Handling the Lottery Win…Mentally

To be honest, I didn’t expect it, so there isn’t any disappointment. Like most offices in the states that participate in this lottery, we had an office pool. It was going to be interesting to split it between 244 people. I felt exhausted thinking about the chaos that would ensue and the way people would then sue like crazy, we’d probably never get paid.  To not play though would be foolish.  Who wants to be that guy on Monday who sits alone when people have already booked a cruise and rolled in with their new car?  What a disaster that would be.

It’s funny to think of the possibilities; not so much on what we’d buy but how it would change us. I figured, if we split the jackpot and won just a simple million, I’d try to be conservative and invest it well so it lasted awhile. But you can’t be anonymous anymore when you win. So of course I’d do some good things for family and close friends, but imagine what it would be like when you go to the pub for a night out. Everyone would expect you to pay, all the time, and if you don’t, you’re a jerk. Continue reading

A Pug’s Life

Oscar has never wanted to food or attention.  He hasn’t had a restless night, but has instead taken up a section of our queen size bed, or our couch or the backseat of our car for years.  He’s only slept on the floor by choice, in the glow of the afternoon sun for a nap.  There aren’t kids around to pull at his ears or his curly tail (although I am guilty of playing with his “arms” in a human-type way).  He has toys in each room of the house and has a huge yard to play in.  He is incredibly loved.

He also mopes around on occasion like he is owed something.  He begs for food at every occasion, relentlessly.  His comfort means that his hair is stuck on everything we own, despite the season.  He still hasn’t learned to pick up his own “business” either.  He barks at kids and neighborhood folk as if he owns the town and I’m convinced that he tries to kill us by dropping toys in dangerous places, like the middle of the stairs or near a door, out of the tub or pretty much any location where it blends in and does not appear obvious.  We call him the town terror.  He’s too smart for us and tricked me into feeding him a second helping of dinner last night.  I should have known his “feed me” dance was a little cautious, like he was testing me to see if I’d fall for it.  I did.  My husband fed him less than five minutes before.  He knew our routine and took advantage.

He has moods like we do, but it’s hard to take him seriously when his tongue doesn’t fit in his mouth all the time.  When he’s sleepy, his bulgy eyes don’t work together and sometimes he blows snot bubbles out of his nose.  We get happy about that because it means his nose is working that day and not sealed shut.  He is the oddest animal I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing and loving.

This is what I will see before I close my eyes tonight.  He is, Oscar the Dog.  And I love him like he was my kid.

Busy Hands Generation. Are You One of Them?

My Dad brought up a good point recently. He said, “When you go to a bar, what do you see? A drink and a cellphone in front of every person at the bar.” We’ve sat at various pubs since and noticed that he was right. And if a little LED blinks? Forget it. It’s like a gravitational pull that the phone owner cannot avoid. The world might deconstruct if the blinking light is not appeased.

“Must touch phone. Red light needs my fumbling hands. Please note, I’m no longer listening.  The pull is too strong and I am too weak.”

Continue reading

Top Annoying Things This Month

In an attempt to be less serious this evening, here is a simple list of things that are so minor they shouldn’t even be mentioned.  They aren’t pet peeves.  They are just moments that make me yell “Dammit!”  I hope maybe you can relate to a few and then I won’t feel so crazy.

  • Sneezing after I apply my mascara.  I did this twice last week, probably because the spring weather approached us early and the dawn of allergies.  I tried to keep it in, but instead of trying to fight it too hard and allowing my eyeballs to pop out from the pressure, I went with it.  I looked like I belonged in the Clockwork Orange.  I should’ve rocked the derby at work that day.

