Monday, September 29, 2008

Offensive commercials

I have been watching too much televison without benefit of TiVo.  When you record an hour program, you can fast forward through the commercials and watch it in 40 minutes.  When I've watched my chosen recorded shows, with not much else to do during the day (I finished my last book), I've watched a little regular programming--commercials included.  Some of them aren't so bad, if they didn't run 42 times a day.  

But the ones that really frost me are ads for attorneys and law firms.  There are three types that really offend me.  First, if you are in an accident and you call this firm, you can get thousands of dollars from someone's insurance company.  It bothers me because it shows healthy, youthful people smirking happily about the thousands of dollars they received. 

The second law firm will help if you were denied Social Security Disability money,  Personally, I know about people trying to leech from Social Security for pretend "disabilities" such as flat feet, learning problems, depression, obesity, and of course the standard back pain.  Social Security was never intended to support those who refuse to help themselves.

The third commercial is for the law firm that will help you get out of debt with the IRS.  The faces on this morning's commercial talked about only having to pay a small fraction of what they owed.  Exactly who is that fair to?  I don't like my tax bill either, if I pay the legal fees will I come out ahead?

These are all part of supporting the collective attitude of entitlement.  Get the money you deserve, get your share of the pie, only a fool will pay what they owe.  And, oh yes, these law firms are only here to help you.  Yeah, right.  

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Advertisments mangle language

I think that the worst offenders of language mangling are on the radio.  I've wondered if the advertisers that do radio are cheaper than companies that do television, or if I just notice the radio problems because there are no pictures to distract my thoughts. I have occasionally thought that I would like to write to someone to complain, but who?

Yesterday I heard an ad for something (I forget) that would help people "experience a little bit more out of their life."  I recorded it on my cell phone so I wouldn't forget--does it make sense to you?  Are they trying to sound...educated?  And since I don't remember what the ad was for, I am obviously going to be missing out on something.

If you want to buy a certain kind of spa you can "save thousands of dollars off."  Really?  Just what does that mean?  Someone shoved two separate sentences into one incoherent one.


(Wow, that was hard to type.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Halloween Dress up?

Okay, what wouldn't look ridiculous on someone 59 years old, could fit in a suitcase, and would qualify as a costume based on a Disney character?

While I'm in Florida with my son's family (watching the kids while the parents take care of business stuff), Disney World has their special Halloween activity at night.  This is several days during October when the theme parks open at night for Trick or Treaters.  Now, being me, I would have just had the kids dress up.  I would accompany them as a boring adult.  However, my daughter-in-law had other ideas.  Not only are the two kids going to be in costume, but so is she and she has talked my son into a costume too.  Now, how can grandma be the only one without a costume?  There is one more catch.  My daughter-in-law says that the costumes must be Disney characters.  That's not the park's rule, but it is her rule.

So, where does that leave me?  Malificent? (But she has a strange, large headdress, tough to pack.)  Snow White's evil stepmother?  Snow White as a grandmother?  Mom and daughter are from Alice in Wonderland.  Dad and son are from Incredibles.  Grandma?  Who know?  I'll be looking around and I'm open for suggestions.  Help.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Multi-tasking vs focus

In general, I think that women are better multi-taskers.  Teachers sometimes have to answer students' questions, plan for the next lesson, watch the time, gather materials, correct or record work, monitor potential problems, gauge general understanding, and still attend to the surprise visitor or intercom announcement.  And many do so seemingly with little effort.

Mothers of young children have much the same ability.  They carry on reasonable conversations with 3-year-olds, answer occasional homework questions of older children, prepare meals, fold clean clothes, wipe up spills, and carry fussy babies--sometimes all at once.

It is probably not true of all men, but most do not multi-task well.  I know my own dear hubby does not.  He, however, has the ability to focus on a single task, so intently that distractions do not exist.  If I ask a question or make a comment while he is working on something, I am just a small buzzing sound--irritating, but not intrusive.  Even when face-to-fact, if his mind is busy on something else, I am not getting through in any meaningful way.

There are times when I am jealous of his ability.  For instance, if I am trying to write something--a letter of complaint, a recommendation, an opinion--I need quiet solitude.  He doesn't.

