Monday, June 30, 2008


Different people have different definitions of friendship. For some, it is the trust in an individual that he / she won't hurt you. For others, it is unconditional love. There are some who feel that friendship is companionship. People form definitions based on the kind of experiences they have had. They say a person who has found a faithful friend has found a priceless treasure. I found just such a treasure in the summer of 1957 when I was eight years old and the summer Karma Ann Hulslander moved on the block. I don't remember meeting her, it's as if one day she just appeared and became my best friend. Karma was the original Pippy Longstocking. She moved to Oklahoma with her mom, sister Arta and baby brother Kenny while her dad remained in Colorado to run their ranch. Karma's mother had a dream of becoming a doctor so she and the kids moved here so she could attend the University. Mrs. Hulslander was about 4 feet 11 inches tall and she was as round as she was tall. Both Karma and Arta towered over their mother and baby Kenny wasn't far behind.
Karma was the first tomboy I ever knew. She wore boy’s jeans and cowboy boots when she bothered to wear shoes at all. Her long brown hair was worn in a ponytail and her face was covered in brownish red freckles. She was like a magnet and I was drawn to her instantly. Karma had an unending imagination and being with her was always a new adventure. She was the Lone Ranger and I was her faithful companion Tonto.
Karma and I couldn’t have been more different. She was fiercely independent, could hold her own with any boy and was what daddy referred too as “tough as a boot”. I on the other hand was a timid, insecure, sissy girl. I wanted to be brave and daring but it just wasn’t in my nature. I was a peacemaker at heart and avoided confrontation at any cost. Just being with Karma made me believe I too could be brave and daring even if it was only wishful thinking.
To earn spending money Karma collected pop bottles. She received 2 cents a bottle and she would hike all over the campus picking up bottles and trading them in for money to purchase little wooden animals from Dee's gift shop. Karma would have rather played with those little animals than any old doll. One Christmas her dad built her a doll house complete with electric lights but it was never used to house a Barbie or any other doll for that matter. Karma's prized animals were the happy homeowners.
One summer, Karma's dad built a playhouse in their back yard but Karma insisted it was not a playhouse but a ranch. No matter what name it was given it was a really great place to play. We made dishes our of mud and even had running water after Karma found an old enema bag and hung it from the chimney of the barbeque grill. One night we decided to play hide n' seek and the ranch house was home base. Everyone took off to hide and my brother Mike climbed up into Hulslander's attic. He probably would never have been found if he hadn't fallen through their living room ceiling. Mr. Hulslander was sitting in the living room when Mike's legs came crashing through the ceiling. There he was, dangling above Mr. Hulslander's head and the game was over.
Karma's mom never got accepted to Medical school. In the 50's it was very hard for women to get admitted plus she was older than most of the other students and considered a bad risk. She did go on to pharmacy school and after her graduation the whole family moved back to Colorado. Karma would come back in the summers to visit riding the bus from Colorado to Oklahoma all by herself. One summer when I was 12 years old I went back to Colorado with her. To this day I can't believe my mother let me go and she never would have if I had been with anyone other than resourceful Karma. She was a wise old soul in a 12 year-old body who made us all wish to be Peter Pan and remain children forever.
My daughters are into the virtual second life world. They have created alter egos and given them names, etc. They tell me it is like playing virtual paper dolls. I don’t begin to think I understand any of this and wonder if maybe a lot of people have way too much time on their hands but each to his own. This weekend they held the Hawaiian Tropics Second Life Beauty Pageant. One of my daughters entered her alter ego. There were 18 contestants and it included evening gown, swimsuit and interview segments. Poor Jamie didn’t even make it through the first cut. Immediately she said she was a big loser even in the fantasy world. Now, I don’t know about you but I have enough opportunities to be a loser in the REAL world…..I don’t need to create more. Gads, how much can one person’s ego take anyway? Rejection feels bad no matter where it comes from. I think I’ll give her some scissors and some newspapers.

Friday, June 27, 2008

About Growing Old

The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.

When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to your youth, think of Algebra.

One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it is such a nice change from being young.

Being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable.

One must wait until evening to see how splendid the day has been.

A co-worker came into my office this morning saying "Why am I getting so old"? Duh, because you aren't dead?

