November 3, 2011

I’m back!  We’ve been out of town visiting family which was wonderful, and at the same time the trip supplied some fodder for future posts — a win/win!

But first, I read this on facebook this morning and just had to share it because it seems like such a great visual to use with kids to demonstrate why bullying is so bad:

“A teacher in New York was teaching her class about bullying and gave them the following exercise to perform.
“She had the children take out a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stomp on it and really mess it up but do not rip it. Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how scarred and dirty is was. She then told them to tell it they’re sorry. Now, even though they …said they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it. That is what happens when a child bully’s another child, they may say they’re sorry, but the scars are there forever.
“The looks on the faces of the children in the classroom told her the message hit home.”

“So, who’s the guy with the ketchup in his pocket?”

November 27, 2010

The last post I did was the re-telling of a funny story that Dave, the concierge at the rehab center where I resided for ten days, had told me.  But some of the attention that post brought wasn’t about the story itself as much as about the fact that Dave’s job was as a concierge.  And my friend Katharine at Wise Dogs, left a very funny comment about that:

Katharine says:

A concierge? Your rehab center has a CONCIERGE???

Sandy, if you post something about a pool guy, I’m making a reservation for the day that I have a joint replaced!

Sandra says:

Yes, Katharine, they had a concierge, but it wasn’t because they were fancy smancy — it was because they were realllly all about patient care and comfort. I think of it comparing favorably to a stay in a favorite aunt’s guest room.

p.s. I didn’t see a pool guy (or a pool), but maybe he was just off that week.

My response to Katharine says it all.  This was NOT a hoity toity place.  It was a clean, comfortable older facility that stressed patient service and care above all else … hence the presence of a concierge.

concierge |kô n ˈsyer zh; känsēˈer zh|, noun: an employee whose job it is to assist guests

But while the concierge at a hotel might do cool stuff for you like recommend good restaurants near-by or arrange for theater tickets for you, Dave’s job was much more down to earth.  My favorite part of his job was that he came around in the afternoon with a cart of coffee, tea, cider and cocoa.  And when he would stop in to see if any of those sounded good to you, he would always have a few words of conversation too.  A wonderful combination to look forward to when you are confined to a bed most of the day.

He would also help deliver meal trays, get you water and/or ice for your ever-present water mug, etc.  Anything he was able to do to help the medical staff attend to the patients’ comfort, he did.

One evening my friend, Linda, was visiting (she visited many times, and I will never be able to repay her for those visits that were just to cheer my day … and sometimes she even brought me a malt to make SURE I was cheered!).  Anyway, Linda was there when my dinner tray arrived, and the entree was a hamburger accompanied by potato wedges.  As I started to assemble my sandwich, Dave appeared in the door with a bottle of ketchup in his shirt pocket, and wearing his always welcome smile.  He asked if my meal was all right, and then asked if I would like some ketchup for my hamburger and potato wedges.  I said, yes, I would like some … so he withdrew the ketchup bottle from his pocket, put a healthy squirt on my plate … and asked if that was enough.  When I assured him it was, he “re-holstered” his ketchup bottle and went on his way down the hall dispensing ketchup and good cheer.

Linda loved the picture of Dave dispensing ketchup “as needed” (certainly a more cost effective way than putting those squirts in little cups that might or might not be used and possibly having some of it wasted.  I admire that they were being wise in little ways like that.)  So from then on Linda thought of Dave as “the guy with the ketchup bottle in his pocket”.

So, yes Dave’s title was concierge and he fit that title because his job was to “assist guests” in any way he could.  And, God bless him, that he didn’t have any preconceived notion of what was and wasn’t “his job” — he was willing to do anything that was needed, including being the purveyor of ketchup on burger night!

A voice of experience

July 17, 2010

First, let me just say this.  If you are one of my wonderful male readers, I want you to know that I know this isn’t about you.  I just don’t think men who are “middle age crazy” would be comfortable enough with who they are to spend any of their time reading a blog with a title about humor and faith.  My thought is that if you turn into a sleaze bag, you probably then have to work at being that 24/7!

My friend, C, at Stickhorse Cowgirls is a long-time divorce attorney.  She also happens to be a recent divorcee because her husband of over 30 years suddenly experienced this middle-age craziness and left her for a young woman who already had two children by men she was never married to, and they have since had a baby between them (how mind-boggling is that — he’s now 60 years old with a new baby!).

