Looking Beat

I’m a red head and that means I have a propensity to bleed. If I get a cut it gushes blood. A simple nick on a finger bleeds like a scalp wound. That also means I bruise easily since bruises are simply hemorrhages under the skin. The weekend before last Sparky and I visited saintvi to assist with a couple chores. Sparky removed the air conditioner units from the windows and then replaced the bathroom door knob. So when does the bleeding and bruising come in? I decided that since I couldn’t lift a window AC unit, I’d help out by peeling duct tape off the window trim. I pulled and then at the last second the tape broke. I slammed the knuckle of my thumb into the edge of the window. It first appeared to be a tiny scrape. Then it started dripping blood. I had to wipe my blood off the white window sill and then I had to get a band-aid. It bled for a couple hours. Sheesh!

My next mishap involved the bathroom door. Sparky replaced the bathroom door knobs (with my invaluable assistance) as saintvi supervised. To check out the finished door, she went into the bathroom and shut the door. Or at least tried to shut the door. The new knobs were just slightly different causing the door to not close easily. The door was slammed and I caught motion in my peripheral vision. Instinctively I raised my arm to shield my face. An antique wooden potato masher leapt off the wall and was hurtling toward my cranium. Fortunately it bounced off my arm (or so I thought), hit the wall and bounced hitting my knee. I was sure I was going to have a huge bruise on my knee. I was mistaken.

On Monday the bruise showed up as a small dark spot, deep beneath the skin. By Tuesday it was definitely darker. Before I left work it had found its way to the surface and was purple with a green tinge. When I woke up on Wednesday morning it had doubled in size and had turned a sickly brownish color. Here it is almost 10 days past and it still looks awful. The nice part is that it never hurt at all!

Looking at Big Changes

I wrote about the little changes that make you scratch your head. Then there are the big changes that snap your head back and cause you to gasp. I ran into a woman I hadn’t seen in maybe 10 years. She used to live in the neighborhood but had moved. We had been friendly acquaintances and our children were the same ages. I had stopped at Chick-fil-a to get my October Mystery Offer. It was busy and I was standing in a very long line. Suddenly I heard my name. I turned around and a stranger was smiling at me. I did NOT recognize this former neighbor. She looked to be 90 years old. Granted I’m a pretty good looking ‘almost 60 year old’ but I know she was slightly younger than me. She had had skin cancer on her face. The doctor had to remove most of her cheek and part of her nose and some of her ear. She looked like a burn victim. That on top of the osteoporosis made her shorter and bent over with a dowager’s hump. I was shocked. Even the dyed hair didn’t take any years off her appearance.

I know that external beauty doesn’t determine the value of a person. I try hard to look past physical appearances and see the heart and mind of the people I meet. But I have to admit this was really difficult to do in this case. I suppose it had more to do with the degree of change and that I hadn’t seen her recently. I am hesitant to go to any class reunions. Sparky’s HS has a monthly “reunion” for anyone having graduated before 1980. His sisters and brother have been urging him to attend. They rave about being able to catch up with classmates and others. But there is also a little bit of cattiness in gloating over the cheerleader with the face lift gone wrong…

Looking at Little Changes

When there are small changes in things, they can slip past our consciousness. We just don’t see the changes until one day we look back and wonder what happened. I noticed a couple little changes that make me wonder why they were made. The first thing I noticed was in the newspaper. Growing up some of my friends would study their horoscopes. I always thought them silly and not very precise. I mean most of the time they were vague and could apply to almost any event. Anyway according to Wikipedia “The word horoscope is derived from Greek words hõra and scopos meaning “time” and “observer” (horoskopos, pl. horoskopoi, or “marker(s) of the hour”). It is used as a method of divination regarding events relating to the point in time it represents, and it forms the basis of the horoscopic traditions of astrology.” So why in the world would the newspaper change the title of that small section of the paper to “Astrograph” and increase the size of the font? I’m not an expert but I’m pretty sure an astrograph is a telescope designed for the sole purpose of photographing the objects in the night sky – things like asteroids, meteors, and comets. So I’m confused. Or maybe the newspaper gurus decided to try to make the horoscope less voodoo and more scientific. I’m just guessing. But the change bothers me.

Another change I noticed was in the uniform section at Goodwill. Bear with me for a moment. Goodwill has always sold their uniforms at $2.99 – $3.99 depending on if it was a single piece, a jacket, or a set. The last time I was at Goodwill most of the uniforms had been marked $4.99 each! That was bothersome. But what really caught my eye was that almost all the scrubs were royal blue. The 2 big hospitals in the area have gone to blue uniforms. They used to have the nurses coordinate uniform color by area and then have any LPNs or CNAs wear white or grey pants. The idea was that you could tell who was who based on what they were wearing. But after all the mergers and buyouts of the hospitals they decided to make everyone wear navy and white or royal blue and white. At first the Goodwill was flooded with every style, color and pattern of scrub uniform out there. It has been a couple years and there isn’t much selection. I don’t have anything against blue, however I prefer a pretty print with a little green or turquoise or something seasonal…I guess I will have to just keep mending the current wardrobe to make it last another 5 years!

