Tag Archives: Humor

A meditation on a Fall afternoon

Discouragement: When you look at the big pile of leaves and realize that you still have several hours of work left to do — and there are still leaves in the trees!  

On a brighter side:  I don’t have any grass to cut during the summer.




It’s  International Talk Like A Pirate Day.

Why?   Best reason of all:   Just because it’s fun!

Big, Odd, Cheap

I don’t often go to big bargin bin stores, the kind of outlet that sell overruns, out of date, or unusually colored batches of various retail items. I don’t like to shop, and it is the kind of store that one must spend time in, searching for a bargain, rather than a specific item. Although I needed a specific item (the ever-exciting shelf liner), I knew that they usually had something that would work, so it was worth my time to stop when I was nearby today. I also wanted to see if I could find that stinky, smells so bad it likely is bad for you but covers those nasty bumps and bruises on dark woodwork furniture polish. I can’t seem to find it anywhere, so I was hoping that there was a forgotten bottle on a dusty shelf somewhere, an escapee from a toxic chemical purge event.

I avoid stores like this because I get lost in them. Yes they are large, but it isn’t a geographic disorientation. Sensory overload causes me to lose time and, if I stay too long, I lose a sense of equilibrium too. All of the bizarre items, placed wherever there seems to be room, call to me and I find myself looking at all sorts of things that I would never consider buying.

Multi-tasking has its appeal, but really? Who needs a steel-wool & micro-fiber dust cloth combo? What is the purpose of a long-handled brush that looks like a daisy designed by a toddler? I’ve never found a reason to have faux leaves on my toilet brush. But, is it really a toilet brush? Or is it a brush to suds up your back? It was next to the cleaners, but it doesn’t seem sized correctly. I found its purple sibling — same size, same design — near the shampoo and weirdly tinted body soap.

And then there are the odd lots, those lots where the dye on the packaging was wrong. The hazelnut and cocoa spread with the purple and gold labels, the suntan lotion in a pea green bottle. Perhaps for use when sunbathing near brackish water? Or the bottles that were special promotions. I don’t have any problems with buying a bottle of dishwashing liquid when the label had a much shorter shelf life than the product. But, I can’t help but think: what marketing flunky thought anyone would buy a “limited edition” Christmas themed bottle of detergent?

It is, however, only $2, a savings of about 80 cents. Who cares what it looks like? It’s soap, not a home decor statement. But, they likely won’t have any next time I need some.

Quantum Physics and Driving

It was a beautiful, but hot, August day.   Having tested my ability to drive following a summer spent with my right foot in casts and orthoboots, I borrowed my son’s beat-up college car to drive myself to work.   Freedom, at last!  I always knew that my city had a poor public transportation system, but until I was forced to find alternative transportation, I didn’t realize how bad it was.  Unable to bike or to walk, I was forced to rely on others.

At the first stop light, my phone rang.  Without any thought, I picked it up and began chatting with a friend.  I slowed for a school bus stop but barely noticed when the bus turned right as I turned left.  I had been a passenger along this route for months, had memorized nearly every aspect of the scenery as husband, son, mother, or friend transported me to work on a daily basis.  There was the neatly maintained red brick home, like all the other neatly maintained homes in the neighborhood, except for a chain link fence surrounding the house on all sides, including barricading the front door.   There was the two-story house that had been designed to be in a Tudor style; it’s owners had painted all of the faux wooden “beams” in vivid colors as if it were a Victorian Grand Painted Lady. There was a house with three minivans, one undrivable, in the drive, and a Splash and Play in the front yard.  There was the mansion on the north side of the road, seated at a distance from the road at the top of a hill.   It backed up to a creek where my friend Carrie and I used to play when we were nine years-olds.  Sneaking through the back fence was scary, thrilling, and freeing.  Our reward:  a large grassy field filled with wildflowers that we thought was unseen from everyone in the world.  Lying on the ground, looking up at the clouds, we felt that we were the rulers of the universe.

I knew this road.  Knew the houses, knew the hills, knew the hidden drives and the narrow shoulders. I knew this road, just like the main streets to the north and south of it, connecting two main highways and the quickest route to avoid the morning interstate congestion. I knew it as part of my world for decades.

I continued talking on the phone, discussing the current anti-inflams prescribed by my orthopedist with my pharmacist friend.  The phone call ended abruptly when I exclaimed — well, you can fill in the blanks!

The one thing about this road I didn’t know was the speed trap; vanquished all summer by heat and humidity, it had reappeared on this, the first day of school.

“Do you know how fast you were going, mam?” the officer asked.

The first response that came to mind:   “No, but I know exactly where I am.”

Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle: physics never fails. Not realizing speed limit signs as part of the landscape frequently does.

For the Birds?

Apparently, many people were upset after reading William J Broad’s article
How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body, in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine. I missed the original article, but saw enough headlines by the end of the week that I decided I needed to read it. After all, what if I was missing out on something valuable, if for no other reason than to keep me from not returning to yoga classes. Even though I haven’t been in — ummm….let’s see…three years?

