To be or not to be connected…

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When I teach my one ballet class a week I use my iPhone as my music source. It works quite well. The only thing that can prove to be problematic is if my phone will fit in the speaker device. Sometimes I can easily plug the cord in and all is well but other times I need to remove the case, use an adapter and actually “plug” the phone in the speaker device. No worries, not a big deal.

Yesterday I removed the case and left it in the car. Ballet class was wonderful. Christmas music for barre work and then The Muppets “One More Sleep ’til Christmas” for an across the floor combination. My dancers were excited about continuing to learn the Chocolate aka Spanish dance from the Nutcracker. As promised I had “real fans” for them to dance with. Class was a delight. I had small Christmas gift for each student small canvas bags imprinted with a quote. For inspiration and organization was what I told them. Hugs! wishes for a great holiday and “see you next year.” As I exited the building carrying my phone, the fleeting thought to get my phone case out of the car before I walked around the corner for dinner with a friend came to mind. But alas I ignored that thought, continued around the corner and then my phone flew out of my hand and landed on the concrete sidewalk. How? What? The damage was evident the minute I picked up the phone. I nailed it. Not in a good way. I totally destroyed the screen. I mean totally destroyed the screen. I couldn’t believe it but what really saddens me is I became more considered with whether my phone worked than enjoying the company of my friend or the taste of the food.

My first and only thought was I have to get a new phone. My original plan for today was to make Christmas treats, wrap gifts and enjoy a day at home.  All last evening I thought I will have to get a new phone today. I wonder if I have an upgrade? How much will a new phone cost?  And then this morning it hit me. Why am I going to change my plans? People can reach me on my house phone. I can access the internet on my laptop or iPad. Why am I letting the convenience of a smart phone dictate my plans?

Recently I commented to a friend that I had succumbed to peer pressure. I was half-joking but in another way I wasn’t. Last Christmas every house on my street had outside Christmas lights except me. I looked like Scrooge so after the holidays I bought a few little items on sale to decorate outside. Last week on what felt like a spring day I decorated outside. I even bought extension cords and a timer so when I am away I appear to be part of the team. It looks lovely but as I told my friend I decorated because of peer/neighbor pressure. She commented “it wasn’t a bad thing to succumb to.”  FYI: my home is always decorated on the inside. 🙂

Today as I was ready to rush out to get the new phone at any cost, I realized I was succumbing to another kind of pressure. And you know what? I am going to be counterculture at least for today. So today as I wrap gifts and make treats I am pondering the new phone dilemma and wondering how much of having a smart phone is convenience, how much is necessity and how much is societal pressure. 🙂

Oh and I am not eligible for an upgrade until next December 2016 so maybe 2016 will be a countercultural year or maybe not.

to wear or not to wear

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proverbs 3

For reasons I won’t go into here, I am supposed to where a heart monitor for the next two weeks. The heart monitor arrived via Fed Ex late yesterday afternoon and last night I proceeded to follow the instructions for activating it. The woman at the monitoring company was very helpful and “we” thought we were good to go. I did all the required installing of batteries, charging and powering up of the cell phone, attaching the electrodes and attaching the wires. I read how often to change the electrodes and how often to charge the phone. The only issue seemed to be “cell phone coverage”. The cell phone wasn’t happy with the coverage or lack of coverage. I explained to the woman cell phone coverage can be problematic in my area. No, I don’t have Sprint for my regular phone. “No worries, the phone will reset itself. Just start to wear the monitor.” So I slept with my new companion – a heart monitor. The cell phone needed to be charged and to be within feet of the monitor so I figured that out. As I was drifting off to sleep I thought about my schedule for the next two weeks, I realized I am leading a tour for friends on Saturday. Oh, great! I am walking onto the National September 11 Memorial with a metal object hanging on a lanyard, concealed under my clothing, with wires attaching it to my body. Wow! Probably not good. Then my imagination went wild – holy crap this could go bad fast. I envisioned the headline “9/11 widow shot by cops” “9/11 widow mistaken for suicide bomber”.

