Oct 31, 2014

The Sound of Our Words...Are You Following Me?

This thought has just been wandering around in my mind for a while. How can we be sure that our readers hear the sound of our words.

After my rant about the blog post I had read making fun of old people the other day, the author and I carried on a comment conversation concerning the sound of our words. The fact was, not knowing that person's writing style, I did not understand exactly what she was saying. It is one of the glitches that bloggers encounter every day. I suppose that is why we use all those smiley faces and parenthesis enclosed stage prompts to make sure that our readers understand. (Smile now.)

"Are you following me?" is one of those phrases that can be read a number of ways. For example, are you clicking the follow button in the sidebar or liking me on Facebook? (I like that a lot.) OR are you interested in my aging ideas and want to read more OR do you understand my message OR are you just a stalker that might figure out where I live and show up at my front door? Which is it? See, I cannot tell from the words you write unless you are very, very clear.

Once several years ago I responded to a Twitter message from TedInJest. He misread my tone of voice and thought I was being mean. I went back and reread what I had post. It was a very innocent all be it silly remark but it did not come into his mind the same way it came out of mine.

English: A motel office in Key West, FL. Franç...
English: A motel office in Key West,
 FL. Français : Le bureau d'un motel à Key West,
en Floride. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I had the Frugal Traveler go off on me in a blog post of all online version. He had written about staying in a motel in Florida on the cheap. I looked online to see if I could find the motel and was not impressed. I responded to a Tweet of his asking how clean the motel was. Boy did I make him mad. He wrote a post saying that I was blogging amateur and implied that I had no right to question him at all. I am a nobody and he is very important. It was not a good thing. If he had seen my face or heard the tone of my voice, he would have known that I am a road trip traveler and like to stay in MOM and POP motels. He should have also known that I was a fan of his. All I needed was a little reassuring.

So, be careful to put a disclaimer on your posts somewhere. Don't take for granted that people can hear the tone of your voice in your words.

Has this ever happened to you?


Oct 29, 2014

Excuse me...did I really say that?

I have been posting my opinions and thoughts on this blog for what seems like a very long time. Discussions, trends and rants have come and gone. There have been elections and best sellers and, of course, a lot of stupidity (some of it others and some of it mine). I often go back and read what I have said about one thing or another to only wonder "Did I really say that?"

Here are a few examples:

Paper know, news that is printed on a piece of paper. I thought in my stupidity that no one would care about the paper newspaper after they had experienced the delights of reading their news online. Boy was I wrong about that one. The things to miss are many and the way it has played out surprises me.

I miss the newspaper a lot even though I did not read the front page (it always made me mad). I loved the style section, the comics and best of all sitting beside my husband sharing a crossword puzzle. I also loved that fact that I could line the garbage can with it or do a small painting project using the newspaper as a drop cloth.

We have a friend that put a large screen TV over the hutch in the dining room because he missed the morning newspaper so much. The dining room will never be the same and I really don't think the TV has solved the empty feeling the man has while he is drinking his morning coffee.

You should have seen the comments I received on an article I wrote referring to Apartment Therapy's suggestion that we get rid of all the paper in our houses. It was hilarious. It all started like this:
Re-nest over at Apartment Therapy posted an article called 10 Ways to Kick the Paper Habit. The suggestions were for those of you that are drowning in a sea of files gone wild and articles about a trip you planned on taking 20 years ago. (The rest of the story here.)
The truth is I want our paper newspaper back.

Elections rants...Honestly, I believed that our political leaders were open minded enough to at least talk to each other. I voted just like everyone else but I did not fear that a party would hold me hostage for almost 8 years just in order to prove that they were right. I talked about being nice and believing in the system. I think I was wrong, wrong, wrong. That one is hard.
But those reasonableeducated and experienced men and women in the political arena usually meet each other and debate with civility. I think there was a time when they could even sit down and compromise. I often wondered how they did that. Could it be that they had gone past tolerance to acceptance? Maybe they can discuss, disagree and know that the other person will give a little but will not change their mind. (from How Tolerant Are You, 2012)
New authors...I have often talked about there being too many books and too little time. I limited myself to prize winners and challenging books. I wrote about it A LOT! What a mistake that turned out to be. 