Yet, if he is concentrating on something and the television news mentions an event he would be interested in, he'll miss it.  I won't.

In a way, these mental differences have helped us be successful in totally different fields.  

I'm not sure yet how the granddaughters will be at doing several things at a time (they're just 7, 4, & 3), but there is one grandson who definitely has the focusing gene.  We'll have to make sure any future wife understands how it works.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Beautiful skies

I seem to join Skywatch about every other week.  Maybe I'll be able to contribute more as the weather changes and the skies where I live get more interesting...not that they are not beautiful just being blue.  I took the above picture from around the corner a few minutes ago.  Lately, we have had the chance of a lovely, occasional thunderstorm--but probably not today.
This one was taken through the windshield (you can tell from the reflection), on the freeway, as the almost-full moon was rising and the sun was setting.  The picture really does not do it justice; it was lovely.
I took this on my way home from a walk last night.  Utah does have some stellar sunsets!
Any picture can be enlarged by a click and these were all taken by my little, go everywhere with me Canon.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Food from childhood

It took until I was in high school before I understood that all children didn't eat macaroni with tomato sauce.  I was married before I tasted macaroni and cheese.  I began to understand that all families have certain food--what should I say--preferences.  Oddly enough, some of those "preferences" stick with us.  

For instance, I love broken pieces of bread cooked into my scrambled eggs.  My mother did that to make the eggs go farther, but I do it because I like the way it tastes.

My oldest son took the macaroni with tomato sauce I passed to his childhood, and claims it is the best thing to eat with a grilled cheese sandwich.

My husband's favorite meal is a certain wild meat, cooked a certain way, with fried potatoes. It can't be done any other way, or served with rice or a baked potato--that's just the way it is.

Talking to my mother this morning, she mentioned that her father had liked to eat pears topped with mayonnaise and grated cheddar cheese.  I did catch her eating a peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich a few weeks ago,  Perhaps the reason I haven't tried that is that we didn't ever have peanut butter when I was a kid, but I have no idea why Mom tried it.

Another food I had as a kid and still like is rice in tomato sauce.  It is even better with some meat and a little kick from peppers.  I had no idea other people left their rice plain.

What kinds of foods from childhood do you still love to eat?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Christmas in September

Do you remember being a child and so excited about the coming of Christmas you could hardly stand it?  I do.  I remember thinking that it was sooooo long from January to December, it took forever!  To make it seem closer--once we got into December--we used to count down, not by saying "there are four more days," but by saying "it's the day after the day after the day after tomorrow."  Somehow that made it seem closer.

Now, however, from January to December passes like traveling through hyperspace or at Warp 9.2 (choose your sci fi model).  I don't know where the months go in between, but they must be only a few days long.  

However, am I the only one bothered by the way so many of the retail stores handle merchandise?  I really do remember being annoyed when stores put out Christmas stuff before Thanksgiving.  Now Christmas stuff shares shelf space with Halloween!  One of the Costco stores where I shop started their Christmas displays the first of September.  Sorry, it is too difficult for me to think about Christmas trees and wrapping paper when it is 95 degrees outside.  I'm guessing that the stores do it because people buy stuff; there is no other logical reason.  Not me.  I'm holding off buying anything for Christmas until at least November 15.  Maybe I can't change it, but at least I'll feel better.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Finding a chuckle during an election

For the next two months, it could be difficult to read a newspaper or watch television (bless TiVo).  I am tired of editorials trashing presidential or vice-presidential candidates over whatever (and most seem very one-sided).   I am sick of political rhetoric and misleading ads.   In reality, Presidents or Vice-Presidents cannot change a country--our Constitution spells that out. Whichever candidate ends up winning the election will have to work with the Congress. Important (or unimportant) things only happen when enough people compromise and work together.  So grandiose ideas often disappear after January.  I so wish elected officials were required to serve only a limited term.  If campaign financing were controlled by law, and people knew the time they had, I think we would go back to the Public Service idea of government, rather than the power and wealth-building that there seems to be now.

