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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ho Ho Florida Christmas

A traditional Florida. Is there such a thing? Can you really get into the holiday spirit in a land where hurricane season has just ended and soaring humidity soaks up every ounce of your energy?  We're here in Florida for the Christmas holidays celebrating the birth of a brand new baby grandson and enjoying spending time with our daughter and her family. We live up North where right this minute, they are being bombarded with snow. Mountains and mountains of snow. Call me crazy, but I miss the fluffy white stuff...especially at Christmas time. Down here in Tampa, sunshine, balmy weather and palm trees just don't put me in a festive spirit. Store window posters of Santa Claus slumped in a beach chair and tossing back Jose Cuervo, don't inspire a holiday mood for me. Although it does make me hanker for a Margarita. Frankly, I would much rather experience falling snow, frosted windowpanes and a cozy fire in the hearth on Christmas Day than sweltering humidity and flip flops.

Nonetheless, we're embracing the warm tropical weather and are thankful that we're not slipping and sliding across ice covered roads. What? I just heard that a cold front may be moving in...low 70's. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

An Uncomplicated Christmas...Chapter 4

Christmas has come a bit early for our family. A tiny, precious Christmas cherub was born to our daughter a few days ago. Positively adoreable with the face of an angel, our healthy, new little grandson brings blissful joy to all of us. 

There is nothing else in life that compares to the birth of a child. It is the awesome majesty of life itself. One day, a baby is curled in the womb and the next day...he's nestled in your arms. The anticipation, pain, discomfort, stress and worry of the previous nine months dissolve into elation, wonder and tears of joy.

This year, I am trying to keep the holidays as uncomplicated as possible. Yet the birth of a new baby certainly adds a huge element of excitement to the season along with changes, adjustments and compromises. As our family celebrates the birth of our sweet, little fellow, we reflect on the birth of another child over 2000 years ago. A child that came into a complex and complicated world in a most humble and unpretentious manner and changed mankind forever. We know not what the future holds for our little bundle of joy. But as we gaze upon his angelic face slumbering away in dreamland, we realize that for now, our beautiful infant boy is the best Christmas gift of all. Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, December 5, 2009

On the Road Again

Valdosta, Georgia. Motel room. 4 o'clock in the morning. I'm wide awake. My husband is sleeping like a rock. A noisy rock that snores like a bulldozer. Other than that all is relatively quiet. It's the last leg of our road trip south to Florida for the birth of our newest grandchild. Our motel room is dark except for the glow cast by my laptop. I pull back the curtains just a bit to look outside. It's pouring down rain. Water pellets beat against the window and it sounds almost like hail. A scrawny palm tree out front sways in the wind like it's about to topple over. I look down at the parking lot. There are about 20 cars below me and nearly every one of them is white. A red neon light flashes from somewhere and reflects an eerie, mesmerizing, flickering beam off the car bumpers...on-off, on-off, on-off. I wonder if I watched it long enough, would I become hypnotized? Across the street, there's a Starbucks that's closed and a giant red and yellow Dennys sign pleading for customers. Past the parking lot is a Big Foot quickie food mart. I've never heard of a Big Foot store but frankly it doesn't sound very appetizing. I envision some huge gorilla-like beast at the check out register with donut glaze smeared over his hairy face and 3 empty beer bottles behind the counter. Oh wait...that was at the place we stopped at yesterday. Anyway, at this time of early morning, Big Foot is closed.

Just then I spy a solitary, dark figure walking down the sidewalk. It appears to be a very tall, rather heavy set man. Nobody else is around and there's only an occasional semi truck roaring by. It's still raining a deluge outside. I wonder where this lone individual is headed. No umbrella. Hard to tell if he has on a jacket or not. He must be getting drenched to the bone. Does he work the early shift at Denny's? Is he out for an early morning cup of java? Does he own a car? If so, why is he walking in this miserable weather? Did his girlfriend just dump him?  Is he the real Big Foot? Could be a million reasons why he's out on such a dark and stormy night such as this but I'll never ever know. In another minute, he vanishes from my view.

Just another night like any other night in a motel room in Valdosta,Georgia. Thankfully, we'll be leaving at daylight. Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Uncomplicated Christmas...Chapter 3

Seems like my dream of an uncomplicated Christmas is flying out the window faster than that nasty grinch stole Christmas. It's now less than 24 hours before my husband and I will head out on our 1000 mile road trip to Florida for the birth of our second grandchild. But before I can even start packing up the car, I'm to be subjected to the inglorious horror of having a very long and very sharp needle stuck in my throat. 

After a visit to an endocrinologist-thyroid specialist two days ago, I was told I have a large cyst on my throat and a tumor on my thyroid. So today I'm going for a biopsy to determine if it could possibly be thyroid cancer. Drats! That insufferable grinch is having a field day snarling my plans for a simple, less stressful holiday.

I spent all last night on the computer googling "thyroid biopsies". Do I know how to have fun or what? I discovered that the surgical instrument used for this procedure is a very long, very fine and extremely sharp stainless steel needle. My brain envisions a giant, finely-honed knitting tool.

During my googling search, I came across an actual video of a throat biopsy. All I can say is GROSS!  Always trying to look on the bright side, I'm thinking maybe it won't be so awful what with a honking blast of pain-killer anesthetic injected first. NOT! I read that most doctors and even patients generally forgo the anesthetic because they say it's excruciatingly painful. One online comment from some poor soul who endured the anesthesia compared it to: a dozen angry hornet stings. Another person said the pain from the injection was so bad, they kicked and screamed for nearly half an hour. Somebody else actually fainted...and that was the doctor! So now I'm supposed to undergo this entire procedure WITH NO PAIN KILLER!!

Five more hours to go til my throat is pierced with a cold, steel, precision sharp, elongated, surgical needle...not once, not twice but SIX separate times. They want to make certain they suck out plenty of tissue for the pathologist to examine. Afterwards, I'm guessing my throat will be black and blue and maybe even swollen for a while. And it will take about a week before I learn the results of the biopsy. More anxiety... just waiting and waiting. But we're still planning on driving off to Florida at the crack of dawn tomorrow.

If I ever get my hands on that miserable grinch, I'd like to stick a knitting needle up his bah-humbug butt. Sphere: Related Content

Uncomplicated Christmas...Chapter 2

Just two short days ago, I wrote about how I was dreaming of an uncomplicated Christmas. No sooner did I post that piece then that evil grinch showed up and began to play sly tricks on us to spoil our fun. It's now a mere 24 hours before my husband and I will hop in our white SUV and head to Florida for the birth of our second grandchild. Yet that miserable grinch could not let things rest. Yesterday, we learned that my daughter was rushed to the hospital because tests at her obgyn's office showed abnormalities with the baby. After she spent nearly 15 hours at the hospital, doctors concluded that the baby was perfectly fine and the initial tests were screwed up. Thank God, it was all a false alarm. 

So now I'm thinking...OK, that whole incident gave us quite a scare but now we can all calm down and proceed with my plans for an uncomplicated be continued Sphere: Related Content

Monday, November 30, 2009

An Uncomplicated Christmas

This year I would like to have an uncomplicated Christmas...simpler, happier and without any undo drama or stress. That's not to say that past Christmas's have been unpleasant. Quite the contrary. Our family Christmas's have always been joyful and merry but they have been complicated. I generally spend at least a solid week decorating the house inside and outside and then tweaking, tweaking, tweaking to get all the gala holiday decor just perfect. But before the decorating can even begin, I must head down into the basement, find the ten huge bins bulging with Christmas stuff and haul each of them upstairs. After hours of unpacking every item, it's finally time to decorate. Once the house is festively adorned, it's time to invite people over. What's Christmas without a jolly party? Each year we have several holiday gatherings which although they are loads of fun, they involve lots of preparation, buying food, cooking, cleaning and a great deal of effort on my part. Can't forget the Christmas cards...selecting them, spending hours writing personal notes inside each one, addressing all of them, buying stamps and sealing every card. Then of course, there is the holiday gift buying. Shopping, shopping, shopping, wrapping gifts until my back feels like it's broken and standing in line for what seems like days, at the post office to ship off boxes. Oh, did I mention frantically sprucing up the guest room and then racing to the airport to pick up overnight guests? Honestly, the holidays can be exhausting.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not bah-humbugging Christmas. I love this glorious season and I usually enjoy all the gala extravagance that the holiday entails. However, this year, our family situation will be quite different from years past and I'm thinking that it might be the perfect opportunity for us to celebrate Christmas in a much simpler fashion.  This year our daughter who lives in Florida will be giving birth to her second child two weeks before Christmas. My husband and I live 1000 miles away. We'll be driving down to be there for the big event and to help out with our three year old grandson, Cooper.

So I'm thinking that this year, our family should embrace the real spirit of the Christmas season. The humble and peaceful setting of the Christ child's birth should remind us of the true meaning of this holy season. Afterall, the birth of our own brand new baby grandson will be the best Christmas gift of all. We don't need to buy a ton of presents like we usually do. Of course my husband and I will buy some fun things for Cooper and several items for the newborn. But the two of us don't need anything and I've told my daughter not to buy us any gifts. Being with their family is a gift in itself to us. I eliminated decorating our home up North because obviously we won't be there.  Our daughter's living room will boast a beautifully decorated 12 foot tall tree put up by our hard-working son-in-law. But we won't be throwing any extravagant parties, cooking and baking like maniacal Paula Dean wannabes, entertaining dozens of revelers or shopping til we drop. Instead, the tropical sunshine will provide us with warmth, brightness and sparkle. We'll be happy to trade the dreary, lifeless trees of a Northern winter climate for the swish of swaying green palms and the enticing fragrance of a fresh sea breeze.

