much worse problems than these, and my heart goes out to them. But all on the same day? Come on!

And that's not counting the guy who practically side-swiped me in the roundabout, and the cat who hopped up on the kitchen counter to closely inspect some dirty dishes for food possibilities, and the . . . and the . . . Excuse me while I go drown my sorrows in chocolate.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Support a Great Project!

I am proud to be part of a project that is the brainchild of writer and podcaster Scott Roche. He has gathered some of the podcasting world's best writers and asked them all to write a short story for his book "The Way of the Gun: A Bushido Western Anthology."

And I am this book's editor.

The book is exactly what it sounds like: a collection of short stories that are Westerns with a Bushido flavor to them. Scott describes it as "A Sunday matinee shoot’em up with a dash of philosophy and tension as an ancient code deals with an increasingly modern world."

Scott needs a little bit of startup cash to enable him to pay his writers (his editor), his graphic designer (his editor), and other miscellaneous costs (and his editor). He has initiated a Kickstarter to help him do this. His goal is to have $5,000 by November 1. As of this writing, 74 backers have donated just over $2,000. So there's not much time left. The link to the Kickstarter is www.tinyurl.com/ScottRoche

It would be wonderful if you would consider contributing even a small amount to support this project. Every little bit helps!

To help Scott promote his Kickstarter (and therefore his book project), the Hughes family (Keith, me, and our daughter Laura) has created a video for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy, and don't forget to donate!