Archive | December 2016

Phone Moan Groan

Hope everyone had a Merry Stressmas! But it’s not over yet.  Returns to be made. Unless you and yours think like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more.” We can only hope.

Disaster Struck

On the third day before Christmas, at the airport bound for Florida, disaster struck. I forgot my phone. Panic set in. Instant anxiety. How does one function in life without this device? What ifs cluttered my brain. Devastating. No lifeline to the world, to my friends and most importantly, to information. I can’t live without Google. Or can I?

Dopamine In Disguise

Research indicates that we look at our phone every six and one-half minutes. That’s 221.5 times per twenty-four hours. What would you do with all that spare time? Read a book? Write a book? Build a house? Why do we do it? Social media and text messages are dopamine in disguise. Seriously. The same thing that is produced by alcohol, food, drugs, sex, liquor and who knows what else for who else. And can be just as addictive. Don’t you get a little high, instant gratification, or a tiny boost in self-esteem with each text or FB post? Come on…dig deeper…admit it. I’m enslaved to my five Facebook friends. Cessation would cause severe trauma.

When’s the last time you had an actual voice phone call versus the short text with bad grammar and all those fun, but silly emoticons? Do we even know how to interact anymore in real life, face to face, with a real person? Are we dehumanized? Do we actually ever have a good time or, instead of that, do we just Twitter, Instagram or FB it?

It’s not hard for me to ignore some of those email or text pings. They are so distracting. But I find that too many people get frantic, pushy, worried, neurotic, demanding or shaming if you don’t immediately respond.

Revelations

Not having a phone for a week brought many revelations. I became more aware of my surroundings. The world was quieter. It was easier to contemplate, concentrate, daydream and reflect on the past year. I had more face to face conversations with depth and meaning. Patience came easier. “Oh, you don’t have your phone.” played on an endless loop. Such dependency. Or addiction.

Obnoxious Customer On PhoneThe rudeness that happens with cell phones hit me in the face nonstop. We’ve all been there. The phone on the table at dinner or meetings. Who or what is more important here? Stopping a conversation in mid-stream to answer the phone, with no apology or excusing oneself. You are a captive audience. And wonder if they comprehended anything you said. How many times will you have to repeat it? Getting in people’s way, if not bumping into them, because you’re like a zombie with eyes glued to that screen. You, yourself, could get hit by a car with this distracted walking. Or messing up while driving because that text or post is more important than your life or that of another. Shame on us. Even checking out at a store while on the phone is rude and disrespectful. That clerk deserves your attention. Listening to a nasty fight between a couple on speaker phone. Is nothing private anymore?

Princess Protection

old princess telephone, isolated on whiteMaybe we should go back to the days of the princess phone. My elderly dad had a touch tone one in his car between the seats. When I asked him why he explained that it was for security. He would pretend to call the police if need be. Dear old dad never could comprehend that his reasoning was erroneous. He felt safe. That’s what mattered.

Consider taking a time-out. Leave your phone at home even if it’s just while you’re out to dinner with friends. Make them feel important. Get rid of the temptation. Enjoy the world! Enjoy life!

 

 

To Meme Or Not To Meme

Is everyone burned out with the Christmas crunch? Just a reminder: Christmas is THIS Sunday. Shocking, isn’t it? Just in case you have no idea what day it is today. Or was yesterday. Or any day since the season started. When was that? October 1st? The last few weeks are like a blur. Baby, it’s blurry outside.

images-22Every year, I have two goals. To buy twenty- six of the same item and be done with Christmas shopping. The other is to have this done by the day before Thanksgiving. Both are announced as proclamations. Both continue to be fantasies. Another fantasy (on the bucket list) is to announce to everyone that I’m not doing Christmas this year because, instead, on Christmas morning, I will board a plane for a faraway place. Would this be a Scrooge on the outside and a squanderer on the inside? Hey…a new word: squandescrooge. Sounds better than cheap, ungenerous, miserly, spending foolishly or wastefully. On travel. Or Christmas? Back to the point of this post.

images-15Take a much-needed timeout for your burnout and put your first name and the word meme into google search. Collins Concise English Dictionary defines meme as: “an idea or element of social behavior passed on through generations in a culture, especially by imitation.” To pronounce meme, say meem with a long e sound. It rhymes with beam or team. You can easily create your own memes from phone photos using this app: MeMatic. Have fun!

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Performance Anxiety

An invite to my first opera. I don’t know about this. Opera is not mainstream. Isn’t it pretentious? I feel intimidated, baffled and even a little frightened by this upcoming event. What if I don’t understand it? Is there a certain way to listen to it? What if I just don’t get it? Will they throw me out if I fall asleep? Or look bored? And what about concert manners? I must read up on those. Google University will help.

Do What When

Concert manners start with not being late. No tripping through the aisle to your seat after it starts. No way. The ushers are the enforcers. They will not let you in until after the first act. No squeaking chair, no coughing, no fidgeting, no whispering (whispering is not silent), no walking around. Look only at people you can see without moving in your seat. Don’t turn around: they will sneer at you. Really? Don’t even think about opening your purse, taking your sweater off, rustling the program or even saying shhh. Not allowed. It’s not like watching TV (Hey Al…grab me a beer). If I mess up, these classical snobs will bury me with shame. Maybe I will just sit like a statue and hold my breath. Play it safe.