Several years ago an author approached me about reading his book. It was called Scafell and was written by a Brit named Matthew Pink. Pink had written the book, edited it on his own and then published it on Amazon in a ebook format. I bought the book and read it. While dusting off my speed reading skills, I also found a wonderful story with some breathtaking words. I thought book needed some polishing but it gave me the experience of reading a talented writer before they became famous. There were no prizes but the book was a wonderful read. That was lesson one.

Then I joined a group of women online and on Facebook that were mid-life professionals and boomers. Among those women were some accomplished published writers. Kathleen O'Donnell The Last Day for Rob Rhino) and Clair Cook (Best Staged Plans, Seven Year Itch + several more) came to my attention and I learned to love a good "beach read" again. I laughed and cried with their characters. I pictured the stories made into movies. My reading life came back to me and I had to admit I was wrong. Not every book has to be a big scholarly book. Sometimes I am allowed to read just for fun.

Motherhood/mother-in-laws/children...I am just a big bag of wind sometimes. Okay, I said it. If I was EVER right, which I doubt very much, I am grateful.  I do like this one though. 10 Ways To Be a Good Mother-in-law (2010) talked about the hard truths. It's too bad that all that wisdom came much too late for me. I still like that blog post.

Looking young...One thing I did say recently that I think is probably right...there is no cream or exercise that can halt the passing of time. I know I am getting old and there it is.

But I have been know to talk about neck exercises and plastic surgery and even laser treatments...none of which I actually did. I probably should have kept my big mouth shut but being a Cliff Claven is hard. I have no idea if I was right or wrong about that stuff...probably not. Here is a quote from Aging: Does the Back of Your Head Match Your Face?
Many of the boomer blogs have sections devoted to "anti-aging formulas" and foods to make them look younger. If it were possible, and we could actually turning back the clock, our faces would always match our hair. 
Retirement...Now this is a subject I can talk about with authority because I have lived the life for many, many years. I know that you need to be happy with what you have, smart about money and keep your mind working even when your body can't. I WAS NOT WRONG about any of that. However, if I ever said that it was all going to be fun and games or that living this stage of a life is easy, I was very, very wrong. I love my life but retirement is not for everyone. 

When I first started this part of my life journey, I could not understand why people didn't like being retired. I scoffed at them (in private). I was wrong, wrong, wrong! Now I know that many people are just not cut out for finding their own way. They need the purpose that work or big volunteering jobs brings to their life.

When was I right? Well, I still think that exercise is better than a sleeping pill, a short fast walk is better than no walk at all, a social life is very important to mental health and that a person should be nice even when they don't feel like it. I still love big hefty books with lots of pages and deep reading required. I will always believe that everyone could benefit from reading books like Cleopatra: A Lifethat requires a sharp mind and a dictionary. Hobbies are important. My garden is my refuge and one of my favorite hobbies. And the list goes on.

Stick with me. The fun has only birthday is next week and I will be 73 years old. If is don't turn up one day, don't worry...I am only out shopping. :)


Oct 27, 2014

"Old People"...thoughts on Penn and Teller "Bullshit" TV Show

en: Penn & Teller, during the 40th Emmy Awards...
en: Penn & Teller, during the 40th Emmy Awards pt: A dupla de ilusionistas e comediantes Penn & Teller, durante o 40 a edição do Emmy Awards, em Agosto de 1988. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you are one of the millions of people that have faithfully watched Penn and Teller's show on Showtime called "Bullshit", you probably didn't miss the episode they ran called "Old People" (Season 8, Episode 8). I just watched it this morning and laughed my "old person" head off. The very fact that they even thought to disprove all those myths about my people just tickled me to death. Even though I am 73 (almost) I wondered if it were possible to prove younger people wrong about us. We can be a little annoying I know.

On sex for example, Penn and Teller managed to find a group of people from Florida that were actually willing to talk about sex. That surprised me a lot...I am not talking and you cannot make me! But good for those Floridians that were willing to disprove the idea the old people aren't up to or don't like a little hanky panky with their husbands/wives or whoever. I applaud them for making the rest of us look alive.

Then there was was the part about "smelling musty" remember I wrote about that subject here last week. When an actual scientific test was done on a mixed group of old and young people with young people smelling the armpits of the test group, it turned out that people are people. Some are musty and some are not...age has nothing to do with it.