  • (Stares at open dresser drawer with eyes wide)  “What do you mean I’m out of underwear??”  Ok, maybe it’s time to start buying colors that fit into all three of the laundry color piles.  I’m required to wear clothing that my company has us buy and so is my husband.  It’s ALL navy blue.  Just like our jeans.  We primarily rush to get these done and the other colors get a little neglected.  (Just in case you’re wondering, though you likely aren’t, I didn’t go commando.  I found something very small and uncomfortable to wear and put laundry on the top of my “to do” list that day.  What am I, single?  Who wears these things?)
  • Really, did I just make a Lawrence Welk reference to be funny?  What am I, 90?  I’m an old soul, I know.  Thank goodness hubby is.  But every now and then I let something slip around the late 20-somethings (who act their age) and they just stare.  “What?  I don’t get it.”  If only Gram were around, she’d laugh.  I was later reprieved when SNL started doing skits about the Welk show by the way.  Justice!  Next I’ll start sharing the highlights of last night’s Jeopardy.  Oh wait, I did that too.  The good news is, the clip was all over YouTube so it must’ve been worth mentioning.  Lots of self-justification going on here, huh?
  • I’m a good person.  I work hard.  I help others.  I rush to take out the recycling before I get in the car for work…and I step in my dog’s crap.  All I had to do was drag that bin from the backyard, get it to the curb and boom, gone.  No.  Not today.  And we’re wearing your sneakers with all the little grooves in them.  Wonderful.  We’ll just get the keys out of the car that’s warming up and change.  Don’t worry though, if you step in crap early, the day will only get better.  And it will.
  • When sunglasses drop on concrete, is it required that they only scratch right at the eye line; that miniscule space on the big lens that your eye lines up perfectly with?  Thanks.
  • Mythbusters tested it, and I don’t remember if the myth was busted or not, but I can tell you; buttered bread or anything with substance will fall face down.   I don’t need scientific testing to agree.  Also, spaghetti sauce will get on your white shirt.  I would like to get in on that study and just eat pasta all day to see what happens.  They can supply the clothes though.
  • Last but not least, as I sit here with my drooped shoulder, I will address depth perception.  Mine is completely off when I switch from contacts to glasses.  Worse without either.  I will get ready for bed, don my glasses and run into a doorjamb with my shoulder.  Maybe it is because one is set for astigmatism which causes a slight fishbowl effect.  Still,  I do it all the time and I constantly forget to anticipate it.  But, on a lighter note, I feel like I look thinner when I see myself in the mirror through my glasses, so I won’t say it’s a fair trade, but it softens the blow.  Boo.  Bad joke.

Luckily for people in real life, I don’t walk around lamenting about these things, but since they managed to collide recently, I thought it was worth sharing.  As always, if these are the least of my problems, I will take my Clockwork Orange-self and run into a wall a few times to set myself straight.  Life is still pretty good.

Giving Life to Distant Ancestors

There is a picture that has moved from basement to garage and back again, and from rowhome to rowhome in Philadelphia.  It is a picture of a family, joined together in the family bakery in the late 1910’s.  I first saw this picture as a child and it was thought to be lost for the years since.  I’ve managed to scan it and take in the details amongst the water stains and torn paper.  My great-great-grandmother is in the picture.  It was taken in her sister and brother-in-law, Elizabeth and Michael’s bakery.  My great-grandma is there too, as a little girl.  More than just a photo, I recently learned it was a Baptism celebration for Elizabeth and Michael’s son, Nicholas.

I never met these bakery owners.  But I know they are the reason my great-great-grandparents chose Philadelphia when leaving Europe.  They made a home there and found employment doing odd jobs in the bakery.

More than finding dates and places of birth, I spend much of my time doing ancestry research, trying to put together a puzzle in my mind, trying to piece together what this person was like.  What kind of struggles did they go through?  What did they look like?  I was able to recently find a picture of Elizabeth and Michael recently, along with some records and pieces that give me an idea of who they were.  They came from Hungary, single, young and poor.  Michael was tall with dark hair and “deep blue” eyes.  He labelled himself a self-employed baker when he stepped on the shore of New York, at the age of 19.  He came from Hungary but spoke German.  Had several children, became a Naturalized citizen right off the ship, battled pneumonia in 1918 and had the highest appraised house on his block by the time he was 40.  By this time he filled out his draft card for World War II, he was gray, but still slender and still baking.  He spent the last sixteen years a widower.  He lived to 93, the year before I was born.  It makes the connection feel closer in the frame of time but there was a world of difference between our lives.  When I look at the picture of he and his wife though, I can’t help but feel like they are characters.  I like to think she was sassy.  I like to give them a story.  In a way, I wouldn’t be here today without them, distant relative or not.

It’s Ok To Be a Girl

I usually consider myself to privately be girlie, but every now and then it sneaks out; like when I play dance around the house to girlie music (secretly) or peruse the make-up department for an hour.  Lately it happens more and more.  I don’t know if I subconsciously pretended to not be so feminine or if I am just a late bloomer, both of which are highly possible.  My greatest girlfriends are the same way.  We can challenge the best of the men out there on most any topic with fervor.  There are times however, that I just want to be a girl and find its ok to cry at the commercials about the doggies in the animal shelters.  Damn you, Sarah McLachlan and Pedigree commercials!

