Monday, October 27, 2008

On the Road and a new way to thumb.

We are on the RV road again working our way toward Tucson, AZ via Denver, CO and NM. Will be in Tucson from 11-4 through 11-14 at an AWON conference. Then on through NM, to Oklahoma City then Branson, MO and places along the way. The weather will determine some of our routes. We are flexible with dates this trip except for the Tucson commitment. Meantime as we have Internet connectivity will update right here. Most of my friends know to hold off emails.

To keep my brain twisting yesterday I bit the bullet and "invested" in a Blackberry. Oh woe is me! I'd retired from the state about two months ahead of mandatory manager tethering to blackberries and avoided that pain.

The two year+ old cell phone was falling apart so action was needed. I have learned that is about their life expectancy. And the granddaughter really laughed at the old phone in July. That probably led to it's demise, being laughed at. But while it was working it was fine with me. When the screen fell out and the number keys refused to work, it was time.

Two weeks ago I'd traded up to another cell phone, a cute little pink Motorola Razr, after being blackberry tempted. I didn't want to fuss with all that extra stuff and above all I didn't want to spend that extra $$. But the cute pink did not get good reception and that was right at home. When Jerry used it and it cut out on him he decided it just would not do! We couldn't take that on the road. So yesterday as the cold north wind blew in MN and the first white flakes shed we spent the day at the Alltel stores and back and forth!

The technician explained that no new phone would work like our old Nokia. I recognize this, a way to part us from our $$. When I asked him could I have my old one back dead keys and all he really laughed. I mean why mess with success. He went on to explain that Nokia had made the very best phones, but now with progress and texting, email on the phone, etc, the only way to go was Blackberry. All I really care about is a working long distance phone! That's my main use for the cell. I never use all my minutes. I don't need to text anybody and I don't need to have email access 24/7. But here we were back to the blackberry with guaranteed best reception. So after agonizing, weeping and groaning with my head down on the techie's desk, I bit on the blackberry. Jerry said, "It's up to you. It's only money." that from him, the original tightwad unless he's buying electronics or big motor homes.

So now I'm the proud owner of Pearl--that's her name. Teeny keys! A keyboard like the computer--BUT--no way can I simply type. One must use thumbs. He assures me I'll get used to this! This is torture for someone who types automatically and does not look at the keyboard. Suddenly I must stare at this keyboard and thumb it! I find myself moving my fingers across an imaginary keyboard in my head and then looking at Pearl's keys. I'd never have though it so difficult to stare at a tiny keyboard. I remember my high school typing teacher calling out "asdf jkl;" I know the keyboard! Where in the blazes did the letters go!

I now begin to understand why spelling and writing have become lost arts. This thing offers words when only two or three letters are entered. No thinking about how to spell the word, just read it and roll the cursor to select it. And thumbing has brought the need to shorten the text. It took me quite some time to update a few addresses. Even more time to go through the tutorial entering small words like, "the brown fox." Frustrating to have your screen flash, "incorrect,try again." Well this will keep me very entertained in the passenger's side.

Pearl's reception is very good. I dismantled my email function on her because just between the two Alltel stores, a distance of 4 blocks, I received 10 emails. When emails arrive, Pearl shimmies. I'll not be using all my minutes on that. Although the techie assures me that I have plenty of minutes, I can be on email for hours so I'll not be blackberry mailing. Well maybe a limited few along the road. That is if I can get used to thumbing!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Did it again

I could not resist--just like Paul's line in Romans 7:15, "the things I don't want to do I do and the things I want to I don't" or something like that. Ancient words still fit today! This past weekend at the La Crosse quilt show, I gave in and added to my collection. (See back in my blog where I swear NO MORE STUFF! (I think I left a loophole for myself that if it really catches my eye, I can consider.

I could not resist this witchy woman. Look at her, on the broom with the cat at her side. Right now she is lonesome in our dining room. The only witch (unless I'm really in a mood!) and the only Halloween representative. We are leaving Wednesday and won't be home over Halloween so I haven't decorated with any of my other trinkets.

Looking so forward to this trip, but the down side is no fall decor to the house, inside or out. Well I did plant 3 orange mums that are blooming in the flower box, but that's it. Around here folks do decorate for Halloween and I love that so I do too.

