Category Archives: etiquette

Rolling with Laughter

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Coworkers are my source of humor and constancy in my daily routine.

We tend to miss each other over weekends, sometimes I feel it is due

to our being ‘displaced’ from our lines of preferred professions. All of

my fellow table mates at lunch and break were in other jobs before they

came to work at the warehouse.

When Melvin went off to Massachusetts, the week seemed to drag

forever.

 

This week, just the first three days already, have been hysterical. He

regales us with tall tales of lobster 3 or 4 times eaten daily. He is also

teaching us more and more about the Army life he led.

 

You may remember a long ago post about Melvin being raised by

parents from an island. By the time they came to America, they had

chosen Massachusetts as their home. I think the link, “cous cous” may

connect you to that story. . . We feel this is an interesting ‘thread’ that

connects the two of us. Since my Mom’s parents were both immigrants,

meeting on a street corner in New York City, but choosing to live in

Connecticut. My Grandpa’s father had chosen Massachusetts, where

my Grandpa went to school and his sister lived there, once adults.

Grandpa had moved away from there to go to the engineering or

‘technical college’ in New York City. He knows we both like many of

the New England specialties, too.

 

Melvin had been a good student in school. He decided to go into the

Army to get a ‘free education.’ Instead, he found his true interest or

“calling” in cooking. He did not go to culinary arts institute. He went

to Germany while in the Army, where he had an amazing time learning

about German food preparation. Then, he followed this with his next

tour of duty being spent on the Army base in Hawaii. Where native

fresh fruits are part of the daily Army diet. He excitedly described to us

at break today, they are also cut specially into shapes like lotus flowers

and birds, presented on the platters as ‘garnishes.’

We pursued this culinary specialty subject awhile, “Not in Officer’s

Club, but Mess Hall grub has garnishes?”

“Yes,” Melvin intoned then elaborating, “The different things you

can create varies from vegetables to fruits. A large melon, zucchini,

radishes or apples you make sliced criss-crosses, blanch them in

boiling water and quickly place them in icy water. The hot water gets

them to open up like a lotus blossom.”

He added, “Did you know that the Army never adds new amounts

of a food to an older dish?” (You know how while at a buffet or a

salad bar, they add more potato salad to the old? Nope, this NEVER

happens in the Army dining room!)

 

So, Melvin brought me the delicious German wine last year, which

he mentioned that in Germany at Christmas, the shops downtown

have little tables of treats and ‘shot glasses’ of drinks. They also warm

their wines and give out tastes of these. He contributed to my sense

of ‘culture’ while I shared this with my Mom and family last year.

Mom said a toast in German, which was one about health and love.

(My Mom’s mother was born in Germany. She told me to thank

Melvin. He had bought this on the Rickenbacker Air Force base,

as a gift to me. So thoughtful, you can see why he is a ‘keeper,’

when it comes to friends!)

 

Another morsel he shared with us was of an Army skill he acquired

while in Germany. He informed us they would bring in huge blocks

of ice and there would be one skilled ice sculptor who would create

lovely centerpieces for Army banquets at holidays. He apprenticed

and learned this amazing skill.

Again, we asked Melvin, “Do you mean ordinary Army enlisted men

would have banquets with carved ice decorations on their tables?”

We were incredulous. I am hoping there may be some enlisted men

from the past, who will confirm this outlandish ‘story.’

Really, please let me know. . .

“Yes,” Melvin looked and sounded like he had the Bible and would

“solemnly swear that this was the truth, the whole truth, so help

him God.”

Melvin then proceeded to tell us about mountains, ski cabins and

other etchings in his German ice sculptures. Then, he decided to

mention how he created elaborate Hawaiian ice sculptures with

volcanoes, trees and ocean waves along beaches. He had learned

how to, sculpt detailed floral arrangements out of ice. We wished

he had photographs but we believe his stories.

 

So, when Melvin got back from Massachusetts, we listened to how

he and his ‘my lady’ had lobster omelets, lobster rolls and lobster

linguini. He emphatically repeated this annoying part (we were

jealous, that is why we were annoyed), “I ate lobster 3 or 4 times

a day!” Upon repetition,  we still did not roll our eyes, since he was

entertaining us quite brilliantly. Never a dull moment at the good,

old warehouse with Melvin around.

 

Melvin’s accent had changed over his one week “Back home, out East.”

He vocalizes the sound of his “r’s” to “h’s” so his car was a “cah.” You

could close your eyes and imagine a Kennedy speaking. He sounds so

“cultured.” We tell him he should take his “lady friend” to England

and get their full ‘edification.’ Come back with a British accent. Then,

being the dramatic ‘ham’ that he is, he put his little pinky out and

pretended to hold a tea cup and saucer. He attempted an imitation

British tea party, exclaiming “Cheerio, my deah ones, we need to

order some crumpets and scones.”

 

Melvin told us how offended he was McDonald’s thinks “frappes”

sound like “frapays” while most New Englanders know “frappes”

rhyme with “wraps.” The real ‘frappes’ are delicious old fashioned

milk shakes made of real ice cream and whole milk, with flavors with

real chocolate syrup or real whipped cream. It makes me think of the

rants that began with this funny question, “Don’t you understand the

words that are coming out of my mouth?” from the two movies, with

Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in “Rush Hour’ (one and two.)