I didn't start out writing a philosophical view, but I just finished reading the newspaper and I got a little depressed.  HOWEVER, the comics didn't let me down and I know teachers everywhere (regardless of their political persuasion) can relate to this Frazz.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Levels of Comfort

The comments to yesterday's post made me feel so much better about my driving nervousness--I'm not the only one with trepidation about maneuvering in unfamiliar surroundings.  And yet, I am much more comfortable with some of the situations that might have worried me when I was young(er).  

My hair and I have come to a truce.  It cooperates with me in a limited way, and I don't try to force it into unusual shapes.  Style?  We do the best we can with what we have.  When I was a teenager, we had a fierce competition because I needed to follow the acceptable trend.  No more.

I don't worry at all about fashion; I want to feel comfortable in my clothes.  I won't feel comfortable if I look ridiculous, and I'll be unhappy if I'm not comfy.  I don't care what the hot new colors are; I know what looks best on me.  And high heels?  Only for short periods and special occasions.  I am always amazed when I see someone shopping, walking through the airport, even wandering around the state fair in 3-inch heels.  Why aren't they cringing with every step?  

The well-being of my feet is important.  Right after I started my blog, I posted about my new MBT shoes.  I have enjoyed them so much that I ordered a pair for my son's 40th birthday (yes, I'm way too young to have a son that old).  He has some feet issues (metatarsals too long) and I'm betting he'll like them too.  

I plan to spend lots of time vertical; I need my feet and comfy clothes.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bravery dwindles with age?

Funny thing, courage.  I'm not talking about the 'taking the hill at all costs' kind of bravery.  I'm talking about the everyday bravery: 1) trying something new in front of others, 2) speaking your mind when you know people all around disagree, 3) telling someone off (who needs to be told) even though they may react badly, 4) asking embarrassing questions of obviously busy doctors and expecting answers, and 5) driving unfamiliar cars in unfamiliar places.  You can probably think of more.

Personally, I seem to do okay for most of those, but I'm not crazy about the driving part.  Hubby always drives, I navigate (watch for signs, landmarks, etc).  I find driving in a strange place makes me anxious.  I think it happened about the time I turned 50.  Young people aren't afraid of driving anywhere--maybe I wasn't either years ago.  Now it makes me nervous.  

But, next month I fly to Florida and I have to drive to meet my son and his family.  So, after days of research and hours of pondering, I ordered a GPS.  I got one that will tell me where to turn and the name of the street.  I'll make friends with it before I go and hope it keeps me on the right road.  If not, I am very good at number three above!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Utah State Fair

In early to mid-September, Utah holds its State Fair.  I have lots of State Fair memories.  When I was a youngster (looonng time ago), the Fair was mostly about animals and produce.  There were thoroughbred races, various Riding Clubs competed in team and individual events, and there were contests for horses and riders (English style, western, Arabian) of all ages.  I competed once when I was about 11.  Because my grandparents and parents were involved with horse activities, I enjoyed the week out of school each year spent at the Fair.  I have fond memories of the grandstand that isn't there anymore, the stables, and, of course, the amusement park rides.

I still like to go to the Fair, but it has changed a lot.  There are far fewer horse-related events (and animals in general).  The place where the race track was is now a stage for whatever are the hot new bands.  You can still walk through the dairy cows, pigs, goats, rabbits, but there are not as many.  This year there is a huge area of Creative Arts dedicated to scrapbook pages.  The walkways and a couple of buildings are lined with vendors selling everything from knives that are always sharp to air-brushed tattoos, hot tubs to dried fruit.   There are shows featuring a hypnotist, tigers from India, chain saw art, reptiles, a magician, a juggling comedian, and several musical performances.  

Some evenings there are still rodeo or horse-related events, but they have to compete with the volume of the band playing just down the walk.  I guess the most obvious signs of the way the State Fair is changing with the times is the Guitar Hero competition on Thursday and the Wii bowling contest for seniors on Wednesday.  Oy vey.

Monday, September 8, 2008

That time of year

This is a fun time of year in my home.  The Labor Day weekend is also the county fair, which is a huge deal in a town of less than 3000.  Class reunions (and family reunions) are planned for the weekend, because just about everyone comes home. This small town was the first settled in the area and is the county seat--thus the fair.  There is a much larger city, just 18 miles away, that would love to host, but so far has been unable to wrangle it away.  