This year, I'm hoping it will be a calmer, less extravagant and more contemplative Christmas for our little family. It's not like we'll be imposing draconian measures and not celebrating the holiday at all. It's more like downshifting a bit...lowering our gears and our expectations so we can see beyond all the holiday glitz and glamor and discover what Christmas is like on more simple, less complicated terms. Who knows? We may prefer the old extravagant ways. We may find that we like all the holiday fuss and frolic afterall. Or perhaps this year, our hearts will glow with an inner serenity and spirituality that sometimes get overshadowed by the hoopla of holiday frenzy. It may be a slightly less complicated Christmas but we won't feel deprived. We'll all be together including our son who will join us. We'll still enjoy laughter and music, good food and the pleasure of our own company. We'll be filled with happiness with all of us being together and thrilled with our precious new bundle of joy. Isn't that the way Christmas is meant to be celebrated?

Yah, right...good luck with that, laughs the evil grinch on my shoulder. Let's get real. Perhaps my hopes for an uncomplicated Christmas sound way too sweet and sappy, too pollyanna. Well, who knows? We'll try our best to make it happen. Stay tuned. Our road trip to Florida begins this week.
Sphere: Related Content

Monday, November 23, 2009

Wild Turkey Tales

They strut across the bare winter woodlands like swaggering, fat, little soldiers, in a wobbly line formation. This time there are seventeen of them. Cocky and grunting noisily, they bob their heads back and forth as if in beat to an Ipod tune. They are wild American turkeys. And they roam sassy and free and fearless in the quiet forest behind our home. I see them almost every day. Each bird is enormous. They spend their time foraging for food like acorns, seeds, small insects and berries. Their two scrawny legs, thin as bamboo skewers, hardly look as if they could hold up such a massive body. But their legs and feet are agile and powerful. In summer, throngs of turkeys invade our yard digging up the dirt in the garden beds hunting for bugs. They make a huge mess, tossing dirt and mulch everywhere. Their powerful web-like toes are strong enough to move large rocks in their hunt for food. Here's a little poultry tip: never get into a fight with a wild turkey. It could claw your eyes out. 

During the winter, on very still evenings under the cover of brilliant moonlight, when the fluffy white snow blankets the entire forest, magically transforming our little woods into a spectacular winter wonderland...sometimes we go out for a moonlit walk in the woods. The pure driven snow and the glow of the moon bring a radiant luminescence to the forest primevil. It was on just one of those illustrious winter nights that I spied way high in the treetops several mysterious, large, black, blob-like forms up in the branches. The dark shapes were a stark contrast to the white forest. Suddenly, one of the big, bulky shadows rose up and flew away. It was a turkey. Yes...turkeys can and do fly! It was a startling revelation for me. I had no idea that these hefty, waddling, feathery creatures can fly high and quite far. Turns out they sleep up in the tall treetops at night to keep away from predators.

Wild turkeys like the ones in our back woods, are different than domestic turkeys. The domestic turkeys don't fly. They are raised on turkey farms, bred and fattened up especially for human consumption. No wonder the wild gobblers in our little forest swagger around like plump, old dowagers. They lead a charmed and lucky existence, knowing full well they won't be the centerpiece of our holiday table this Thanksgiving Day. Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Red Chair in the Woods

Outside my window lies a small but beautiful forest...a lovely, dense glade of leafy green trees, bushes and vines that are home to deer, rabbits, wild turkeys--each one as big as a Volkswagon and a few sly red foxes. In the summer, the canopy is so thick that I cannot see beyond the perimeter of emerald foliage. But when fall arrives, the forest puts on a spectacular color extravaganza of brilliant reds and yellows and oranges that rival a sunset. Now, it is mid November and the autumn leaves have all fallen. Suddenly, a wondrous and magical new view of the secluded inner woods unfolds before my eyes.

As soon as the trees had shed their leaves, I spied it from my window. At first all I could see was a glimmer of red. The red color stood out amidst the dark browns and grays of the leafless trees.  I looked through my window closely, but still could not make out what this odd red thing was in the middle of the woods. Finally I was able to identify the peculiar object. It was a red chair...a bright red Adirondeck chair perched smack in the middle of the woods. This is very strange indeed because this particular woods is not an area that people walk through. It's private property. There are no trails, no picnic tables, no bike paths. It's strictly a pretty wooded glenn on the edge of our condo development that offers refuge to wild animals. So I was amazed to see something as civilized as a chair smugly occupying space there.

It's been about 2 weeks since I first spotted the red chair. And I like it. I'm glad it's there. I find it almost inspiring to see the cheerful red color peek out amidst the bleakness of the woodland's winter gloom. I hope it stays there all winter. Just last week, I noticed one of our neighbors strolling through the woods with his toddler grandson. This is very unusual. Nobody ever goes into this woods. But it was a good sign. The grandfather and his grandson shuffled through the forest floor of fallen leaves and decayed tree stumps and eventually came upon the red chair. I think they were as surprised as I was to discover it. The little boy hoisted himself up and plopped into the chair while the grandfather knelt beside him quietly talking. Then the little boy got out of the chair and motioned for grandfather to sit down. Once the man was seated, the little tyke curled himself into grandpa's lap and the two of them sat together for several minutes...almost as if they were pondering the silence of the forest. After a while, they sauntered off hand-in-hand, having shared a special bonding moment in the red chair in the woods.

Today, I gaze out my window in front of my computer desk and again I see the red chair in the woods. It looks a bit lonely...all by itself out there among the tall, barren trees and the wild creatures. But I think it's happy out there. I think it likes being one with nature...a restful repose in the shrouded inner sanctum of the forest. To me, it's like a reminder that even in the darkest of times, a bright spot appears when you least expect it. I'm guessing most of our neighbors don't know about the red chair in the woods. For the very few of us who have seen it, it's like our special little secret.....I'd like to keep it that way. Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Living Will

Recently, I invited my adult children over to my home for a serious discussion. I said to them: I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug.

They got up, unplugged the computer and tossed out my wine...... Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Humans Behaving Badly

Over the edge. So many people are falling over the edge these days. Violent perpetrators who take innocent victims with them. Seems like every single day we hear about another disturbing incident. Sadly there are thousands more crimes that go unreported and/or unsolved. Here's just a sampling of recent horrific crimes in the United States where humans have demonstrated atrociously bad behavior. Will we all eventually go mad?

Vail, Colorado: A 63 year man is accused of opening fire in a popular area bar, shooting 3 people and killing one of them.

Orlando, Florida: Unemployed man shoots at least six people in high rise office building, killing one person.

Ft. Hood, Texas: An Army Major and psychiatrist opened fire and killed 13 people and injured at least 38 others.

Deerfield Beach, Florida: Five long time friends and school mates set their 15 year old buddy on fire. The teen survived but just barely and is still in very serious condition.

Cleveland, Ohio: Authorities discover at least eleven bodies at the home of a convicted rapist. Police say the former Marine lured women to his house, strangled them and hid their bodies around his house.

Phoenix, Arizona:  An Iraqi immigrant father drove over and killed his 20 year old daughter with his car because he thought she was becoming too Westernized.

Richmond, California: A 15 year old girl was raped, robbed and beaten by multiple attackers outside her highschool homecoming dance, while dozens of other teens watched, laughed and snapped photos.

Antioch, California: By now, we've all read about the capture of the convicted sex offender who kidnapped a young girl 18 years ago, kept her as a sex slave in a tent behind his house and fathered two children with her. Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Facebook...Friendships or Humiliation?

Is Facebook submitting some of its users to personal humiliation? Lately I've noticed on the side column of my Facebook pages, little notices like: Molly Smith has only 4 friends. Suggest more friends for Molly. A photo of Molly is displayed so that the world knows what a pathetic, friendless loser, Miss Molly is. Luckily, I have not seen my own name appear in one of these humiliating notices on my FB page. But I wonder if it's showing up on the Facebook pages of my friends. Although I have a tidy niche of FB pals, frankly I don't want the Facebook people to plaster my picture on its site like some hapless sucker on a wanted poster begging people to befriend me. Nothing like being subjected to worldwide degradation.

Recent statistics reveal that the average FB user has approximately 130 people in their social network with a core of only 5 close friends. Many FB users pad their list and boast massive numbers of cyber acquaintances...adding friends of friends of friends. Recently, I read that you can actually "buy" friends to beef up your FB ego. Yes, that's right...friendships can be bought.  Turns out there's an Australian company that sells Facebook friends ranging in price from $177 for 1000 new buddies to over $1000 for 10,000 BFFs. Facebook users who pay for an extended network of friends often exploit them to sell products or market services to them.

When I first joined Facebook, I thought: Hey this is cool. I can reconnect with old pals and keep updated with friends and relatives. I had no idea it would turn into a competitive numbers game...with people claiming bragging rights to their mountain of FB friends and making me feel like a pitiful, miserable dweeb if I don't have as many as they do. Today, our social standing is commensurate with the number of friends in our Facebook network. I just learned that if you have over 5000 friends in your network, you've attained the premier status of "whale". Well, I can tell you right now, I have not reached the whale category. Not even close. I'm more in league with the sucker fish, the bottom feeders, the pitiful urchins of the sea that float around aimlessly in search of an invite from a friendly school of fish or a poke from Nemo. I just pray that the Facebook company does not single me out for further humiliation by urging people to befriend me. I can do that myself. I'm not too proud to beg...or pay. for friends...I wonder if they give an AARP discount.
Sphere: Related Content

Friday, October 30, 2009

Ten Bold Ways to Discover Your Passion

What do you want to do with the rest of your life? We've heard it said a kazillion times that to achieve happiness we must find something we're passionate about. Sounds easy. Right? Problem is some of us wouldn't recognize our passion even if it jumped off a billboard, landed in our lap and gave us a bear hug. Many of us have maxed out our Visas on books with titles like "Finding your Passion" or "Following your Dreams".  All well and good if you actually possess a genuine talent or pursue a special interest or hobby. Maybe you play piano or guitar or some other instrument. Or maybe you can sing, sew, paint, croche, create crafty stuff, plan brilliant parties, bake fabulous cakes, design gorgeous flower gardens or are a genius with a camera. Perhaps you enjoy running marathons, love to build birdhouses or collect weird and interesting objects. For you lucky and blessed folks...finding your passion should not be too difficult. It's right in front of you. However, there are a considerable number of perfectly nice, well-adjusted, intelligent, kind and noble people out there who have been on a lifelong journey in search of their one true passion...and have yet to discover yet.