 

Whenever Melvin opens his mouth, we laugh. He is full of spirit, likes

to tease and pull your leg. There is always a chance,  at any moment,

for his voice to  become high-pitched and indignant about something.

This is what he calls his “Ohio homey’s” slang and attitude.

 

The story Melvin finished with was about his days of being the Head

Cook at the Marysville Penitentiary. He claims that at any point in

time, you could run into a sister of a male inmate, while she is in

the female cellblocks. Or a mother! There was a special occasion,

where the Warden had arranged for a comedienne named, Monique,

to entertain the inmates. She is a known African American stand-up

comic, who uses ‘blue’ (vulgar) humor in her sketches and anecdotes.

Melvin smiled wide, snorting while remembering some of the skits

or jokes she told.

Melvin finally stopped laughing and  said, “The Warden got up from

his seat in the front of the room, apparently unaware of her type of

humor, with a bright red face, looking down as he walked to the back

of the room, quietly exiting. Everyone clapped and hooted, encouraging

this Monique to ‘carry on,’ with her crass jokes.”

 

I had a chance to change the subject at second break and told my

good friends that yesterday was the 51st anniversary of Push Button

Telephones. (I had already decided to post about the serious subject

of Malala and her Nobel Peace Prize.) So, you are finding this fact

out a day later than my coworkers!

 

ATT first presented these new phones to Pennsylvania residents on

November 18, 1963. The original Push Button phones had only ten

buttons, while in 1968 they added two more buttons (#) and (*). This

squared off phone replaced my favorite old fashioned  rotary phone.

Going along with the raucous humor and our improved mood, since

it was our Melvin’s long-lost return, we used our fingers to squeeze

our noses, to make our vocalizations to sound nasal and together

we imitated one of the greatest comedians ever, Lily Tomlin, by

chanting:

“One ringy dingy, two ringy dingy” and so forth, making the funny

character of the old time operator from variety shows of the 60’s

of “Ernestine,” come back alive. Tammy and I were rolling while

Melvin, who is a great imitator of voices, was pretending to be

the character.

 

In honor of Melvin, though, I will tell you his favorite singer is not

who you would expect. If you remember my post, “Someone Saved

My Life Today,” you may remember Melvin loves Elton John, so

does his girlfriend. The songs he says are ones that get him up and

dancing are:

“Honky Cat” and “Crocodile Rock.”

Melvin is one ‘hep cat’ who knows how to ‘jive!’

 

A Tale of November Events

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Last week, the Earl of Sandwich had his special day,

We enjoy his creation of a portable edible delight.

While knowing by asking his servant to make this,

Earl was able to continue playing his game of cards.

(John Montagu, Earl of Sandwich, November 3rd)

 

Next, came the Honor Roll Call of all who have served,

The sound of a Trumpet recognizing their heroism.

Those who stayed behind needing some recognition,

Letters sent overseas showed their loving devotion.

(Veteran’s Day, November 11th)

 

Graceful origami birds are world travelers on their way,

Celebrating an intricate Japanese paper-folding craft.

The peaceful days will bring brightly colored paper,

Creating delicate treasures to hang or put on shelves.

(World Origami Days, October 24 – November 11th)

 

It began with Little Violet holding the football,

For Trusting Charlie Brown to kick.

She became scared and pulled it up and away.

From then on, Fearless Lucy was the “mean girl,”

Who every year prevented Charlie Brown’s kick.

Poor Charlie Brown, disappointed again,

Ever optimistic for the coming year.

 

November 11, 1951 (Violet) only once.

November 16, 1956 (Lucy) annually ever since.

Celebrating Memories of

Charles M. Schulz’s

“Peanuts” Gang’s

Annual Football  Ritual

 

Kindness spreads far and wide across the globe,

Adding importance to this joyful day of giving.

Find someone who is quiet or seems lonely,

Smile at neighbors and share special times.

(World Kindness Day, November 13th)

 

Purse your lips they may be sour, as in Dill,

Lick your lips they are sweet, as in Bread and Butter.

Chew and crunch down on those crisp vegetables,

Enjoy this yummy, centuries’ old way to preserve food.

(National Pickle Day, November 14th)

 

Written by Robin O. Cochran

~* 11/12/14 *~

 

 

 

“Pet Peeves”

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How aggravating!

How annoying!

Nuisances.

If you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

I have some gripes to express. Hope you will tell me what your

main ‘beefs’ with other people are!

 

1. “Repetitive complainers.”

You give advice to help them.

You try a different piece of advice

the next time.

You feel like you are ‘spinning wheels.’

Finally, when none of the thoughtful

approaches you have given to these,

‘whiners,’ you give up.

You hope they find someone else to

listen to them:

“Just because I am nice, doesn’t mean I want

to listen to you!”

 

2. “Sloppy parkers.”

Everywhere you go, there are ones

who feel their prize possession requires

two spots. Why not add to our relief and

your longer life, by parking far out in

the boondocks? Walking is so good for you

and your ‘car is safe’ out there!

The other ones, who go hand in hand with

these special car owners, are the ones who

bump your car with their door.

“My car is ‘special’ to me, so please use your

manners!”

 

3. Potluck ‘no shows.’

When the list is passed around, they add their

choice of homemade dish or dishes. They are

sometimes able to give a very good excuse for

not following through, lack of participation.