On Laurie's blog I saw some great Halloween napkins that I'd just love to have --they say "Broom Rides 50 cents" How cool! I'm tempted to take Witchy Woman along in the motor home, but I think there would be objections from Jerry who wonders why I haul stuff like her around to our traveling teddy bears who rule the RV and would certainly object to another creature horning in. Although they have accepted our dual Christmas reindeer (on the windows) who travel year round. So I will enjoy her while we are here and then pack her away until next year.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fall colors and changing weather

This summer when the kids visited everything was green. What's that song ...",,green green green they say on the far side of the hill, green green I'm going away to where the grass is greener still." Who sang it--now I'll have that ear worm till I remember. And that will probably be in the middle of the night.

Here it is end of October and we've been enjoying the sweep of fall color changes before the trees undress for the winter. I really enjoy living here, watching the seasons change. What I've noticed though is this year we didn't get as many magnificent oranges and reds; maybe it just wasn't cold enough earlier in the fall when we were still enjoying 80 degrees. Just two weeks ago it seemed all trees along the river turned mustard yellow overnight. Likely it didn't happen overnight, but that's how I noticed it. Now, seems we've progressed to brighter hues but the leaves will be falling. Two years ago the colors were more vibrant. Our burgundy red maple out back is still keeping her leaves.

But a cold wind blows now, giving me that fall face tingle and tint. This phenomena would be otherwise known as "chapped cheeks" and reminds me promptly to add moisturizer. It doesn't matter if I'm just trotting to the mail box or off to Curves or doing gardening chores. I need to protect my skin. I've noticed some women who have lived here have very tough looking skin from the winds and perhaps the summer suns. I'd like to keep mine soft and as wrinkle free as it is holding. So I moisturize and sunblock when I venture out to trim perennials and rose branches.

Yesterday I was about that business and picked my last rose bouquet for the year. I've posted a photo alongside my blog. It shows the ruffly open flower of Soaring Spirits alongside Love with tight buds of Betty Boop in the background. Soaring spirits is right outsde our closet window and has put on quite the show all year. Had to cut it back as the canes were too tall to fit into it's box for winter. My favorite Betty Boop bush is still blooming but she will have to stop too. Jerry has built styrofoam houses for Betty and her next door neighbor "Soaring Spirits." Both bushes and others in the rose garden are from my favorite hybridizer, Tom Carruth of Weeks Roses.

In 2005, the first year we were fully here for the fall and winter we had roses blooming until November. I had an arrangement on the Thanksgiving table that made me feel like back in CA. There the roses grew year round and had to be forced into dormancy by December and January pruning. Here rose goring's easier. Jerry mulches with many piles of ground leaves which he accumulates daily from our trees shedding onto the lawns. It's a process but his fall chore. I have only to trim the longest rose branches so they do not break when the winter winds blow. Otherwise, MN rose growing is easier than CA. Nothing to do until after the snow melts in the spring. Then it's take off the mulch and trim and prune. CA was year round work. Here we get the winter off!

The vibrant fall colors attract me. I love the tones. There are some magnificent views I cannot get photo shots of--like along I#90 coming from La Crosse to La Crescent. the bluffs are magnificent in gold, green, red, umber, orange, burgundy, mustard and all similar shades. There's no walkway on that interstate bridge and no way to pull over to just shoot photos. This has been a challenge I face every year. So perhaps tomorrow I'll wander down to the Lock and Dam and shoot some of the hills and bluffs from there again. Still it's not the same. But it will have to do!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity Bill O'Reilly

Last night I closed out my latest read, Bill O'Reilly's "A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity." It is so O'Reilly and reads as if he is sitting right there in front of you, just as we see him on TV. An interesting read and in parts typical O'Reilly where he gets a bit full of himself, but that's O'Reilly!

I relate to lots of his background and principles. This is not a touchy feely book nor does it contain anything about his wife, family today. He keeps his privacy. But he discusses his parents and his blue collar home and how he developed his personality. And amazing to me he retained it and still does. Perhaps we don't really change as much as we think we do?

This book is about why he is how he is today and why he believes in his purpose of exposing the bad guys. I applaud O'Reilly's endless search for child abusers and those who let them walk. I know a bit about that horror and I say "Go Bill!" He grew up with life as we had in the 50's and 60's, playing games and sports in the streets, friends in the small town neighborhood. He attended Catholic schools, and worked his way through colleges. His family did not discuss things to death or psychoanalyze. There were no questions to the ruling adults by the munchkins. It was the way things were, period. He was not given any big breaks nor silver spoons and his success today is admirable.