Old Dog New Trick

When I was growing up my father called me "Little Maudie" as he thought I acted like my paternal grandmother. This became the term used to describe a stubborn, bossy child or as he called me a "manager". I didn't react much to the term as a kid but now I am beginning to recognize the traits in myself that earned me this title. I'll be darned if he wasn't right......! Is it really too late to teach an old dog a new trick? As hard as I try I can't seem to curtail my bossy ways. I wonder if there is a dog whisperer for people. Someone who could follow me around all day and every time I started to manage someone or show the slightest sign of bossiness I'd get a squirt of water in my face. I actually know a few people who would volunteer for that job.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I've been such a whiner lately I've decided to regroup and give it a rest. I'm actually sick of hearing my self complain especially when I really have nothing to complain about. My sweet little mother actually paid me a visit yesterday. My brother had just taken her to the doctor and stopped by on their way home. She's so funny...she always asks me about every item in my house. "Is that new? or that? or that?" She's seen everything before but for her now every day is brand new and so is everything she sees. She still thinks I have a new car and that she's never seen it before. I've had the same car now for 11 years.......but it's new to her! Wouldn't that be something to wake up to a brand new day (literally) each and every morning. All your worries forgotten and all that's left is the promise of a new day. It kind of reminds me of the movie "50 first dates". Every day is a do over.

New sink, fixtures, cabinet doors and tile work in the bathroom. New sink, countertops and tile work in the kitchen. Every room was repainted as well. Lots of work but I'm pleased with the results.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I can't believe I'm saying this but I've actually had nothing to say for days now. My mind is a complete blank. I've just been coasting along for the past few days completing one chore after another and just trying to stay ahead of the game. I work late tonight but then the rest of the week should go by smoothly. If I'm feeling any stress at all it is about the uncertainty of our economy and I know I'm not alone there. This morning they announced that our electric bill will go up about $15.00 a month. By itself that doesn't sound like much but just add it to the growing list of cost increases and you start to worry a little. I know my salary isn't going to increase so that means budgeting a little tighter. I guess it makes me feel very vulnerable because I've spent most of my adult life living from pay check to pay check. It wasn't until my daughters graduated from college and began their own careers that I finally had some breathing room but now I'm beginning to worry that I will suffocate once again. I'm a fairly frugal person but I don't think excessively although others might not agree with me. I've considered getting a part-time job but I worked 2 jobs for so many years I really don't want to do that at this time in my life but I will if it becomes necessary. I'm lucky that I only have to take care of myself. I don't mind doing without things. Oh well, I'm not alone in this one. Everyone is feeling the pinch and some much worse than I am.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Cognitive Dissonance

OK, I'm having a bad case of buyer's remorse. I have spent so much money in the past few months on my home as well as purchasing the new tv and topped it off with the cable subscription that my whole state of well being is now in jeopardy. With my savings dwindling I feel vulnerable and I don't like it. I didn't realize just how frugal I am until I decided to indulge myself. It doesn't feel comfortable at all. It sounds so silly but it really is causing me a lot of stress. The only good thing is I can cancel the subscription (which I'm sure I will). I wonder why it doesn't bother me to spend money on my kids or anyone else for that matter but spending it on myself just makes me feel awful. I know that (as they say) you can't take it with you but I just feel better knowing it is there for an emergency. But that's not the main reason....I think I feel selfish spending money on myself and that's just an awful feeling. I really am from another generation. I'm a throw back of the women of the 50's. That era really did influence the way I think. I'm just living the example that was demonstrated by my mother. I was shown that a mother was to be unselfish and self-sacrificing and though I honestly don't think that is required or even healthy I can't break away from my own imprinting. I thought I was more evolved than I really am.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I've just been in a brain fog all week and I still have another day to go. I'm taking off early today and getting a badly needed haircut then I'm just going to vegetate for awhile. I've been thinking a lot lately how this may be the best time of my life and how surprised I am by that. I'm no spring chicken after all but I'm more comfortable in this wrinkled suit of skin than I ever was as my younger self. I love the fact that I have finally reached an age when the opinions of others is something I respect but don't necessarily feel obliged to care about. In other words they don't dictate what I do. I've always admired the confidence of others but now realize that they were sometimes just better at faking it than I was. E

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I'm exhausted. I worked so hard over the weekend I had to come back to work to rest. I won't even go through the list of chores that has brought me to this delirious state but trust me it was long. Unfortunately, work is no place to rest either. I have a dinner meeting tonight that will probably go until 9:00 pm and another one next week. Oh sweet retirement....where for art thou?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Maybe $ Does Grow on Trees

I feel like I've severed the money artery. All these renovations to the house and then $275.00 for roof maintenance and another $150.00 for tree stump grinding then I got an estimate to cut the limbs from my neighbor's tree that are hitting my roof and hanging over the fence......a whopping $700.00 for a tree that isn't even mine. I'm purchasing a chain saw and taking my chances. TIMBER................

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Living Life Backwards

I found this bit of wisdom today and had to share.....