But, there are a few who ‘slide’ into line, get

a plate and you absolutely know they could

not even bring $2 hot dog buns or $1 pop.

Everyone has one ‘free pass’ I feel at our work

potlucks, but I know of a few who have NEVER

brought something to share.

“Come on, don’t you feel a little guilty about

not bringing anything?”

 

Family potlucks are different, I like to bring

extras, to cover those who have run out of time

or are short on money. Again, it is okay to bring

crackers or fresh produce out of one’s garden. . .

“Love means not having to bring anything but

oneself.”

 

4. “Borrowers.”

I have several in my work and apt. buildings.

Sometimes, it is no big deal, a quarter for laundry,

an egg or a cup of sugar. A little something, over

and over again,  does add up, though.

I have given once a week 25 cents to someone at work,

in a month it is a dollar…

If I need to borrow, I always come back the next day

and return the money. Mainly, due to my age and

forgetfulness, I do this.

The next time I shop, returning the egg is at the top

of my list of ‘things to do,’ sometimes adding a couple

of cookies or whatever I have noted they like.

Those borrowers are~

“Nickel and diming my good nature away!”

Please give back!

 

5. “Ride Takers.”

I like to help out, I honestly do. But there is someone

who actually had me take them through the drive-thru

and did not offer to buy a pop or iced tea on a long, hot

day!

When I have sometimes chosen to slow down and roll

down the window, seeing someone I know walking, that

is my choice. But there are now 2 people who linger at

our lockers, waiting outside having a cigarette or just

standing by my car, to get their rides.

Recently I have developed a thicker skin and have said,

“I have somewhere else I have to go, after work, which is

going to take me a different direction.”

Offer something to repay kindnesses.

 

6. “People who don’t know how to whisper.”

If you ever see the Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James

Gandolfini, someone put this right into the script!

That movie, “Enough Said,” includes few of my little

‘pet peeves’ that others do, that get on my nerves.

In the movie, it is actually a date at a movie theater,

where James’ character is not able to whisper but

uses a normal talking voice. If I really liked (or loved)

someone who did this, knowing they were not able

to do the quiet voice, I would just have to watch DVD’s

and use the ‘pause’ button, often! I cannot stand it

when there are people talking loudly for more than

a minute or two, at the library. I try to not glower or

give them my ‘mother’ or ‘teacher’ stare.

Try to refrain talking, if you have been told you have

a loud whisper.

 

7. “Frequent Guests/Rare, if ever, Hosts.”

Now, I may be’ treading on thin ice’ on this subject.

I know that I tend to have people come over and I

do enjoy their company. I loved this much more

when I lived in a nice, big house!

There was a certain friend who had been to my apt. about

3-4 x monthly, which means at least 40 times in one year,

making the total of over 80 times in two years. She thinks

she is saving me from driving her direction, a few miles

away. Once she comes over, she is hard to get back out of

my place. Worse still, is sometimes when we have made plans

to go somewhere, I will try to meet her at the door. She had

started to come early, though. Then I have her sitting in my

apartment watching me put on my makeup.

I guess this sounds funny or petty. I have picked her up at her

mobile home, which I can see from my car, that she has a nice

place, pretty curtains and some landscaping. I have NEVER

been asked in, before or after our times out. I have hinted by

saying, “If you let me come over for coffee sometime, I will

have a better idea of what kind of gift I may buy for your

birthday or Christmas.”

By sitting in my apartment, I have given her a sandwich,

cookies, chips, coffee, tea, pop, a few glasses of wine and

even, accidentally her spying my Godiva bag of chocolates

on a shelf when I opened the cabinet to get something else

to give her, I have felt ‘forced’ to share my chocolates!

This is ‘horrible’ to admit, but I have started saying,

“Let’s drive separately, I will meet you at the movies (or

wherever we have determined we should go together.)”

Take turns with your friends.

 

8. “One’s Situation is Always Worse Than Yours.”

I don’t think that I dwell on my misfortunes, in fact it

is only when a circumstance resembling my own comes

out in a conversation, will I mention how I have handled

my personal challenges in life.

This example is more easily described as, “Debby Downers,”

or “My Life Sucks More Than Anything You Say Is Going On

With Yours.” My daughter calls them, “Negative Nancy’s.”

While in high school, my Mom noticed this about a good

friend of mine, she even felt that it was her place to tell this

teenager that she needed to be able to ‘rise’ above some of

her circumstances and really, try to find some kind of ‘silver

lining’ in her life. Mom also started a little bit of silly passive

aggressive behavior, I am sure it went unnoticed by my girl-

friend. When the friend would call, she always asked, “Is

Robin there?” My Mom would say, “Yes.” There would be

dead silence. My Mom would wait it out. My friend would

finally ask, “Can I talk to her?” Mom, (English and Spanish

high school teacher) would say, “I suppose.” Tick. Tick. Tick.

Finally she would say, “May I speak with Robin?”

As my Mom was generous, she would often ask this friend,

who really was sometimes annoying (even) to me, “Would you

like something to drink?” The answer, invariably was, “Yes.”

My Mom would list a few choices, if it were the weekend, they

included juice, milk, iced tea or pop. This friend seriously

would say, “I don’t care.” My Mom would sit down and not

pursue the matter again, until the next time she came over.

