Friday, March 30, 2007

Flaming E-Mails

You know it's one thing to turn on the TV and see some news or weather person trying to scare the Hell out of you by telling you about the Armageddon that's about to over take everyone. I know I've become desensitized by the hype. I listen and think, "Oh well it looks like tomorrow is going to be the end of the world...yawn..ho..hum". I can turn the stinking thing off and go on my merry way. But sometimes you get sucked into the thick of all the hype very innocently.
Case in point:

Who in the world is writing all these e-mails that tell us all about the horrible things that can happen to your kid in a bouncy ball play yard? I received one that had all kinds of warnings about what can happen to your kids if they play in the balls at McDonald's or Burger King, or anywhere that has one of them. It scared the crap out of me and I immediately panicked thinking about all the kids in my life. I was going to forward the e-mail and I thought better of it. I'm not sure how much is gossip, how much is hype and to be honest I'm afraid if it isn't all true it might give some nut case some additional ideas to do some of the things that this e-mail contained( that's not to say the folks I'd forward it to are nut cases but you know how fast things spread over the Internet).

I remember as a kid all the urban legends (although we never heard the term "urban legends") we heard about. I still think they started out as someones Mom telling someone to stop doing something and other Moms took the thought and added to it. You know like that game "gossip or telephone". One person whispers something in someone elses ear then that person whispers what they thought they heard in the next person's ear. By the time it goes around the message is so messed up it's nothing like the original. I think that happens with e-mails. It's the cyber game of "Gossip". Now don't get up on your high horse and tell me that these e-mails are doing a service to help us. Maybe one out of a hundred, but really think about all the stuff that's being hawked as, "truth". The e-mail usually starts with a disclaimer about whether or not it's real ( that should be our first clue that we need to really check this out). There's usually a part that tells us where to check on the basis of the story (that's usually true BUT there's usually more information about the event printed after the initial story and you never get to see that- so who knows what they find out how, what and why something happened. In the mean time all of the USA is panicked into thinking their neighborhood fast food joint is a haven for terror- it is but because of trans fats not usually a "nest of copperhead snakes" (yep that was part of the e-mail). AND don't get me started on the "trans fats".

So in conclusion ( aren't you glad) I'm going to try to hold off sending all this stuff to everyone I know. First of all, why should I scare the Hell out of them when it might be hype, and secondly I don't want to be the one who's promoting all this hype. I want to leave that to the television folks, they're much better at it.... watch the nightly news and you'll see what I mean....

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Mind clutter

I keep reading and seeing all kinds of things on how to "de-clutter" your life. Apparently that means every part of your life, not just the part you see, but the way you think and act. I read one article and it told me the first thing I had to do was to sit down with paper and pens and write down pros and cons about things in my life.

I got the pens, paper and a hi-lighter,( knowing I would want to emphasize some of the items I would be writing in yellow). I sat at the kitchen table and looked around me. My eyes rested on the wall in front of me. On that wall I saw picture frames with little affirmations written on them. One said, "To thine own self be true". I thought about that for a minute and decided that little statement was what I needed to read at that moment.

Here I was sitting at the table, pens and paper in hand ready to make some kind of list that someone else told me to do to clear myself of my clutter. Who was that person that wrote the article and how do I know that they're correct. Yeah I have too much stuff and I should get rid of lots of it, but why should I let someone I don't know put the guilt on me to do something that I'll get around to in my own time? Who are they, my Mother?

That got me thinking about all the other things I've done because "someone" said I should do it for my own good. Why? I read articles about how I "must" eat five vegetables and fruit everyday or I'll get sick. Do people who live in third world countries who don't eat five fruits and vegetables every day get sick because of that? Or do they get sick because of something else? What about the hype from the dairy industry that says if we drink more milk we'll lose weight. I've been drinking milk everyday all my life and I'm fat. For years scientists said it didn't matter if we went outside with wet hair, we wouldn't catch a cold because colds were caused by virus's not wet hair. My Mother told me that if I went outside with wet hair I was going to get a cold. I didn't listen to her, because I could spout back, "the scientists say something different Mom..ha ha..." Guess what? The scientists are now saying that maybe our resistances are a bit compromised when we go out with wet hair making the cold virus get us.... Mom was right after all.

I could go on, and so could you. We all get sucked up into the junk that's thrown at us. It's amazing, we go to school to learn how to think for ourselves learning the knowledge of our teachers and we end up falling victim to the hype and Madison Avenue press releases and advertising.