So, when I read C’s post here about Mel Gibson and the fact that his girlfriend recorded some of his rants, and is now being criticized for it, I knew for a fact that she definitely knows what she is talking about.

I wanted to share this excellent post because if there is anyone (woman OR man) reading this who is in an abusive relationship (and as C says, it isn’t just about hitting) or knows someone who is, I hope that C’s post will give you some insights and practical advice.

To me, this is what is the best about the blogging world — sharing of valuable insights and advice like this.  Thank you, C.

A cheap but high maintenance chair!

March 31, 2010

About a week ago I got a great deal on a new office chair to use at our computer desk.  It was $89 during a big office chair sale at our near-by office supply store.

But when I came up here early this morning to write a post, even before I turned on a light, I could see something white laying under the chair.  My great buy was already falling apart!

Can you guess what it is that had fallen off?  It’s that universally feared label that says “Under penalty of law this tag not to be removed.”  Although, I guess because of all the jokes over the years about these tags, this new “improved” version of the tag does say, “Under penalty of law this tag not to be removed except by the consumer.”   The rest of the tag talks about flammability and lists the materials used in the seat cushion.  Well, okay.  Since I’m the “consumer” I guess I can just throw that tag away.

But wait, after I turned on the light and took this picture, I happened to notice that another white label was hanging down from the back side of the chair, also ready to fall off.  So I pulled it off and read it.  Hmmm, that hanging-by-a-thread label read, “WARNING  Do not remove this tag.”  (Oops!)  Well, I already had it off so I might as well read it.  It lists six points that I can see a bunch of lawyers coming up with while sitting around a long table in a conference room somewhere:

.  This chair has been tested and approved for users weighing up to 225 lbs. (100 kg).  It is not recommended for use by anyone weighing more than 225 lbs. (100 kg).

. This chair is designed for sitting on the seat only and nothing else.  Do not stand on or use as a step ladder.  Do not sit on the arm rest.

. This chair is designed for seating one person at a time.

. Tighten all screws, knobs, bolts and parts firmly or otherwise do not use.

. EVERY MONTH (my emphasis), check all screws, knobs and bolts and firmly tighten any that have loosened.

. If any parts are missing, damaged, or worn, stop using immediately.  Repair the chair with manufacturer supplied parts only.  Replacement parts can be obtained by calling Customer Service.

Well, I’ve now slapped that DO NOT REMOVE sticker back on the underside of the chair, so I think we’re “legal” for now.

But I have to be honest, I’m guessing it won’t be too long before we’re “out of compliance” with these instructions.  I’m having trouble picturing us “checking all screws, knobs and bolts” every month!

Who knew that a cheap little office chair would have  so many instructions with it, and require maintenance checks about as often as a 747!

I think it’s obvious that a label that says “do not remove” but is falling off indicates a little bit of a quality control issue.  But, more importantly, I think the fact that a company finds it necessary to write the detailed instructions listed above for a simple little office chair, speaks clearly to the fact that we live in a litigious society where companies feel the need to list many common sense instructions on any product to avoid being sued.

If I’d wanted to own something this high maintenance, I could have got a dog — at least it would have met me at the door!

A product’s label is just decoration, right?

February 27, 2010


Oh, wait a minute, no it’s not.  It supplies all kinds of  information to help you make wise purchasing decisions!

Of course, first and foremost, the label is the ultimate “branding” for a company.  They want you to strongly associate their name and label with that product in hopes that you will develop the habit of looking for it first when you’re buying that product.  And that pretty much works on me.  If there is a product that has proved itself with me over the years, that is the brand I immediately look for.

Ah, but what about all that other “stuff” on the label?  Much of that information is required by law.  But I have a confession to make — for most of my life I have ignored it.

But, better late than never — a few years ago I started actually reading labels!   I now look at the ingredients, especially to see what ingredient is listed first, because that’s what there is the most of in the product.  Not a good thing when sugar/fructose, or whatever name they use for sugar, is first!  And if a product has a long list of additives with long names I don’t recognize, I tend to steer away from those!

And Weight Watchers has convinced me to look at the calories, plus the percentage of fat and fiber.  I’ve been doing that long enough now that even without a points calculator, I can look at those three amounts and tell whether it is a food that is going to aid or sabotage my diet.

But now I’ve read on another blog that there is another label fact I should be reading — where the product is produced!  The blogger said that you would be surprised at the very well-known brands that come from outside America.

I’m not saying that we should only buy American, because I honestly doubt that that is an achievable goal, but I am saying that I am going to start looking at that, and comparing brands, and let that be a factor in which product I buy. 