To you, I say: be bold, be daring and be totally unconventional in your quest.

1. Define what you are seeking. What activities could you spend all day doing and even forget about meal time? Do you enjoy pastimes that stimulate your creative juices or ones that are relaxing? Would you prefer to be alone with your passion or share it in the company of others? What would you love to do even if you didn't get paid for it? Keep in mind, it's perfectly acceptable to have more than one passion.

2. Take a calculated risk. Do something unexpected. Go back to school. Get that masters degree you always wanted. If you truly despise getting up each day and going to a workplace you loathe---quit your job. Crazy...especial in today's bad economy? Of course. But why on earth would you continue to do something that makes you miserable every single day of your life? Indeed, a job pays a salary. But is the money worth being miserable? Ask yourself: Are you better off miserable or happy?

3. Cultivate your community. Take classes at a local college, night school or community center. Select one course and attend every single class. It doesn't have to be an intellectual pursuit. It can be beer making or stained glass or writing or photography or how to start a business, computer classes or a drama group. Network with other people during classes. Finish the course. You may decide you hate it or it might offer other related avenues for you to explore. 

4. Take a trip. Be adventurous. Often a change of scenery refreshes our soul, expands our mind, changes our perspective and offers a new focus. Travel to some place you always wanted to go...a few hours away or around the world. Better yet, go somewhere that is outside your comfort zone. If nothing a travel book or watch a travel movie.

5. Move or Declutter your life. (I said these ideas would be unconventional.) Do you hate where you live? Is your house or your town making you unhappy? Does the weather upset you? Is it too humid? Too cold? Do you feel trapped?  Would you rather live by water? Or by mountains or palm trees? Would you be happier in a smaller home? I'm not suggesting that you run away from your problems. Perhaps all you need to do is downsize and rid yourself of all unnecessary baggage including people who do not validate your worth. What remains might well be your undiscovered passion.

6. Liberate yourself. Give yourself the freedom to choose. This is not a self-centered approach but more of a realization that you have something worthwhile to offer to others. Never except excuses from yourself or anyone else. Be disciplined. Force yourself to move forward or least in a different direction but never backward. Don't stagnate.

7. Walk away from your fears. Fear holds us back from living life to the fullest. Yet, the hardest thing in the world to do is to let go of your fear. Try walking away from your fear in baby steps. But absolutely no turning back. Are you afraid of heights? Go to the tallest building in your town and take the elevator to the top floor. Sometimes highrise hotels have restaurants on the top. Walk to the windows, stand there quietly and look down. Yes, it's very intimidating. But once you've done will be amazed at your sense of self-empowerment.

8. Surround yourself with supportive people. Learn from them. Exchange ideas. Hang out with people who share your interests, who motivate you. Ask them what they think are your good points and what they like about you. Don't be discouraged by naysayers.

9. Look outside yourself. Help others by volunteering. Inspire those around you with a friendly smile, encouragement, compassion, kind words, thoughtful gestures, a neighborly good deed. Arrange a quiet, romantic evening for you and your special love. Pull out all the stops. Express your passionate side with your children, family and friends. Give them your time and your full attention.  When we give ourselves to others, we reignite the love in our own heart and the passion in our own soul.

10.Embrace your joyful self and Seize your opportunities. Most of us are genuinely decent people. Recognize the goodness in yourself. We all encounter problems. Envision them as opportunities and find unique solutions. Keep a wide-open mind. In seizing opportunities, you may burst upon an unexpected passion. If you could do one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Still haven't decided? Adopt a puppy. Care for it. Love it. And name it "Passion". Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Politics in the Pumpkin Patch

                       If politicians invaded the pumpkin patch:

Democrats would: 
  • Allow the federal government to seize the patch.
  • Create a pumpkin czar.
  • Tell the farmer how many pumpkins he can grow and how much to charge. 
  • Offer a mud option to every pumpkin.
  • Weed out and smash the older pumpkins.
  • Give away free pumpkins to illegal aliens.
  • Spread the wealth by ordering the farmer to give a percentage of his earnings to benefit field mice.
  • Determine that orange is not a politically correct color and insist that all pumpkins must be green.
    • Levy taxes on the plumpest pumpkins.
    • Form a pumpkin union.
    • Provide stimulus money to the foxes who roam the pumpkin patch.
    • Hold a National Pumpkin Day parade with Nancy Pelosi as grand marshal. 
    • Ban pumpkins altogether because they look too much like Rush Limbaugh.

    Republicans would:
    • Find a way to convert pumpkin mash into automobile fuel.
    • Bomb the patch because they heard Osama Bin Laden is hiding out there.
    • Nominate Glen Beck as Pumpkinhead of the Year.
    • Give pumpkins the right to vote.
      • Choose a pumpkin as their presidential candidate in 2012.
      Sphere: Related Content

      Monday, October 26, 2009

      Curious Pumpkin Facts

      1. A pumpkin is actually a fruit and is in the squash family.

      2. Pumpkin halves were used as guides for hair cuts during colonial times. Thus the term "pumpkinhead".

      3. The only place pumpkins can't be grown is Antartica.

      4. In Boulder, Colorado, people put carved pumpkins on their heads and run naked through the streets for the annual Naked Pumpkin Run.

      5.Pumpkin flowers are edible.

      6. The tradition of carving pumpkins into Jack-o-lanterns was brought to America by Irish immigrants. In Ireland, the Irish used turnips but found pumpkins more plentiful in America.

      7. The pumpkin capital of the world is Morton, Illinois, home of Libby Corporation.

      8. Classic tales that feature pumpkins include: It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown; The Legend of Sleepy Hollow; Cinderella; Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater.

      9. The biggest pumpkin ever grown weighed 1700 lbs.

      10. Pumpkins can be brewed into beer which tastes good with chili.

      11. Not all pumpkins are orange. They come in many colors including green, blue, yellow, reddish, white, striped and psychedelic.

      12. The pumpkin skin or rind is not edible.

      13. Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites. Snakes are afraid of pumpkins.

      14. Pumpkins are 90% water.

      15. Pumpkins do not make good doorstops.

      16. Pumpkins can be put in the compost heap and reused as fertilizer.

      17. Contrary to popular belief, pumpkins cannot swim, but they can float.

      ........................................................................................................... Sphere: Related Content

      Why Women Shouldn't Take Men Shopping

      Most of us lead full, productive, busy lives. Yet, sooner or later there  comes a time when men, (you know who you are) for lack of anything better to do...will accompany their wives on shopping trips to those big box super centers. This tends to be especially common among retired couples. Typically, most men find shopping boring and prefer to get in and get out while women love to browse. I can easily spend two hours in a Target store. My husband finds what he needs and checks out in less than 6 minutes flat...if he's by himself. To pass time while waiting for their women to finish shopping, some of these fellas come up with creative ways to amuse evidenced by this store letter to one of its customers.

      Dear Mrs. Sanders,

      Over the past six months, your husband has caused quite a commotion in our store.  We can no longer tolerate his behavior and are forced to ban both of you from the store.  Our complaints against your husband are listed below and are documented by our video surveillance cameras.

      1. June 15: He took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in other people's carts when they weren't looking.

      2. July 2: He set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at five minute intervals.

      3. July 7: He dripped a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to the women's restroom.

      4. July 19: He walked up to an employee and told her in an official voice, "Code 3 in Housewares. Get on it right away."  This caused the employee to leave her assigned station and spend half an hour roaming the pots and pans aisles in search of a code violation.

      5. August 4: He went to the Service Desk and asked to put a bag of M&Ms on layaway.

      6. August 14: He moved a "CAUTION--WET FLOOR" sign to a carpeted area.

      7. August 15: He set up a tent in the camping department and told the children shoppers he'd invite them in if they would bring pillows and blankets from the bedding department to which twenty children obliged.

      8. August 23: When a clerk asked if they could help him he began crying and screamed, "Why can't you people just leave me alone?"  EMTs were called. 
      9. Sept. 4: He used the security camera as a mirror while he picked his nose.

      10. Sept. 10: While handling guns in the hunting department, he asked the clerk where the antidepressants were.

      11. October 3: He darted around the store suspiciously while loudly humming the 'Mission Impossible' theme.

      12. October 6: In the auto department, he strapped oil funnels on his chest and pretended to be Madonna.

       13. October 18: He hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed through it, he whispered: "PICK ME! PICK ME!"

      14. October 21: When an announcement came over the loud speaker, he assumed a fetal position and screamed "OH NO! IT'S THOSE VOICES AGAIN!"
      And finally,

      15. October 23: He went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited awhile, then hollered, "Hey! There's no toilet paper in here."  One of the clerks passed out.

      Disclaimer: The authenticity of this story cannot be verified. But I bet there's a bunch of bored husbands out there taking copious notes.
      Sphere: Related Content

      Sunday, October 25, 2009

      Motorized Lounge Chair

      Baby boomer ingenuity is alive and well. You may have heard about the 62 year old Minnesota man who turned his Lazy Boy recliner into a lean mean, road warrior. The guy customized his favorite lounge chair by installing a 8 hp lawn mower engine, joy stick steering wheel, headlights, stereo and built-in brewskie holder. Just think what he could do with a couch. Unfortunately, the motorized chair ended up in a fender bender...uhhh...make that foot rest bender. Seems that after leaving the Keynote Lounge one night during the summer of 2008 with eight beers under his belt, the fella flopped down on his pimped-up ride and crashed into a parked vehicle. No one was seriously injured. But he was charged with driving a self-propelled vehicle while intoxicated.