I don't know what's to become of us. ......

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Yesterday Larry and I were trying to figure out what we would do for the day. Since he's been retired I'm his main source of entertainment it seems. When ever we have free days he's not satisfied to do things around the house or even do nothing (which is what I like to do sometimes-you know sit and catch up on reading, or even napping). No, not Larry he wants to go out and have an "adventure". Now I have to tell you we're rather famous for some of the strange things that we've gotten ourselves into in the past. For example, we don't know if it's safe yet to go to IHOP because of something that happened (not really our fault) years ago. We're also pretty sure that we won't be welcome in Kingston Ontario sometime soon...(this was another thing that really wasn't our fault). I'm not so sure that we should go back to Scotland any time soon either...The list can go on and maybe some day I'll write about our adventures, but not today.

Anyway, we decided since it was such a beautiful day we'd venture out to a Farmer's Market in another city not far from here. The sun was shining and all was well with the world. It's spring time here and the left over snow is starting to get that dirty, muddy look about it. When you step out of your car you're liable to land your foot in either a mucky puddle, or go ankle deep in mud. I got the puddle this time. Oh well such is the time of year. You have to take the bad with the good. At least it wasn't snowing like crazy, which can happen here in the spring.

We arrived in the city and found the parking lot we always use when going to this place. This is a town in northern New York that's seen better days. It was once a vibrant place with all sorts of specialty department stores that I shopped in when I was a teenager. To go to this town to shop at that time was like going to New York City on a smaller scale, but with many of the same stores with better prices.

It's not the same town. Now you have to be diligent and watchful while you're walking the sidewalks. The people you walk by look as if they're waiting for an opportunity to pounce. It's scary and if not for this great Farmers Market that makes use of an indoor facility I wouldn't go near the place. It's really a shame. When I walk down the familiar streets in my minds eye I can still see the stores with their gorgeous window displays. I can see the towns folks milling about carrying packages and scurrying to get their shopping done. If I close my eyes ( which I don' t for fear of getting hit over the head) I can smell the roasted peanuts from the Mr. Peanut shop on the corner. When reality hits I see the truth. No longer are the department stores vibrant. They've moved to the suburbs and into the Mega Malls. The Mr. Peanut shop is boarded up. If you look through the slates of wood into the shop you can almost make out shapes and things that may have been shelves that held the yummy treats in that shop. If you take a deep breath there's a faint smell of that old familiar smell of roasting peanuts.

I know you can never go home again, that life is a constant changing being, but we can wish. We can hope that what we have now is enough, and in the future our kids will look back with remembrances of the good times they had. They won't know what they could have had so they won't miss what they never had.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Where's her parents!

Look I know I'm old but this is getting ridiculous.

I'm filling in for someone at another office. I don't know the staff, nor do I know the clients so I figure I'm pretty safe in this office. Whatever I say or do to anyone has really no relevance since I may never see them again ( or at least by the time I do see them they'll have forgotten what it was I said or did). I gotta tell you though this has been an exercise in restraint for me. This office is in a middle class, no, maybe lower middle class area. The majority of the clientele are working people, not a huge number of professional folks are clients in this office. It does a good business mind you, but you don't have the rich, very rich and ultra rich frequenting the office that you might see in other offices not too far away. Keeping that in mind I've tried to be open minded but today was an eyeopener and to be honest it probably has nothing to do with the socioeconomic status of the area.

As two young women walked in to the office, I noticed that my co-worker seemed to suck in her breath and went into the back room. I wondered what was up but I let it go I had to take care of these two women. One young woman looked at me, smiled, said ,"Hi" and sat down. The other girl who had business to do with me grunted. She sat down and proceeded to toss onto my desk a note written by her mother about the payment she was about to make. I picked up the note (which had powdered sugar on it...for a minute I was concerned about the white powder-I wasn't worried about anthrax, I thought it might have some extra cocaine she might want....sorry) . I looked at the note then I looked at this girl/woman, no kidding I thought my jaw was going to drop to the floor. This young woman had on a skin tight, slit down the middle (to the waist) top on with a "balcony bra" ( the kind that the boobs look like two globs of milky (in this case) white jiggly mounds of flesh held up with a couple of stringy straps and some lace). She leaned over and I was sure those globs were going to drop into my business card holder. The temperature outside was 10, it wasn't summer for cripes sake. This kid was 17. She came into this office directly from school. I thought, "Wow I bet she's popular". I know, I know I'm bad.

