Some Swim with the Fishes

Fishes

Some Swim with The Fishes

I swim with a small group of elderly folk. Now before some of you youngsters out there start to roll your eyes and chuckle, these guys are like twenty and thirty years older than I.

I am fortunate to live in a lovely building that has a large indoor pool, gym, sauna, hot tub..well you get the idea. And every morning I swim. Okay, okay..since I have come to love y’all I’ll tell the truth. I swim four or five times a week. But in my mind I swim every day.

When I started the morning thing I met a couple in their eighties who ARE there every morning. He swims leisurely and she walks around the pool. (they also hit the gym in the afternoon.)  Then comes an even older lady who exercises in the water doing stretches. The topper is a gal in her nineties who comes in with her walker. She is amazing. She does LAPS! And not just one or two but again and again. They are all an inspiration to me. And an education.

I find out when Asparagus is on sale, what market has the best sales, who is running for local government, what is making our country great and who not to vote for. I also find out an amazing amount of local gossip.

I have been in this building for four years and barely know my neighbors. This quiet little group tell me every time there has been a plumbing problem, exactly how a robbery took place, who is getting married, who is getting unmarried, well everything imaginable.

They also give me advice. I’m a kid to them. And I lap it up. They have raised families, fought in wars, immigrated, and survived cancer, death of loved ones and aging.

They are truly inspiring and it is an honor to be welcomed into their group.

Their knowledge is a little spooky though. They never ask me personal questions and I never say much but I just have this feeling they know everything.

Judith at growingyoungereachday.wordpress.com did a nice piece on
Chronology vs Biology. She is fairly new having just started her blog in March. If you get a chance please stop by and welcome her!

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If You Really Knew Me…I Took an Old Friend Down Tonight

Flurries fly but I persist in believing spring is here!
It’s Thursday and time for Mama’s Losin It Writing Prompts. My choice is – If you really knew me, you would know that…..

You would know that I get hooked on books. Or more accurately hooked on words. That leads to a lot of rereading of phrases, paragraphs or the whole book. I think I may have an addictive personality.

Any way the old friend I took down was not someone I demolished in any way as the title suggested, but an old book I pull down from the shelf  now and then.

One of my addictions from about twenty odd years ago is Dean Koontz. The book tonight is a fav and it was published way back in ’88 called Lightning.
This book not for it’s first line but for the gripping tale he tells. Good suspense although the first line is pretty good.

I mention first lines because I am a sucker for them. Charles Dickens, my absolute hero was best at it. Who could forget the first line in …A Tale of Two Cities….”It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch …”

Of course that story also had the most memorable last line also…”It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a …”

But for me and Mr. Koontz possibly, the best first line was in a book called Winter Moon and the line is… “Death was driving an emerald green Lexus.”

In my dreams that’s the way I want to start a book. With a line so gripping you have no choice but to dive in filled with excitement and anticipation. (Anticipation is another addiction). sigh…soon I will have no secrets from you!

Oh and just for your information I do tend to fall for any good line – but that would be another blog!

Any favorite line out there you would like to share?
 

What is your Customer Service Pet Peeve?

Nothing to do with customer service..my son and DIL in their natural state

 

What is your Customer Service Pet Peeve?

Or do you even have one?

I am a pretty peeveless person so it surprises me that a pitch made with good intention is just so annoying. More than annoying, it makes me grit my teeth and cast murderous looks at wee puppies, children of any age, groups of nuns and anybody who steps in my path. I’m too polite a person to ever verbalize nastiness so I settle for The Glare.

Wee puppy

I just cannot figure out how the higher ups ever embraced a campaign of this nonsense. I am speaking about one particular large grocery store chain where every cashier greets you with, “How are you today?”

First of all I don’t want to tell you, it’s none of your business.
Secondly do you really want to know that my husband left me, that I am dying, that I have a communicable disease, that the dingo stole my baby?

A google search defines customer service as:

Taking care of your customers, their needs and desires in a professional and courteous manner.
regentpress.typepad.com/mlmmarketing/2009/07/direct-sales-beginners-dictionary-part-1.html

Customer service is the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Customer_service

I am sorry! Where does it say you have the right to pretend to care how I am?
In my mind I ask to see the manager, then sit him/her down and actually tell him. Everything I can think of or make up.

Now I look at this I seem to be perhaps the teeniest bit extreme.
I wonder what Dr. Sana at friendtoyourself.com would say?

Now am I really nutso on this or do any of you have a similar beef?

Our Dynamic Earth

I came across a site the other day of a young photographer, Kieran Hamilton. I was so excited by his pics that I quickly posted some inaccurate info then removed it.  (it turns out I had given him a sex change operation at the stroke of a key. He is a he and not a she).

And his pics are worth a look. He is at sumpix.wordpress.com              Enjoy!

The photos below are not his..just a couple I had to demonstrate wishful thinking!

Now
Soon?