      In retrospect, perhaps the guy was just trying to class up the drinking establishment. Afterall, what's more appropriate at a lounge than a lounge chair? Who wouldn't prefer a cozy, relaxing, cushy, leather lounger over a hard, wooden bar stool? After knocking back a few cold ones, maybe he was just aiming for comfort and not a parked car.
      The judge didn't see it that way. This week, the man pled guilty to the incident. He was given a suspended jail sentence and two years probation along with a $2000 fine. His souped up chair-iot will be auctioned off by the local police department. Just goes to show, if you want to rev up your lounge chair and drink beer at the same time....make sure you're parked in your living room. Sphere: Related Content

      Friday, October 23, 2009

      Remember Soupy Sales?

      How many boomers remember Soupy Sales? He is best known as the host of a TV show for kids that aired from the 1950 through the 1960s. Sale's trademark gimmick consisted of smooshing custard pies into the faces of shocked guests. Sales was an innovative TV personality for his time. He was not your kind and gentle, Captain Kangaroo or calm and soft-spoken, Mr. Rogers. He was a zany prankster and full of zip in his Vneck sweater and oversized bow tie. Cute with short dark hair and a goofy, boyish grin, Sales seemed like your loveable older brother who was always getting into trouble. His cool and hip comedic approach attracted A list celebrity guests like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Shirley McClain...all of whom got the pie-in-the-face treatment. He loved music and introduced his young audience to jazz. He even recorded a hit novelty record, The Mouse and performed it on the Ed Sullivan Show, appearing at one time with The Beatles.

      Soupy Sales died this week at the age of 83....after years of declining a nursing home. Probably not a very cheerful place for the once happy-go-lucky, sweet faced comedian. During the course of his career, he claimed he had been hit by more than 25,000 pies. What a delicious way to make a living. I wonder if he would've liked a slice of Boomer Pie. Sphere: Related Content

      Thursday, October 22, 2009

      Cookie Johnson Jeans

      Lookie, lookie, are you wearing Cookie?  Cookie Johnson jeans, that is. Most of us have heard of Magic Johnson, former NBA basketball legend. Turns out he's got a very enterprising wife, named Cookie. She's created a stylish line of premium denim jeans for real life women. What's unique about Cookie Jeans or CJs is that they are geared toward "curvy, fit women". Johnson explains that she grew tired trying on every pair of jeans in the store and not finding anything that fit her curvaceous figure. In frustration, she designed the Cookie collection, which caters to women who don't fall into the stick-like, pencil-slim cut type of jeans. Her jeans are carefully designed with a scooch more material to eliminate the dreaded "muffin top" look. Best of all, they have ample room in the thighs and bootie area. Oprah is a huge fan of Cookie Johnson jeans. Need I say more. Johnson points out that her jeans flatter boomer grandmothers as well as younger women. Flattery, however, does not come cheap. Cookie Johnson jeans are priced from around $150 to $200.

      Personally, I like the idea of jeans that give you room to breath but still look stylish. But I'm not sure if I'd be willing to fork over $200 for a single pair of jeans. On the other hand, if they could transform my pumpkin butt into bootilicious, they might well be worth it. Sphere: Related Content

      Is it Swine Flu?

      Are you worried about catching the swine flu, H1N1?  Seems like nearly everyone I know knows somebody who either has a very severe case of the regular flu or has actually been diagnosed with swine flu. In our upper Midwest city, nearly all the public and parochial schools have been closed for the entire week because so many students have been felled by some variety of flu. This is an unprecedented occurrence for October. If you or loved ones become ill, here is a comparison of H1N1 flu symptoms with common cold symptoms.

          H1N1 Flu
      Fever is rare with
      a cold. 
      Fever is usually present with the flu in up to 80% of all flu cases. A temperature of 100°F or higher for 3 to 4 days is associated with the flu. 
      A hacking, productive (mucus- producing) cough is often present with a cold. 
      A non-productive (non-mucus producing) cough is usually present with the flu (sometimes referred to as dry cough). 
      Slight body aches and pains can be part of a cold
      Severe aches and pains are common with the flu
      Stuffy Nose
      Stuffy nose is commonly present with a cold and typically resolves spontaneously within a week
      Stuffy nose is not commonly present with the flu
      Chills are uncommon with 
      a cold. 
      60% of people who have the flu experience chills
      Tiredness is fairly mild with a cold
      Tiredness is moderate to severe with the flu
      Sneezing is common with
      a cold
      Sneezing is not common with the flu
      Sudden Symptoms
      Cold symptoms tend to develop over a few days
      The flu has a rapid onset within 3-6 hours. The flu hits hard and includes sudden symptoms like high fever, aches and pains
      A headache is fairly uncommon with a cold
      A headache is very common with the flu, present in 80% of flu cases
      Sore Throat
      Sore throat is commonly present with a cold
      Sore throat is not commonly present with the flu
      Chest Discomfort
      Chest discomfort is mild to moderate with a cold
      Chest discomfort is often severe with the flu
      Sphere: Related Content

      Sunday, October 18, 2009

      Life is Like a Pumpkin Patch

      Ahhh. The beauty of the countryside in the Fall.  Tree studded hillsides glow in a blazing array of glorious autumnal colors... ravishing reds, golden yellows and electric oranges. Rural farm vistas are dotted with juicy apple orchards, corn mazes, giant hay bales, bumpy hay rides and rustic harvest stands with a feast of fall produce. It's my favorite season of the year. But more than anything else, for me, the one thing that tops the list of Fall fun is the wondrous pumpkin patch. Forrest Gump's mama compared life to a box of never know what you're gonna get. I say, life is like a pumpkin patch because it represents the good, the bad and the ugly.

      Last week we were standing in the middle of a field of rotund, orange spheres on the old Steffen farm just outside of town. We make the pilgrimage to this picturesque pumpkin patch every October. It was a crisp, overcast day but the saffron glow cast by a million orange pumpkins lit up the patch like floodlights of sunshine. Surprisingly, my husband and I were the only people in the entire patch. We had the place to ourselves which meant we had no competition in choosing the very best pumpkins and we could take our time making our selections. As we surveyed row after row of these over-sized orbs, we were amazed at the incredible assortment of shapes, sizes and varieties of pumpkins strewn around us. There were your basic round, orange pumpkins. Then there was an array of white ones, deep-reddish orange ones, russet ones, green and yellow ones, tall jumpin' jacks, baby bears (small and flat), skinny, fat, oblong, short and tall ones. It was a pumpkin extravaganza.

      Pumpkins, which are in the squash family, grow attached to thick green, prickly vines that are nearly impossible to break unless you use a sharp, knife-like tool. Rather than having customers bring machetes to hack their way through the pumpkin patch, farm owners, well ahead of time, slice each pumpkin from its vine...leaving a nice sturdy stalk on every pumpkin. The pumpkins remain in the field right where they sprouted but now they're ready for picking by the public.

      And therein lies the secret of the humble pumpkin patch. As in art, beauty is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to pumpkins. Call me pulpy, but I prefer oddball pumpkins. I seek personality over perfection. Geeky over glam. Unusual shape, uncommon color and unique appearance are my criteria. I pass over the voluptuous designer divas with their smooth, unblemished shells, perfectly round shapes and exquisite stalks. I take pity on the rather homely ones which sit there in the mud...all alone and unwanted. I know there's potential in even the ugliest of pumpkins. I feel like Charlie Brown choosing the  straggly Christmas tree.

      Into a little wooden wagon provided by the farm folks, we hoisted a chubby, deep-reddish pumpkin that resembled a flattened souffle. It's called a Cinderella pumpkin and sort of looks like her fairy tale carriage. Next we chose a baby blue pumpkin (yes, blue) and then a dappled, lopsided white one. We hiked up and down the mud encrusted rows of pumpkins. Still nobody invaded our privacy. There were so many pumpkins, so little time. We selected a tall, skinny, orange and green one with a wrinkled, crooked stem along with several tiny miniature pumpkinettes. Finally the piece de resistance....a very wide, but stubby and stocky, cinnamon-red giant with green stripes, weird, knarly white spots and a chocolate-brown stalk thick as a cue stick.

      And so it was, we took home our unpretentious pack of pumpkins. We did not choose the cream of the crop; the best of show. But we did find pumpkins that suited us...ones with character and interesting knots and bumps and striations. "Pumpkin personality" if you will. As in life, what's pretty on the outside may not be nice on the inside. Yet after it's cleaned, scoured out, cleverly carved and adorned with a candle, the lowly pumpkin evolves into a thing of bewitching beauty. Gathered together on our front porch, our modest band of imperfect pumpkins was transformed into fetching, grinning, jolly jack-o-lanterns.  Basking in the moonlight, with a candle flickering inside each one, their smiling countenances glow and glimmer at all who pass by. They are like the faces of the world...the diversity of mankind.

      Well....maybe that's stretching it a bit. I'm no expert on pumpkin psychology. But that's how I see the pumpkin patch. A tiny microcosm of the good, the bad and the ugly. The good pumpkins generally get selected first. All they have to do is sit there and preen and look perfect and it's a sure thing somebody will buy them. The bad ones don't have a ghost of a chance. They're the poor forsaken blobs that are decayed, smelly and smashed.  As for the aesthetically-challenged pumpkins, they often get passed over because they're different. But it's the very essence of their uniqueness that I find appealing. They may not be pretty but they've got possibility. They are the workhorses of the pumpkin patch because they have to convince customers that their imperfections and flaws only add to their charm and loveability. For our family, it's the ugly-duckling pumpkins that win our hearts every time.