I looked up at her and noticed she had some sort of smudge on her cheek. When I looked closer I realized it was a small black ink tattoo. OK, a tattoo on your face isn't where I would put one, but then I don't have any of them anywhere on my body so who knows, maybe this is a new trend. Above the tattoo was a piercing with a stick like thing with a skull at the end of it. He eyebrows were pierced in three places. (Each of them)Her ear lobes, I lost count of how many piercing were in those. Her hand, the one that she tossed the paper at me with, had some birds tattooed on the space between her fingers ( you KNOW that had to hurt). Honest to God I had all I could do to stay seated as I looked at this kid.

When she was finished with her Mom's business she said to me, " Oh yeah I have to give you this". Another toss, another paper. I looked at the official paper in front of me and realized it was her transcript. This kid was an "A" student, member of National Honor Society and probably she 's going to be the administrator of my nursing home someday, or better yet, maybe the administrator of your nursing home.

She stood up and I got a full view ( and an understanding why my co-worker beat feet into the back room) of this Mommy and Daddy's darling. She was a tiny thing( except for the boobs, I might add) with the shortest skirt I've ever seen that was able to cover a rear end, platform shoes (man I'm really out of it, I didn't know they were back in style again), and bare legs. She had on a teeny, tiny little jacket over the top I described before. It was 10 degrees outside. I swear to God, I thought about telling her how sore she'd be if her boobs got frostbitten.

She walked out of the office and into her car. My co-worker came back into the office, sat at her desk and said, "I'm sorry I couldn't stay in the room as you were going to work with her. I knew you'd be in shock and if you looked at me I'd lose it and it would've been bad".

Where's her parents? How the Hell do you let your kid dress like a two bit 'ho and sleep at night. I'd be in a frenzy every time the kid went out for fear she'd be grabbed and taken somewhere so she could ply her wares..... When I was in school, believe me the folks in National Honor society didn't look anything like this kid....I'm definitely out of it...and you know what, I'm kind of glad.......

Friday, March 16, 2007

Strange but true

You know I don't try to get myself into controversial arenas, but it seems no matter where I go controversy, or less than normal incidents follow me.

I had reason to go to the headquarters of Domestic Violence this week. For those of you that don't realize this, Domestic Violence can use you old, out of date cell phones. They rehab them and give them to women (and men, I suppose) that need them to call for help).

I had a phone that I've been meaning to get over there for months, finally I had the time to go to the office. I was going to do my good deed for society. As I walked in to the lower level of one of the city's old buildings I couldn't help but think that the Domestic Violence office could have picked a better place than in this very spooky cellar. My mind was wandering thinking of all the mystery scenarios I could write using this place as the "scene of the crime" etc.

Walking into the office I was surprised to see a woman sitting on the couch in the waiting room. She had a telephone stuck to her ear as I see so many people these days have attached to themselves. I'm beginning to wonder if babies will have mutated ear lobes in the future. Maybe they'll be born with ears with extra skin on the top where you can fold the flap of skin over the ear piece and it will hold without any wires or extended holders.

Aside from the perpetual phone stuck in her ear she looked pretty normal, until she realized I was in the room with her. Why is it when someone is near the person holding the phone to their ear the start to talk louder? At least that's how it seems. Point in case, when I walked into the room I couldn't make out her conversation at all, but as soon as she came to the realization I was in the room her voice became several decibels louder. When I sat down I could hear her side of the conversation and to tell the truth I wish I hadn't heard any of it. I had no place to go. I was waiting for someone to take the phone from me. ( You can't just leave anything there, you must hand it to someone. I'm sure they're afraid that someone might leave a bomb or something-no kidding.. After hearing the half conversation of the woman waiting with me, I can understand why).

I sat there, on a very uncomfortable, lumpy couch, and I could tell my eyeballs were probably about to fall out of their sockets, as the woman on the other side of the room said, "Well I have the gun with me, so I don't have to worry about him coming after me with it..." "Yes, I have it here and it is loaded...." "I don't think he'd be stupid enough to follow me down here..." That statement made me get up and go to the locked door and window and knock, ever so gently... While my heart was doing a quick step in my chest. I turned back as I heard, "No, I'm not alone. There's another woman who just came in".. ( that would be me....) "Yes, I think she's OK". ( that would be me again , I think)

I have to tell you I was a bit uneasy, shall we say, as I tried to calmly walk to the door so I could get the Hell out of the place. The woman stood up, and started to walk toward the door at the same time. She put her head down and leaned against the door. She was intensely listening to the party on the other end of the telephone. She had no idea I was about to swing my leg to pull her legs from under her so I could make an escape. Then I remembered the "loaded gun" she had with her..... I thought, "where could the gun be? She has a little purse, surely it's not in there? Oh God, I have no idea if guns can be that tiny, but I'm not taking any chances".