The Royal Wedding and Me

The Royal Wedding And Me

I just got a mini lesson on royal etiquette so I can be prepared for my attendance at the wedding of my old friends Will and Kate.  Actually they are too young but I always considered his dad as an old friend.  Okay not really. Truthfully as a very young child when I first heard there was a prince in England about my age I was convinced that someday I would be his princess.  I think I was five.  What did I know?

The mini lesson was on the evening news and aside from which piece of cutlery to use when and how, or curtsy the most important instructions were: don’t speak unless spoken to and don’t touch. Oh and don’t chew gum.  

It seems Kate’s mom came under criticism when she was spotted chewing gum at William’s graduation.  And First Lady Michelle Obama came under severe criticism when she met the Queen and in a friendly gesture put her arm around the Monarch’s shoulder.

Strange to say my invitation has not arrived which may mean that for some reason I was left off the list.  It might be just as well as I am not sure I could abandon my gum chewing shoulder hugging ways!

Oh yes…I never did find my prince..just the odd court jester or two!

I Hate Dust

I Hate Dust 

Not enough to disturb it.  I just hate the way it is.. well so dusty.  I try to live and let live and with so many clean freaks out there I figure it needs to have a safe haven somewhere.

Please do not for one minute think I am freako here its just that today everything is about bacteria and anti bacteria.  We have cleaned and sanitized ourselves silly and right into risky health.  We, whoever we are, have no immunity and the bugs are winning.

 Antibiotics were a good thing way back when but have been so overused the bugs got smart and mutated. Now we have super bugs, MRSA, VRE, and so on.  There is always a new one coming along. 

Okay all that is a little over dramatic on the dust thing.  Another procrastinating excuse.  Any way I do get dusting now and then and it sure feels good to see every thing gleaming and shining.

By the way, on yesterdays post – I never got the door washed but I got a comment from Baxter Bunny that it is good Feng Shui to keep your doors especially the front door.  That one I can embrace!   The only Feng Shui I ever remember is to keep your toilet seat lid down to stop the flow of money down the drain. So naturally I do that one.  I call it my financial planning strategy.

And thank you to all who answered my question seeking more Procrastination excuses..I mean reasons.  Of course most had an answer but would have to get back to me sometime when they got around to it..like true procrastinators! 

Now I think I’ll go wash a door!

Is he wondering if Granny is all there?

Honest I was not lecturing him on bugs

or dust!

I Washed a Door Today

I Washed a Door Today

Well technically not yet.  But I am working up to it.

You see when I have a task I must do I will find anything else to do. 

Canadian taxes are due April 30th and this was the day to search through papers to make sure I have it all together.  The problem is there are LOTS of papers and every time I get company I do a quick file into any drawer available.  So the plan today was…..

Anyway I started the day optimistically.  But then I realized I had laundry.  So…

After getting that started I thought about my brother and sister in law leaving for sun, sand, and margaritas tomorrow and then I got lost in my memories of previous trips.

Friends came for dinner last night and brought a book they thought I might like. I felt obligated to at least look at it.  So….

The book is The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. I can recommend this book as I have quickly read all 902 pages.  NOT my fault I swear!  After all this talk this week on WordPress about writers finding time to read I felt it was my duty.

 So I am quickly running out of excuses, I mean reasons for not doing taxes.  The laundry is almost done, and it isn’t like I actually DO the laundry but I feel I must support my machine while it does it.

 I certainly have the time today.  But then it occurred to me the walls were looking a little dingy and my common sense told me there was no way I could wash all the walls today so I thought I could start with a door and work my way from there.

 Then of course I decided I had not posted today so….

  Hmmm what should I do next?

 Question: Are you a procrastinator and what do you do to achieve it? Really I want to know as I am running out of ideas!

Five Minutes of my Favorite Things

GypsyMamma’s Challenge is to list a few of our favorite things in five minutes!
A Few of My Fav Things in Five Minutes

Rain: falling lightly, falling in torrents

Sunshine: Baking everything to a soft warm glow

Wind: the feel fills me with a sense of adventure

Caleb: at seven believing Grandma is the coolest chick in the world

Rowan: slipping his three year old hand in mine so trustingly 

Music: Blues, rock, country reaching my soul

Blogging: for opening a new world and new friends

No! No! Please No More Bedtime Stories!

No! No! Please No More Bedtime Stories!

A coblogger I like to read, Word Lilly did a post today on the re release of a favorite children’s book series.  I started to comment and then had to cut it short as I realized that I had enough material for a post.

Once upon a time, perhaps a millennia ago there were a set of stories for children called Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime stories.  I suppose my Mom started reading them to me but by the age of four or five I  would read them to myself.

Now why I did this, and did it repeatedly I have no idea.  I think Uncle Arthur must have been a very nasty man who hated children.  A lot.  His stories scared the life out of me -for years.  There was always a moral but even as a child I questioned the why of it.  And those were the stories I repeatedly pulled down to read again and again.

