Saturday, November 29, 2008

Waiting In Line

Cash.  So simple.  So easy.  But somehow disappearing in the exchange for goods.

It's so fortunate that customers in front of me in line cannot know what I'm thinking.  As I stand there waiting for them to push all the right buttons in those little boxes in front of the cash registers, it's all I can do to wait patiently and resist the urge to poke them on the shoulder and yell, "Use CASH!!!  Cash is fast!  No buttons required.  You just whip it out of your wallet, hand it to the cashier, get your change back, take your purchase and leave."

And if someone were to say, "But I don't carry any cash on me," well then they'd just be out of luck.  I'd say, "Okay, too bad.  You're out of here.  Next!"

Now it might happen that I'd be the ONLY customer carrying cash.  That'd be okay.  I'd just go to  the front of the line, pay for my purchases, grab my stuff and go.  And leave all the rest of them punching numbers into that box to their heart's content.

That's my fantasy.  A day when the cashier makes this announcement:  "Anyone who has cash to pay for their items come to the front of the line.  You're first.  No sense making you wait behind people who are clogging up the line."

It's either that or I'm staying out of stores for good.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Music is Eternal

I didn't even know the man.  But when I heard him singing on the radio yesterday (Same Old Lang Syne), it brought back a flood of memories--a bittersweet reminder of love lost and another loss, Dan Fogelberg himself.  What a huge loss for all of us.

The first time I bought one of his record albums, a double record set, I scanned through the song lyrics one by one, drinking in his words.  So poetic and profound, how did I not come to appreciate this man until this point in time, I wondered.  Friends had talked about his songs while I was oblivious.  But when I did read his lyrics for the first time I thought:  These songs are true poetry.  They could stand alone without any music at all.

But of course the music was wonderful, too.

And now it's Christmastime so Same Old Lang Syne is played again on the radio quite often from November through January.  The song always made me sad, but even more so now that Dan Fogelberg has died and left the world a little sadder, a little emptier, devoid of the musical contributions he had yet to deliver.

But like photographs that capture pieces of youth, moments in time, Dan's songs have been captured on CDs, ours to enjoy and revisit every time we play them.  What a fortunate thing know that music is eternal.

Monday, November 17, 2008

May I help you?

I think Rocky Balboa said it best.  Pointing to his face he said, "See this face?  Is this a face you can trust?  They should put this face on a stamp."

That's how I've been feeling lately.  I must have a very trustworthy face.  Little old ladies take me aside in stores and ask my opinion on the products they're thinking of purchasing.  Like today.  A woman in the bread aisle touched my arm.  "Excuse me, dear.  Can you read this number?  Does that say 155 mg of sodium?"  

I looked closely at the numbers on the back of the bread bag.  "No, it says 135," I told her.

"Oh," she said.  "Is that good, 135?  I have high blood pressure and high cholesterol."

I pondered for a few moments.  How should I answer this?  I'm not a doctor, not a nutritionist, not an expert on sodium and blood pressure.  I do have my own issues with blood pressure and cholesterol though.  We struck up a conversation about the two conditions.

She was adamant that once you're on high blood pressure pills, you're on them for life.  I told her I was planning to go off of mine soon since my blood pressure has come down quite a bit.
She asked how I managed to bring it down.  Exercise and eating right, I told her.

She asked what kind of bread she should be eating for good health.  I recommended pita bread.  Her face twisted into one of those "Ewwwwww" expressions.  "It doesn't taste that great," I admitted, "but it does seem to be healthy."

She asked if there were any other things I was doing to lower my blood pressure.  I figured I'd shock her a bit by revealing one of my latest accomplishments.

"Well, I did take a belly dancing class."

Her eyes kinda went wide.  

Maybe I didn't look so trustworthy after that.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

One of the true hallmarks of the Christmas season is hearing those old familiar songs everywhere you go--malls, dentist offices, restaurants, the workplace--you name it, they're blasting Jingle Bells, The Christmas Song, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and various other little ditties on loudspeakers and radios all over town.   And whether you want to hear them or not, you're gonna hear them.