Bottom Line:  Who knew that labels could be such interesting reading — and you don’t even need a library card!

Content copyright protected.

You climb a mountain one step at a time!

February 4, 2010


    I’ve pulled the drop leaf table in the sun room out into the middle of the room and it is now Album Restoration Central.  This was taken on about the first day and doesn’t look nearly as messy as it is now.

   This is what had started happening to some of the pages.  They would just flake off around the edges.  Whenever I would look through one, I would end up with black flakes on the floor around me.

   As I’m doing the new pages, I’m using a white pen to sometimes tell a little something about the people on a page.

   For this group I wanted to tell who they were, but they were sooo close together!  So I made a copy of the picture at 150 percent to blow them up a little (and I mean that in the kindest way), then cut apart the copy into three smaller groups that were easier to label.

Each page presents its own unique challenges.

I’m about two-thirds of the way through this first album.

  There is at least one other album in the stack I have here right now that will have to be done.  And all the really old albums are still at Martha’s!

Yikes!  What have I gotten myself into?

Seriously, it really is fun to look at all the old pictures.  It’s funny that I feel like I “see” them so much more clearly when I take them off the page and handle them each personally.  That reminds me that I heard one time that if you really want to remember something, use as many of your senses to “experience” it as possible — like touching it.

I keep reminding myself that every journey starts with the first step, which I’ve already taken.  And, after that, you (I) just have to keep taking one step after another — and definitely avoid looking up too often to see how high the mountain is!

Stand back! Exploding pre-conceived notions ahead!

January 21, 2010


Some of my personal pre-conceived notions are — only Democrats are senators from Massachusetts (and usually their last name is Kennedy!) — Amish people don’t “exercise” because they do hard physical labor in their every-day lives — people who get tattoos enjoy being able to look in a mirror and admire how their tattoos enhance their “look”. 

That sound you may have heard Wednesday was of some of my pre-conceived notions exploding!  When I got up that morning — a Republican had been elected a senator in Massachusetts for the first time in over 30 years — when we went to the gym, there were three overweight Amishmen in their full “uniform” (blue shirt, black pants, suspenders, black workboots and bowl-cut hair) working out — and also at the gym, there was a young man whose only visible tattoos were a star above each elbow on the back of his arms.

Check.  Check.  Check.  Three pre-conceived notions bite the dust.

Interesting, unexpected things happen all around us every day, some that contradict our pre-conceived notions. 

If everything was predictable, just think how boring life would be.

Note:  Regarding the exercising Amishmen, one was older than the other two, so I’m guessing he may have had health problems and his Dr. prescribed exercise (our gym is associated with a hospital), so the two younger men went with him for moral support.  It will be interesting to see if they come back.  I’m guessing it was uncomfortable for them, but I hope they do if I’m right about why they were there.

Hard to work into casual conversation

September 26, 2009


When was the last time you said, “Well, that’s chatoyant!”  I’m guessing, not recently, if ever.

Hubby asked me this morning, out of the blue, how to spell chatoyancy.

I, being my always articulate self, said, “Huh?”

He said the word had just crossed his mind (he’s got to stop working so many crossword puzzles!) and he couldn’t picture how to spell it.

I told him I didn’t remember ever hearing that word.  But he reminded me that years ago when he had given me an opal ring, I wore it to work and Art, a very well-spoken co-worker, told me the stone had beautiful chatoyancy.  I remember now that I came home and told Hubby the word that Art had used to describe my opal.  It made the stone sound soooo, special.

But I had long since forgotten the word, until Hubby brought it up this morning.  So, we started trying to look it up in the dictionary — shitoyency, shytoyency, chytoyency, chitoyency, chetoyency, chytoiency, you get the idea.  I’ve always said that using a dictionary has one major flaw — you have to have some idea of how to spell the word, in order to find it!  And, I have to say, I am never impressed with Spell Check.  I tried putting some variations into a text document and then used the Spell Check, and with each try it either suggested a really far out alternative word, or just said it had no suggestions.

But perseverance does pay off, and we finally found it.

chatoyant\sha-‘toi-ent\ n: [variation of the French word, chatoyer to shine like a cat’s eye]: having a changeable luster or color with an undulating narrow band of white light (a chatoyant  gem)

So, if you have a friend with an opal, look for a chance to use this word to impress her with your vocabulary! 

