Thursday, August 28, 2014

It Takes All Kinds

What gives with some people? Like just now, a woman came into my shop and looked around, apparently dismayed. I asked if I could help and she said, "I thought this was a furniture store. I need a furniture store."

Pointing out the chairs, tables, benches, bookcase and one small hutch, I gave her a a quizzical look. "No, I need a furniture store," she reiterated.

I asked what she specifically was looking for, and she said, "Something to hold business cards, you know, a little thing that sits on top of a desk, a business-card holder."

Not technically furniture, I thought to myself. Not even un-technically, in fact, by no stretch of the imagination is a business-card holder a piece of furniture. Anyway, wanting to help, I directed her to the Staples office supply center roughly two towns down the road, maybe ten miles from here. She said, "What's Staples?"

Petty Bullshit, or Rather, Catshit

Yesterday I drove over to the dealership where I recently purchased a new car. The purpose of the visit was to have the unsightly logo/decal removed from the rear bumper, unless they wanted to pay me to advertise for them, which I offered to do. They did not.

In the car's trunk at the time was a 20-pound plastic jug of cat litter. I had left it in there when I was unloading groceries they day before, since it's sort of heavy and I didn't need it right then and knew where it was when I did need it. So then I did need it, and went to the trunk of my car and it was not there.

First I assumed I am losing my mind, since my mother died of Alzheimer's and it's still not known if the disease is  genetic, even though technically she died of pneumonia and may not have even had Alzheimer's at all but another form of dementia, but still you see where I'm coming from. Then I thought maybe I had not bought the stuff at all, or did but stuck it in a weird place, and so started searching all the weird places in my home. That took awhile. Finally I started thinking my husband had removed it to save me the trouble, and that he put it in a weird place, but of course I don't know what he considers a weird place, so I called him and asked and he was clueless. So then I started thinking they must have removed it at the car dealership.

I called and they laughed and said "why would we" and I asked them to check and lo and behold it was there, although the guy I talked with  said he had no idea why it was removed from the trunk and I could come and get it anytime.

The dealership is 13 miles from my house. I could come and get it? Really? Drive over and pick up my stolen goods? Petty, but still. The car cost more than $40,000....geez.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Life's Mud Season

                                                                     Gordon Studer
Waking up this morning, soon enough it became clear that today was the was the day to rearrange the furniture. This happens to me, and probably you too, when things are stale, dull and unexciting. For some reason, having the couch over there and the chairs over there, with that table against the window instead of the other one and that rug right in the middle of things and not hidden underneath the coffee table, makes everything fresh and new. Well, at least the living room.

If only we could do that with ourselves, life would always be a precious jewel instead of a worn pair of slippers with a hole in the toe. Slogging away in our old routines, it's hard to remember that we have choices, that there are possibilities. We get stuck in our ruts and it's tough to get out.

Maybe I'll shave my head later.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Truth and Consequences

Honesty is not always the best policy. This is bad news for me since I suffer from truthenalia honestoliosis and, like someone with Parkinson's, have little to no control over my responses. Just today I blew a potential writing job because I told the truth. I had hooked a possible freelance gig, and after several amicable emails were exchanged, the person doing the hiring asked for my honest feedback regarding the website for which I would be writing. I said it was riddled with errors which I would be happy to fix, but in its present state the site was amateurish. He never wrote back.

This got me thinking about the whole honesty thing, and in a flash of insight I realized that honesty is for losers. No wonder I wasn't hired by L.L. Bean! When they asked me to name what I liked best about their store, I said that it was open 24 hours and I could go there if I had trouble sleeping. The other people all said things like they like the quality of the merchandise (ha) or they like the friendly return policy (it's stupid) or they appreciate the helpful sales staff (so not true).

Going out on a limb, I will state that most broken marriages would be intact if only those involved had lied more often and more convincingly. So as a public service for all you newlyweds out there, here's a bit of advice you should follow if you want to keep things together:

The following questions must always be answered with an emphatic "No!":
1. Do you think I've put on weight?
2. Should I have a facelift?
3. Is this outfit too young for me?
4. Should I take cooking lessons?
5. Are you sorry you married me?

