Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Where's My Carrot?

Spring has sprung

.... unfortunately, so's the button on my favorite pair of slacks. (Uh-oh.)

Reflecting on previous weight-loss regimens, I used to imagine this giant carrot dangling out in front ... telling me, "hang in there!" More often than not, this apparition was a fella's face, an upcoming vacation, wedding, etc. Remember Twiggy? Think role-model! (Yeah, in my dreams... not even with my lips sewn shut!)

So, suppose I've grown content in the here n' now? DH says he can't tell any difference. (Smart man .. LOL!)

Forgive me, Dr. Atkins. I've sinned against you by thought, drive-through and mouthful. Having shunned carbs for years (decades, actually), I fell off the wagon last spring, big-time. Head-over-teakettle, I've chased after chicken-fried steak, grits and Cheetos ... grinning all the way.

Tho' the good doctor's no-carb philosophy is somewhat controversial, it's always worked for me. Why, discovering my carnivorous habits could be beneficial? No portion control? Wheeeee!

Yes, there must be balance. All things in moderation?

Right now, I've got to get back to Ground Zero and reacquaint myself with my sneakers. This may take some getting used to.... must find that carrot!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I'd penned this post some months ago ~ then totally forgot about it! But, I overheard something just this morning about a woman who'd died, because the police never responded to the correct address following her son's 911 call. Scary stuff, eh?! Here's my own tale:

Have you ever had occasion to dial 911? Thankfully, I’ve not. But, try telling that to a certain Police Department in Florida.

I think… no I’m sure, it was the day after Christmas 2000. Returning home from a few days spent down south with mom, I noticed an official-looking, blue piece of paper affixed to my front door. Its contents informed me that the Police had been there in response to two 911 calls -- originating from inside my residence in the early hours. Say whaaat?!

Leaving my bags where they lay, I ran to the landline, dialed the PD’s non-emergency line and was patched through to the 911 Supervisor.
Process of elimination: No, at or about 2:00AM, I was sound asleep some 100 miles to the south. No, I live alone. No, no-one has a second key. No, all locks were changed when I purchased the townhouse. No, this phone’s the old-fashioned kind, not wireless. Yes, I own a dog … she was with me the entire time.

My turn: “Do you mind telling me, what exactly did your operator hear?
Nothing, nothing was said.
Both times? (To myself, This is crazy!!!)

I have to admit, they were very polite, thanked me for my time and asked if I would be available at this number if they had any further questions. One hour passed, then two. Unable to contain my curiosity, I called back. Turns out, they’d determined there was a snafu in the county’s switching system … something like that. I became lost in their techno-talk.

Later, I was left with two burning questions, neither one a pleasant scenario:

When there was no response to their knocks, why didn't the Police force entry? Remember, the Operator said she only heard breathing. What if I (or someone) was being held against my will, or laying on the floor having suffered a stroke?

Then, what circumstances surrounded the real caller? I know, that’s confidential, but I hate to think someone desperately needed the police and had no response.

(Have you figured out yet, I'm a true-crime junkie?)

Life’s sure curious. A few days later I was relating “my mystery” to a friend who reminded me of a talk given by a Public-Information Officer a few years before:

(He said), given the enormous growth of the County, it might be prudent to call 911 during non-peak hours ... (to) immediately say, "This is not an emergency." .... then ask, "What address is showing on your screen?”.

Well, I never mustered the courage to make that call …. I don’t want to get bawled out by some overworked operator or worse, issued a citation! Some days, you've just got to trust the System.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I'd Rather Fight Than Switch!

That old Taryton ad’s not been seen in like, forever, but their motto’s embedded in my “gray matter.” I was reminded of that tag just this morning, hearing another shopper remark to her companion, “I miss not having to shop for generics.”

Now, I depend on DH for so many things … particularly his shopping savvy. While I’d flunk “The Price is Right” in the first 5 minutes, he actually enjoys the shopping experience. Wise to weekly specials and cost comparisons, he’s probably saved us umpteen dollars over the years.

And slowly but surely, I’m making a real effort to catch on. I sure don’t want to be confused with the creature (whom I’m embarrassed to admit is a relative) who wrote on her Christmas card, “We’ve decided not to participate in the recession this year.” Unbelievable.

Here's a ‘for instance’ I can personally vouch for: My mother’s old recipe for an all-in-one bathroom cleaner that's totally replaced several “mainstream” brands in our household: 1 part water, 1 part vinegar, 1 part ammonia (in a spray bottle): Put-it-all-together-and-shake-it-all-about.

Back to generics. While I applaud their efforts, more than a few are just plain sorry. In the manner of MC Hammer’s, "You Can’t Touch This!" … a few of my own “keepers” include: Best (aka Hellman’s) Mayonaisse, Dasani, Bounty, Charmin, Palmolive ...etc., ad nauseum.

So, have you had any real success with generic or "off" brands? I promise not to tell the folks on Madison Avenue!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Is it just me?

So, last weekend I'm half-dozing on the loveseat … ruminating the merits of getting up off my lard-a** and doing something worthwhile.
Elected to remain prone, but couldn’t ignore the disembodied voice from across the room - National Geographic channel; something about rhino relocation in Africa. (Z-z-z-z-z-z.)

Suddenly, jolted out of my stupor. Here come the cheetah’s(?), after an aged buffalo who'd collapsed beside her companion, (I hoped) to catch her 2nd wind.
In an oddly-dispassionate tone, the narrator informs us, “The slaughter has begun.” I can’t believe my eyes; the camera doggedly, cruelly stays focused.

“Why doesn’t someone DO something?... Don’t these people have rifles?” On my feet, practically shouting at the television.
DH quietly answers, “They won’t interfere with Mother Nature.”