Now don't get me wrong; I like Christmas songs.  I even like singing along with them.  Sometimes I even make up my own lyrics to go with them. (Sometimes by accident.)  For instance, years ago when I was a youngster I recall hearing Jose Feliciano on the radio strumming his guitar and singing Feliz Navidad.   "Merry Christmas", how perfectly appropriate.  I, however, mistook the lyrics he was singing for "Her Knees Knocky Knock."  I sure did wonder what was so Christmasy about that.  It finally took some all-knowing adult to set me straight.  "It's Feliz Navidad, Kathy."

And then there was my brother-in-law's little faux pas when singing "Hark The Herald Angels Sing."  Instead he sang, "Hark the HAROLD Angels Sing."  Guess he figured the song was about some guy named Harold.

I have a friend who likes to change the lyrics to "The Christmas Song."  Instead of that familiar line, "Jack Frost nipping at your nose", she thinks it's funnier to say, "Jack Frost ripping off your nose."  Not a bad substitute considering how cold our New England winters can be.

Since I was sure there must be others out there who goof up Christmas song lyrics, I decided to do a little research.  I found out that Jingle Bells has been mangled with lines such as:  "Oh what fun it is to ride in a one whore, sauce and sleigh."  Wow, that's a Christmas you won't forget.

And apparently some people misinterpret some of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" when they sing:  "oh bring us some frigging pudding" instead of the usual figgy pudding.  Guess they want that pudding in a hurry!

I also discovered that some who've heard "Away in a Manger" have interpreted "the cattle are lowing, the poor baby wakes" as "the cattle are blowing the poor baby away."  Not a pleasant thought at all.

But I think the cutest Christmas flub of all was the one by my youngest son when he was in second grade.  Although it's not a song boo-boo, it happened at Christmastime and it's Christmas-related.  He came home one day in late November and handed me his report card.  While my two older kids were telling me their numeric grades, my youngest child announced one of his grades.  Excitedly he said, "I got Santa's factory."

That sure sounded "satisfactory" to me.

Leave a comment if you can relate!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Are you ready for Christmas?


Well, why not?  After all, when I visited my mom today in the nursing home the little Charlie Brown Christmas tree was already up.  Or perhaps they never took it down.

It's kind of sad the way Thanksgiving gets lost in the shuffle.  The media makes a big deal about Halloween.  The stores are bursting with decorations, masks, costumes, and accessories.  Why, my daughter even sent me on a frantic last-minute trip to purchase some fake blood.  No costume is complete without it.  So Halloween gets its share of attention.

And now apparently it's time to move on to Christmas shopping.  Time to decorate, play those timeless songs, and get out there to hit the stores.  Except...

What about turkey day?  Where are the turkey songs on the radio?  Are there any?  Surely there must be SOME Thanksgiving songs?  Is Thanksgiving really just one day in November?  Or perhaps we should be celebrating it all month long.  If the holiday is about giving thanks, maybe we should be doing that every day in November.

So today I tried to put aside my griping about the poor economy, my many bills, and lack of money.  I have a roof over my head.  It's a leaking one, but it's a roof.  I have clothes to wear.  I have enough food to eat.  I can feed my kids.  My health is not perfect, but it's good.  I have a great family and wonderful relatives.   I have a one week old niece, just starting out in life who will move our family into a new era.

Today I told my sister, "I'm thankful for everything I have."  And I'll try very hard to remember that all the days leading up to Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I'll pass on passwords

I'm about to pass out with all these passwords.  I've created so many in the past few days I don't know how I'll remember them all.  Yes, I've written them down, stored them away like a good little girl.  But little scraps of paper have a way of getting lost, falling through the cracks.

It's a modern world we live in and here I am trying to keep up with the times.  Everybody's blogging it seems.  I resisted for a long, long time.  But resistance is futile.  Everybody has an opinion, wants to be heard, read--wants their ideas and opinions considered, pondered.

But back to passwords.   I know what they're used for, I understand their purpose.  But they drive me crazy anyway!  A password for this, a password for that. Pretty soon you'll need one for everything.  Want to get some clothes out of your bureau?  Punch in the password first.  Want that cereal box out of the cupboard?  Password please.  Want to hit the sack for a quick snooze or maybe something else?  Not without the password.

We're a high-tech world now.  I live in a high-tech house.

Excuse me now.  I have to go log off of half a dozen sites I'm logged onto.