Monday, July 27, 2015

BUTTERFINGERS AT THE GROCERY STORE


I love to grocery shop. But, there is one aspect to it, that drives me bonkers. That is... opening the plastic bags to deposit fruit or veggies. It is a real chore for me. No ifs, ands, or buts about it… I can not master the art, of doing what should be, a simple task. Those bags remain firmly closed, and I struggle to open 'em… for at least 5 to 10 minutes, each time…  feeling like a complete idiot. Nothing rattles my cage more than this. Well, perhaps that is overstating the problem a bit. But you catch my drift, right? As I attempt to gather my produce.... dealing with these bags is... irritating, distracting, not to mention... time consuming. Is it me? Or do you too, have an issue with them? If not, do you have any quick tips, to outsmart these pesky PLASTIC bags, so they say OPEN SESAME? This frustrated lady wants to know? Personally, I’d prefer PAPER ones, instead. Maybe, I should petition my local store, to offer them as an option... for old, weary shoppers with fumblefingers. Or is that BUTTERFINGERS? Why am I suddenly craving chocolate?


MISSION ACCOMPLISHED



Monday, July 20, 2015

COINS, A FOUNTAIN AND A PLASTIC BUCKET


Fountains delight me. I am mesmerized by them. Songs have been written about them and movies made. You find these glorious water features in the most conspicuous places. They reside on the grounds of museums, libraries, office buildings, town squares, malls, home gardens and the like. And they are always the center of attention. You see that water spurting up to the sky, and you are immediately drawn to the fountain. What adult doesn’t reach deep into their pocket or purse, to extract a penny or two, to throw inside the reflecting pool, puddling below? As young children we are taught to “make a wish” as we toss a coin into the fountain. And if we are lucky, that wish might really come true. If only we believe, lore tells us. The truth is, fountains give us hope. They make the seemingly impossible, possible for one scintilla of a second. They bring us comfort. The sound of the water… stills our hearts, and we feel no stress. The world is free of pain, fear. Time stands still. And we smile, don’t we? As we gaze deep within. Throughout the years, I have made my fair share of wishes… as I have tossed countless coins, into various fountains… across this great land. The other day was no exception. We were at the hospital. My husband was having some tests. After his procedures were over, we sat down, him and I… on a bench near a beautiful fountain, outside. With noise all around, there was a stillness there. A peaceful calm. It was in the middle of the afternoon. And as is customary, we parted with some loose change, hoping for a positive outcome. A wish come true. An answer to our prayers. But suddenly… our solitude was disturbed. And we watched in horror, as our money was scooped up by a groundskeeper. He was mopping up the coins, with a broom and placing them in a BIG ugly plastic bucket. Where was the MAGIC in that? Where were all those coins going? To what cause? Surely… it was bigger than our wishes, alone? When we asked, he said, it would be noble if the coins went to an organization like, “Make A Wish Foundation.” But… the truth is, he told us… they go into a fund to maintain the fountain. Nothing more, nothing less. End of story. This momentarily threw us for a loop. We were disillusioned. But we supposed, it ultimately made sense. Look at all the joy it brings to thousands of people every day. Without the fountain… where would all those WISHES, go? We watched this worker finish his job, take the money and leave. My husband and I… looked at each other. Despite our ages, we are still young at heart. Without hesitating, we reached deep into our pockets, once again... finding a few more spare coins... and we tossed them, with reckless abandon, into the fountain. Heads, say we win... whatever we wish. BECAUSE we BELIEVE.