I decided to get a magazine and sit down again to keep everything calm. The woman's voice was beginning to take on that high pitched, pinched sound, typical of folks who are under too much stress. I noticed her hands were shaking as she continued her conversation to persons unknown, " I tried to reason with him". "He picked up the bat, honestly..." " Yes, I called his brother, that made the whole thing worse.." The biggest problem I was facing now was, did I want to stay to hear more or did I really want to leave before I heard more. I find this is a dilemma we all face in these situations. We're all ticked off when we hear someone on the cell phone but we can easily get sucked into their life if we listen to their side of the conversation. I pretend to answer what I think the other party is saying. Sometimes I'm sure I'm right.

Finally the person from the inner office came out and took the phone from me. I stood there when she went back into the inner sanctum and tried to decide if there was anything else I could give her so I could stay a little longer and listen to more of the conversation ......Then, thankfully, sanity returned. I got up smiled at the tortured woman and left the office. I leaned against the outside of the door and breathed a sigh of relief, tinged with a little regret....

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Bathing Suits

OK so this is not about the toaster this time. No, this is more for the women of the group and to give the guys some humor........
Maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'm not living in the real world but honestly there must be someone out there who can relate to this. For those of you that don't know this, I'm going to a wedding in Hawaii in June. I know it's only March but I have to do some serious shopping for this wedding right now because you know as well as I if I wait until a date closer to June I'll be rustling through winter clothes to find something, anything, for summer.
I decided today was the day I would shop for a bathing suit, yes you heard it correctly, a bathing suit......Last night I spent the better part of three hours on the internet looking at bathing suits. Are you guys aware that bathing suits aren't a whole lot different in style since 1950. Granted there weren't many of those "little boy" panties,you know the ones I mean. They have little bloomer type pants under a short, short kind of pant. The kind of panty when you bend down the material doesn't have any "give" so your upper thighs scream in agony as the > >> material cuts into the flesh on its way to the inner bone. Don't tell me you don't know what I'm talking about...I know you don't have "Twiggy" legs ( now there's a visual for you). Anyway, most of the bathing suits were pretty much the same as the ones I have in my closet, except the ones I looked at last night didn't have elastic that has sprung its "spring". I found several that seemed to be the type that I like. I like a bathing suit that covers my body, but doesn't have all kinds of extra skirts, sparkles, belts or streamers. Trust me, when I walk on to a beach in a bathing suit I don't need anything that will alert the Naval fleets that I'm own body says enough without embellishments. On that note, lets get past the, "Oh love your body, don't try to be something you're not..etc. etc." You know all that rhetoric too. ( I doubt there is one person who takes a bathing suit into a fitting room, puts the damned thing on, turns to the mirror and says, "Oh I love my body... I'll be so thrilled to have the world see me in this three quarters of a yard of fabric.") Now, here's where I need the help. I specifically went to Macy's to try on several of the suits I had seen on the internet. They were very nice. Just what I was looking for but...why in Hell would anyone pay $168.00 for 3/4 to 1 yard of fabric. No lie. First of all I had to laugh at the tags on the suits....Mind you I'm looking at suits in the 16 to 18 size range. The tags, bold and beautiful state," Look 10 pounds slimmer in this suit".. Now I ask you, " What the Hell is 10 pounds off of anyone who's buying a 16 or 18 sized suit going to be" It's like a pebble off a freaking mountain..... What are these folks thinking?? On the other hand, I thought there might be some sort of magic that happened when I stepped into the suit, so with that thought in mind I took three suits into the dressing room. First I checked all the mirrors to make sure they were "real" mirrors and not those kind we all get e-mails about, the one way kind with some pervert behind getting his jollies looking at all the women. I determined the mirrors were OK. I removed my clothes and stepped into the first suit. This baby had spandex in the "tummy" area (that's what the tag said), a band under the buttocks area (tag again). It had breast cups so solid if you bumped into someone you could bounce them into the next county. Those cups should have had a warning label on them. Honest to God they were like the Jock strap cup things my kid used to wear playing ffootball. I felt empowered in that suit, but not like I wanted to go swimming, like I wanted to start singing some Wagnerian opera. All I needed with this suit was a horned Viking Helmet. No wonder the suit was priced at $168.00. It was a weapon. The second and third suits were a bit less empowering, but still touted the "10 lbs slimmer" line. I'm still trying to figure what was 10 lbs slimmer. I think it was my toes. It certainly wasn't my hips. I turned from side to side and decided I couldn't justify $168.00 for either of these as well. So.. I left sans suit...I came home and pulled out my two "old faithfuls". I think with a few more repairs they will have to do the trick for this trip unless one of you can give me some pointers on bathing suits that you like, that were reasonably priced, and are made in the "chubette" sizes. Am I asking too much??? Suz>