I did not get to the point of giving her up, until we were in our

fifties. I was so understanding of her divorces, I was so helpful

with painting designs on her walls and her granddaughter’s

dresser. I understood that she has fibromyalgia, I volunteered

to weed armpit-high weeds, cleaning her basement and her

kitchen for her son’s high school graduation party. I served

the food, having brought two side dishes and a graduation card

with enclosure of money. Even when I worked two jobs, I was

able to spend time with her, since I did feel that she had few

people who cared about her. Her own sister would not invite

her to holidays. Her father would come down and take her out

to eat and then drive back to Cleveland. (Her mother passed

away when we were adults and parents of our own children.

I attended her mother’s funeral and she attended my Dad’s.)

Then, one holiday she showed up with her son and his girlfriend

uninvited for a Thanksgiving meal. I opened the door and then

closed it partway saying, “Maybe I should check with my parents,

this is possibly my Dad’s last holiday with his grandkids.”

I kept them waiting on the front doorstep. My Mom offered to go

and tell her, “No, this is beyond rude.” My oldest daughter said

she would go to the door and say, “Sorry this isn’t a good time.”

Finally, my ex-husband went to the door and I heard him say,

“Holidays are not times to show up unexpectedly. Thanks for the

kind thoughts about my father-in-law’s cancer. (She did not say

a word about him at this time.) Happy Thanksgiving.”

(Myex’s Christian upbringing came to the forefront, for which I am

ever grateful.)

When he came back to the living room, having heard his deep voice

carried into the living room, my Dad said, “Who was that woman?

Are solicitors allowed to come on holidays?” We all chuckled and let

the funny Cracker Barrel fish sing its silly tune, which we tended to

have for his last Christmas, too. (“Take me to the river…”)

 

9. Last but not least- –

“People Who Root for the Opposition.”

Those who have lived more than 20 years in a state,

who may have been avid fans of another state’s team,

note that sometimes you may have more fun, if you

decide to ‘switch alliances.’

I have a friend who lived in Michigan for all of three

years of her life. Karen will not wear any Ohio team

shirt days, she is always there with her blue and gold.

I totally understand people who were dislodged from

their homes or who grew up for years in a location but I

will say this, my parents grew up as Cincinnati Fans.

They both attended U. of C. liked Cincy Bengals and

Cincy. Reds, too.

They moved to Cleveland, immediately purchasing

all the Cleveland gear needed to support their new

home town. I am not sure whether anyone will find

this amusing, but I think that being in Ohio Wesleyan’s

back yard, I bought an OWU shirt, black and red. I

still wear my BGSU t-shirt and zip-up orange jacket. Just

while visiting Bowling Green or up in Cleveland.

While walking around Delaware, Ohio, I enjoy supporting

the university and being a ‘townie!’

I just have to wonder, when everyone at work is wearing

scarlet and gray, why not indulge in a purchase of an OSU

t-shirt? Why not wear the blue and maize at home, in front

of your television? But I don’t think this is a big pet peeve,

after all, we have lots of fun talking about Cleveland,

since you lived there, too. WE enjoy talking about the good

old Terminal Tower, Ghoulardi, The Ghoul, Big Chuck and

Houlihan… Why not get a Cleveland Browns’ shirt or a

Cleveland Indians’ t-shirt?

“Commit to your Home Town or Home State.”

Now, that I have taken too much of your time up in my list

of ‘pet peeves,’

What’s one of your ‘beefs?”

Who gets your ‘goat?’

Who gives you ‘grief?’

Come on now…

“Let’s Dish!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bureaucracy

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This will be an angry post, one where frustration sometimes is best

relieved by venting! It can be about the fact that it’s quite challenging

to get a hold of an actual human being on the phone! It can be your

own disappointment or disgust at the way businesses seem to give you

the ‘run around!’

I can only hope you will add to this, with your own examples of

“Bureaucracy!”

(There is a reason why there are so many people throw the word, “idiocy”

around! Also, I do know there may be some people who may mention the

dreaded word, “politicians, ” too.)

Tomorrow will be my smiles and chuckles post. . .

 

I would like to start the ball rolling with a look at a small example of how

business in my workplace, at the good ‘ole warehouse, is run.

Last Monday, while about 20 people were lining up to ‘clock in,’  at our

time clock there was an obstacle to walk around to get to the clock. It is a

small ‘vehicle’ or ‘cart’ that has an engine, which the ‘bosses’ scoot around

on.

It would ‘crack you up,’ to see them get on one of these, only to go about 30

paces, to get to another office or to use the rest room.

In each of these cases, no one else is allowed to ‘touch or move them.’

On last Tuesday, at the morning meeting, a fellow coworker mentioned that

whoever is parking their little mode of transportation in the way of the time

clock, was actually ‘breaking a safety rule.’

Then, my friend added, it is unsafe, due to the way people have to ‘clock in’

and then try to get out of the way of the next person in line. ‘There isn’t any

room to do this safely.’

Then, he mentioned that someone ‘almost tripped over it!’

Well, what do you know?!

That darn cart was once again parked in the location directly under

the bins order fillers’ time clock. I wish to note, at this time, I never get

in this long line, no patience for such nonsense. I enter the hallway by

the lockers, ‘clock in’ where there is usually only five people getting

their last sips of coffee, filling their water bottle, or something like this.