I'd recommend it to O'Reilly fans and to those who tune him in occasionally. I know some just can't take him and that's OK. Your entitled to your opinion and all that.

Last night though, providence was at work. I needed to read about bad guys and that's how Bill closes this book. Good timing. Those who know me well are aware of the sordid details of how my ex-half-brother connived and stole the inheritance that Mom wanted split 50/50 in her will. He's in PA and had his name put on her accounts for accommodation--in PA that meant he got it all, despite the will. Mom had Alzheimers and I was in CA. I thought I could trust him. I thought she was making it up when she accused him of stealing. I guess she knew more than I could believe. I was wrong and yet I did the best I could across the country. Big misteak to trust.

I refer to him as ex-half-brother because I have written him off. I will not speak his name. That's how I am when I'm finished. It's my defense mechanism. His actions at Mom's death, funeral and subsequently proved one of Maya Angelou's axioms, "when people show you who they are, believe them the first time." Too bad I didn't believe that earlier, but I was a trusting person. If you can't trust family, who; he interpreted it if you can't screw family who? That's when I get in trouble, ignoring intuition or giving the benefit of the doubt to a sucker. Well, it's a write off and I would not want to be him or them. It might not reach payback in this lifetime but eventually it will. And as Bill writes in this book, do good and a knight will come along. It will work out.

Well last night my ex-sister in law sent me an email in what I perceived as a feeble attempt to connect. God and the Devil alone know why--there is nothing more they can take from me. But they are conniving; likely now have their eyes on my aunt and uncle's estates in PA. But hah, this will be the last laugh--I have protected myself and the aunt and uncle, The connivers will not prosper in that effort. I do not respond to them because I know they are up to no good--that's just what they are, liars, connivers and thieves. Best to just avoid.

What struck me was Bill's summation about bad guys. It's a Catholic thing, now I realize after Bill explained it, to know the difference between good and bad and to recognize evil exists. On page 245 he writes, "..when someone you know does something bad, beware. Don't just over look it...even if you're not the target of the bad the end, a deeply flawed person, one who embraces and excuses bad behavior will get around to hurting you..The scorpion will sting because it's his nature. Have no doubt." And that is the truth--my ex-family is the living proof.

Other neat phrases are on Page 96. From The Good, the Bad and the Ugly "When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk." That's what's astray today, we talk everything to death! And page 98, " can't save everyone. You can give people opportunities, you can try to help them, but some will not success for a variety of reasons." Amen to that. It's balm for parents who watch their kids fade from where they should be.

So here I share with you a good quick read. Pick up the O'Reilly book. As Bill closes, if you don't like it tell your enemies to buy it. That's his off handed humor. Something for everyone.

Our Town

I've been too busy to post the latest happenings. However, this is for others who were there with me through our High School Production of "Our Town" way back in 1962! I played Mrs. Gibbs. I wanted the part of the Stage Manager, who has the most lines and narrates all the happenings in this Thorton Wilder play. But oh no, when I approached Mrs. Klinke, our drama teacher she was horrified. "What could you be thinking, Patty? That part is a male role!" Well phooey, I tried and it didn't work. I was way ahead of the times in 1962. Being who I am, I just went on about my business and learned the lines for Mrs. Gibb. One of my favorites,"step outside and smell my heliotrope!"

Bobby Ormesher was my stage hubby, Dr. Gibbs. "Now Ma," he'd recite.I thought that was dumb!

I remember my tantrum. When I saw the ugly stage dress (costume) I'd wear I cringed. YUCK!! An ugly old black thing! No way! I protested to Mrs. Klinke vigorously that "I cannot wear that old rag." She did try to assuage me but nothing doing! Here was my line in the sand! It was my Diva moment! If I couldn't have something with some lace or at least pretty in some way, I'd not be in the play! You'd have had to know me; I could be dramatic. As much as I was the "good girl and top student" I had my moments! Patty's last stand was pretty close to the final dress rehearsal and Mrs Klinke already had a head of white hair. Well, "it is not my fault that you didn't show me that ugly thing before." I caused her a few wrinkles. As was my way I whined at home to my grandmother who moved in with us after my grandfather died. There was nothing my grandmother (Baba) wouldn't do for me--it was always so between her and me. Baba to the rescue; "Bring the dress home and I'll fix it for you." Somehow she prevailed with Mrs. K. to allow some "alterations for Patty." My mother looked the other way during this episode, that was her way. She likely frowned and muttered to herself, "Why does she have to be so stubborn! She's just spoiled." Baba inserted some lace pieces, black with some sparkles and sequins, still subdued for Mrs. Gibbs in Grover's Corners but the show went on. I did love my sparkles even then.