      P.S. And aren't we all a tad bit like the lowly pumpkin? We get to shine for a few, brief moments of life and then our light goes out and we're left to rot in the dirt. Sphere: Related Content

      Friday, October 16, 2009

      Awaiting Baby

      Anticipation. Excitement. Worry. Elation. Suspense. As my husband and I await the birth of our second grandchild, we are experiencing all of these emotions. The baby is a boy. He's due in December. What an amazing Christmas present. My daughter and her husband have his name all picked out. They've decorated the infant's room and it's ready and waiting for the tiny new occupant.  One of their more difficult tasks has been working with their 3 year old son, Cooper, preparing him for all the changes that are about to turn his only-child-universe upside down. They've patiently explained to Cooper that he's going to have a new baby brother very soon. So far, Cooper is not thrilled at the prospect of an interloper intruding upon his nearly perfect kingdom which I might add, he's spent the last 3 years expertly masterminding.

      One of the big issues was transitioning Cooper from his crib in the Winnie the Pooh bedroom where he's slept and played his entire life to a big-boy bed in an entirely different room. Cooper loved his crib and announced in no uncertain terms that he was staying put and not moving into a big-boy bed or bedroom. To entice him to make the change, his parents painted the new room in bright reds and blues...colors specifically chosen by Cooper himself. They transferred all his toys into the new room. To sweeten the deal they bought him a fantastic bed in the shape of a car just like in the Disney movie, CARS---Cooper's all-time favorite DVD flick. The bed is topped with a colorful CARS bedspread and a huge red pillow in the shape of a car. Photos and wallpaper borders depicting race cars from the movie are splashed around the room. It's a car-loving kid's dream space.

      But Cooper was not ready to move. He clung to his crib like desperate flood victims refuse to leave their homes even as water rises to the rooftop. Mercifully for Cooper, there was no flood except for his trail of tears. Child psychcologists might analyze that this reveals the toddler's deep seated anxieties about being replaced as the baby in the family by his new infant brother. Perhaps this was true. But our snappy, little grandson is nobody's fool. He eventually sized up the situation and realized the opportunity that awaited him in the big-boy bedroom. On the appointed "night of transition" his parents tucked him into his brand new bed, read all his bedtime stories and without a whimper, Cooper fell fast asleep. Problem solved.

      A more serious concern for our family is my daughter's health. She has endured a dreadfully ill pregnancy....with a rare condition that causes constant vomiting and nausea. She's collapsed from dehydration and been admitted to the hospital several times over the last 7 months. From the beginning, her doctors prescribed medication to help with the problem but the nausea has never been totally alleviated. We worry about the effect of such powerful drugs on her system for the entire 9 months.

      My husband and I live 1000 miles away from our daughter and her family...adding to our frustration. Over the past year, I have visited them often to help out. Since their guest room has been transformed into Cooper's new bedroom, I was "privileged" (and I use that term loosely) to sleep in his blue car bed. He slept in his old room. It may be a nifty bed for little kids to sleep in but it's still a child-size bed. I could barely crawl in it or out of it because it has high sides and a bulky headboard. The only way I could manuever my way into it was from the footboard end. I had to sort of scrunch myself in and slither myself out, kind of like a Slinky toy. I'm all for fun but in the morning, it took me 20 minutes before I could get my slinkified, old bones to stand upright.

      Right now we're stressed out over the swine flu. Medical reports warn that  pregnant women can suffer serious consequences from this strain of flu. Our daughter intends to get the vaccine when her OBGYN receives a supply. But what about the side effects especially being so close to term? Nobody seems to know for sure how safe it is. And wonder if she gets the swine flu before she's had a chance to get vaccinated? And how will that vaccine react with the medication she's already taking? She's been trying to protect herself from H1N1 by staying housebound so she doesn't become infected. But it's impossible to keep herself and her family in a bubble.

      So here we are awaiting a joyous arrival of new life, yet burdened by the difficult circumstances of a very sickly pregnancy and a Caesarian delivery. We pray. We laugh. We plan. We can't wait til December. Of course we will be there when the baby arrives. We'll take care of Cooper. We'll do all we can to help out. But I will avoid his car bed at all costs.

      Hi readers!  If you enjoyed this or any of my other commentaries, why not subscribe to this blog? It's free and easy to do. Just enter your email address in the Subscribe box which appears in the far left column of this page. Whenever I write a new entry, it will appear in your email inbox. Or you can follow me in your favorite reader. Also, feel free to post a comment by clicking the Comments tab under each commentary. Remember to click the Publish your comment tab to post your comment. There will be a short delay before comments are weed out the loonies. So you won't see your comments posted immediately. But don't worry, they'll appear soon and I can't wait to read them. Sphere: Related Content

      Boy in the Balloon

      Up, up and away in my silvery balloon
      I'm just a little boy but I'm sailing to the moon.

      My daddy built it for me and it's my turn to fly
      Catch me if you can as I float across the sky.

      Mommy, I can't see you so far down below
      I'm higher than the mountain tops all covered up with snow.

      Tell daddy I am sorry; I didn't mean to be bad
      But sometimes when he yells at me I get so very sad.

      I'm feeling free and happy like I'm on a fun vacation
      But don't tell anybody, it's all just my imagination. Sphere: Related Content

      Thursday, October 15, 2009

      Unleash Your Inner Cougar

      Cougars are on the prowl. I don't mean the big game, man-eating beasts of the wild. I'm referring to wily, man-eating older women who cruise the sexual wilds in search of youthful male testosterone. Seems there are a lot of mid-life women out there exuding healthy appetites for younger men. They've popped up on the cultural trend known as cougars. Cougar women tend to be in their forties or fifties and selectively date men in their twenties and thirties, some even the same age as their sons. Many cougars are not interested in long term relationships but enjoy random, rousing, boy toy flings...validating to themselves and others that they are still appealing, hip and attractive. A few cougars try to seduce their daughter's boyfriends....which is definitely not an endearing motherly quality. Some cougar couplings are downright laughable as evidenced by the ex Mrs. Hulk Hogan and her stud cub, what's-his-name. Yet many cougars manage to develop genuine, committed relationships as in celebrity power couple Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher.

      Some cougar women are married. Most are divorced, widowed or never married. They tend to be good looking, affluent, vivacious and self assured. As women traverse middle age, many of them discover that men of their same age are winding down and have lost their sense of adventure and excitement. Cougar women unleash a renewed thrill of self esteem, spirit, and youthfulness in the company of exuberant, passionate and intoxicating younger men. Nice, but can these dudes read?

      As for me, I am happily married and do not aspire to be a cougar woman...not that I'd have a chance in hell of making the cut in the first place. I do not cast aspersions on this intriguing mid-life female phenomenon. Nor do I entirely condone it. Instead, it occurs to me that there may be a glimmer of useful, wise and prudent truths hidden within this provocative and somewhat unconventional female behavior. Cougar Wisdom, if you will.

      You may or may not agree with the cougar lifestyle. But I believe there is a cougar in all of us just waiting to be unleashed. Not necessarily for sexual escapades but for enriching our lives. By exploring the traits of cougar women, whether we admire them or not....we can discover and cultivate our own inner cougar qualities.  Women who have reached their prime time of life are seasoned, experienced, grounded and know what they want. You don't have to be a cougar to feel good about yourself. But what's wrong with being self-sufficient, physically fit, attractive, even sexually alluring?  You don't have to grab a boy toy to feel empowered, assertive and sassy. Smart, educated, thoughtful women, quiet or outspoken, silver haired or otherwise, working, retired or reinvented, hip or hip-replaced----understand what's important to them in their lives. Like cougar women, we can allow ourselves the freedom to be non-conformist, slightly rebellious, even quirky, feisty or mischievious. We have reached an age where it's OK to believe in ourselves. We take care of ourselves because it's in our best interest to be healthy and independent and so we will not be a burden to others. We appreciate kindness and we treasure those we hold dear and we value our friendships because we know how difficult it is to find people who we can count on no matter what happens. We are true to ourselves because we have reached an age of confidence. We are vibrant inside and out. Cougar women revel in their conquests. The rest of us may not feel a need to entice twenty-somethings. Nonetheless we have met difficult challenges. Our quests may be more introspective. Our dreams change and we find new joys in life. We realize that age itself is just a number. And a boy toy can be your latest fling or he can be your sweetest grandson. Sphere: Related Content

      Wednesday, October 7, 2009

      Would You Tryst with David Letterman?

      By now, we've all heard about the David Letterman sex scandal. Good ole funnyman, Dave has entangled himself in an inappropriate sexual peccadillo, admitting to having sex with females on his staff a few years ago. You sort of get the feeling it was more than two women. Maybe a lot more. No matter how many ladies he hooked up with, it's likely that his actions promoted an uncomfortable work environment where female employees may have felt compelled to tryst with him out of fear of not getting raises or even being fired. During his late night show confession, Letterman seemed more focused on himself being the victim of an extortionist plot than showing actual regret for the situation. Oddly, he joked about it and the audience joined in the laughter. His critics accuse him of showing lack of respect for his female employees and abusing his power as their boss. Dave's admirers seem to sluff off the scandal as just an unfortunate dumb thing Dave did.

      If you saw Dave Letterman walking down the street, you may not give him a second look if you didn't know he was a celebrity. In my opinion, he's not exactly the best looking guy on the beach. He's skinny and sort of dorky looking. His production company claims his affairs took place before March of 2009 when he married his long-time girlfriend of over 20 years. That puts Dave in his fifties or even 60s at the time of the affairs. Currently he's 62 years old. He underwent major heart surgery in 2000. So when he was boffing all these women, Dave may have been doing it with a weak ticker. Of course, Letterman is savvy, powerful, incredibly rich, has legions of fans and is the Boss....which perhaps is one reason why his women staffers would succumb to his desires. Apparently he's got a pretty peppy libido too.

      Alright ladies, let's just say you worked for Dave Letterman around the time all these indiscretions took place. Perhaps you were married, or in a serious relationship or maybe you were single. You were aware that Dave had a very significant woman in his life who is now his wife and the mother of their 5 year old son. At the time Dave's amorous dalliances occurred, who knows...she may even have been pregnant with his child.