I want to live my next life backwards. You start out dead and get that out of the way. Then you wake up in an old age home feeling better every day. You get kicked out for being too healthy; go collect your pension, then when you start work, you get a gold watch on your first day. You work 40 years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You drink alcohol, you party, you’re generally promiscuous, and you get ready for High School. You go to primary school, you become a kid , you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a baby, and then… You spend your last 9 months floating peacefully in luxury, in spa-like conditions; central heating, room service on tap, larger quarters every day, and then, you finish off as an orgasm.

I rest my case.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It just ain't what it used to be!

Well, my nose-dive into the 21st century hasn't been as much fun as I thought it would be. Cox Cable sent an installer who didn't speak English and we had a definite failure to communicate. I raised the volume of my voice thinking somehow that if I just talked louder his English would improve. Not logical thinking but my unconscious attempt to remedy our communication problem. Finally I showed him where the cable wire was protruding from the wall behind the entertainment center and being the naive person I am assumed he would use it to connect the cable. But...alas...not to be. This commandant of the English language went about his work when I suddenly heard a loud drilling noise just in time to see a drill come through the front brick wall. Seems he had stapled the wiring from the back of my house down the side across the entire front through the front porch over my front living room window then down the brick (smack centered in front of the house) and through my wall. Which is not even the wall where the tv is located. Now I have a problem with confrontation. I don’t like it and I avoid it at all cost. All cost that is unless it involves wires hanging down the middle of my front window. I knew there was no reason to try and discuss this with my non English-speaking friend so I decided to wait and call Cox Communication this morning. I am greeted by a cheerful animated voice giving me a list of options first in English and then Spanish. None of these options included “If you are calling about the unsightly installation of our wiring you may press 1 now.” I listened my way through several segments of options before I finally got one that said “other”. Upon hearing the voice of a live person I began to explain my problem. His response was, “Why didn’t you say something when the installer was there?” Legitimate question, deserves a legitimate response. I replied, “ I would have but I don’t speak Portuguese as a second language.” I explained that if my desire to have the cable wire installed inside my walls and not outside my window is something that they are unable to provide then that is fine I just want it removed and cancel the service. He responded, “Oh we can do it but it will cost you extra.” That’s like saying we can install your cable crappy for a nominal fee but if you want it done right it will cost more. Gad, what has the world come to? Does no one take pride in the work they do anymore? I think back in the day it would just be standard installation. Well, I know it was 30 years ago because that is the last time I had cable television and no one asked me if I wanted to run the wire through the window or hide it in the wall. They just did it right in the first place. Now we have to pay extra for all kinds of services that were once standard. If you want a window seat on a plane that’s $5.00 extra. If you bring more than one piece of luggage there is an additional charge. Next you will have to pay extra for the floatation device. So..for an additional $50.00 the wires will come down, the hole in the brick patched and the wiring will be redone. I think I’ll use the 3 months of free Showtime and then cancel my service.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Into the 21st Century

Proudly I go where no man has gone before. OK, lots of people have gone before me but hey, it's my first time. I am getting cable television. Yes, I am ending my boycott and am going to join the millions of people willing to pay to watch television. I'm afraid I am in for a real culture shock. Network television is probably tame in comparison. The way all this started was because I've had nothing but problems with my AT&T phone connection. The online was knocked down during the December ice storm and ever since it was reattached I've had the most horrible static on the line. AT&T has been to my house 3 times and still didn't fix the problem. They advised me it would be $150.00 for them to come into the house on top of any cost that might be incurred to fix it. I am sure the problem is in their line or connection since there is static on every phone and due to the timing of the onset of the problem. So in my frustration I decided to switch to a digital line with Cox. When I ordered the phone line I found that it would be only 20 dollars more to add basic cable tv. So...I went with it. Took the leap. As a baby boomer who remembers when television was new.....and we would stare for hours at the test pattern waiting for the next broadcast....all of which was free of charge....this is really hard for me. But, because my kids won't come over for dinner because I don't have cable I guess I'll join the masses and pay to watch the boob tube. Ohhhhhh my decision to get cable also lead me to purchase a new tv which also led to the purchase of a laptop computer. This was an expensive weekend!

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Zen of Sarcasm

01. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me alone.

02. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and leaky tire.

03. It is always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.

04. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

05. Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.

06. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

07. If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

08. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

09. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is probably not for you.

10. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

11. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably a wise investment.

12. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

13. Some days you're the bug; some days you're the windshield.

14. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

15. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

16. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

17. Duct tape is like 'The Force'. It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.

18. There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.

19. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.

20. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

21. Never miss a good chance to shut up.

22. Never under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Tic Tock

If you could know the exact time and date of your death would you want to know? I don't think I have to think about that very long to know that I would not. I suppose there are some advantages to knowing but only if it would change the way we live our lives today, this moment. If you think about it, knowing that you will die 11 years from now isn't any different than not knowing. We all know that death is not probable but certain yet we waste so much of our time pursuing unimportant things. If we measure the success of our lives in terms of wealth or power we miss the boat for there will always be someone who has more. We must follow our passion and our hearts and do what we are excited about. If we measure the success of our lives by the relationships we have made along the way success is likely to follow. Not all of us can find the love of our lives but if you are lucky enough to find the person whose happiness means more than your own cherish them. As Randy Pausch said in his charge to the graduating class of Carnegie Mellon, "We don't beat the reaper by living longer we beat the reaper by living well and living fully. For the reaper will come for all us. The question is what do we do from the time we are born and the time he shows up."

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Parent Trap

I just love reading Dawn Mehan’s blog Because I Said So each morning. She’s the young mother of 6 with a wonderful sense of humor about every day life. She’s what every young mother needs a good dose of in order to keep motherhood in perspective. I remember how hard it was when at 21 years of age I became a mother of twins. It was absolutely overwhelming and I didn’t have a clue! Not one! Thank goodness my mother was close by or those kids might have cradle cap to this day. Who ever heard of cradle cap when they were 21 years old? I also had some great neighbors who were about 10 years my senior. These women were great mentors to me and I tried so hard to emulate their parenting. The biggest personality on the block was Barbara. She was a perfectionist housekeeper and never hesitated telling any of us how smart her children were. She always had a belt hanging on the wall ready in case one of her children misbehaved. She definitely did not believe in sparing the rod. Her youngest child was a boy 2 weeks younger than my twins. I loved Barbara very much but it was difficult living with the constant comparison of our children. Fortunately, my girls were retained in kindergarten and Barbara’s son went on to first grade forever putting them in different classes and grades. This was actually a blessing. I remember trying to use Barbara’s method of corporal punishment brought on more from peer pressure. What I quickly discovered is each parent must find his or her own style of parenting. I was not comfortable with spanking because I can’t bring myself to hit anyone especially my own children. When something doesn’t feel right you can bet it won’t be effective either. I had to find discipline that not only worked for me but for my children. I think a parent is the best judge of what works for their child. Trust your own judgment.

When my daughters were teenagers I received a call from a younger co-worker who had two year old twins at the time. She was at her wits end and almost in tears told me she felt so awful because at that moment she wasn't even sure if she liked her girls. I asked her just how many times had she been the mother of 2 year old twins. She responded in a shaky voice "never". I laughed and told her there would be lots of days when she will question whether she likes her kids but she will never question her love for them. I told her to give herself a break. Parenting is like riding the biggest ride in the amusement park. It's thrilling, has lots of ups and downs and twists and turns. But in the end it leaves you breathless but smiling. Today, I have grown daughters who are educated, independent and loving young women. I enjoy a wonderful relationship with each of them. Remember, parenting is a work in progress. Just don’t forget to laugh along the way.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

There is a lot going on these days. Summer always brings its fair share of extra work. There is mowing the lawn, keeping the grass watered and pulling weeds. Which reminds me of my favorite tool…..the weed popper. I could talk for hours about the weed popper. Greatest stress reliever ever invented. You put the prongs under the weed and then step on the footpad and up flies the weed without ever bending or stooping over. It’s great! You can make a game of popping the weed as high as you can and then catching it in mid air with a trash bag. Sometimes I just pop them as fast as I can leaving little land mines all over the yard. It is just a great no skill required activity and it’s great exercise as long as you remember to switch legs. This is what middle age is all about….getting all worked up over a weeding device. I can’t believe I’ve been reduced to this. Is popping weeds all I have to do you ask. Well, yes. That or organize my spice rack alphabetically. Next, I’ll be that woman with the big butt mooning the neighbors while I bend over to yank a dandelion out of my yard.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Last Word

Last Friday I had to get into my desk to find a key. Being the slightly compulsive person that I am this naturally led to cleaning out every drawer in my desk. While I was throwing little scraps of paper away and neatly arranging and categorizing every item in my desk I got to thinking.... What if something happened to me and I just didn't show up for work one day then someone else would be cleaning out my desk. I decided that having to get the last word in I would leave a note just in case. So, in my center drawer I left the following:

To Whom It May Concern:

If you are cleaning out my desk then one of two things must have occurred. I am either dead or have won the lottery. Either of these events would explain my sudden and swift departure. But you may rest assure I am somewhere basking in sunshine and having more fun than you are.