What is all this honking about!!

geese— I saw that the geese were on the move again this morning and made me want to post this again because they make me smile….

It has been said that geese honk while in their formation to encourage the lead goose, for it is that one goose that bears the brunt of the work. What work – just flying is work in itself! The point goose is breaking the air surface and thereby spreading the air current outward. Each goose after the point goose has a lesser degree of air surface to break and makes it a bit easier for them to maintain flight. When the lead goose gets tired he falls to the back of the formation and another goose steps up (or flies up at the case may be). That’s what all the honking is about – working as a team, cheering each other on, sharing the work for the better of the group.

There is so much to learn from such a simple gesture. It goes beyond teamwork and beyond encouragement and it is all natural. They ‘get it’. There is nothing selfish or mean spirited in their quest to get from point A to point B. They don’t secretly wish for one of their feathered mates to fall from the sky so they can get a good laugh from it. They are just honestly praising the hard work and perseverance they are experiencing. What a great concept!

For me, listening to the geese is so self-indulgent I almost feel badly; they bring such a smile to my face while they are working so hard to stay aloft. HONK HONK

Honk, Beep, Meep and the Like

honk

I am a honking kind of girl; I give my car horn a workout daily. I want to be sure it will be in top condition should an ‘emergency’ ever arise. If I am not supposed to use it, why issue one in every vehicle, right?

Some people frown on honking as it brings attention to them, but really, isn’t that the point?

I give a honk if I am waving you through in front of me and it takes more than three of my hand waves to get your butt in gear. I am trying to be gracious and now you have made my arm ache… go already!

I give a honk if I have to wait more than 8 seconds at a green light and you are hopelessly staring at the light as if expecting a personal invitation be handed to you that it is safe to continue on your mind-numbing journey of life.

If you let me pass in front of you, I give the hand wave of thanks and a quick honk just to be sure you know I recognize your generosity. In these parts, if you don’t give the hand-wave-of-thanks you get the WTF buddy?!! Geeze you are welcome!! And then we take our anger out on the next innocent driver…so do society a solid and just give a quick wave of thanks. Even a half hand wave is acceptable.

If I see geese, turkey, or deer (pretty much any animal) look precariously from the side of the road as if they want to cross to see what is on the other side of the road, they get the honk to warn them to “back up buddy it is not safe, try again later”

Most importantly you will most definitely…without a doubt…get a honk, if, as in this past weekend for example, you are pulling out of the parking garage, stop and park just on the other side of the wooden arm, have everyone in the vehicle get out and change seats (no it was not one of those juvenile fire drills) and then have a discussion at the driver’s door about how the day was. People, there is a line forming behind you and by the looks of it, you are incapable of driving and talking at the same time, otherwise why would you be standing next to the vehicle? HONK!!

And then have the 20-something garage attendant school me on not using my horn because it was not an emergency!!? Oh no you di-int!! Since when does it have to be an emergency to use the horn? He obviously lives in a small town where honking is viewed as a nuisance not the vehicle’s voice. I didn’t give the long foghorn blast, just a quick honk to state; hurry it up ladies we are not getting any younger here and the world does not revolve around YOU.

Are YOU a honk, meep, beep type of person or the recipient of my honking??

 

My life is 3-5 business days away…

shredder
(courtesy of the super nice peeps at clipart)

The back story: I placed an order on August 24 for a shredder (because I am a bit overly sensitive and probably a tad irrational about my personal information being stolen) and the receipt I printed stated “shipping in 3-5 business days”. Sound good, I can live for another week without shredding the last 15 years of bills, silly credit card company invitations that think I can actually afford a black am/ex, contracts, and the like (if it’s made from paper and has my name on it = shredded).

A week went by and no shredder. I called customer service and they stated that the order was showing on the computer to ship within 3 days, I should have it by the end of the week. I did explain that the original receipt stated 3-5 business days but the response was, it was back ordered, to which I replied, maybe that information should have been on the receipt or as I am checking out so that I am aware of the delay.

But I am practicing my patience…let’s give this waiting thing another shot! Days go by and still nothing, zilch, na-da, the big goose egg, ok you get the point. I call back and a new lovely woman in customer service agrees with me and she will escalate to the Special Order Liaison who sent me an email stating 3-5 business days (de ja vu). It was at THAT point, giving it the full 5 business days, that I sent the following:

(Sept. 17) Dear Customer Support: 

Although I have sent this email directly to the Special Order Liaison, Mr. XXX, I have not heard back that the email was received nor that the order was cancelled.  Therefore, I am sending it to you as another form of cancellation.  Please take a moment to read below as to the history of this order and cancel immediately:

Mr. XXX

It is now 17 days since my original order of August 24 and I have STILL not received my product!

This is beyond ridiculous. Your note, directly from YOU below, stated 3-5 business days and we are well outside that timeframe.  To state that I have been ‘patient’ would be the understatement of the century.

Please cancel my order immediately and I can say with all the confidence in the world, that I will NEVER buy a product from your company and I will be sure to pass along my experience with OfficeMax to all my friends on social media, family, and work mates.

Good day.

Is this what has become of our customer service expectations? Does this happen to anyone else or just me? And if so, am I the only one losing my mind about it or is there an uprising and my invitation is 3-5 business days away?