      Hypothetically speaking, would you have given Dave a twirl? Would you have engaged in a romantic escapade with Letterman? If he approached you, would you have felt intimidated by him? Would it bother you that he was cheating on his longtime girlfriend? Would you consider a fling with Dave as bragging rights or sexual harassment? Would you be afraid that if you ignored his flirtations that he'd demote you or fire you? Would you have been flattered by his attention or be offended by his hubris? Would you have the courage to say "no" to Mr. Letterman? It's a conflict of emotions, morals and principles that only the real women involved can fully appreciate.

      Anyway you look at it, David Letterman cheated on the woman he professed to love. He seduced multiple women on his staff. He behaved improperly in the workplace. He dismissed any hurtful consequences and assumed he'd never get caught. Watching his admission on TV, I for one, get the feeling that he's boasting about it. Sure, he might have been afraid for a nano second about the extortion thing. But he worked with the cops and captured the extortionist. So I bet he sees himself as some sort of hero. When you watch him talk about the whole sordid mess, the guy seems proud of himself. He appears cocky about his sexual prowess and pleased that he could be of service in crime solving on the streets of New York City.

      Truth be told, a lot of folks think David Letterman holds the scumbag title in this arrogant, lusting Lothario in a fancy suit. Most likely his show will continue and the entire sleezy incident will be overshadowed by a new sordid scandal. And once again, dear old Dave will have more funny fodder to joke someone else's expense. Sphere: Related Content

      Monday, October 5, 2009

      Would You Survive on Survivor?

      Do you have a Survivor personality? I'm referring to the long-running CBS TV reality program that airs on Thursday nights. I confess one of my guilty pleasures has been watching the show since it first premiered in the summer of 2000. To this day, I think the very first season is still the best one. Watching the show always makes me wonder if I could possibly withstand the rigors of such a difficult challenge. Would I be the first to go? Would my tribe cut me some slack? Would my winning personality help me form successful alliances? What kind of character traits would I need to outwit, outplay and outlast in order to win the Survivor grand prize of one million dollars?

      Fans of the show know that it's an endurance test involving physical and mental adroitness. In many respects, the contestants' social skills and their ability to bond well with others often proves to be a major factor in how long they last on the island before tribal council votes them out. A tricky tightrope balance wherein players can combine personal likeability with deceit and manipulation and exert confidence without the cockiness, often advances them farther along in the game. In the hot, steamy jungle, it seems that clever strategics, persuasive ability and congeniality often win out over brute strength. Not unlike life as most of us know it in the day to day struggle of living in the real world.

      On the other hand, the brain over brawn theory does not always apply to a particular age segment of Survivor females. If you're a "mature" woman player, you'll most likely be the first to go. Typically it's because the older women are not as strong as the younger gals. They are the weakest link and in the beginning of each game, they get dumped faster than you can say: "Snuff your torch, grandma". Personally, I'd love to see an entire Survivor season where all the players are baby boomers. Think Woodstock without the music.

      While cunning, diplomacy and friendliness are of vital importance to winning the million dollar prize, physical stamina certainly is an essential element on Survivor. For 39 bug-infested days, contestants must survive in a hot, primitive, tropical island environment with little water, meager food supplies, no electricity and no running water.  They sleep under a flimsy palm frond shelter which they've constructed themselves and are nearly eaten alive by droves of nasty, biting insects that leave welts the size of a coconut. As if that weren't enough, players traipse around in skimpy, filthy, stinking, threadbare clothes. They are soaked by pelting rain, bake in the broiling sun and are forced to eat slimey, foul, revolting, live bugs as part of the show's weekly challenges. The bug eating would end it for me. I can't stomach eating cooked spinach much less live, squirming worms. On a positive note, an interesting side effect of being on Survivor is that nearly all the players lose copious amounts of weight. OK, sign me up. That in itself would be reason enough for me to want to join the yammering gang of Survivor outcasts.

      Truth be told, I've always dreamed of living on a real deserted tropical island...a female Robinson Crusoe. But as far as enduring on the Survivor TV show? From the moment they throw the contestants over the side of a ship and make them swim toward the island...I'd manage 5 strokes and then yell for a life ring, dry clothes and a martini. If by some miracle, I actually swam all the way to land without being devoured by a shark, I'd inevitably go beserk from the hoards of bugs. The heat and humidy would drive me over the edge. I'd be the first to fall off that damn skinny pole they rig up in the ocean.  As for getting along with the sniveling, rag-tag band of jungle misfits....they'd cut me loose before I could stab any one of them in the back.

      Admittedly, I enjoy watching Survivor each week night. But what would give me and I'm guessing millions of viewers, even greater pleasure is if at Tribal Council, both tribes rose up and grabbed that snarky, smirking, pompously snide host, Jeff Probst, by the neck and plunged him head first into a steaming pile of monkey dung. That in itself would be worth the million dollars! Sphere: Related Content

      Tuesday, September 29, 2009


      We've got a million things to worry about, don't we? Well, I just discovered one more chunk of worry fodder for our obsession stockpile. It's something I never even heard of before now and it generally occurs in women. But by golly, it's a doozy. CANKLES.  Huh?  I repeat: "cankles". It's slang for chubby ankles. I wonder why they don't call it "chankles"? But that's another worrying point I'll save for later. 

      Ladies, better look in a full-length mirror right this minute to determine if you have cankles. It's the part of your leg where the ankle and the calf meet. If there is a shapely, attractive narrowing in the ankle zone between your calf and your foot, then you have been blessed with fetching, well-defined, slender ankles.  On the other hand or foot as in this case, if your leg pretty much resembles the trunk of a redwood tree from your hips to your feet---you've got cankleism. Aka: large ankle girth. No need to rush to the nearest emergency room, however. Although aesthetically alarming, fat ankle syndrome or "fankles" (I just invented that word), is not a genuine medical disease. Podiatrists report that cankles may occasionally be caused by inflamation, diabetes, hypertension or obesity. If you are truly concerned, you should get checked out by a medical professional.

      However, for most women, cankles is simply an unfortunate, physiological body flaw bestowed upon us at birth. And you don't have to be plump to have cankles. I am reminded of those classic 16th century paintings which depict hardy, rugged European farm women wearing babushkas, in the fields tilling and harvesting their crops. Those gals probably had cankles. They were born with them to aid with stability and endurance in the fields. Today most of us females do not struggle long hours in the back forty. So why should this condition be passed down genetically through the ages? The answer seems to be merely the luck of the draw. You either have cankles or you don't. You either look like Cindy Crawford or you resemble Hillary Clinton. I'm guessing the latter has cankles.

      Of course it's not fair. So what can you do to disguise those less-than-svelte ankles? Some women who are overly self-conscious about them, turn to liposuction which costs between $4000 to $8000 for ankle shaping. Yet many doctors warn that ankle liposuction can be dangerous because it can destroy nerves in the ankle region. You could camouflage cankles with boots. But for those with extra ankle avoirdupois, it may be difficult to squeeze their cankles into stylish bootery unless they can wrangle a pair of oversized, rubber fisherman boots off a beefy longshoreman. Fashion stylists suggest wearing footwear with at least a 2 inch heel and avoid ankle straps. Long, solid-color slacks that cover the cankle area help mask the flaw also. I heard that some women rub hemorrhoid cream on their cankle region and then wrap an ace bandage around it for several hours. Supposedly when you remove the bandage, the cankles will have temporarily shrunk slightly.

      As far as I'm concerned, hemorrhoid cream should only be applied to one body location and it ain't your ankles. I say, "Cankles, schmankles." We've got enough to worry about without stressing out over chubby ankles. Look at it from a positive perspective: if you carry your weight in your stomach, you'll never see your ankles anyway. Sphere: Related Content

      Sunday, September 27, 2009

      Oh Crap, My Mom's On Facebook!

      My kids groaned when I joined the social network site, Facebook. At least I imagine that they did. I never actually heard them groan. They're adults and we don't live in the same city. But I'm sure they were thinking: Oh crap, why does she have to crash our party! To their credit, they are kind and cordial to me on FB. They are charming, cheerful, witty, clever and have tons of FB friends. For my part, I try not to play the worried mom card too much and I don't scrawl dumb messages on their wall that will embarrass them in front of the world...certainly not every day anyway. I'm still their mother, afterall!

      I've recruited lots of my friends, who just happen to be parents, to join FB too. You know what? This scares your kids so much their lip rings tremble. My kids don't wear lip rings but make no mistake about it, your offspring are uncomfortable when you show up in their As parents, we have suddenly embedded ourselves in their space. I guess it might be compared to having dear old mom appear on their college campus and announce she's joining them on Spring Break. Or even worse---ask directions to the next Rave party. Or maybe they feel it's like you barged into their work place one day out of the blue and began mooning the Zerox Machine. I sense that the younger generation prized Facebook as their own personal cultural-generation, secret society. Their very own exclusive cyber clubhouse where they could blather on about anything and not be outed. Then suddenly mom and pops leap out of the bushes and drats---the kids are doomed.

      Having their parents on Facebook rattles the younger generation so much that a couple of Gen Xers have come up with a website called: Oh Crap, My Parents Joined Facebook. It's actually an amusing site and the two female creators insist they still love their parents. They just don't love them being on Facebook.

      Sharing Facebook with your kids can lead to some very dicey internet protocol. For example: should your kids befriend you or not? If they don't, will you disinherit them?  What about your kid's pals? Should they accept you as a friend? This is a huge quandry for them. If they accept you and your kid finds out, will they end up enemies for life?  I've had some friends of my kids initiate the friendship thing with me. I don't mind at all. And what about parents? How should they behave on Facebook?  For starters: don't play grammar police. Avoid oversharing about yourself as in your love life, personal hygiene or about how sonny boy, Bubba, sucked his thumb until age 17.