I've not thought much about that until Sunday when I went across the Mississippi to Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI. Their production of "Our Town" called to me. Having no one with whom I can attend with doesn't stop me. If I could go to plays alone in CA, I can handle that here in the Midwest. I'd take a Thursday afternoon off/escape the office and go to the Convention Center in Sacramento for a Broadway touring production. Didn't matter to me if anyone came along or not--once I'm in the theater it doesn't matter if there is someone I know next to me. Long ago I gave up dragging Jerry along to plays, theater, etc. It only ruins my good time because he does not enjoy himself. The biggest mistake I made in that venue and the one from which I really learned my lesson to "not ask and just go" happened many years ago in Sacramento. It was a fall weekend and T.S.Elliot's "Cats" was playing at the Convention Center in Sacramento. I figured we could have a nice dinner and then on to the theater. After all he does enjoy entertainers and "Cats" is a musical with great costumes, it might work. Wrong! The dinner was great as I recall, but the play was not "his cup of tea." Jerry doesn't even drink tea unless it appeals to him in Chinese restaurants and that is rare. I, on the other hand, am an avid tea drinker; daily hot green tea and all summer copious amounts of iced tea, my beverage of choice. How'd I get onto tea from the play? Oh, yes..."Cats." Well we were seated and I settled in, enthralled. Jerry settled in extremely bored and adopted his defense mechanism, primo. Near end of Act 1, during the Musical high light of the show, "Memories" that famous song, I glanced at him and there he was in complete relaxation mode, asleep! Head back, in la la land. Well at least he hadn't snored! Lights go on; Jerry awakens. "Oh for Heaven's sake," I say or something worse! To which he looks at me, like "what?" "How can you sleep through that?" Never mind, don't ask--it was easy for him. I consider the cost of the tickets and realize this is a waste of $. Lesson learned, "don't ask, just go." I've followed that lesson the rest of our years which will be 41 years of marriage on Monday. It works for us because he doesn't expect me to attend car races or even watch them on TV!

But back to "Our Town" and Viterbo, a private Catholic University with emphasis on nursing and the fine arts. Their auditorium is gorgeous, state of the art. Part of the appeal of "Our Town" is the simple staging, chairs, tables, nothing much. The actors pantomime the use of stoves, drinking coffee, etc. But today's technology allows them to put Google Earth on the stage which flashes to Grovers Corners NH, the town of "Our Town." Really cool visual effects.

Now,get this--onto the stage walks "the stage manager" to begin the play. And it is a young woman! Well now I'm taken back to 1962 and Patty's bright idea which was not considered at all bright! Proof that yet again, I was ahead of my time. Molly Pach does an excellent job as stage manager! I would have too! Mrs. Klinke you could have had a first!

To prepare myself for this I'd reread the entire play at home. Few of my lines, which I'd memorized so easily back then return to me. The years have buried or erased them. Actually, the line that rings my bell is spoken by Emily and I don't recall who played our Emily. I think she was a junior or sophomore though. I recall thinking that was unfair too since this was our senior year. But I kept that to myself or maybe to a few close friends who'd listen. One tantrum per episode must have been my self imposed limitation. Maybe no seniors were available. That line, which Mrs. Klinke demonstrated repeatedly to our Emily was "Oh, life you are too wonderful for anyone to realize you..." I do recall Mrs. Klinke becoming nearly ecstatic reciting it. To us kids of the 60's it was a snicker and a tee hee in my 60's I can appreciate how it struck Mrs.K.

There are some lines in the play that strike me today those about Polish town. I guess it made no impression on me in 1962 where my Polish heritage mattered not to me. And lines about the Methodists singing loudly. Today as a practicing Methodist but here in the Midwest where they are very quiet, I find that line humorous.