This morning I was still trying to figure out to what to do – where the monitor or don’t wear the monitor on Saturday? I was still imagining all kinds of drama. A telephone call  this afternoon from the monitoring company solved my dilemma. “We can’t connect with your device. Sprint doesn’t have good coverage in your area duh so we are sending you a Verizon phone. Please send the monitor back. You will get a new device on Monday”

Go figure. 🙂

 

Autumnal randomness

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anne of green gables

I know it is November but to be honest the last few days  have felt like early September. Personally I think this quote could just as easily state “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Autumns.”

The autumn of 2015 has been particularly beautiful in my “neck of the woods.” The trees on the mountain sides surrounding my hometown have morphed into a beautiful quilt of yellow, red, orange and green.  I have been distracted while driving not by my cellphone but by the sheer beauty of a tree.

The crispness of the air is delightful in the morning and returns in the evening as the sun sets. Opening and closing the windows of my home has gotten to be a little annoying as I try to regulate the temperature of the rooms and avoid putting the heat on. Hard to believe that a couple of weeks ago I needed the heat on but the last few days have been perfect.

On my weekly drives to Pennsylvania, I have enjoyed watching flocks of  migrating birds fly, swoop and perch on telephone wires or tree branches. I never tire of seeing their creative patterns and formations. I marvel that I have never seen one bird crash into another bird. I mentioned that to a dance class once and a vocal young lady commented “that’s because they have the whole sky.” I don’t think that is the reason they don’t crash. I think they are aware of each other. Not in a “what’s your problem?” way but in “are you okay over there?” way.

I have two friends who love the word “autumnal”. They throw it into the conversation whenever possible. I have to admit. It is a cool word.

Just a few random thoughts on autumn. Thanks for reading. On another note, growing up Anne of Green Gables was one of my favorite books. Prince Edward Island is on my list to visit again in the not so distant future. PEI is a delightful island with a beauty that is serene. It isn’t majestic beauty like the mountains of Maine. It is a calm, peaceful beauty of  beaches, farms and rolling hills.

Star Trek and my childhood

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Reading about Leonard Nimoy’s death today brought back childhood memories of watching Star Trek with my parents and siblings. There weren’t many shows that we watched as a family but Star Trek was definitely one of them. Growing up we didn’t have a television in our living room so we would all pile into my parents’  bedroom to watch Star Trek.  I remember my Dad telling us my mother included to watch the show or leave but don’t talk expect during the commercials. As I remember my brother, James, was really into Star Trek. James was always challenging me to do that tricky finger thing (which for the record I still can’t do it) and he loved to say “that isn’t logical”.

James was Mr. Spock for Halloween one year. His costume had been designed by my Dad complete with “pointy ears” and a Starship Enterprise insignia. I don’t remember if James had any kind of phaser or “beam me up Scotty device” but I am thinking he did. Due to the fact that the  Halloween costumes my Dad designed were always amazing and “state of the art”.  Of course “state of the art” in the 1960’s meant  boxes, paint, big batteries, wiring and flashing lights. One year my brother’s robot costume made from boxes, a bucket and blinking lights won my brother a bicycle and his photo in the newspaper. Another year my traffic light costume had lights that flashed green, yellow and red. That same year my sister’s pumpkin costume wasn’t just a pumpkin it was a jack o lantern that lit up. A side story: my sister’s pumpkin costume was perfectly round and looked great. The problem was she was a little girl in this big orange pumpkin costume and at one point she slipped on the walkway and rolled all the way down neighbor’s driveway. She was okay but I can still remember worrying she was going to roll into our “busy” street as we called it. But my Dad’s piece de resistant was the Starship Enterprise he built in our attached one car garage.  Oh, it wasn’t a boxed model or a jigsaw puzzle it was the bridge of the Enterprise. I think my sister and I were allowed to use it but mostly it was for my brother. There was silver painted plywood, blinking lights, computer screens, all kinds of buttons and switches and charts. It was the stuff of childhood dreams and adventures. To be honest I don’t know what happened to it. Eventually the attached garage would be renovated into a family room and then my Dad’s library.