It is located by the break room.

No one blocks the break room!

Anyway, at the morning meeting on last Wednesday, one of our immediate

bosses, (one is for heavy bulk fillers and the other regular ‘bins’ order fillers)

made a proud announcement,

“We sent out a memo to whoever is leaving their cart by the time clocks.”

(In this case, he meant an ’email.’ There are no more memos, unless the

boss’ boss prints out an email and checks it for any facts that may not be

disclosed to us, (‘paeans.’) By the way, how many people would have put

an ‘o’ in that? Since everyone says ‘pee-ons’ I struggled with the spelling!

Out of practice!

On last Thursday, the cart was moved, presumably due to the ‘efficiency

and effectiveness’ of the email!

Another minor example of ‘Bureaucracy,’ came in a rather smelly way!

I went away to my Mom’s on June 27th and arrived home on July 6th.

I had a grand time, some challenges but overall, a nice escape from my

everyday life.

When I arrived home, I smelled an odor in the hallway, quickly sped up

to get into my apartment, presumable to be in my old, familiar, cinnamon

and other kinds of homey smells. (I love Yankee Candle Company’s scent

of “Home Sweet Home,” use it in my candles, warmers, and in my car, too.)

Oh my!

It was my apartment that truly stank! Yuck!

I quickly went to the nearly empty fridge, it held only pleasant condiments

and the baking soda box held any of the odors. No spoiled foods, check!

I then ran into the bathroom, and as I got there, I was splashing in the

hallway! The carpet was soaked and yes, it smelled horrific. Like a dead

animal, no none of those in evidence!

I called my apartment manager’s phone number, leaving a message.

I went out into the hall, stopped across the hall. The friendly woman, who

is still nameless, since my good friend, “Bo” and daughter “Amyah” moved

out, I have not attempted to know this one. I miss the grandmother friend

and her granddaughter, too. (I gave her a lot of my Dad’s porcelain light-

houses and other nice things, like a ‘throw’ blanket with the 12 Lake Erie

lighthouses on it.)

The neighbor opened her door, asked me had I been gone long? She had

noticed my absence and admitted to smelling my odor. She also told me

that her air conditioner pipe from the upstairs (floors 2 and 3) had somehow

gotten clogged. The overflow or pressure had leaked into her apartment,

hallway and into her bedroom, too. She said this happened on June 30th,

that the manager had provided a fan to dry it, would be cleaning her carpet

sometime around July 11 or 12th.

I was ‘freaking out!’ That meant he clearly knew others were having this

problem and had not bothered to knock and check around to see if there

were other instances of this. Just while I was talking to her, Pete called.

He lives on the second floor with his wife, Nancy. It is not like he is off

the premises, surely he would have smelled this, since they are supposed

to vacuum the halls and wax the chair rail in the hallway.

I approached this with caution, remembering my Mom’s favorite expression

for handling irksome circumstances:

“You can attract more positive responses with honey than with vinegar.”

(There are variations on this but this is how she would say it.)

I told Pete, that I had come home from vacation and found my apartment

very ripe smelling, think it has to do with the water heater leaking or the

air conditioner pipe. He said he would bring me a fan.

I called my oldest daughter, she came over. I was sure I would have a fit,

if someone would not be there to keep me from over-reacting!

I boiled tea for the two of us, I lit about ten candles around the apartment.

I put a little of my vanilla scented lotion inside my nostrils.

When Pete came down, he knocked and then opened the door. He did not

admit to me that there was any odor. (I miss my old landlord, Ron, he would

have sympathized and also, maybe offered to help find out the root of the

problem.)

Pete said, “I will have to call a maintenance man tomorrow. He is also good

with the electrical stuff. He can check your heater and air conditioner.”

Carrie was walking in, saw my look and asked me to come in the hallway

while Pete set up the fan to blow air into my wet carpet and then he opened

the doorway to the ‘electrical stuff.’

Carrie ‘admonished me:’  “Don’t use your teacher look or your teacher voice,

Mom! But you may ask him if there are any avenues to proceed to, if it were

an ’emergency,’ mention that mold is not healthy for you to sleep in.”

I re-entered my apartment, almost knocking him down. Pete was going to

leave! I had to take a short breath not to let my steam blow!

“What would you do if this happened to yours and Nancy’s apartment?

Would you think there may be a solution that could be chosen tonight?”

 

(Inside my head I was yelling,

“So I won’t have to sleep knowing that there is water with possible mold

or e-coli, lying inch thick in my hallway!!”)

Pete asked me twice in quick succession, had I run my air conditioner

while I was on vacation?

Each time, I answered, “No.”

I am not sure if that would have somehow made it ‘my fault’ that the air

conditioner’s condensation had run into my apartment, but he seemed to be

focused on this point. Now, later, I wonder if I had it so that it would run

while I was gone, would that have somehow alleviated their responsibility?

 

An emergency plumber came that night.

 

I am thankful that he said to Pete, “This place smells disgusting! It would

be hard to sleep with this in the hallway!”

He said to me, “Maybe you could spend the night at your friend’s apartment,”

looking at my 34 year old daughter. (God bless his heart!)”

He also explained how there is a perpendicular pipe, that had filled with

mold, where the condensation from others’ air conditioners siphons down

into this. Normally, going into a drain. I was glad he explained that the

whole thing was ‘not your tenant’s fault’ to Pete.