During intermission at Viterbo I browsed the lobby displays. Thorton Wilder was born in Madison WI in 1897. Our Town was first performed in May 1938. It was a musical in 1955 staring Paul Newman and Eva Marie St with Frank Sinatra playing the Stage Manager. One well known song, Love and Marriage. I'll have to check Netflix and see if it's on DVD. That would be fun to see. If we knew that in 1962 we probably were not interested.

A dramatic scene was the rainy funeral with the black umbrellas. Mrs. Gibbs is one of the dead and so I sat among them for my lines.

David Gardiner, Viterbo director wrote, "This was a different time. It was a time when wage-earners were paid less but required less, when there were swimming holes and 10 cent sodas, ....gathering at funerals in the tree-shaded graveyard behind the country church, when few locked their doors and many didn't even own a key; when deals were closed with a handshake, ...." He shares that Our Town is being resurrected around the country today. We'll glimpse of what we've gained and lost since 1901. "It measures the significance of a single human life against the life of the stars. It's a play about all of us and reminds us that the only antidote for life is death."

I don't know that we appreciated the message that deeply in 1962. Today we do, well many of us, those of us who have survived from Ken Hi 1962.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Today's campaign event at La Crosse, WI

We attended the McCain rally this morning in La Crosse, WI in VIP seating. The previous post on this blog explains how this happened. Photos appeared in the Saturday 10/11 La Crosse Tribune; I've posted two here. In the first look to the far right and midway up you can see me and to my left Jerry. In the other photo right of the blog, look drectly to the right of the little black boy and you see Jerry's head and I am blurred to the right. Today's (Saturday) newspaper had another full double page photo where we also show up but when I downloaded it the picture was fuzzy.

Even with those tickets, we waited in a line to get in and then were escorted to seats. Not bad took about 15 minutes. What was bad though is we arrived, parked and the lines were down the street and around the block. Oh no! But after we reached the end of the line around the block, a young college guy saw our tickets and said that there was a separate entrance for VIP's. This made Jerry feel very smug as he said we should have looked for a special entrance, but I marched us down the street thinking that I would be beyond furious to not get in! So we had a morning walk in by returning up the street and then entering for VIP's.

Other's who only had tickets may not have gotten in. I understand they gave out more tickets than capacity in the room. This was inside at the La Crosse Center. I estimate about 6,000 in a space for 5,000. Obama rally was outside and packed 15,000 in the streets. Another proof that Republicans are more competent at organization.

After we were seated, I and another lady needed the bathroom! What's new! We had to be escorted from our seats to the bathroom and then brought back.

Security was tighter than anything I've experienced flying or even in DC and MD federal bldgs. back in my "working" days. I wasn't thinking this AM so my underwire bra set off the buzzer and I had to be hand wanded!

There was very high energy in the crowd. And lots of young people--college students from the 3 universities in La Crosse. Joe Gow, the very popular young president of UW La Crosse was there. Surprised me, I thought all academics were Dems. Two young college girls sitting in front of us who were so tickled to be in VIP seats explained to us that "Joe" as the students call him, was not given VIP seats to Obama last week so he did not attend that rally. But the McCain camp did accommodate him. Well whatever it takes to get the votes is fine with me. There was a beaming boy scout troop up front right in front of the stage. Those were some proud boys. McCain walked to them and shook their hands as he entered.

John (Yosemite Sam) is not a very big man. About Jerry's size only. And Cindy is extremely thin! She spoke longer today than I've heard introducing him. McCain was in his element. This was not the venue where we could ask questions, we only got to see and hear him. Wish Sarah had been here as she was with him yesterday in Waukesha, WI.

Sharing the podium with John & Cindy, Dan Kapanke, WI state Senator, and Tommy Thompson (former HHS Secty. and former WI governor and now in La Crosse with Logistics Healthcare. Reminded me that I have a personal kudo's letter from Tommy from my days in CA working on healthcare when I was flying back to DC to represent CA at hearings, etc. Guess I should get that thing out and frame it--Tommy's popular here.

Tonight we are back at the La Crosse center to watch an NBA exhibition--Milwaukee Bucks and Dallas Mavericks. I guess this is our day at the La Crosse Center!

The following thought in from a friend. I thought it worth including here.

.........Now isn't this something to think about!

If Barack Obama would apply for a job with the FBI or with the Secret Service, he would be disqualified because of his past association with William Ayers, a known terrorist.

