Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Things I like to count...and count on!

As mentioned in a prior blog, I am no stranger to a slight touch of OCD.  How I define "slight" is my obsessions are more entertaining and quirky than the type that need medication (so far).  I believe I was about 12 when I first realized that not EVERYONE counted the stairs when they went up and down them but hey - what an opportunity to work on math skills.  Even at my last place of employment which was on the fourth floor, (66 stairs) I would count by 1's, 2's, 3's, 4's...through 9's for variety.  Now that I reflect on it,  I am uncertain.  Can someone count the stairs for me tomorrow and get back with me.  I need to know if I remember the stair count correctly.  And therein lies my personal definition of obsessive/compulsive.  At least on my need to know basis.

So it should come as no surprise that I like to count my regular steps, too.  I was one of the first owners of the Fitbit and convinced many others that they needed to have one also.  That way not only could I count my steps, but I could monitor and compare steps with my "fitbit" friends.  That habit spilled over and/or collided with (I really think the other came first) counting calories.  I can go through phases where I count every calorie that goes in my mouth....and every calorie burned.  I log exercise, walking, swimming, eating.  This little jewel can even monitor sleeping habits.   People have asked me to help them monitor their health routine but because I can be a bit....INTENSE, I have to be careful.  I can go all JILLIAN in that role since I like to count so much.  

Remember my little grandson Nathan when I bought him his fitbit?  He resembled me strongly in his inclination to count those steps and meet his goal.  It's safe to say it did not skip a generation when I get texts like the one shown below from Marissa (#daughter2) who also has a fitbit that came with her mother's OCD label.  I must be proud.

It is never enough
For the most part, my habit is harmless and when I think of other things I like to count, I see a commonality about them.  Everyday I count my blessings, which always include friends, positive experiences, things that make me laugh (though not always appropriate - I still act like a 12 year old at times ).

On the other side of that coin, I will admit to counting how many times people use the same word during any given presentation.  If I hear it more than a few times - because in the precision of language;.a few can't be counted.  Sorry, it's just a habit.

Things I will continue to count on is forgiveness of sins (too many to count
), love and support from my family and friends, my sense of humor (though not always appropriate, it does lighten a dark day) and the ability to step up to the mike and sing when called upon (I know many of you were hoping for that one),

Until next time,

your pal,

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hey Alexander - How about a "selfie"?

Lately, I have been very interested in all things historical.  Most recently, I have been enjoying "The Roosevelt's" special on PBS.  It is listed as an "intimate" look at their lives and apparently PBS and "regular" TV have huge discrepancies on the meaning of the word "intimacy".  Let's just say I could watch this PBS special comfortably with any family member (if they would only agree to watch it with me).  But I digress....

I have been thinking of the telephone lately, the cell phone to be specific, and marvel at how far it has come.  And that brings me to the history point.  We have probably forgotten that there were really two inventors that literally raced to the patent office within hours of each other to claim the prize of  "I DID IT FIRST".  Alexander Graham Bell (who just might share my birthday ) obviously won but that did not keep Elisa Gray from challenging Mr. Bell in a legal battle over the invention, which he ultimately lost.  This was in the 1870's, yet the litigious drumbeat sounds hauntingly familiar as it carries on today.   Think Robin Thicke versus the family of the late Marvin Gaye for a real-time example, although Robin seems to be a bit of a Pinocchio of late (perhaps fodder for a song of his own?)

Where was Mr. Bell invented the telephone as an attempt to improve the telegraph, which had already been in existence for some 30 years and was the very successful, established means of communication.  For my younger readers, this was something that involved Morse code (if you don't know what this is, look it up...I can't do everything) and was basically limited to sending and receiving one message at a time.  It also seemed to involve uniformed boys on bicycles that delivered these messages until they traded in one uniform for another and joined the Nazi regime if I remember my Sound of Music correctly.  Before I move on, let me state my disclaimer, that this would be one country's example only during this particular movie.  Is it just me or does the telegraph of old sound strikingly like our much 44 character Twitter in its new and improved setting?

So, to the cell phone.  Does anyone really talk on it anymore?  I was looking at my "house" phone today and felt a little sorry for it.  It reminded me of the old "first wife cliche".  You know the one. After the first wife/phone has done all the heavy lifting, the man (now older) trades her in for a younger and flashier model.  Sure, "she" can still make calls, will be there when he comes home (right where he left her) and has a certain ring about her that has grown...familiar, but she isn't going to change,  

And now here comes along Miss Cell Phone 2014A46TRIPLEXXX  or whatever hot model launches that finally catches the straying eye.  She will go everywhere and she makes you feel young again (and smart).  If a certain ring doesn't appeal to your mood, presto, you can change it.  Don't feel like talking, let's text.  Don't feel like being that direct,,send a Snapchat or maybe communicate via Facebook or Instagram.  The possibilities are endless.  Oh, she is a pricey model.  And don't think she won't need upgrades.  But worth every penny.  Don't you want a camera so you can Facetime?  How about an app so you can travel anywhere?  Make dinner reservations without dialing?  See what movies are playing?  Need a light so you can find your way home?  This little beauty does it all.  And dare I say it....she even has a "mute" button.

Don't fool yourself.  She comes with quirks.  And you better insure your latest honey.  If you lose her, leave her, or if someone steals her away, you are lost.  You have invested your LIFE into this new model.  And if you were foolish enough to  let your first love go, you will go home to  NOTHING.  