Paris, France - May 3, 2016: People Taking Pictures At Opera ParClaptrap

And even worse would be the ultimate blunder: clapping at the wrong time. Death at dawn will be the penalty. I’m sure of that. Clap at the end of each aria (aka the pretty songs in opera versus recitative where they just talk)? The combination of these is what makes opera so emotionally intense.  Clap only at the end of each scene when the curtain goes down? Or after each act? I’m pretty sure you do applaud when the conductor walks out to the stand. That person is running the show! Will there be clapping cues?  Should I wait till someone else claps first and hope they’re not an ignoramus like yours truly? Why didn’t I major in Opera? Darn.

Why Can’t We Be Friends

Or maybe I will make this opera my best friend, before the concert. Effort on my side. Listen to the music as I read the libretto (text). Over and over again until I want to de-friend it. Will this send me into states of ecstatic abandon? Maybe not, but I will know the story. Read up on the performers and the biography of the composer. Check out the historical period of the piece. Romantic, Baroque, Classical? Go Google! YouTube, here I come.

Fashion Faux Pas

What should I wear? Why do people dress up? Because they can? I’m from the land of tee shirts and Homer Simpson flip-flops. For any occasion. If it’s opening night, does one go formal? And what does that mean? Floor-length gown or is a cocktail dress appropriate? Will my frock from Goodwill give a deceptive outer appearance of great worth? Polishing my shoes might help. Maybe I’ll get my teeth cleaned, too.

The Marriage Of FigaroFinale Ultimo

The audience stands, applauds and shouts bravo as they throw flowers on the stage. Bravo means well done in Italian. You say bravo for Mr. Diva, brava for Miss Diva and bravi for two or more performers.

Who is performing more? The opera or the audience?

So many questions I have. The final one is: should I stay or should I go?

Christmas Slayings

This blog is not about murders. It’s about slayings of the Christmas sayings. The holidays are not the happiest time of the year for some people. For various reasons. Family drama. Getting homesick even though you’re home. Family dysfunction. Boredom. This year’s election results. Ugly Christmas sweaters (they are a cry for help you know). Christmas crap: the kind you eat and receive. Like the Big Mouth Billy singing bass. Or fruitcake. Or the re-gifted purse that’s missing the strap. Holiday hangovers.

And how about disasters that made you say, What the elf? We’ve all had them. I remember one. My brother and his brother-n-law, David, had been hanging out at the river all day, getting ho-ho hammered. They had their merry on. As they drove a camper into my mother’s condo place (two hours late)with covered parking, we went out to greet them. Only to be greeted by the scene of them shearing off the entire side of the camper on the parking roof. Like the lid on a can of sardines rolled back with the key. Nobody said a word. We were all dumbstruck. The boys just drove off with this dangling metal banging on the truck. For some, drinking is a way to survive the holidays. For them, it deprived them of the holidays. The tree is not the only thing that gets lit. My mother was angry with tears, my brother was pissed off at David (who was driving), my brother’s wife was humiliated and angry, I was angry because they made my mom cry. Everyone was angry and we hadn’t even sat down to dinner yet. Never did.

Then there’s the time that fifteen of us gathered around the table for Christmas dinner. It was a cool, old farmhouse in Colorado. The kind with no hallways so you could just run around your house in circles until you were dizzy. Up to that point, everything was perfect. All the food was timed to perfection and placed on the Martha Stewart embellished table. Merriment was everywhere as we started passing dishes around. And then it happened. A rushing, violent stream of water splashed down from above, spraying everybody and everything. My mother was mortified. We’d remember this yuletide. The bathroom, directly above us, had sprung a leak. The toilet, in its inanimate state, was the killjoy. Game over.

So….I’ve told you two of my stories. Let’s hear yours.

But despite our holiday disaster stories, which we CAN laugh about now (right?), I hope these “slayings”, memes and whatever, will make you laugh a little. Bring you some joy.

Slayings of the Sayings:

Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle.

Oh come let us abhor him (your drunk uncle).

Can’t stop drinking about you.

All is calm. All is bright. No fights tonight.

Christmas cheer brings ten pounds to your rear.

All I want for Christmas is an isthmus.

Bury Christmas.

Tis the season to be Holly.

Christmas in the heart makes you fart.

To spread Christmas cheer, don’t  sing loud for all to hear.

Let it show.

Wishing you peas and sappiness.

Mistletoe in your back pocket: kiss my ass.

Tinkle all the way!

A virgin birth is believable but finding three wise men?

Doorbusters: eleven shoppers shoving.

And now, comments are open. I know you can add to these “slayings”. Please do.

 

 

 

 

Dreams And Memes

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

Hello, everyone. I’ve missed you. I had hoped to have enough posts done in advance so that there would be no gap. It just didn’t happen. I was in China for fourteen days, then was sick for two and one-half weeks, out-of-town again for four days and then Thanksgiving. And now the Christmas get your fat pants ready season is upon us. Whew! Don’t you just hate excuses?

I’m working on getting up to speed. Until then, how about some Chinese memes?