The following questions must always be answered with a resounding "Yes!":
1. Do you still find me attractive?
2. Do you like my new haircut?
3. Did you pay that bill (mail that letter, make that appointment) I asked you to last week?
4. Did you remember to change the oil in my car?
5. Are you listening?

I have been married for 28 years, by the way.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Way Harder Than the Ice Bucket Challenge

The Internet is aglow from the tens of hundreds of videos of people wanting to be famous, to be seen, to be admired or envied or noticed or whatever the heck is behind their dumping buckets of ice water on themselves in record-breaking numbers, instead of just donating to a charity in dry clothes.

I don't mind boasting: My challenge is even more difficult than the one with the ice bucket. Here's how it goes:
1. Sit down at a table or desk.
2. Get comfortable.
3. Make sure that absolutely nobody is around.
4. Take out your checkbook and write a check for at least $100 to any charity.
5. Insert the check into an envelope, apply a stamp and go out and drop it in a mailbox.

The whole thing should take less than 15 minutes. Here's the hardest part: Don't tell anybody you did it!

Following are some other worthy organizations that could use your money, now that the one for ALS has received more than $38 million from people who wanted to be in a video.
American Cancer Society
St. Jude's Hospital for Children
Doctors Without Borders
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Central Union Mission
Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation

What to Do With That Spare Benjamin

Admittedly, I don't get out much. This is by choice, since the lion's share of modern life freaks me out. What are people thinking? So, besides the occasional trip to Europe, my world consists of about a five-mile wide area, and that's just the way I like it. Similarly I tend to keep my online wandering to my Facebook page, my AOL mail inbox and this blog, although sometimes, concerned that my life may have become too cloistered since moving to Maine, I venture into new territory. 

I did that just now and ended up in a weird neighborhood where a "plus-size" model with hundreds of thousands of fans posted the advertisement shown below:

"August 30 & 31st I will be hosting my first ever beauty classes in Fort Worth Texas I'm going to teach my tricks: from how to apply false lashes, to the proper (& easiest) way to do cat eye liner and more- This is gonna be a FUN day for sure."

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Film Review: "Boyhood"

From boy to man: See it happen before your very eyes.
Once in a great while a movie comes along that makes other movies look bad. "Boyhood" does that. In fact, after you see it you'll likely wonder just what the heck all those other movies were thinking with their silly car chases and their zombies running around eating people and those exploding space aliens in body armor, when really all they had to do was show us a life being lived that isn't ours and we'd be happy to sit there, rapt and enthralled, for two hours and forty-five minutes that go by in a blink of an eye. In that way too, "Boyhood" is just like life.

Alas, unlike most ordinary lives and most ordinary movies, there's a gimmick that's got everyone talking: Director Richard Linklater shot the film over a dozen years, using actors who showed up for a week of work despite whatever else was happening in their off-screen lives. So we see them aging authentically instead of just pretending to under a distracting layer of Hollywood makeup. Naturally it's quite convincing, being real.

Besides the boy of the title--who we see morph from an adorable, mop-topped six-year-old into a bearded 18-year-old starting college--his mom, dad, sister and a few chosen friends and relatives all get older too. There are no spinning classes or facelifts down at this level of society, where paying the bills and drinking too much are the biggest concerns. Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke play the parents who had two children together but shared nothing else. He's a ne'er-do-well wannabe musician with a heart of gold and she's a struggling single mom who keeps marrying the wrong man as she tries to better herself while putting food on the table. It's hard to decide which one of them gives the more soul-baring performance.

There is not a false note anywhere. Linklater's script is flawless, with dialog by turns sad and funny and sometimes dull, just like real life. The soundtrack is a mix of songs we've all heard before, just like everyone has. Over and over we see that our lives are not all so different one from another, yet one or two little tweaks here and there can make or break us: A poor marriage, a bad job decision, and the train is derailed. Then it's over. As Arquette bemoans in one of her finest scenes, "I thought there'd be more."

This is a movie that demands--and deserves-- repeated viewings. Personally, I can't wait.