In this case, as I talked to my coworker the next day who also happens to

live in my apartment building, he feels that Pete should have offered to

pay something towards a motel room. Another coworker says, he would

have insisted on getting the carpet cleaned and suctioning off the water,

too.

I have a good thing to tell you! My carpet did get cleaned on July 1oth,

so I only had to live with the stench for Sunday through Thursday nights.

Another good bureaucratic occurrence is to be announced.

I got a refund from the Cable company!

What? You heard me right!

I called them to tell them I did not get my Time Warner Cable Channel

Guide for the months of June or July! I wondered if I needed to go to

the Post Office and ask for a trace on it? The first woman that I talked to,

used a businesslike tone, saying that they were no longer publishing this

lovely television guide, that was quite a bargain for less than $3. It had

the look of a magazine, with at least ten pages of colored paper, then the

rest of it, in black and white newsprint. I would pore over that, circle and

use two different colors of highlighters, too!

When I did not get a significant explanation nor confirmation of the bill

being changed, since I had sent both June and July payments by this time,

I asked for a manager!

I used a plaintive tone, almost whiny, but was almost beside myself, really

upset about this. I wanted to know if there had been written notice of its

discontinuation? I wished to have an explanation why this happened? I

wondered was I the only person who felt it was well worth paying for this

monthly guide?

The manager was like a psychiatrist, she had a bell-like tone to her voice,

very sympathetic, kind and saying, “Oh, that is too bad!” and then, “Oh,

I can understand how important this was to you!”

I actually got a $30 refund, she felt this was well worth using her power

to use “discretionary funds.”

She was looking at my years of being an “Outstanding customer,” and

telling me she did not want to lose me, that I was “Valuable” to Time

Warner Cable!

I may have to call HER next time something else goes wrong, somehow

she imparts some warmth and love to the whole ‘bureaucracy’ and gives

me hope after all!

Let me know you worst case scenarios with bureaucracy and I will kindly

impart my “Oh, that is too bad’s” to each and every one of you! I have a

good feeling that this post may help you ‘vent’, ‘rant’, and you will feel

much better!!

Fellow bloggers ‘therapy’ begins when I hang my ‘shingle up!’

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Flower Cart Vendor and a Queen

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Today, May 20, 2014, we honor a character from a musical play and a

Queen of England! (Okay, maybe a day late for her!) Yesterday, May 19,

2014 was a federal statutory holiday called, “Victoria Day,” in Canada.

On my home calendar, they accidentally had it on the 20th! This extra

special day first came about for the celebration of Queen Victoria’s 35th

birthday.

That historic day had begun at midnight, with a ‘gun salute.’ I wonder

now if it was to wake everyone or maybe the party goers cavorted all

night and were already awake?

Annual celebrations included ‘pre-dawn serenades,’ athletic contests

or competitions, ‘torch-light processions,’ picnics and all-out 19th

Century revelry. This Canadian Patriotic Holiday makes it sound like

the United States’ Fourth of July celebrations!

There were two names listed, both French for Quebec’s celebration of

“Victoria Day:”

“Fete de Dollard” which lasted from the period of the “Quiet Revolution”

until 2003 and “Fete de la Reine,” (party for the Queen) which continues

to this day.

Also, there is another fascinating woman who really is ‘featured’ today:

“Eliza Doolittle Day!”

Both these notable women could be considered ‘heroines,’ of sorts.

One who was the creation in the imagination, originally, of George

Bernard Shaw in his play, “Pygmalion.” In 1938, a film adaptation of

the original stage play was produced.

When it was revised to become a musical, in 1956, Lerner and Lowe

had collaborated on the lyrics and plot line. It became a very well-

respected and beloved Broadway musical. It still circulates among

high schools, colleges and independent acting theaters.

When in 1964, Lerner and Loew’s musical was transferred into movie

form, it “shone” with the star, Audrey Hepburn. I think that I may

have written in a former post, awhile back, that Julie Andrews was

dismayed not to have been asked to be in either “My Fair Lady” or

“Camelot’s” film versions. Both had directors who chose ‘non-singing’

female leads in Vanessa Redgrave and Audrey Hepburn.

Just for your information, Marni Nixon was the young woman who voiced

all of Eliza’s songs, in the 1964 film adaptation, “My Fair Lady.”

I love how she delivers the song, “Just You Wait (Henry Higgins).”

Audrey Hepburn, as an innocent waif, did an excellent and well-received

portrayal of the character simply described as ‘the flower girl.’ Her

name was Eliza Doolittle.

So, this is the character for whom we celebrate today!

The male lead, playing the character of Professor Henry Higgins, is Rex

Harrison.

The part of Colonel Hugh Pickering, was played by Wilfrid Hyde-White.

Another fine actor and singer was Stanley Holloway portraying Eliza’s

father. He belts out the song, “I’m Getting Married in the Morning”

in his full blown version of a ‘cockney’ accent.

The songs are lovely memories for me, hopefully for some of you.

The whole concept of the transformation of Eliza, ‘the flower girl,’

into a fine lady of ‘high society’ in Edwardian London came from a bet

or a ‘wager’ between the two men, Professor Higgins and Colonel Pickering.

They happen to be ‘phoneticists’ or linguistics. They study phonics and

dialects.