CLEANING UP

 WISH MONEY 

Monday, July 13, 2015

A RECIPROCAL PROMISE YEARS AGO


My husband and I married many moons ago in Michigan. This week is our anniversary. It is a milestone year and begs for a celebration. We have been housebound for a long time, taking only staycations to the lake. It has been raining excessively, too. Traveling to somewhere exotic would be nice. A trip to Hawaii or Paris, as much as we’d like them, is out of the question, though. The money we have in the bank won’t stretch quite that far. However, we should be able to afford a little more than we did, back on our twenty-fifth anniversary. That was eons ago. Back then, we had not one thin dime to our names. We were living in a dirt cheap motel. And we went to the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago to celebrate, because it was FREE. We spent the entire day dealing with other people’s children… pushing, shoving, screaming and crying. It was not exactly the romantic adventure we had imagined. But we made do, trying to enjoy ourselves. The animals made it worth our while. My hubby and I...then sought out, the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, nearby... where we renewed our vows, saying a little ditty to each other... with lots of people milling about. It was sweet, but crowded... yet, somehow intimate enough, to mark the occasion. No one embraced us or the moment, so we went on our way. (Nowadays it would have been captured by a stranger’s cellphone and posted on social media.)  After our little impromptu ceremony... we picked up a cheeseburger, small fries and a drink... splitting the order  in half, to share in our motel room. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY. That was it. No friends, family. Just us. More years, than we care to mention... have passed since then. And, we've had plenty of other anniversaries to celebrate in style, with all the bells and whistles. But now, because of our advancing ages, particularly my husband's... this anniversary, this week... is especially important. Because the truth is... it could be our last one together. The Grim Reaper looms. So... we racked our brains for ideas. What to do or where to go to celebrate. Unfortunately, the main issue at hand is our mobility. Wherever we go... has to be easy to navigate, with little if any walking involved. And parking must make the place accessible. Breathing in the elements... is also a potential deal breaker, because of my husband’s pulmonary problems. The heat and humidity are not COPD friendly. So no risk taking in July. Yet… our hearts desire is strong. The outdoors beckons. The ocean is calling us home. But not yet. Not this week. In the late fall, instead... when the temperatures drop and wearing a sweater is a necessity. Somewhere, where the sharks aren’t biting... we’ll be renting a room for a week... in a vintage 1950’s motel with an ocean view. We’ll be chilling… with a few mimosas, or perhaps mulled cider… sitting on our butts, in a couple of basket weave lounge chairs… watching the waves roll in… as the sun rises out on the Atlantic Ocean. Did you know that ocean is the same color as my husband’s eyes? A beautiful seafoam green. My heart beats a little faster, when I see them both. Let’s hope nothing happens to change our plans between, now and then. We’re more than a little excited.


Monday, July 6, 2015

BRISK MORNING AIR


I was shopping and noticed the autumn Yankee Candles are out in the stores, right now. Seems kind of early to me. But I love Fall, so I had to peek at them.  I wanted to see what new names were in the mix. The old standby’s were there, Pumpkin Spice and Pumpkin Cupcake. Who doesn’t love those? I figured the names I wasn’t familiar with, must be the new releases. Fall Wreath, Fresh Salted Caramel, Ripe Berries, Sweet Red Apple, Cinnamon Meringue, Apple and Pumpkin Picking… just to name a few. Some of them sound good enough to eat, don't they? I particularly loved the aroma of Ripe Berries. However, the one that really stood out to me, was Brisk Morning Air. How do you capture the feel of that in a 22 oz. jar? I tried to conjure up an image of myself… outside at dawn, watching the sunrise, in the early October sky. Feeling that cool, crispness of the morning… as I pulled my sweater, a little tighter around my shoulders, shivering... inhaling, exhaling… seeing my breath hover in the air, as I take in the season. The scent of burning leaves lingering from the night before, fresh coffee being brewed. Yet, that doesn’t really describe the complexity of such a morning does it? There is something in the brisk, dawn of a Fall morn, that envelops you in a hug. It draws you in, encouraging you to plant your feet and stay awhile. If someone could package and deliver that experience to your front door, you would buy it, wouldn’t you? Hence, the candles I was looking at. Curious, I took a sniff. This MORNING one was intriguing, smelled nice, fragrant. Not sure if morning dawned, but I liked it a lot. Enough to buy it. Yankee Candle says this about their Brisk Morning Air candle, "With the crisp scents of eucalyptus and mint layered beneath soft pear and sage, it's like that first deep breath of bright, clean air on a morning far, far away." And here I thought... Autumn had something to do with it. Or maybe it does? 

(PS. I got the RIPE BERRIES candle too.)

Friday, July 3, 2015

AMERICA'S WEEKEND



“Freedom is the open window
through which pours the sunlight
 of the human spirit.”