When I started yoga a few years ago, I initially thought that it could help me recover from a serious foot injury that had left me in an orthoboot — something more akin to a 5 pound metal bucket than a boot — for five months and needing a cane to keep my balance when walking. I think I secretly held out hope that I might also recover my 19-year-old self — or at least her body — that took Yoga for PE credit in college, and then continued to go to the class twice a week the following semester, even missing out on dinner and the dorm community’s ritual of watching M*A*S*H reruns before the evening news, because there were a few cute and seemingly cool guys in the class. Turns out one was a real stoner and the other two were there to pick up cool, cute girls — cool, cute girls who were not me. The yoga helped for a while, but mostly just the tree pose which my physical therapist had also shown me without calling it “Tree” and without telling me to envision my chakras while standing like a tree. Months after standing in tree pose in my office during lengthy conference calls, my foot began to feel like its old self and I began to believe that dreams of wearing fashionable heels again in the future might really come true.

But I didn’t keep attending yoga classes. I stopped going when my instructor recommended that I seek treatment from an “alternative holistic” who would do some sort of non-invasive bloodletting of my foot while drinking tea. I really wanted to tell her about how I had had a Lisfranc injury which didn’t happen too often but, interestingly — at least to me — was named after Napoleon’s gynecologist. I thought this was a funny oddity. Napoleon’s gynecologist that is, not the injury. Ms. Yogi just sniffed about the medical establishment. I asked her if she had a cold. I don’t think that she missed me. I never found out if the holistic practitioner drank the tea or if I would.

Several weeks ago, another blogger pointed me towards this article by Sarah Miller Why Yoga Can Be So Irritating, Although You Should Go Anyway in The Awl. I laughed so hard I almost choked on my coffee. Instead I spit it through my nose. I’ll get some good stretches in when I get around to scrubbing the coffee stains off the wall. Good thing I wasn’t doing a head stand at the time. I recognize most of these yoga class-related issues. But, in fairness, I should point you to Miller’s follow-up (also in The Awl) to the NYT article: Six Reasons to Ignore the New York Times Yoga Article

Despite this, I am considering returning to a yoga class. I can’t say whether it is good or bad for you. Like most things, you should know your limits — and it shouldn’t take the wisdom of an advanced yogi to know them. Chances are, if you want to scream in pain or giggle uncontrollably, you probably aren’t in the right place to do a specific pose. If you must find an excuse, be sure to tell the class that you aren’t in the right place — then ignore their hugs and well-wishes that you make your peace with the pose.

My limits, as far as I can tell, involve being careful that my lunch doesn’t make an expelling noise while doing downward facing dog. And finding a place in the classroom where I won’t be downwind of others with the same issue. Or learning to really relax during the relaxation at the end of class, rather than being so concerned that I might fall asleep and begin to snore. And finding the place in room with the best access to the air conditioning. Along with no mention of alternative wacko bloodletting practitioners, if I could have these things, I think I could do yoga classes again.

On the other hand, though, I look around and wonder if yoga isn’t just for the birds:

What's the name of this asana?

23 examples of one skill I possess

I have a skill in my skill set that I’m not very proud of.  It is something that I know that I’ve been able to do — and do well — since I was in junior high.   My ability probably manifested itself before that time.  In fact, I recall when I was in my 20’s, my mother found my kindergarten report card.  The signs were there then:  doesn’t always play well with others (I’m better now, thank you) and has difficulty staying on task.

That’s right:  I excel at Procrastination.   Take today as an example.   I said that I was going to work on my novel today.   I didn’t set any goals for word count, but I was hoping to write until about 2pm.  It is now 1:47 EST.  So far, I have:

* Experimented with some new hair product that my stylist gave me last Friday.

* Checked on due dates for library books.

* Read email.   Several times.

* Looked up doctors in my son’s college town for him.  Gave him remedies for his cold.  Verified his insurance.

* Exchanged some email jokes with a friend.

* Read through several posts on Open Salon.   Made several of the authors a ‘favorite’.  Checked my current stats on the essay I posted last week.  (Bragging:  was made an “editor’s pick” and on the weekend cover page.  It is a revised version of this post.)

* Made breakfast.

* Made lunch.

*Made soup for dinner. Looked up recipes to make soup taste better. Improved soup.

* Tried on my new outfit (for a function next weekend) to determine what shoes would go best with it.   Finding a blouse is probably more important, but I was focused on the shoes.

* Called my sister and figured out a time when she can help me hem said outfit.   Debriefed a family event yesterday.   Restrained myself from being catty.   Really, I did!

* Thought of four new essay ideas.

* Played a game on the computer.

* Played Facebook.  Not really much different from a game, except for formatting.  And no points.

* Observed the woodpeckers and robins in the yard.

* Answered a few phone calls.

* Ignored a few phone calls.

* Investigated a limited offer coupon deal.   Spoke with stone mason about said deal.

* Gathered up recycling.

* Investigated getting a flu shot today.

* Checked blog stats.  Tried to figure out some of the referer links.  (Always a mystery to me).

* Deleted spam comments.

* Wrote this.

Word count on novel remains the same. Productivity is all a matter of framing.