Higgins is the one who thinks he can change Eliza by using phonetics

and recordings to eliminate her ‘cockney’ accent. She is able to complete

this transformation into a refined and formal lady by a set time, to

attend a Ball. She falters as a stilted, yet genteel, lady at the Ascot

Racecourse.

I remember, at age 9, going to see this “breath-taking” movie at the

theater with my family. It really enchanted me with the way the whole

story went, along with the costumes that were lovely. Not only for the

Ball, but the race track, too. My brothers and father did not complain,

it is funny, thinking back to that time. Sometimes, I think about the

many action movies we would go to where I would not say that I didn’t

really want to go. As a sign of the times, there were less choices

and one did what their parents ‘told them to do!’

Another amusing thought is that if “Eliza Doolittle” met the Queen

Victoria, what those two minds would have come up with! Especially

with one who was considered one of the longest reigning Monarch’s

of the British colonies and a simple ‘street urchin’ who had spunk

and a feisty nature indeed. I imagine there may have been some mutual

admiration for their strengths of character.

Now go on!

Celebrate with birthday cake and British tea or have a glass of wine to

cheer these women on!

A Portrait of Garrison Keillor

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It is so hard to imagine life without Lake Wobegone or all the

assundry characters that Garrison Keillor created with his wild

and interesting imagination. He was born in August, 1942, in

Anoka, Minnesota. His dream was to be a ‘poet and a genius.’

Garrison Keillor is best known for his radio show and many

books written.

In Garrison’s plainly written words in the book, “The Keillor

Reader,” (2014, Viking Books, part of Penguin Group) you find

yourself looking up to him. You feel that he has wisdom to

impart. I think that Garrison could be considered a ‘feel good’

author! Listening to his stories can make you wish for the

‘good old days,’ where life was simpler.

While he describes the townspeople of Lake Wobegon,

“I invented a town where the women are strong, the men are

good-looking and the children are all above-average.”

In July, 2014, “A Prairie Home Companion” will celebrate its Forty

Years’ Anniversary!

This iconic Minnesota Public Radio Show caught my attention a long

time ago, when I heard it playing on our local public broadcasting

channel.

His program has been syndicated and listened to by people, around

the world!

Have you ever sat, with possibly your eyes closed, as I happen to

choose to do, and listened to Garrison Keillor?

I like to picture the various places in his town, with their clever

names like “Bertha’s Kitty Boutique,” “The Chatterbox Café,”

“The Sidetrack Tap (the local tavern), “Skoglund’s Five & Dime,”

and “Bunsen Motors.”

Garrison’s fine voice, with its unusual dialect, distinguished

in his readings to us. His words kept my interest, about the

people in the town that once had only been a figment of his

imagination. They must have been rolling around, among his other

young, diverse thoughts, just waiting to escape and come to life!

When Garrison applied for the early morning shift, he had been

one of only a handful willing to get up daily at 4 a.m.

His wry, ascerbic wit and sometimes darker version of the world

were not acceptable to those who were on their way to work, ones

who may have needed a second cup of java to get them going.

So, out of this understanding of his audience, Garrison became

“Old Scout,” the narrator and observer of a small town.

I liked the movie, “A Prairie Home Companion,” (2006) which believe

it or not, included Lindsay Lohan, amongst a wonderful, comedic

ensemble group! The list of actors and actresses alone, made it

worth watching this “B+” movie! I cannot help listing the ones

who were part of Robert Altman’s cast of dreams. (By the way,

this was Altman’s last film that he directed. His list of many

accomplishments is incredible! He died later in November, 2006.)

Here’s the list of “Who’s Who” in the movie: Lily Tomlin, Meryl

Streep, Woody Harrelson, Maya Rudolph, John C. Reilly, Kevin

Kline, Garrison (himself) Keillor, Tommy Lee Jones and Robin

Williams with his wife, Linda. There is an interesting “angel”

character, played by Virginia Madsen. At the end, when the play

is closed down and the theater no longer exists, there is a

special scene… (I won’t “spoil” this, if you choose to rent

this from your local library.) I just want to say, the scene

in a diner, was rather “fortuitous.”

I love Garrison Keillor’s book, I recommend it and it would

be considered a memoir, with some facts about his life and

the phases he went through, growing old while being the one

who told the world about the town that had once lived in his

mind.

I like to make lists so here are some of the things I learned

from his autobiography, including some quotations from his 2014

book.

“Life Lessons I learned While Reading Garrison Keillor’s Most

Recent Book”~

1. Incorporate a sense of humor in your day!

Garrison mentions the contrast of his own morning persona

compared to what was acceptable to his listeners.

“Irony and a dark world-view are not useful in radio early

in the morning…”

2. Be cheerful and it will help others to be happy.

Garrison explains why he created his character,

“Old Scout, who rallied listeners to rise and shine and face the

day with a smile.”

He goes on, “It was a good persona and in time I came to believe

it myself.”

3. Be nice in your town to friends and neighbors.

The town he invented has pleasantries, helpful and kind people.

Garrison’s people are respectful, despite their quirky natures.

4. Work hard, ‘make up for lack of talent.’ and forge ahead.

Garrison tells his readers,

“Soon I was forty, which is too old to die young, so I forgot about

immortality and headed down the long dirt road of longevity.”