But best of all I loved Penn and Teller's take on "old people driving". They pointed out that statistics show that old people are a lot safer drivers with fewer accident and fatalities on the road. They said that "not killing people with their cars was a good thing and that worked for them". You have to love it!

So there...I am not a bad person...Penn and Teller said so! Maybe a little annoying but just get over it!


Oct 26, 2014

Looking Back at 2010: Global Warming and the Grandma's Litter Patrol

Note: I wrote this post in 2010 because I feel so strongly about the influence we have on our children and I have never understood people apathy toward cherishing our Mother Earth.  I am reposting it for your enjoyment.

I really don't know where else to begin teaching our children about the necessity for keeping our earth clean. They need to know that it will mean a better life for them and their children.

That is where my beautiful grandsons come into the picture. I want to teach them that it can be the simplest things that make the biggest impact. And believe me they are listening. They are at the age between wonder and delight.

Last week we were taking care of our grandsons for a few days. Every visit to Grandma's house has to include a trip to a nearby park. The little green place is full of nooks and crannies and bridges and water.  It is also full of people playing basketball and enjoying a Sunday afternoon picnic. It is a well used and sometimes abused green space.

When we visited the park this last week, we were trying to see if the tiny pond with a creek running through it might have fish or frogs. The water skippers were busy with their big shoes on their feet skimming across the water. But search as we might, we didn't find any fish. Grandma the oldest said someone threw a pop can in the water! The the smallest asked What's that white thing Grandma?

I can honestly can say that I had a feeling of visceral disgust as I looked at garbage in our little park's water. I think that our children should only see clean water and shining skies. This was one of those moments when you wish what happened hadn't but also knew that now was the time. The lesson had begun. The choice was about action or inaction. Did I want them to think that someone else would take care of it or did I want to find a way for the three of us to take responsibility for our environment? For me, there really wasn't a choice. All I needed was a rake, a pair of rubber gloves, two little boys and a big plastic garbage bag.

Two Little Boys
A Rake
And a Garbage Bag
We climbed down the bank to the creek, through the bushes. I raked the garbage and Brayden held the bag. After we were done, we put everything in the bin...that is where it should have been in the first place I said. The lesson was over.

Hopefully, in some small way what we do can help. It doesn't matter if global warming is caused by us or by mother nature. The fact is, humans are having an effect on the world. How could we not? When did we forget the message about global warming was simply about keeping our own backyard clean? But, even more importantly, are we forgetting to teach our children and grandchildren about how we can prevent the destruction of Mother Earth because we are so caught up in why Mother Earth continues to get warmer and warmer?

Have a wonderful day.


Oct 25, 2014

The Unique Birthday and a social conscience all in one!

It is almost my birthday. I don't know about you but I-love-my-birthday. Age has nothing to do with it at all. It is all about the gifts and attention. I like gifts and attention lot. If I play my cards right, I can make my birthday last until Christmas.

My family knows all about my fondness for great food and a beautiful kitchen full of people so they try to make my dreams come true. They also know how strongly I feel about social issues and making my money go to work when I shop.

Oven to Table Entertainment Platter
Click here for more Christmas Gift ideas.
So when my beautiful Oven to Table Entertainment Platter came from UncommonGoods the other day, I was delighted. This is something my family would have chosen for me. It is the perfect combination of all those things I love…kitchen tools, entertaining and and buying from a company with a with a social conscience. Plus, it is the ideal gift for a women like me (click here for more ideas). It just does not get any better.

The platter is soapstone so it can be either chilled in the refrigerator or heated in the oven. I can then place it on the handmade wooden rack and use it to serve appetizers or dinner items. It will keep the food either hot or cold, depending on my needs. On top of that, it is absolutely beautiful. I am leaving it out on display in my kitchen.

As for the social conscience piece of the gift puzzle, I think UncommonGoods is one of the online shopping sources that will make my Christmas or birthday gift money keep on giving even after the big day has passed. They describe themselves like this:
...UncommonGoods is a privately-owned retailer that endeavors to feature unique designs and handcrafted gifts created in harmony with the environment and without harm to animals or people... the lowest-paid seasonal worker starts at 50% above the minimum wage. 
Fully one third of their items are recycled or upcycled products and they sell made in the USA items whenever possible.

For me, buying from this group is a no-brainer.

Have a wonderful day.


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