And, if you happen to find a way to use it in another context, be sure to let me know.  I’ll try to impress “Mr. Obscure Word” Hubby with it.

Happy Saturday!

Even when you aren’t guilty…

September 1, 2009


. . . it’s still sometimes hard to keep from acting guilty!

 A few years ago, at about this time of year, I was at a department store and found a long sleeve, round neckline, white knit shirt that I really liked, so I bought it.

The next Sunday I wore it to church under a jacket and decided I realllly liked it — it felt great on, the fit was perfect  and I liked the way it looked under a jacket.    And it just happened that I knew that same store was now having a sale.  So, right after we got home from church, I went to the store to see if I could get the same shirt in a couple of other colors.

Let me just insert a bit of wisdom here that I was given by a friend many years ago.  She was a very sharp dresser and she told me that one of her “secrets” to having a great business wardrobe was that whenever she found a great suit blouse, she would buy several of the same blouse, but in different colors.

So, I still apply that tip from years ago.  If I find something  I like whether it is a shirt, sweater or even socks, I tend to buy several in different colors.

Anyway, so I went back to the store to see if I could get some more of that shirt.  When I got there, I was delighted to see that they still had it in a variety of colors and I picked out three that I liked.

I went to a cash register and got in line.  Oh, by the way, did I mention that on my brief stop at home I had taken my jacket off?  So I was now just wearing my new shirt and a pair of slacks.

As I was standing in line, I felt something tickle the back of my neck.  I reached back to brush away the hair or fly, or whatever it was … and realized it was the price tag!  I had forgotten to remove the price tag from the shirt I was wearing … which I had purchased several days before in this very store, but didn’t have the receipt with me … which was exactly like the three I now had draped over my arm. Yikes! 

I quickly, but I hoped “casually”, tucked the tag into the neck of my shirt, and continued to stand in line.  But my mind was racing.  What if the store had surveillance cameras focused on this area and someone was watching me (doing it in a “guilty” way, I was sure) tucking the tag into the neck of an obviously new shirt!  Maybe a security guard was on their way right now to question me about the shirt! 

I immediately went into an instinctive don’t-look-guilty mode.  I didn’t make eye contact with anyone around me because I wanted to be as invisible as possible.  I could hear a family with chattering small children standing behind me in line.  Whenever there was a pause in their conversation, I could just picture one of those small inquisitive children looking around with their sharp little eyes, spying the tag that, I feared, was clearly visible through the fabric of my shirt, and suddenly saying in a loud, crystal-clear voice (is it just me, or do they mumble only when you ask them a question, but speak in loud, clear voices when they are saying something embarrassing?), “LOOK MOMMY, I CAN SEE THE PRICE TAG ON THAT LADY’S SHIRT!!”

But, fortunately, neither a security guard showed up nor did one of the children “rat me out”.  I arrived at the front of the line, paid for my purchases (no, I didn’t point out my silly mistake to the clerk, for fear she would take a good look at me and think, “This woman looks guilty as sin, I’d better call Security just to be safe!”), and then I hurried my guilty-looking self out of the store.  It did cross my mind that maybe there was some kind of detection device at the door that would sound an alarm, set off by the tag in the neck of the shirt I was wearing!   I know, that isn’t reasonable — but fear isn’t reasonable, even the baseless kind!

I began to feel better when I got to my car.  But, I wasn’t able to fully relax until I had driven out of the parking lot and no security guard had burst out of the doors yelling, “Stop, thief!” 

Feeling guilty feels awful — even when you aren’t!  And when you tell yourself, “Don’t look guilty!”  you probably act even more so.

Lesson learned:  Always make sure you cut the price tag off of new clothes before you wear them!

It’s All Relative, Isn’t it?

May 20, 2009


In my golf league last week, I was in the group with Linda N.  This is my third season in the league, so I have gotten to know the very nice Linda a little bit, but have avoided saying her last name, because it is a little hard to pronounce.

But, since we were playing together, I talked to her about the pronunciation and practiced it while we were playing.

After I had screwed up several attempts to pronounce the name, I said to Linda, “Have you ever remembered some guy named something like “Bill Smith” you knew when you were single and thought how much easier life would have been if you had married him?” 

She laughed and said, “No.  My maiden name was Russian … this one is like “Smith” compared to it!”

It really is all relative, isn’t it?

And using the name Smith as the prototypical “easy” name, reminds me that I used to deal with a truck salesman in Canada with that last name but it was spelled “Smythe”.  So, even though his name sounded simple, he ended up explaining it too.