5. Parents are important. Remember to thank them!

Garrison realizes,

“It dawned on me that the cheerful radio host I invented was derived

from my parents’ example.”

6. It is good to enjoy what you have and realize things could be

worse.

Garrison describes his parents,

“They were children of the Great Depression, John and Grace. They

knew how to savor their life and not complain.”

7. Don’t complain about how your children lead their lives.

Garrison reveals,

“They (his parents) never complained about me though I know they

hoped I’d go into a more distinguished line of work.”

8. Find what you like to do and continue doing it!

Garrison likes his life and his stories with comedy relief.

“I like it, (his choice of profession) though. Comedy does

give good value. There are so many discouraging facts around

for example, half of all people are below average, and jokes

relieve some of the misery.”

9. Sometimes making up parables can be amusing.

Garrison’s humor shows in this example:

“The race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong nor

riches to men of understanding, but time and chance happeneth

to them all.”

10. As you grow older, you truly believe ‘age is wisdom.’

Garrison says this example is the ‘essence of comedy’ in

25 words or less:

“You’re fast, you trip and fall down: you’re strong and you

poke your sword in your left foot; you’re smart and you go

broke.”

At age 72 this year, Garrison Keillor has reached an age that

his words ring with truth and wisdom, leading us on in our

creativity and encouraging us to keep trying to find our way.

When he came up with the town’s name of Lake Wobegon, I wonder

if he was thinking that it was “woe-be-gone.” Telling us to

leave our burdens and turmoils behind us.

These are the lessons I received from reading his book, “The

Keillor Reader.”

I felt so blessed to have had a chance to ‘visit’ for awhile

and ‘listen’ one more time to Garrison Keillor.

Diverse Television Interests

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When I used to teach preschool, my coworkers encouraged me to

start watching the television show, “American Idol,” in 2002.

I have watched several shows for years, one that just ended

named, “How I Met Your Mother.” I stick with a show, through

‘thick and thin,’ even if they ‘jumped the shark,’ long ago.

Did you know that expression came about due to Fonzy jumping

a shark, on a “Happy Days” episode?

My best Delaware girlfriend and I started our friendship, by

calling each other after the show, “Northern Exposure,” was on.

It had quirky characters and we liked the radio announcer, along

with the different story lines. We were both single, sometimes

without a ‘guy’ in our lives. We have known each other since 1992.

We would talk until one of us admitted we were starting to close

our eyes. This was a comforting way for us to become close friends,

with no subject off limits. Once my children were asleep, I would

sometimes ‘miss’ the ex-husband or boyfriend at the time, and my

friend and I liked the companionship, like a ‘sleepover’ on the

telephone. We lived across town from each other and neither could

visit more than once a week, due to busy lives and schedules.

We now watch two shows on Fridays, during our lunches together,

at her house. She DVR’s “Elementary” and “Dallas.” We both agreed

upon these two shows. We weekly watch other shows, in our own homes,

separately. She and I discuss the character development and the way

the plots are going.

Since she and her husband like, “The Americans,” “Person of Interest,”

“Bones,” and “Rizzoli and Isles,” she watches them with him while I sit

at home, watching them on my own. It keeps us connected, when our lives

may appear to be ‘mundane,’ the shows are always active and engrossing!

My way of enjoying my independent freedom is to engage in ‘channel surfing,’

choosing my favorite to watch and my second favorite at the same time,

to watch while there are commercials.

I also would like to recommend some of my favorite comedies:

I still watch The Middle, Brooklyn 9-1-1, New Girl, The Mindy Project,

Neighbors, Meet the Millers and The Crazy Ones. I like all of these

for different reasons, but mainly they all have zany plots, several

different kinds of characters and make me laugh out loud!

They all remind me of some of my old favorite comedies, like “Cheers,”

“Barney Miller,” “Frasier,” “Seinfeld,” and “WKRP in Cincinnati.”

I have taken to watching some serious shows on Sundays, which include

PBS British shows, “Call the Midwife,” “Mr. Selfridge,” (with the man

from “Entourage,” Jeremy Pivens acting in the lead character’s role),

and when “Downton Abbey” is on, then I watch that one. The wardrobes

and the way the beautiful old style department store, in the show,

“Mr. Selfridge,” captures my interest and fantasies. I like the

“Holmes” show with a modern twist, too. I have also been watching,

the Revolutionary War show, “Turn.” It is very good, try it! I also,

due to being a real fan of Alfred Hitchcock, I watch the ‘prequel’

of “Psycho,” called, “Bates Motel.” In that same gruesome vein, I

watch, “Fargo,” with the excellent Billy Bob Thornton, and a great

supporting cast, too.

To ‘dish’ on American Idol, I will share that I voted this week, for

Alex, Caleb, Jessica and C.J. I am going to post about ‘slurred’

words, and how I am starting to dislike Gena, due to her different

way she approaches words. She did an excellent job of singing the

rock and roll anthem, “Barracuda” but would like her to enunciate

the words. This is just a ‘pet peeve’ of mine.

What shows are you watching?

What are your secret ‘guilty pleasure’ shows? Come on and share,

since I have admitted I still watch “Dallas,” and awhile back,

I mentioned on one of those Award nomination posts, that I like

“Revenge.” I am not shallow, hence my very intelligent shows on

Sundays.