Today was unexpectantly one of those days.  It was a lazy Sunday, with no plans.  As my husband and I woke up, we laughed about a line from the movie “I Love You Man”.  Pretty much anything with Jason Segel or Paul Rudd is hilarious, and after stumbling around the house I was pleasantly surprised to find it on TV today.  So “daily dose of laughter” could be definitely checked off the list.  Humor is incredibly important in a world that is far too serious.  (“Slappin’ the bass mon!”) This was followed by some manly portions of Texas BBQ for dinner and a trip to Home Depot.  I hate that I love that store sometimes.

Hubby took a nap and I flipped through the channels because I didn’t feel like writing yet.  I stumbled upon “P.S. I Love You”.  You can gag if you want to.  I’m not the biggest Hilary Swank fan, but I love this movie and embarrassingly own it…and the soundtrack.  But that’s it; I’m not rocking any chick flick posters or anything.  Unless there is one of Gerard Butler out there, then I might consider owning that.  Still, I know that I have to be in a particular mood to watch it.  I have to be ok with crying.  And cry I did.  Something else you should know, I don’t cry in front of other people.  Somewhere deep, I perceive it as weak, though I’m really not sure why.  My parents never raised me to think that, but I inherently try to be much too strong until I break.

So of course I know the movie and I know what will happen.  It still upsets me and I’m certain it’s because I draw on personal emotions since I don’t truly care that Hilary’s character is a widow.  I realize she’s an actress getting paid a healthy wage.  But I’m quite fond of my husband and he is amazingly clever.  He’s the type that upon impending death, would arrange for flowers, cakes, letters and trips after he’s long and gone.  I think it affects me as much as “Father of the Bride” does because I’m close to my Dad.  Ugh, sometimes I hate being a girl.

So every now and then, since no one else can see me cry, I’ll watch these and let it out and then get on with my day.  I think I’ve made strides to let my solitary emotional release diminish slightly, and let them take place in front of my husband, but he’s keen on being emotionless.  Usually we get by, by teasing each other when it comes to these things.  Sure, it probably sounds pretty immature.  Sometimes it would probably be best just to comfort and accept that cheesy movies can make us relate to a part of our lives we rarely think about.  It’s hard sometimes to admit we’re not the super strong person we thought we were or pretended to be.  So now I will scrub the tear residue from my contacts and drift off to sleep, and hope that I never have to actually know what it’s like to receive letters from my dead husband.

Photos courtesy of Dreamworks and Warner Bros.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Through

Clonmacnoise: Founded 545-548 AD

The buildings and monuments shown however, appear to range from the 10th-17th centuries, with most falling earlier in this time period.

This day was bitter cold, but it was impossible to leave and refrain from taking shots through surviving stone towers, churches and crosses, either into other structures or through to the River Shannon, in Ireland.  These were taken with a simple camera and frozen fingers, I hope you can still mentally capture the beauty of a place that holds so much history.  It is the sight of worship and battle.

Feminists Are Going to Hate Me

First, let me say, I am not ungrateful, Susan B. Anthony and all the bra burning women out there.  I am very aware of what women in history have suffered through and accomplished to allow me to live life freely today.  This is not meant to be disrespectful.

That being said, where is the middle ground?  Sure, I yearn to be more than a grocery shopper and dishwasher but being a good wife is no longer enough.  Since women have been allowed to enter the workplace and do as the men do, the option to do so has instead become the expectation.  Women today are still expected by many men to keep the house clean, cook and keep order but also to bear children and still work to support the family.  When did being a wife and mother stop being enough?  Is it because Americans live more lavishly that we can no longer depend on one income, or have we as women pushed for our right to choose so hard that the option to find happiness in being a wife and mother is oudated, unexpected and resented?

Of course I am glad I have the opportunity to pursue my dreams and work at any position I choose, but I also get looked down upon by society if I quit being a 50/50 contributor to our household income.  I can’t tell you how many women I know that basically work to offset child care, because it is expected.  How is it beneficial to work full-time to pay someone else to raise your children?  If you need to get out of the house and enjoy working, that’s one thing but many of them seem perplexed about it themselves.