I don’t remember many of the story lines of Star Trek as they “boldly went where no man had gone before”. The one episode where some tiny creature crawled into people’s ear is still disturbing. Whenever I see a gerbil, the furry tribble  episode comes to mind. I was never a Trekkie but I saw a couple of the Star Trek movies and was delighted when the original Mr. Spock had a cameo. Oddly enough when the signs for the Renaissance Festival are displayed I always think of Star Trek. Some years ago my brother and his family lived in California and he had mentioned that advertisements for the Renaissance Festival in CA stated “no Trekkie time travelers.” 😉

Rest in Peace! Mr. Nimoy.  Your role as Mr. Spock brought many happy memories to my mind today. Praying that your family and friends may find peace and comfort in the roles you played as friend, father, husband and grandfather. Safe journey.

 

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Oh, this is random but…

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1. The other day was my mum’s quarterly care meeting. She resides in an excellent long-term care facility near my sister. Last Tuesday wasn’t a day that I could travel in that direction, so I was conferenced called in on the meeting. Everything is status quo – mum’s health is stable, she is participating in some activities, she is a delight, so cooperative. All I could think of was the Bill Crosby skit about “this is not the woman I grew up with”. Towards the end of the meeting a staff member mentioned there was a little confusion recently. Oh! It seems that they kept trying to get my mum to fill out the absentee ballot to vote. She kept insisting she couldn’t vote.  She finally informed them she isn’t a citizen. Or as my brother always said “she is an alien.” If you are a citizen, please don’t forget to vote tomorrow.

 

2. Today I spoke to a group of high school juniors and seniors from Connecticut at the Tribute Center. I actually spoke to two groups because it was 56 students and their chaperones so the group was divided in two.  The interesting thing that happens when I or any of the docents speak to groups in gallery 5 is that other visitors to the Tribute Center stand around and listen. After my first presentation as we were switching groups and I was instructing the students to sit on the floor (I was already sitting on the floor), something fell on the ground in front of me. It was a little pin that said Danish Firefighter. I glanced up and a man said “for you”.  I said to him “thank you for what you do everyday.” He nodded and left.

 

3. After the second group, a woman came over to me and said “may I give you a hug”. She hugged me and then she said “I lost my son this year. Thank you for your words.” I looked at her and said “can I give you a hug.” We hugged. 🙂

 

4. As far as fall television – I like “Madam Secretary” and “The Mysteries of Laura”.  Scandal is getting on my nerves and I gave up on “How To Get Away With Murder”. I may subscribe to HBO for the month of November to watch “The Newsroom.”

 

 

The Star Spangled Banner

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Today is the 200th birthday of the Star Spangled Banner. There is very interesting information to be found at http://amhistory.si.edu/starspangledbanner/. Whether I hear the Star Spangled Banner sung live at an event or on television, I always cry. It doesn’t have to be sung well. From the first notes my eyes are welling up then the goose bumps start and by the time the words “the land of the free and home of the brave” are sung I am “done.” I have the privilege of living in the “land of the free” but that freedom cost many men and women their lives. “Home of the brave” carries a new meaning for me because my hubby was one of New York “bravest”. Well done, Francis Scott Key!

 

 

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random job thoughts

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Three years ago I retired from teaching dance. For 35 years I had owned a dancing school, I was very blessed to spend my “working” career doing something I loved and enjoyed. I also love and enjoy my retired life. On occasion as I watch people do their jobs I think I would like to try that not as a career but for a day or two. Does anyone besides me ever think that?

Here is the list of jobs I would like to try for a day or two:

flight attendant
toll booth collector
the person who directs the planes with the flashlights
registrar of participants at a big event like the Olympics
usher at a Broadway show
fund-raiser for a non-profit
assistant to a party/event planner
TSA agent who checks passports not the one who looks at the x-ray screen
work in an independent book store

A few things I noticed about these jobs:
1. no animals
2. no manual labor
3. inside jobs expect for the flashlight person
4. no food service expect for flight attendant

“If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures. Sweep streets like Handel and Beethoven composed music. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.