      The fact is our kids were on Facebook first. We've invaded their privacy. Yet I think by now they're getting used to us. We are not spying on them. I repeat, we're not keeping tabs on you. But how come you weren't in the chat room last night? Ha!  Parents and even grandparents have come to regard FB as a really cool thing. We can reconnect with old friends, get updated on what everybody's doing, tell people about ourselves, view photos of friends and family, play silly games, even shamelessly plug our blogs. It's far hipper than email. The neat thing about FB is that members come in all ages, sizes, nationalities, religions, political and social viewpoints. It's an amalgamation of generations and amazingly we all seem to get along in Facebookville. It's a beautiful thing.

      Oh, there's a brand new site out there called: My Parents Joined Twitter. And guess what. I just did...this morning. You can't escape mom. Sphere: Related Content

      Saturday, September 26, 2009

      Who Is the Happiest?

      In the movie Cocoon, a group of feeble Florida retirees become mysteriously rejuvenated when their retirement home swimming pool turns into a fountain of youth. Does feeling youthful make you happy? If so, are younger people happier than elderly folks? The American Psychological Association reports that persons in their 80s and 90s may be happier than the rest of us. How can that be? Elderly people are not as physically active as they used to be when they were younger. Many of them can no longer drive. Their health deteriorates. Many of their spouses and their friends have died. It's hard for them to get out and make new friends. They resist change. Many have had to leave their homes for assisted living facilities. They engage in fewer social activities and tend to be alone more often. So what's making these folks so gosh darn euphoric?

      Turns out that researchers have discovered that with the exception of dementia related diseases, mental health tends to improve as people get older. SAY WHAT?  Yes, apparently the older you get, the more content you become. Several studies have found that older adults report fewer negative emotional experiences than younger adults. Researchers also learned that teenagers most frequently reported negative emotions while octogenarians seemed to feel the least negative.

      Older adults tend to see the good things in life more easily and are less likely to get as upset when little things go wrong, according to researchers. Psychologists refer to this as the "wisdom of aging"; the ability to experience everyday life as uplifting. Dr. Susan Charles says that younger people focus more on negative criticism and demand more information as to the origin of the criticism, resulting in greater stress. Older folks tend to let criticism roll off their backs and do not get as upset about it---which helps them feel less anxious, sad or angry than younger people.

      The key to being happy as you age, seems to be make the most of the time you have. Elderly people in particular, avoid engaging in situations that will make them unhappy. They make choices to avoid situations and individuals which cause them stress and aggravation. Even if you're not an octogenarian, it makes sense not to hang with folks who annoy you.

      So as we age, we won't all be turning into  "grumpy old men and women" afterall. Whew. What a relief. I feel mellower already. An Australian study reports that young people ages 18-30 actually were no happier than seniors aged 66 and over. Despite older people being less socially active than their younger counterparts and spending more time alone each day, the report says that seniors are just as socially satisfied as the younger generation.

      The reports do caution that while elderly people appear to have a good stock of emotional well being, it doesn't mean that they are enthusiastic all the time. God forbid we have a worldwide slew of octogenarians hopped up on happiness while the rest of us are miserable. Is it possible that we'll all be actually looking forward to growing older, if it makes us happier?

      All this makes you wonder: Was that movie Cocoon really a fantasy....or a possibility?   Old age---bring it on! Sphere: Related Content

      Thursday, September 24, 2009

      The Happiness Factor

      Happiness. It's a feeling, condition, state of mind, philosophy that mortals have been seeking since the dawn of man. Happiness is elusive. It's like the vein of gold we've been mining for our entire lives. The shining star that's beyond our reach. As children most of us expect that we'll be happy when we grow up. We hope to live happily ever after. It's our birthright, don't ya know. Our entitlement. It's something we all desire. Something we all deserve. But for millions of people, happiness is the brass ring on the carousel that eludes our grasp.

      Are you happy? Are you struggling to find happiness, peace, inner contentment? I can honestly report that I .......
                                                     To be continued...

      Dear readers, do you have tips, anecdotes, lifestyle solutions that make you happy? Let us know by sharing your comments or helpful advice. Sphere: Related Content

      Tuesday, September 22, 2009

      You May Be a Jackass if....

      1. You may be a jackass if the President of the United States calls you one and your name is Kanye West and you stole the mike away from a sweet little country songstress at the MTV Video Music awards and ruined her big moment.

      2. You may be a jackass and dance like one too if your name is Tom Delay and you're Dancing with the Stars in brown spandex because you've got nothing better to do since you lost your powerful job in Congress as Majority Leader of the Republican Party because you were indicted in a political corruption scandal and money laundering and may eventually be facing jail time.

      3. You may be a jackass if your name is Joe Wilson and you rudely interrupted a Presidential speech before a joint session of Congress, screamed "You lie", showed complete disrespect for the leader of the free world, embarrassed your political party and the state of South Carolina and arrogantly exploited the situation to raise money for campaign donations.

      4. You may be a jackass if your name is Mark Sanford and you're the governor of South Carolina and you got caught in a steamy affair down in Argentina and when trying to reconcile with your wife and four children you referred to your mistress, not your wife, as "my soulmate".

      5. You may be a jackass if you were one of South Carolina's most respected social conservatives and mother of 4 children but resigned as head of the South Carolina State Board of Education because it was discovered you hang out in online X rated chat rooms and pen pornographic erotic stories all the while proclaiming to be an evangelical Christian.

      We interrupt this list to wonder: 
      What are they smokin' in South Carolina?

      6. You may be a jackass if your name is Jon Gosselin and you left your wife and eight children for a slew of younger babes, allegedly boffed the kids' nanny and are taking 2 puppies away from your kids and sending them back to the  breeder. (the puppies not the kids)

      7. You may be a jackass if your name is John Edwards and you were a former presidential candidate but you cheated on your cancer-stricken wife with another woman; lied, denied and finally admitted the affair and then lied, denied that the love child is yours; possibly used campaign funds to silence your mistress and others; reportedly promised your mistress you'd marry her and you'd get the Dave Matthews band to play at the ceremony---as soon as your wife died.

      8. You may be a jackass if your name is Rod Blagojevich and you were disgraced and ousted as governor of Illinois and you're indicted on umpteen felony and racketeering charges and now you've written a memoir book and are arrogant enough to think people will buy it and still you have not the decency to change your hair style. Sphere: Related Content

      Thursday, September 17, 2009

      Hooking Up Means What? Ask a College Kid.

      Where were you when Kennedy died? Which one? If you're a boomer, you'll undoubtedly recall precisely where you were and what you were doing that terrible day in November, 1963 when you heard the unbelievable news that President John F. Kennedy had been asassinated. The killing of Robert F. Kennedy on June 6, 1968 will likely instill personal memories for Boomers and members of Generation Jones. But what about the death of young John F. Kennedy Jr. in a plane crash in July, 1999?  Do Boomers have the same deep rooted feelings and sentimental memories of his untimely death as say Generation Xers would?  Now consider the recent passing of Senator Edward Kennedy. Five years from now what generational group will remember exactly where they were when Teddy died?

      It's fascinating how different generations conjure up drastically diverse experiences and concepts for the same word or idea. Over time, words and phrases take on totally new meanings. The incoming crop of 2009 college freshmen might  identify JFK as a rap artist or an airport in New York. These kids have no personal reference for JFK, the President of the United States. They may recognize Ted Kennedy, the elder statesman but have they ever heard of Chappaquidick?  When boomers think of text, we generally think of it as a noun defined as words in a textbook. For today's young people, texting is a short-cut means of communication via cell phone. Ever talk about hooking up with pals---your intention being an innocent get-together for lunch? Be forewarned that the younger generation consider the term hooking up to be a casual sexual encounter. We used to call it a date.

      For the last 12 years, Beloit College in Wisconsin, has released its annual Mindset List. The list has become an unscientific but popular teaching tool to illustrate the cultural subjectivities of different generations. The list often humorously demonstrates how new freshmen view their world and what experiences have shaped their lives thus far. Today's class of 2013 was born in 1991. They are known as Generation Y or the Millenials. Below is a sampling of the cultural touchstones from the perspective of the Millenial generation compiled by Beloit College's Mindset List: 
      1. The Green Giant has always been Shrek; not a big guy in green tights picking vegetables.
      2. Millenial kids have never used a card catalog to find books in a library.
      3. Salsa has always outsold ketchup.
      4. Tats (tatoos) have always been hip, chic and highly visible; not something   sailors used to get on shore leave...among other things.
      5. Rap music has always been main stream for them.
      6. They've always been able to charge a latte on their cell phone.
      7. Bungee jumping has always been socially acceptable.
      8. They don't know what R.S.V.P. means.
      9. There has always been a Cartoon Network.
      10.They never knew life before flat screen TV.
      11. They wonder who Bob Dylan is.
      12. There has always been a MacDonalds and a Planet Hollywood.
      13. There's always been a computer in the Oval Office and in the home office.
      14. They've not known life without blue jello.
      15. Women have always outnumbered men in college.
      16. They have no clue as to the meaning of Heeeeere's Johnny!

      The purpose of the list is to remind professors that references familiar to them might not be shared by today's college students. Beloit College insists the Mindset List is not meant to make older folks feel even more ancient. Maybe so, but just keep in mind the next time you're thinking about hooking up with friends for potluck dinner, bring a salad and a condom.