But if you kept old faithful around for eyerolls at parties,or  a paperweight when you needed one, that old darling will still place your call to report the little hussy missing, when you come home.

Just no selfies please.

Until next time
your pal,

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Where five or more are gathered - it's a gamble!

Last week I made another quick visit to Kansas City.  While there I had the opportunity to have all five grandkids (ages 13 to 1 month) eat dinner with me at a local Winstead's with only one other adult (daughter Megan) in attendance.  I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to all other diners who had the misfortune to be in this particular Winstead's at the same time we were.  I don't even need to name location, date or time....if you were know.

Silly boys
It started out so innocently, I arrived first with Colten and Dawson. Colten is 4 and one might describe him as "determined" when he makes his mind up on something.  Dawson, not quite two, likes to be held when he is unsure of where he is (and I am not going to lie...I encourage that), Winstead's qualified.  We started off on a shaky note when Colten needed to use the restroom IMMEDIATELY.  Unfortunately, a small power struggle between the men and ladies room ensued as Colten informed me HE WAS NOT A GIRL and was not going in THAT ROOM.  I was not willing to let him go alone into the men's room and I was making desperate eyes toward the door, waiting for the big boys to arrive with Megan and Averie (sweet baby girl).  Now Colten was on the floor (sorry Lisa, I might have left this part out) and I was cringing at possible germ contamination when Ethan and Nathan arrived.  Don't get me wrong, he wasn't being bad, he just was tired of standing while we were "discussing" options.  Forgetting my indoor voice, I notified Ethan of the SITUATION and posthaste he relieved me of my responsibility.

Colten cleaned his plate!
Okay, crisis averted and back to the table.  After we were all settled, our poor waitress arrived to deal with mass chaos as everyone declared what they wanted to eat simultaneously.  After we got that sorted out, Colten began the entertainment portion of the evening.  He LOVES being with the big boys and now he forgot his indoor voice as he made sure everyone knew he was talking to them (at any given time).  I believe this is when Averie started crying.....

When the food arrived, it was Nathan's turn to need to crawl out of the booth to use the facilities.  (my inside voice was saying a few things but mostly inside my head).  Dawson was thoroughly enjoying his malt and about that time Madi called via FACE TIME to join in the fray.  Megan and I were now taking turns trying to feed  Averie, smile and agree with Dawson that the malt was good and yes, Colten you are doing a GREAT job.

Ethan, being the teenager, kept looking around making sure he knew NO ONE and since Nathan was Colten's main point of interest, he just kept being Nathan.


As we staggered out of the diner, I thought I heard a round of applause from one of the tables, but can't be sure.  I know my mom had five of us,  First question - WHY?  Second question - HOW?  and not THAT HOW, but how did you manage it?

Until next time,

your pal,

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

For all the late breaking news...wait 50 years!

I have always enjoyed learning about history, but it wasn't until I was older that I realized that history was written by the winners.  And it wasn't until recently that I realized how much history has been postponed and continues to be postponed.  Files are sealed and not to be opened for 50 years or more.  Personal histories can be rewritten by sealing and or destroying files.  And this is allowed.

Am I the only one that finds this interesting?  As a firm believer that we must know our history in order to learn from it, what does one do when history changes?  Isn't it challenging enough that the countries we learned in grade school don't even have the same names anymore?  Whatever happened to Yugoslavia?

When I was in junior high, every year we had the opportunity to participate in the "United Nations".  Before I go any further, for those of you who are not familiar with "junior high" (since it no longer exists), in the olden days,  that would be grades 7-9.  If you were selected, your delegation of about three students would choose a country, learn all about it; politically, culturally, and historically and represent this country when the "United Nations" met - usually a two-day period when many different schools would come together and convene.  It was very educational and fun.  I can't imagine doing that in today's world.  You would have to come prepared with different placards, in the event your country was seized during the course of the day, you could then change names, etc.

Let's talk a bit about sealing files.  We all are aware of the more famous cases.  FBI files on the late President John F. Kennedy have been sealed for 50 years as of 2013 and while some have been declassified, many remain sealed.  As new information comes to light, it changes information we have considered HISTORY.  Files on his brother Robert, which lend insight to information regarding his brother's assassination and the Warren Commission are still for the large part, unavailable. 

How about Martin Luther King, Jr.?  Fun fact, did you know his birth name was Michael?  As was his father's?  Okay - well, his files are sealed until 2027?  These men are important historical figures and what information is being withheld for such a long time that we can't be trusted with it? 

Or is our reality really one of a script that plays well for the current audience and when that audience changes....say in about 50 years or will the script.  If the information is negative, why would we allow leaders to live out there legacy and only reveal same information after they are dead?  Or maybe the information about them isn't negative but people involved in their death?  They may have a powerful legacy?  Do we really not want to rock that boat, because the passengers on the ship can't handle it?  WE ARE THE PASSENGERS!!!

I was talking to a guy yesterday and he said "what does it really matter now anyway?".  Would we be so cavalier in our personal life?  What if we were married for 50 years and found out our mate was a serial killer?  (think BTK killer on this one).  It does matter. 

We will need to live long lives and keep our memories strong to sort out the different truths we are being told - not only by our historians/politicians today, but if we ever want to hear "the rest of the story" (as Paul Harvey would say).

Until next time,

your pal,

It's never too late to do the "right" thing

Even this is my opinion! What is "the right thing"?  Many times over the years, I have heard people say "I want to do the...