Big Commerce Is Watching

At the South Bend Museum of Art is a painting they just recently hung. It caught my attention immediately. I had wanted to photograph it but my phone battery was too low. (Isn’t that how it seems to happen?) So last Thursday I had 85% battery, enough light, and I managed to remember that I needed a photo. This painting reminded me of a Munzee and I wanted to share it with saintvi on Friday. What is a munzee? Well, I’m not sure how to answer that. The Wikipedia answer is more involved. But the short answer is that “Munzee is a freemium scavenger hunt game where places have to be found in the real world. The game is similar to Geocaching but uses QR code technology, in addition to device GPS location, to prove the find instead of a logbook.” Anyway when you look at this painting you’ll understand why I thought of saintvi and geocaching.

Webcam caches are caches that use existing web cameras placed by individuals or agencies that monitor various areas like parks or road conditions. The idea is to get yourself in front of the camera to log your visit. The challenging part, however, it that you need to call a friend to look up the web site that displays the camera shot. You will need to have them save the picture to log the cache. If you’re tech savvy you could use your wireless modem and save the image yourself on your laptop. The webcam caches are still out there but they aren’t allowing new ones to be listed. So there isn’t any way this one could be made into a webcam cache – even though it is perfect! When I looked up the QR code it took me the artist’s webpage (http://seanhottois.com/big/) that was attached to the camera showing the area in front of the painting. Sadly I was just a few steps further back and off camera! The title of the painting is “Big Commerce Is Watching You” and it really is watching!!

Looking Photogenic Redux

Earlier this week Sparky and I had to sit for the church directory photo. We’ve done several of these over the years. I have most of the “free” 8″ x 10″ photos. Granted they are not displayed but I have them. Looking back there is the first – I was single and wearing a rust colored polyester dress with a (once again popular) cowl-neck. It was just me. I was wearing earrings. The second one was with the boys aged 1 and 2. Sparky had a mustache. We look so young! The following photos were varying degrees of awful. There was the one that was taken at the end of July. We were all dressed up and had to wait for our turn in a sweltering room (no AC). By the time we sat down in front of the camera we looked wilted. Our hair was plastered to our foreheads, sweat beaded on our upper lips, our faces were all red (my make-up had melted off completely) and our clothes were damp and wrinkled. Needless to say there wasn’t any “re-touching” that could save that photo. The last one with the boys was amusing. The photographer had a set formula for arranging family groups. Sadly it did not take into account that I am short and the rest of the family is tall. If only he had had the guys sit and let me stand behind them…

So this time I wore my blue and white block print wrap. It is like an over-sized shawl with little pom-poms along the edge. Sparky does not like it. Everyone else adores it and I get lots of compliments. We posed. Sparky smiled. I smiled. Sparky closed his eyes. And repeat. Repeat again and again. Finally we got a couple good photos. Which in the digital age allows for instant repeats. Before we went Sparky cautioned me, “Don’t cave to the sales pitch. We are just getting the free 8×10 and that’s it!” The photos were really good. When he asked me if I wanted the 5×7, 8×10, wallets, and the 3 photo montage I responded “Its up to you.” So it was all him. Sparky is having Christmas cards made. If you are on my Christmas card list then you now know that we’ve already completed that task – and before Halloween too!

So as an explanation for the abbreviated post: I thought I had saved it and then fell asleep at the computer. I went to bed and it posted at the autosave point which was before I had finished… Lucky for us all I had saved it into a word document and am able to cut and paste it so you all can enjoy the full post.

Looking at 7000 Steps

I may have mentioned that I’m now the reluctant wearer of a Fitbit™. I am getting used to it. It will record and track my steps, my heart rate, the number of flights of stairs I’ve walked, how much exercise and my sleep patterns too! I had to set step goals. I started with 6000 steps a day. I killed it. During geocaching I logged 13,310 steps and the next day I managed 9,244 steps. So I increased my goal to 7000 steps. The first day of my new goal I forgot to put the Fitbit™ on after my shower. I’m pretty sure that with my cross campus hike I put at least 6000 steps in. Adding the 1,719 steps I’d accrued since coming home I marked it a win. Still I feel like I self-sabotaged. My “wellness coach” addressed my concern about my stress level. She suggested doing a meditation. I will need to work up from 5 minutes to 30 minutes a day. It is really hard to empty my mind. I have so many plates to spin that checking out for 5 minutes scares me. However I have managed to meditate for 5 minutes clearing my mind and becoming an empty vessel. I think it might be a little dangerous for me. My heart rate drops to 54 – 56 bpm. I suppose since my normal resting heart rate is only 65 bpm that might not be a serious decrease. At least I’m hoping. I had another goal of walking for 30 minutes twice a week. So far I haven’t managed to achieve that goal. I’m blaming the rain and my high heels.