If he is elected President he would not qualify to be his own Body Guard.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Call center experience

Today I went to the La Crosse Republican headquarters to get tickets to see John McCain on Friday AM. And this morning, my old CA mind resurfaced. I knew that the headquarters opened at 9:00 and tickets were first come first serve, I thought I should get there and get in line, so I arrived about 8:15, magazines to keep me occupied during the wait. After driving around the block several times I found a parking space right down the block.

When I first drove by there were only about 6 people in line outside. Oh, good, for sure I'll get tickets. Then I mentally smacked myself awake, "dummy, you are not in CA and you did not have to get here this early!" Especially WI. Are there any republicans there? Well, yes, my cousin for one and I do know some others.

They cordially opened early, at 8:30. I waltzed in, filled out a form with our names, addresses and email and went to get my tickets. No problem. And it still was only about 8:35AM. A young man at the ticket desk asked me if I could do some phone calls for them. "Why would I?" Well if I called 100 people using their phone list I could get preferred seats at the McCain event.

This will be at 10:00AM Friday at the La Crosse Center in an area that seats only about 5,000. So I thought that might be a good thing to do. First I told them that I personally hate phone calls from campaigners, regardless of who they are, but I guess it's a technique we have to use. So I picked up a couple yard signs for friends who don't have them, got some coffee and sat around till 9:00AM when we could start to call.

Let me regress here with yesterday's horror story, which demonstrates that unleashed volunteers create confusion at a minimum and can be detrimental to an effort. I received an email from a well meaning local Republican, volunteer, Rosie. In it she said that social security numbers would be needed for identification to get tickets to the McCain event. What? I could neither believe nor accept that, so I called the headquarters. "No I've not heard of that," responded the woman on the phone. I explained that I would be more than offended at such a tactic and would not give out my social security number to anyone, even Republicans. (Maybe especially Republicans these days!) She assured me it was not true. I followed up with a rebuttal clarifying email to Rosie and others whom she'd ill advised and probably alarmed. Today waiting for 9:00 when we could begin the calls, I mentioned this episode to one of the staff volunteers. She laughed and then said, "We had several strange calls yesterday about that and could not figure it out. We thought that's how they do things in MN." Well, no that's not what MN does, I assured her. An example of what happens when people talk about that which they do not know. This is not the first time I've experienced this with Rosie. She's well meaning, but should not be unleashed. Let her stick to her one issue, which I will not discuss here because I do not share her views.

All the calls were to places in WI, towns that I have never heard of so no one would know me. There was an easy script to follow, tables with the phone banks, and an automated phone onto which responses, or not, were to be entered. That was easy--follow the phone screen and enter.

This was my first experience working a call center! Now I know I'm old. To me it was the pits, sitting right next to someone else who is chattering the same dialogue plus all the commotion of people walking in for tickets, talking, etc. And that was the most pleasant part.

Some volunteers were not able to work the automated phones or to follow a script and would look to me as their "assistant" interrupting me at my assigned task with their how to's, etc. I noticed that these were predominantly women "of a certain age" who were clearly out of their element with automation. One would not expect phoning to be so difficult.

The center had many young republicans (I assume college students) on patrol, techie types and all to help. But no the "adults" sitting near me had to ask me. Then one of the volunteers, brought over a puzzled woman who agreed to make calls, "Here sit with this lady, (Pointing to me) she is very experienced and she can show you how to do this." YEEaach! Now I'm tapped as an expert. I guess that 30 minutes on the phones and the appearance of being busy gives that impression. How hard is this anyway? Well, I guess it depends on one's life experiences. So I mentioned to one of the kids that "if I have to train as well as call, that's double duty so I'd better be given extra preferred seating." The response was the blank stare, behind which I could see their brain cells churning, "like, what's wrong with this woman?" Well, I'm cranky because when I "worked" I managed and things went my way. Here I am volunteering like a peon! And amidst the puzzled. Several times I "sshhed" people near me. I do not like to be talking to someone in one ear and hearing something else in the other. I prefer to just hear myself and the responses. Years ago while I was teaching public speaking to women, one asked me why I was so natural at speaking, wasn't I afraid, didn't I get butterflies. No, I really do not. I explained jokingly that I love the sound of my own voice, I guess. But here in the call center hearing others while trying to talk is multi tasking beyond my skill set or certainly my patience!