      Hi readers!  If you enjoyed this or any of my other commentaries, why not sign up as a Follower or subscribe to this blog? It's free and easy to do. Just click the Follower box or the Subscribe box in the side columns. Then enter your email address. Whenever I write a new entry, it will appear in your email inbox. Also, feel free to post a comment by clicking the Comments tab under each commentary. Remember to click the Publish your comment tab to post your comment. There will be a short delay before comments are weed out the loonies. So you won't see your comments immediately. But don't worry, they'll appear soon and I can't wait to read them. Sphere: Related Content

      Wednesday, September 16, 2009

      Trapped on the Tarmac

      I hate to fly on airplanes. I'm afraid of flying. But still I continue to fly.  My very first plane ride was about 45 years ago in a tiny 2 seater, twin engine propeller orange crate of a plane. A friend of mine was the pilot. And no, he wasn't one of the Wright brothers. He was 16 years old. He had just got his pilot's license and it was his first time in the air without any supervision. It was just him and me, his nitwit sidekick riding shotgun. Looking back, I'm not really certain it was totally legal. But all I know is that we hopped in the plane and took off. I was scared to death but like a lamebrain, I went along just for the thrill. In the blink of an eye, we soared out over an enormous expanse of deep, blue water, otherwise known as Lake Michigan. I prayed with all my might that we would not crash. I remember seeing the waves get closer and closer and then I noticed a guy on a sailboat wave at us. Oh my god. We were so low I could see the guy's red cap. My prayers were answered. We didn't crash. We landed safely at the airport. But it was the wrong airport. My pilot pal had miscalculated and we bounced down in a mud bog at an airstrip 50 miles from our intended landing destination. Stuck in the muck up to the wheels. I don't remember too much after that except we both laughed hysterically over the whole incident and later bragged to our friends about what incredibly cool and daring flying aces we were. Secretly, I promised myself I would never, ever, ever fly again.

      But teenage promises were made to be broken and I did fly again. In college I took off into the wild blue yonder with a fellow from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He owned his own plane. It was another cramped, tin can, propeller job held together with rubber bands. To my astonishment, he announced that he liked to perform stunts in the air. Over and around, upside down, loops and barrel rolls. I was too petrified to even throw up. After we landed, we downed a couple pitchers of beer at the Brat Haus on State Street. Then I puked all over the table. I never saw him again.

      I mention all this to explain that I am not a flying novice. Since those youthful aeronautical escapades, I've flown over vast oceans, across several continents---in huge modern turbojets and in dilapidated contraptions that were barely airworthy. I am a fairly seasoned flyer. And yet to this day, my nerves are on edge nearly every minute in the air. For the most part, I have had extremely good luck on airplanes. My flying experiences have been incredibly uneventful, smooth, few delays, no on-board drunks, no crying babies, no shoe bombers, no terrorists, no backed up toilets, no nasty flight attendants. I guess I've been very, very fortunate.

      My worst fear (aside from crashing and burning) is being stranded in a plane on the tarmac for hours or even overnight with no air conditioning. We've all heard the horror stories: airline passengers trapped on the blistering tarmac with no information, no a/c, no water; sweltering human flesh, the stench of overflowing toilets and poop, screaming kids and adults huddled together in crazed pandemonium. I've often feared that if that situation ever happened to me, I would be overcome with claustrophobia and morph into a deranged lunatic. I'm petrified that I would have a monumental meltdown, be rendered temporarily insane and not be responsible for my actions.

      Last happened. I was on what was supposed to be an easy-breezy flight back to my home in Michigan. From the beginning of the trip I was jittery because we took off in a ferocious rainstorm with giant lightning bolts bombarding the skies. If that wasn't bad enough, it soon became apparent to me that my seatmate was a terrorist. Dressed entirely in black, he had dark unruly hair, a black unkempt beard and a bushy mustache. He seemed nervous and kept fidgeting. He held a small bottle of hand sanitizer and kept shaking it into his hands. My mind raced. The hand sanitizer stuff was no doubt some kind of bomb explosive gel that would blow us all to kingdom come any second. How did it get past security? Oh did I mention, we were flying on September 12, one day after the 8th anniversary of 9/11?

      It turned out he was not a terrorist. He worked at Walmart. Or so he said. I tended to believe him after he told me his hard luck story. His girlfriend had just left him, his uncle died, grandpa died, dog died. He said he'd lost his house, lost his car, no money, no friends. "Bad luck seems to follow me everywhere." he said. Somehow he managed to find a glimmer of happiness working at a Super Walmart in the electronics department. On second thought, maybe he was a terrorist afterall. He told me this was his very first time on an airplane and then he offered me some of his hand sanitizer. I declined. Suddenly and without provocation, he stuck his huge fist right in front of my face. I was paralyzed with fear. "See this?" he asked.  I squeaked: "See what?"  He pointed to a dried blood-gouged section of skin on his fist and said "See this big scab on my knuckle? I cut my hand on a metal case at Walmart. It's a dangerous job there, that's for sure."  For my own safety, I nodded in agreement.

      I quickly immersed myself in a book while Walmart dude licked his sore knuckle. After we emerged from the thunderstorm, it was smooth flying through beautiful, sunny skies. I looked out the window and the weather was perfectly clear, bright and not a cloud in the sky. A gorgeous fall day in the Midwest. Suddenly, about ten minutes before landing, the pilot made a shocking announcement. There was a mysterious fog hovering over our intended airport and the entire facility had shut down. Our plane was being diverted to South Bend, Indiana. We would wait there until the fog cleared. The pilot nonchalantly mentioned that our plane would also need to be refueled. Refueled? As in we're running out of gas?  Would we even make it to South Bend? Was there any gas left in the tank? Would we end up splayed out in an Indiana cornfield? Could we possibly manage to limp into South Bend on a wing and a prayer and fumes?  Dear, Lord, save us.

      After buzzing acres upon acres of lush green, patch-quilt farm land, we landed at the South Bend airport--which from the air appears to be smack in the middle of Farmer Brown's back forty. We did not conveniently pull up to the terminal ramp. Instead, we were way, way, waaaaay back on the outfield of the airport. I could almost smell the soy beans. The pilot announced that dozens of other diverted planes were ahead of us waiting to get refueled. He asked that we kindly stay in our seats and behave ourselves for the duration---which at that juncture might be several hours.

      A collective groan ensued from all the passengers. My Walmart buddy turned to me and said proudly as if trying to prove his point: See I told you bad luck follows me. Ignoring him, I looked up toward the loo at the front of the plane by the cockpit. Nobody was using it. I reasoned that in a matter of seconds, everyone would rush the toilets and use all the toilet paper. The toilets would overflow and crap would careen down the aisles. I needed to make my move at once. I grabbed my purse, tucked it under my arm, unbuckled my seatbelt and charged hellbent up 16 rows to the toilet. An attendant tried to stop me but I pushed past her. I felt like a football quarterback scoring a touchdown. Yahoo. The thrill of victory.

      Exiting the restroom, I discovered I had reached it without a second to spare. Twenty people were in line. And there was only a half roll of toilet paper left. As I squeezed my way past the loo people, I noticed several mothers were changing their baby's diapers on the seats. The aroma of freshly brewed baby poo annointed the already stagnant air. Babies howled from one end of the plane to the other. Back at my seat, I heard bells ringing. Am I starting to lose it already? I worried. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Non stop, the sound was merciless. It was the attendant call buttons going off....over and over and over. The culprits were two toddlers up front who were standing on their seat screaming at the top of their lungs and pushing the buttons. Their distraught mother had her hands full with an infant and could not restrain them. Suddenly a man in front of me stood up and screamed bloody murder at the flight attendant: Shut those kids up! They're driving us crazy. Make them stop pushing that button. The flight attendant appeared unflustered and did not respond. That made the guy even angrier. He raised his fist and hollered: I'd like to strangle that mother. Let me up there. I'll stop them. At that several of the passengers seated near him, including myself, drew ourselves around him and shouted: Shut up and sit down, you despicable, obnoxious, child-hating oaf or we'll beat you to a pulp. Or something to that effect. Apparently he felt outnumbered and I'd like to think our little gang put the fear of God in him because he sat back down and said not another word.  My one bit of advice to fellow travelers: Show some patience and compassion for mothers traveling with children. It's very hard coping with kids on a plane and those harried moms are doing the best they can in a difficult situation.

      After we shut the big jerk up, the attendant announced: No more water. We've run out of water. Another loud groan errupted from the passengers. Luckily I had purchased a bottle of water at the airport and had it squirreled away in my purse. It occurred to me that I might make a hefty profit offering sips for sale to my thirsty traveling companions. But as the onboard situation seemed to be turning uglier every minute, I figured I'd best keep the water to myself lest some crazed lunatic cut my throat for it.

      So there we were. I was grounded in my own nightmare, trapped with 165 other hapless souls in a giant steel tube. The sound of children screaming and crying pierced the cabin. An elderly lady began vomiting. Poop, piss and other foulish odors permeated every inch of the air. No food. No water. No toilet. Impatient and angry passengers cursed the flight attendants. The blonde woman across from me looked ready to faint. My seat pal, the Walmart guy, picked his scab and droned on about the merits of Korean-made flatscreens.  I wondered if Mr. Unlucky had not been on this plane if we would have had this problem. Is there such a thing as a person who dispells bad luck wherever they go? A spreader of ill fortune? Then I wondered just how long I could hold up before cracking up. How long had we been stranded? Two, three, four hours? My watch had stopped. WAIT! What's that outside? Oh my's a fuel truck.  And it's refueling our plane. The captain came on the loud speaker and informed us: Just a few minutes folks and we'll be on our way. Passengers errupted into applause. Sure enough, we were back up in the friendly skies and in no time, we landed safely at our destination.

      Turns out we were on the tarmac in South Bend for only 55 excruciating minutes. I can only imagine what horrors would have occured if we'd been there any longer. Is it any wonder, I hate to fly?

      Hi readers!  If you enjoyed this or any of my other commentaries, why not sign up as a Follower or subscribe to this blog? It's free and easy to do. Just click the Follower box or the Subscribe box in the side columns. Then enter your email address. Whenever I write a new entry, it will appear in your email inbox. Also, feel free to post a comment by clicking the Comments tab under each commentary. Remember to click the Publish your comment tab to post your comment. There will be a short delay before comments are weed out the loonies. So you won't see your comments posted immediately. But don't worry, they'll appear soon and I can't wait to read them. Sphere: Related Content
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