Every family has their reasons and I am certainly in no place to judge how people manage their lives, but there are times that I wish I could stay home and bake my husband a pie, or get all the laundry done before it gets out of control.  That is the old fashioned part of me.  Being a career woman is a blessing and a curse because it is hard to contribute our best to both sometimes, though I want to.  I’m not asking to lay on the couch eating bon-bons.  (Did people actually do that anyway?)  I suppose I like the romantic concept of being taken care of and having the option to rely soley on a husband, but without guilt because that is so rare these days.  Then again, when it comes down to it, who cares what people think?  As long as it is not my husband that resents my choices and we find happiness in the way our dynamic works, I think I can be ok.

Yes Bob Dylan, These Times They Are A’Changin

Though I believe in those words from Dylan, my ideas tonight are not quite as political or complex.  I’m not one to believe fully in global warming.  I do believe the earth changes and moves in cycles as it has for millions of years.  Do our habits assist with the change, I’m sure they do, but I wouldn’t blame it totally on humans.  I mean, cow’s gas (put nicely) contributes too right?  Don’t get me wrong, I do work hard to waste less and reuse more, but it’s not because of Gore encouraged me to, its because it’s the smart thing to do.  I realize my disbelieve in Al Gore’s Nobel prize winning film is bold because there are some people who fanatically still believe in it but regardless of the reason, the world is changing.  The atmosphere is changing, the way we live, communicate, work, play and function is changing around the world.

Today, on March 22, 2012 I laid on our hammock and it was 75 degrees.  It was after six o’clock, so the temperature had already dipped from today’s high.  The sun was still shining and I thought about how I couldn’t believe summer was already here.  But…it isn’t.  Summer is technically three months away.  Baseball hasn’t even seen its opening day but we are wearing shorts and preparing our garden at a time when in past years, the ground hadn’t even thawed out yet.

It’s not just the temperature.  It just feels like everything is changing so rapidly and with this, we grow more impatient still.  A slow website infuriates me.  Not long ago we’d need a phone book to find the phone number we needed.  Today, four seconds isn’t fast enough.  I can’t remember anyone’s birthday anymore either.  Google saves my arse by emailing me reminders and if that isn’t good enough, a notification pops up on my cell. My grandmother emails me “hello” and my husband’s grandmother sends me text messages about her health.  I realize this is more convenient, after all, who has time to sit on the phone with their family, right?  I hope you sense the sarcasm.

It’s a very convenient world, but it’s no less complicated and as time goes on, I’m torn about whether we’ll lose the human connection or not.  True, a text message is not as warm and fails to translate the lilt of a familiar voice, but maybe a quick message allows us to communicate more often.  I sometimes yearn for old fashion relationships and communication but I also have the ability to Skype with my Mom who is 3,000 miles away and see her regularly without paying for a plane ticket.  Remember when Spaceship Earth at Epcot was fantasy?  It wasn’t long ago that along the ride, the family of the future talked to each other over computers and saw each other on their phones.  It’s happened so fast.  I wonder where we are headed.

Old view on Spaceship Earth at Epcot, showing us the future of technology.

This post took a turn a bit from the weather, but as I lay in the hammock, before I drifted asleep, these are the things I thought about.  I awoke to the smell of fire and luckily it was my husband sitting close by in front of our chimenea, enjoying some peace and quiet on the back patio.  We sat together awhile and talked, and I suppose as long as we have good, solid moments where we still can connect to people face to face, we’ll all be alright.  And so, we’ll roll with the times, powered up and dressed for long summers.

 

(If you’re eager to get into the Spring/Summer 2012 mode, check out the post I wrote yesterday for Sprawling Roots.  I promise you’ll like it, whether you believe in global warming or not – http://sprawlingroots.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/time-to-prepare-your-green-garden/ )

What Are We Working For?

Leisure

By William Henry Davies

What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

This is feeling appropriate tonight, as I finally sit down at the computer at midnight to capture any logical thoughts that might have managed to survive the last eighteen hours.  In the end, I’m left with my forehead resting in my hands and thinking about how fast time goes and why we spend so much of it doing things we despise.  I realize we must all be grown-ups and responsible to a certain degree, but this cannot be what life was intended for; mundane and unsatisfactory work to pay for the “just in case” possibilities of life and every other nickel and dime expense.  I know that soon enough I’ll be making strides away from life as I know it today, to reach for something more fulfilling but sometimes it’s not easy to question how much time we’ve missed by being responsible and by simply not living.  Makes me admire hippies a little bit.  I know I can’t let go that much, but maybe there is a happy medium.

Photo courtesy of www.llgc.org.uk