Well I thank God that I never had to work in a call center. It got on my nerves. Now maybe I'll not be so rabid when callers invade my home phone. Usually I hang right up with a, "not interested, thank you, bye." Now that I have sat in their seats maybe I'll listen a bit before I say "no."

This effort in political volunteerism cost me about 3 hours of time. To further entertain myself, I amassed the following informal data:

Of the 115 calls I made approximately 30 were "numbers no longer in service.." most of these to apartment type addresses. So here is an evident problem with phone banks--obsolete data.
At this time of the day approximately 50 did not answer, so I assume not at home, at work, one hopes. Many of these did not have answering machines. This really surprised me, I thought everyone had one.
Only about 10 declined to answer the five questions.
The first question was along the lines, "In this presidential election will you be voting for McCain/Pailin, Obama/Biden or are you undecided?" Of the responses I only had one man who said, "I would not vote for either SOB." Other wise, the responses were heavily for McCain. That is encouraging to me to hear from WI. This makes questionable the polls proclaiming Obamanation certainty.

Maybe there is still hope in this election. I thought McCain blew the debate last night. And I thought Brokaw did a lousy job. I enjoy Tom Brokaw's books "The Greatest Generation" and "Boom." That's his real talent and I wish he'd stick there.

And when we go to hear and see McCain on Friday morning I hope it's worth the time and effort!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Limericks, reading and rushing in

If you check in here you know, I love to write and I love words. Jerry would add that I love to talk too. In CA a group of us met once a month to discuss poetry. Even better than that we each memorized a poem on whatever subject, poet, etc. we'd select the previous month. I loved that Saturday meeting. And I have to say, these were some of my most liberal political friends, but we could come together politics aside for poetry. By the way we all loved to read too. Am I on to something here?

At our local Curves, this month we host our annual book sale, the best deal around. We bring in books and sell them to each other for 50 cents for paperbacks and $1 for hardbacks and tapes/videos. Believe me this is a steal on some very expensive books. We have not raised our price in years. All the funds raised are donated to our local library. By working on this I have become the Curves librarian, daily arranging the books by subject, authors together, etc. Today Teresa, Curves owner,who is a free spirit and a sports player, but not very educated asked me how I knew so much about authors, books, etc. I really was taken aback because I do not believe I am any kind of scholar. But I did tell her, I have always been a reader. Give me a book and I'm entertained. This started in childhood with trips to the library. Now I own a great library in my house and must pass along books or would be driven out of house and home. I am thankful that I have the habit of reading and feel a degree of sympathy for those who do not and who miss out on worlds and learning and entertainment.

I have just had an experience that proves once again that sometime things take some time to jell. Yesterday a friend sent me an email about Limericks, as you can read below. Oh how I loved these things in school....So he challenged those of us who received it to come up with our own. Ahhhh it has be a while since I've done this, but I bit right into it. Then this morning, I had a revelation of improvement that came to me very clearly when I was making up our bed.

I have found in my life that when I am puzzled about something if I let it be, a solution comes when I quit dwelling on it. It took me oh so many years to learn this lesson. I've always been spontaneous, impulsive, rush in and do it now, go in with guns blazing, ready aim fire..... It's still difficult for me to let it jell or to stop and cool down and pray about it. Of course there are times when we cannot dwell or ruminate before we take action. However, here in retirement land, fewer things need immediate action.

So today, I offer my improved limerick and you can read below to see how all this got started....

There was a retired state worker
Who left behind the offices and worser,
But the PC, email and 'net called her
Before the screen for hours she sat
Till her fingers went flat
And her eyes went a-blur from the cursor.

My first attempt
I used to be able to do this right of the top of my head, but here goes

There was a retired state worker
Who left behind the office and worser,
But the PC, email and 'net called her,
In front of the screen there she sat
Till her fingers went flat
Typing back limericks and even worse versers!

(I take license making up words...if the rhyme fits, that's all that counts.)
Here is the original invite from my friend......
Subject: Limericks?
I was thinking about "limericks", at least, that's what I think they were called and an old one came to mind. I don't remember who the author was. Perhaps, I never knew. But here it is:

There was a young lady from Niger,
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger.
They returned from the ride
With the lady inside,
And the smile on the face of the tiger.

Then I thought, "Why not make one up yourself?" So I did, and here it is:

A drunk staggered out of a bar
And started for home in his car.
He thought he could pass
And gave it the gas,
But he misjudged the distance by far!