Toaster Saga

We need a new toaster. Ours has died. Just like that, stopped dead in its tracks. It hated us anyway. I know it was waiting for its future "sail through the air". You'll understand when you read the following.

Now I realize this is not the most pressing of problems that most of us will face in our life times, but our toaster owning history is one that has not been uneventful. We've gone through several types of toasters, including toaster ovens... ( The ones we had were either smashed by someone's fist OR dropped kicked down the driveway). Apparently we (meaning the technical culture we live in) can make (or buy from China, India, Taiwan, where ever) some very efficient goods BUT toasters, in our estimation have fallen far below the mark. So I am enlisting in all of you to give me an idea of what toaster you have and:


We are not violent people (or at least one of us isn't) but this toaster stuff really gets to us. We've spent a whole range of prices trying to find a toaster that toasts the damned bread without:
1.setting off smoke detectors
2. bursting into flames(although when the winter wind blows it's kind of nice to warm your hands over the open toaster fire)
3. warming the bread with no color and no crispness
4.popping out a square piece of charcoal, still smoking from the fires of Hell.

So, I will wait to hear who has a good toaster. I DON'T CARE WHAT THE COST IS (and you know that's saying something coming from the mouth of a Scot). I NEED A DECENT TOASTER....(PS I know all about Consumer Reports-but my home ( and yours) is not their laboratory so I question their ratings).

Thank you everyone.....


The final results are in

For those of you that have wondered about the final result of the toaster saga, or even if you didn't care, I'm telling you anyway.

I heard from many of you regarding your own toaster dilemma's ( apparently discussion about "toasters" can be an excellent ice breaker at cocktail parties since it seems everyone has some sort of toaster history), and armed with a loaf of bread I hot footed out to the stores.

I decided to check the stores I felt had better products, so that eliminated Wal-Mart from my initial shopping excursion. Bed, Bath and Beyond was not amused when I requested to "test" the toaster before buying it. ( I don't know what their problem was, I brought my own bread, and I was willing to share the toast with the guy). The manager told me, "Customers are not allowed to "try out" the products in the store..." (Hmmmm...something to hide perhaps?? ) So I checked out the few toasters they had there and I was not impressed. I grabbed my loaf of bread and walked next door to Best Buy. The management there was willing to let me try out the toaster but they couldn't find a plug to get electricity to the little beauty they were trying so hard to sell to me. They had two toasters on display. neither suited my needs, so I picked up my loaf of bread and went on

I gave in and went to Wally world...There in the middle of the small appliance aisle I saw a veritable plethora of toasters. There were ones with four slice slots, two slice slots, ones with slots for the bread and a teeny, tiny fry pan attached to make an egg at the same time as the toast, there were toaster ovens, even a toaster you could use in a fireplace....Finally a place with an assortment of choices. I was indeed in toaster heaven.

I found two possibilities and carried them over to an electrical plug. I placed them on a metal stool/ladder that was in the aisle and proceeded to toast the damned bread. I no sooner pushed down the lever on the toaster when a young woman came over to me and said, " WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?" I explained my dilemma, and imagine my surprise when she said, "Wait right here" I was trying to decide if I should take flight, figuring she had gone to get the men from the funny farm at the very least, when she came back down the aisle with butter, paper plates and a knife! We tried out the toasters laughing the whole time.

Bottom line: I bought a Classic GE toaster. It has a few extra buttons on the side to push if you want the toaster to give you extra time ( for frozen bread, bagels that sort of stuff), but aside from that it's a normal everyday two slice little beauty. It has a one year warranty and you can bet your sweet ass I'm keeping the warranty paperwork handy for the next year.

So the saga ends.....Life is good....(so's the toast)