Weight loss bugaboo
Step up step out walk

Looking Tipsy

Some people have assumed when I say I don’t drink that I’m a recovering alcoholic. At least that was when I was younger. Now that I’m a “woman of a certain age” the assumption is that I’m on all sorts of medication that precludes consuming alcoholic beverages. The truth is I am a teetotaler. I always have been. I suppose I can trace my abhorrence of alcohol to several instances as a child. The first was probably the time my great uncle thought it would be amusing to give a 5 year old a glass of gin and tonic when she asked for some water. The second was when I was home sick and the neighbor was watching me. Her husband came home drunk and began attacking her. He was verbally and physically abusive. I was terrified. I never told my parents. The last straw was being at college and seeing the consequences of the girls in my dorm getting drunk – everything from barfing in the hallway to date rape. No thanks. I like to be in control of my actions. I never want to feel helpless. I like being able to make clear headed decisions.

I was talking with a friend who was telling me about her weekend. She attended a Gala for her husband’s job. He had earned an invite to a Chicago boat cruise. There was an open bar, a live band, fancy food, and lots of people who were determined to party hard. Now that she is a mother of two, drinking to oblivion really isn’t something she wants to do. So after having half a beer with dinner she was done. Instead she danced like a mad woman, cheered for each and every song, and generally had a ball. When the band took a break, she went to the bar to get some water. The bartender acted as if water was a foreign substance too exotic to be served. My friend persisted and eventually was given a bottle of room temperature water. She asked for a glass of ice which was reluctantly provided. When she got to her table she poured some of the water in the glass and tossed it back (the glass was small and full of ice). Several people at the table wanted to know what she was drinking. As a joke she said, “Vodka.” And slammed back 2 more glasses of water. The people at the table were very impressed and complimented her on being so “bad-ass”. She heard later that they had been wondering why she was dancing all night and were able to attribute it to her being drunk. Seems you can’t dance because you like to dance or enjoy a live band unless you are tipsy.

It worries me to think that many people still persist in thinking that unless alcohol is involved you can’t have a good time. I call it the “Tailgate Syndrome”. What happened to mirth and whimsy and witty conversation?

Looking Bad Luck in the Eye

Today is Friday. Friday the Thirteenth to be exact. I work with scientists, educated people, and people getting an education. You would think that superstition doesn’t have a real foothold but you would be wrong. I understand that superstition is not a rational or logical thought process. I believe that when we make choices we influence the outcome of our actions or inactions. But there has to come a day when we look Bad Luck in the eye and stare it down. Today I’m taking a stand. I’m striding into work and I’m calling Bad Luck out. I’m drawing a line in the proverbial sand and telling Bad Luck that we are having a Bad Luck free day. That my office, my team and my life are in a zero-tolerance zone for superstitions and specifically Bad Luck. I’ve got my Irish up and Bad Luck had better turn tail and run. I’m not standing for any shenanigans, not today and not ever.

On another topic only related sideways, I have a list of “to do” items that I absolutely have to complete today. My hope is that I will be able to get it all done by 5:00 PM. Only time will tell.

Looking for a Costume

Saturday is trivia night at church. Sparky and I were asked to be on a team. Because it will benefit the choir we felt compelled to say yes. Since it is scheduled just before Halloween the topic of costumes was raised. Do we need a theme? Should we go all out or just do hats or wigs? Trying to coordinate the activity via FB messenger is nearly impossible. In fact, nothing has been decided. I have to ask if we even have time to put something together?!

Another component of the evening is the snack table. Each team is given half of a long table to stage their eats. The first time we did trivia we were amazed at the variety and extravagance of some of the teams. They had pulled pork sandwiches, grilled chicken fajitas, spaghetti and meatballs, and desserts that would make your pancreas go into shock. We brought M&Ms. I learned quickly. I’m going to make a pumpkin bread pudding (not too sweet) and finger sandwiches. Sparky had suggested soup but that is just too messy for our group.

As for winning, our team is looking pretty strong. We have several people who are tuned into the current music scene and some familiar with Broadway tunes from the 1960 – 1990’s. We have math whizzes and science geeks and a historian. I’m hoping there aren’t too many questions on current TV shows or popular literature since we aren’t too strong in those categories. If we manage to win first place, we will each get $50 in gift cards. Second place winners get $25 each and the third place team will get $10 each. It should be a very fun night even if we don’t win.

Looking for Utopia

There is a tension in the air that I can’t describe. I’m not sure of the origin and I can’t find the epicenter. At first I thought that it was just me. I’m trying to be encouraging and upbeat and have a calming influence on those around me. My assumption was that I was somehow failing. Then things happened. It isn’t me. Perhaps it is just the normal consequence of the days getting shorter and the temperatures dropping. Winter in Northern Indiana tends to grey skies and very little sunshine which does affect moods and activity levels. So the question becomes, “How do you bring some positivity (and sunshine) into the work place?” Sure everyone likes a doughnut now and then but that isn’t the answer. I want harmony and collegiality – a true teamwork environment. Gah! I want that but that is probably not what I’m going to get…

Perfection selection
Workplace master race
Employee deportee
Production destruction
Teamwork berserk
Mishaps relapse
Hoodwink rethink
Forego status quo
Utopia myopia