But why do they feel compelled to broadcast it? Just like certain “R” or “X”-rated offerings, I wouldn’t want our grandchildren to witness those atrocities. Which, of course, reminds me of a favorite quote from that 70’s movie, “Butterflies are Free”:

Mrs. Baker: [talking about Ralph's play] I do not intend to pay money to see nudity, obscenity and degeneracy.

Ralph: Mrs. Baker, these things are all a part of life.

Mrs. Baker: I know, Mr. Santori. So is diarrhea, but I wouldn't classify it as entertainment.

Ya, OK, sometimes Nature sucks. That's why I'm happy they've provided a large “off” button on the remote.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Psalm for the Workplace

In response to the economy ~ and like so many other businesses, my workplace has had to implement certain cost-savings measures. No fun. Needless to say, stress levels have escalated proportionately; most days last week I arrived home mentally exhausted.

“Something’s gotta give.”

Then, what do you know! While searching for some tax papers last night, I discovered this Psalm and wanted to share. ‘Wish I knew who originally penned it, so I might give credit where credit's due.

The Lord is my real boss, I shall not want.
He gives me peace, when chaos is all around me.
He gently reminds me to pray and do all things
without murmuring and complaining.

He reminds me that He is my source and not my job.
He restores my sanity every day and guides my decisions that I might honor Him in all that I do.

Even though I face absurd amounts of e-mails, system crashes, unrealistic deadlines, budget cutbacks, and an aging body that doesn’t cooperate every morning, I still will not stop – for He is with me! His presence, His peace, and His Power will see me through.

His Faithfulness and love is better than any bonus check.
His retirement plan beats any 401k there is!
When it is all said and done, I’ll be working for
Him a whole lot longer and for that, I bless His name!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

(Please) Don't Send Me Flowers Anymore

OK, I’m weird. I'm not particularly fond of chocolate, diamonds ... or flowers.
Especially flowers.

.....at least, those that arrive via courier, all stiff and arranged “just so.” In a word, they remind me of Death. Too many funerals, too many flowers, ya-da, ya-da, ya-da. (Were he alive today, Freud would probably have a field-day with my psyche.’)

And I'm probably stepping on some toes here, but have to admit (I think) FTD-gifting is the lazy-man's way out. Unless you're hundreds of miles away, how much effort or imagination does that take?

'Have to agree with my mom's philosophy.... that a single rose ~ or wild flowers picked on the spur of the moment ~ mean more than any expensive arrangement.

A few years back, I was honestly relieved that no-one remembered my birthday. "Whew!" By the time you get to be my age, public hurrah's are sort of embarrassing.
Then, someone casually wished me 'HB' in passing. (shhhh!)

Too late. Coming back from lunch, here's this enormous, gosh-awful bouquet and a chocolate cake from my co-workers. "Oh, you shouldn't have!" (Really.)

What's any gracious lady to do? I promptly burst into tears and walked out. Not cool, I know.

Months later, when DH and I announced our intent to be married, Planning became a family affair. Both his daughter and DIL found it incomprehensible that I didn’t intend to carry a bouquet.

“But what WILL you carry?,” N. queried?

“Oh, how about your baby?
… or my puppy?”

Back-and-forth’ forth-and-back.
For the sake of harmony, I capitulated.
Unearthing our parents’ wedding portraits, I pointed, “those aren’t too awful.” (Lilies.)
The ladies were off and running.

Somewhere along their errands, however, the lilies became “root-beer” roses.

I’m sure there was much thought and hard work, transforming them into bouquets, boutonnières, into granddaughters’ tiaras. Still, after a couple “adult beverages” at the reception, I quietly buried the offending flora in the nearest trash receptacle.

Where's all this going, you may wonder? An exception.

I'm mad about carnations. Green carnations.

See, my father always made sure I had them every St. Paddy’s Day -- both when I was too young to care … then, grown and gone, hundreds of miles from home. It's been nearly 30 years since I received a green carnation on my birthday. Curious, no-one noticed.

But then, I never spoke it out-loud.
Well, 30 years is definitely too long for regrets. This year I’m breaking my defined aversion to FTD and sending myself some green carnations... on his behalf. To heck with what Thomas Wolfe wrote ...you can go home again.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

How to Tell if Your Anchorman is City-Folk

Wow, things have been Crazy,to-the-Power-of-10 this last week.
I forget... are these the "Ides" of March?

Since crawling under the covers and staying there isn't an option, I find it easier to laugh. Hopefully, this will tickle your "funny bone", too!


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

...For Those Who Peril on the Sea

Pardon, but I’m feeling a bit emotional this evening.

I’ve never met Marquis Cooper, Corey Smith nor their two buddies. Still, for the past few days I’ve been pretty much riveted to news reports from Florida’s gulf coast. Rejoicing when Nick Schuyler was located, now sick at heart to learn the U.S. Coast Guard has called off the search for his 3 comrades.

Having lived in and about Clearwater for many years, I once enjoyed deep-sea excursions on those same waters, crowing with unbridled glee when the waves grew choppy. Go figure -- I’m the gal next to you on an airplane who’ll stiffen and pale at the slightest bump … but put me in a boat in rough seas and I’m grinning ear-to-ear. “
Obviously, Saturday’s weather conditions were worse, much worse than anyone might imagine.

So, despite this computer’s ailing speaker system, I’ve stayed tuned to my “alma mater”, WTSP-TV for their round-the-clock coverage. (Can I say “alma mater” about a business? Having worn the badge for near a decade, I vote “yes.”) It appears the entire Tampa Bay community ~ heck, perhaps the whole nation ~ has been caught up in the saga.

Well, they weren’t the first and probably won’t be the last unfortunate fishermen we read about in the news. ‘Just didn’t know I’d really be missing those great smiles.