HAPPY 4th of JULY

ENJOY YOUR WEEKEND!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

PROCRASTINATION PUMPKIN


I confess I am a procrastinator.  I take my time getting things done. Looks like it has finally paid off. Late November in 2014, when I decorated the front porch for Christmas, I still had pumpkins sitting on the stoop.  I was going to throw them away, but they were in excellent shape, not a bit of  rot. So I kept them. But I did not let them stay on the porch. I moved them because I was afraid my neighbors might make snide remarks, seeing my autumn decorations mixed in with my Christmas display. Yes, it’s silly to worry about what other people think, but I admit I do. Because I have mobility issues I couldn’t carry the pumpkins too far. So, I ended up putting them, a few feet away. It was at the edge of my flowerbed, out of sight, from the street, but visible to me on the patio... so I could still enjoy them, until the snow flew. And it is there… they resided all winter long, gradually disappearing into the deep, dark ground, they rested on. I could never make the time to put them in the garbage heap. Out of sight, out of mind… I never thought about these pumpkins again, until yesterday. Because of all the rain we’ve been getting here, I haven’t had the opportunity to sit out on our patio this summer. But the sun was shining, so yesterday I did. Even though my yard is a mess and my flowerbeds are overgrown with weeds... It was beautiful out there, listening to the birds chirp. While I was practicing the ancient art of Boketto... suddenly my eyes focused on some yellow flowers. They were in the middle of a plethora of vines, I knew I never planted. It gradually dawned on me, what they were. The seeds from the pumpkins that had decomposed last winter, had apparently germinated. Flowers and vines were everywhere. Soon pumpkins would be sprouting. Mother Nature is full of surprises, isn’t she? I never in my wildest dreams thought there would be pumpkins growing in my flowerbed, this year.  I am so excited about the notion of having my own homegrown pumpkins, I can think of nothing else. While my fingers are crossed that this delightful orange fruit will arrive just in time for Halloween... I realize it will probably happen much, much sooner. I pray they survive the bugs and varmints that will attack. This is Mother Nature's garden project not mine, so whatever happens, happens. I will not interfere. I'm hoping for a successful outcome, though. In the end, I wonder how many pumpkins these vines will yield?  From where I sit, even one… from this random occurrence, will be cause for celebration… don’t you think? "No more store bought pumpkins for me," she said to herself, optimistically. 


Monday, June 22, 2015

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN?


When I got a subscription to Prevention and Oprah magazines, I didn't realize the headaches it would cause, down the road.  While I enjoyed the publications at hand... I decided I no longer wanted either one of these magazines, at the end of the year. So, I didn't renew. But… because they had my credit card number, they took it upon themselves to renew for me, automatically. I was upset when I found out what they had done. I tried to cancel the new subscriptions. This was no easy feat, since I had unsuspectingly ordered the magazines from a third party, and not the magazines themselves. Finding the third party contact information was near impossible, since I had no idea who those companies were. And the magazines claimed not to know either. So I was going around in circles until I contacted the bank. They told me they could not undo the charges. They said too much time had lapsed… since the transactions occurred and I had discovered it. So, it appeared I had no recourse and was going to be out the money. I thought... what a racket these magazine folks had going on. They were making money doing something, somewhat underhanded, hoping people don’t notice. But, all hope was not lost, for me. The bank was able to give me the name of the third party who charged the credit card. At this point, I handed the problem off to my husband. I was convinced I’d make no headway if I tried. The information the bank provided, enabled him to contact the third party sellers. Unfortunately, instead of human intervention… this company automated their response, to any and all inquiries. They put my husband through a maze of prerecorded questions and answers… that seemingly did not allow, for a reversal of the renewed subscription. He was stuck in limbo… until he found a tiny crack in their veneer, by pushing this button or that… managing to painstakingly navigate his away around their automated system, until they had no choice, but to issue the refund and cancel the subscription. It took almost 2 hours on the phone to do this. I kid you not. But in the end, mission accomplished, without ever talking to another human being. The moral of this story is this… if an item you purchased, comes up for renewal or an upgrade in the future, that you do not want, BEWARE. You will forget that it does. Giving a company your credit card information... allows them to also use it, a year or two, later… unbeknownst to you. The charge will slip through on your bank statement, unless you are vigilant. Then, you may get stuck in a revolving door, like I did, with no way out. Unless you get lucky and catch them at their own game.