Mom's house is where all the family likes to get together.  On this particular evening, the kids, grandkids, and great grandkids (except mine) had a lovely pot luck dinner and visit.  Parking is always tricky when all 5 children, 16 of 18 grandchildren, and their families (including 14 of 20 great grands) come over.

Sometimes, it's a good thing Mom lives on a corner lot.

Mom has a large lot with a volley ball net, a sand box, a basketball hoop, a tire swing, and lots of room for running.  Who wouldn't want to hang around?  I sometimes feel a bit left out because my own children are always the ones missing, my grandchildren are not part of the fun.  I'll be content that they are doing well where they are and that probably makes their visits all the more special.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Mountain View

My view today is just the same as I've posted sky.  So, I'm cheating a little and using a picture taken last Friday (not in time for Sky Watch).  My hubby and I were in the mountains cutting and splitting a pickup load of wood.  Actually, to be honest, he did the cutting and splitting, I carried and stacked.  My mother's house belonged to her parents and it has a wood-burning addition to its oil furnace.  When heating oil is so expensive, Mom likes to use the stove for heating the house when she can.  We (her children and grandchildren) usually make sure she has a supply of wood for the winter.

If you click on the picture, you can see the distant mountains more clearly.  Thank you to Tom, Dot, and those who started this fun idea.

Politics and friendship

I guess it is bound to happen.  Political discussions will be difficult to avoid for the next two months.  The real tests will be whether acquaintances and friendships can survive the differences of opinion.  I mentioned in a post some time ago that I avoided the blogs of those who are obviously pushing a certain candidate.  I think voting booths are private for a reason.

That said, I ran across some quotes from Abraham Lincoln which really struck a chord with me.  Maybe they will for you too, maybe not.  Sometimes, while tolerance is praised as a virtue, it is only practiced if others agree with your views.

You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by encouraging class hatred.
You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away initiative and independence.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.
Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sleeping together

This post is not as racy as the title may seem; I'm talking about SLEEPING.  That activity that we should try and spend 7 to 8 hours doing every day/night.  Our bodies need it, our brains require it, and our psyches depend on it.  But sleeping comfort is a very individual thing.  It varies with our size, our health, our experience, our age, and even our disposition.  

Hubby and I have three separate sleep surfaces: one he loves but is not that good for me, one I like and he grumbles about, and one (in our trailer) that we have finally made palatable in short bursts for both. I like a soft, giving mattress (I loved sleeping alone in our water bed years ago), while he likes it to feel soft but with strong support underneath (he hated sleeping alone in the water bed).  So, to solve this little dilemma, we have just ordered a sleep number bed for the house.  That way we hope we can both be comfortable together.  It does seem silly, when one looks at the price, but a good night's sleep is pretty valuable--especially as we get older (and older, and older).  We ordered the most popular, middle of the line model.  I'll let you know how this sleeping arrangement works out.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Not enough to talk about..

I'm beginning to struggle finding topics for blogging.  Some use wildlife and/or nature pictures to educate, some find perspective in history, some have a love of quilting (or scrapbooks or canning or knitting) to share, some have jokes or witticisms to give a chuckle, some give profound thoughts for inspiration, some use their love of pets, some like daily topics and participating in theme days, and some share little parts of their family's life.  Of course there are many combinations.  Where am I?  

I don't like to have to have pictures all the time; they're time consuming.  My mother has tried and tried, mostly unsuccessfully,  to get me interested in my ancestors.  I'm not crafty or inspirational, don't have pets, can't remember jokes, don't like the structure of too many themes, and my family life is pretty dull since my adored grandchildren are on both coasts.  (That reminds me, I need to find a cute gift for Lindsey who will be 3 on September 9.  When one is that age, just a package in the mail with a surprise is lots of fun,)

 We spent part of the long weekend getting a load of wood for Mom and helping to prepare and freeze 112 pints of corn with my in-laws.  I have two broken fingernails, a bruise on my arm, stiff muscles in my legs, and a little sunburn on the back of my neck.  Fascinating stuff.