One was about a little boy who had been struck by a car and lay in a hospital bed ward all bandaged up.  He was in a lot of pain.  Another youngster in a bed near by could see his suffering.  So he told our critically ill patient that every night Jesus would walk through the ward and take children away who were ill.  All they had to do was hold up their hand.  

So our wee lad tried and tried to raise his hand that night but weakness and pain made it impossible.  His little friend crawled out of bed and bracing the arm with pillows was able to raise the hand.  

Well of course the happy ending was that Jesus did come and take him away from his pain and suffering.  But the residual effect was that every time I sleep on my side and raise my arm that picture comes to mind and I snap that hand back down quickly.  Then my mind reviews the whole story again.  As the song by Joe Diffie goes..”I want to go to heaven but I don’t want to go tonight ” Especially if it was because of an accidental hand placement!  Oh yeah, then I have to sign the song.  I swear Uncle Arthur has been the source of insomnia now and then.

The second awful story was one about a poor family.  A Mom and two children.  Food is a problem and Mama provides the best she can, always making sure her off spring eat first.  So Mama gets weaker and sicker.  A doctor comes and tears a strip off those wee bairns telling them how selfish and horrible they are for eating the food.  And he says that if Mama dies it is all their own fault!  

Well the outcome of that was the children started making sure she ate, and miracles of miracles she got better.  Well good for them!  Me?  I was locked in the nightmare for weeks, watching everything my mother ate and if she offered me something extra I declined.

No way was I going to kill my Mom!  (Which I guess is kind of funny because in my blog about Perception is a Funny Thing at the end of her life she actually did believe just that!)

The House that Built Me

The House That Built Me
Writing Prompt

There was only one house.  Driving past it today I wonder how seven people, one Mom, one Dad and five children cohabited there without death or destruction ensuing.  It had one small bathroom, one tiny kitchen, one living room and three bedrooms.  There was no basement except for a hole excavated a few years later to accommodate an oil furnace.  There were no air ducts – just a couple of vent grates on the floor of each upstairs bedroom.

Today it is a heritage house so declared because of the history of it’s origins. The exterior of this one and a half story wartime house was originally clap board.  The whole street had been built for returning veterans (of the second world war).  They were basic homes and cost my folks three thousand dollars at the time.

It was a young family street with lots of children around the same age. I referred to that in my blog The First Real Snow Storm and the plunking that went on.

The house, my house, sits on a quarter of an acre and all the yards just ran I to each other. Plus there was, is, a boulevard down the middle of the street.  We had plenty of play room.

My earliest memories might seem a little strange or other worldly to some of you youguns but it is all true.

In nineteen fifty-two we were one of the first families to have a TV set.  There were probably only six channels if that.  Black and white of course but there were a few years where some smart marketer sold colored transparent paper that you stuck to the front of the screen.  Ours was pink so we had a pink colored TV.  There was a huge knob on the front of the set and when you  wanted to change channels you actually got up off the sofa and cranked it loudly.

We did not watch much TV.  During the weekday if my Mom was not working she watched the fifteen minute Search For Tomorrow at noon. Saturday afternoons it was Howdy Doody, Roy Rogers and Gene Audrey and Annie Oakley.  Little boys imagined themselves growing up to be cowboys.  Barbies had not been invented but girls had tea sets and porcelain dolls.  Me I was with the boys and wanted to be Annie Oakley.

Sunday nights after church it was Ed Sullivan and I think Edward R Morrow who sat at his desk and puffed on cigarettes while he did his form of investigative journalism.  Of course everyone smoked; on buses, in the movies, in shops…well every where. Later Sunday nights were for Bonanza.  (Cowboys were our heroes then.)

There was a small shed attached to the house where the coal was delivered which fed the only furnace, a coal burning stove that sat in the living room.  Later that room became a laundry utility room when we moved to oil. For years that huge oil tank was part of the rear exterior of our palace.

Upstairs there were two bedrooms – the girls room and the boys room.  From the window of the girls room which overlooked the side lawn the older kids encouraged the younger kids to jump just like the cowboys..out of the window.  It’s a wonder we ever survived but survive we did.

I remember the ice man coming down the street with a horse drawn cart.  He delivered frequently to keep our ice boxes cool. Then the milk man who delivered glass bottles daily during the week.  In the winter the milk would freeze and the little card board lids would pop up.

In this tiny dwelling I learned you can fight and yell and later laugh and live together with love.  I learned one bathroom really was enough (how I don’t know but it must have been because none of us were ever incontinent.). I learned you could read and study and not be bothered by noise.  This has come in handy over the years.  I learned that the kitchen table or the floor was as good as any desk.

I learned and when I think of the house that built me I give thanks.  And now as my eyes fill with tears at those memories and so many more I feel a deep profound homesickness.

There are no facts, only interpretations. – Friedrich Nietzsche. The truth I think that validates everything you have to say.

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