So not only did I get blown off by the Special Order Liaison with HIS suggested date, I get blown off with any type of acknowledgement of my email and had to go through the general customer support to get a response the following day.

I realize things get held up, companies get bought out, taken over, and there is turmoil, I get it, I am sympathetic and understanding to it. What I don’t understand is the blatant lying to me. If the product was backordered, no biggie, I would have ordered one in stock and continued to do business with this company, easy-peasy. Now that lines in the sand have been drawn, i.e. being lied to on more than one occasion, not only will I never do business with them, I will be sure to pass along my poor customer service interaction to anyone who will listen (hopefully you are still paying attention…hello??).

Unfortunately this is becoming the norm (or maybe it is just my lovely disposition that brings out the best in companies) as I ordered new glasses, paid 100% up front, was told two weeks max and now well over the two week mark, am being told yet another week before they are ready (sigh?!).

Or how about the birthday present I purchased online with overnight shipping only to find out that overnight shipping is just that, only if the order was placed before noon (again, that information would have been helpful BEFORE I clicked purchase or how about maybe at the checkout area??!!). If you order at 2:00 pm, you pay for the overnight shipping but receive it two days later.

I am a customer with small orders but apparently my money would be welcomed elsewhere; challenge accepted.

Ambitchous….

poster

There is a fine line between a woman ‘standing up for herself’ and being a ‘bitch’. I have yet to find that line but I am sure it exists; more often than not, I get the ‘bitch’ label. For those of you that have said it to my face (on many occasions), you can agree that my response has always been, and will always be: stop kissing up.

I have to say that my super-cranky reaction to a situation is just that; a reaction. I am by no means searching out scenarios in which to wield my highly explosive intolerance for stupidity.

The first (and most repetitive interaction) typically involves me waiting in line and getting cut off, as though I have hit my ‘stealth button’ and instantly became invisible. The millisecond response from me is always an unwaivering, ‘are you kidding me?!”  For some reason that seems to startle the offender and wakes them up to the fact that they are no longer on their lonely planet of “I” and must abide by the simple rules of society and it’s strongly recommended guidelines of ‘wait your friggin turn’.

There are times where adults are not pointing out their children’s misbehaving and I have to take things into my own hands. Example: at a college open house for Goose, potential students (17-18 yrs) and their parents are sitting in an amphitheater getting the background on the school and what they offer, finances, etc. and the three young miscreants with their mother were talking loudly and laughing throughout the whole seminar. It was not until the continuously full-blown kicking of my chair, did I spin my head faster than Regan from the Exorcist, and gave my, “are you kidding me??!!” to which the young men horrified, stood up and said they would wait outside. Good call because next comes the pea soup vomit while talking in tongues and no one wants that.

Other times, a good friend needs to have that certain someone on their side, that friend with a bit more bravado then they do. So… while in a Chinese restaurant with my friend (we will call her Shrink because she is one) and her boyfriend were sitting at a crowded bar, I hear a woman complaining to her boyfriend that Shrink is being loud and obnoxious. Really? We are sitting three people away in a packed bar and the only voice you can hear is Shrink laughing and telling stories. Hold the phone and call Oscar Goldman because a new Jaime Sommers is in town! (that’s a late 70’s reference for you kiddos) but I digress. I walked over to her and called her out on it, citing the fact that it’s a loud bar and there is no way she should be calling my friend names without provocation. As she turned to her boyfriend and started to curse about me, I kindly noted that I was not using profanity in any way and name calling wasn’t necessary… just apologize to my friend. The boyfriend stood up (a good 6 inches taller than me) and became aggressive to which I stood my ground and said that he was not part of the conversation, I was talking to his foul mouthed girlfriend. He then called me a bitch (yes I had to say, stop kissing up, it’s a natural reaction) and then he poked me in the shoulder a few times. I nicely reminded him that unwanted poking is considered assault and that seemed to warrant him screaming me a few other choice words but stopped the poking. No better way to show your pea-sized brain than to scream profanities; boring, yawn, over it.

So you see, I have been mislabeled and misunderstood my whole life. I will not be walked on or overlooked. I demand as much space in this world as the big jerks that seem to be taking over.

(P.S. if you know to whom I owe credit for this awesome intro picture please let me know!)

Today’s Hero

To all the media: STOP, just please stop dishonoring and degrading the thought and spirit behind what a true HERO deserves; someone with the courage and selflessness for others.

A sports newscaster said this morning that the ‘hero’ of the night was “insert athlete name here” (because really, does it make a difference?).

Given today’s struggles and daily violence I am fed up beyond comprehension how the word ‘hero’ is continuously used so nonchalantly. It’s a sporting event. He hit the ball, got it in the hoop, made the touch down, did what his million dollar paycheck required to win a game. A GAME! No one’s lives were saved, it is that simple. Would his teammates consider him the ‘hero’ for winning the game? Probably, but even that goes beyond suitable recognition and thus, the overuse of the word.

There are so many other superlatives that would be much more suitable without marring the word ‘hero’. He was certainly the man-of-the-hour, the saving grace of the game, the MVP of the evening, but let’s reserve the word HERO for those it really applies to and gain back some of the respect it deserves.

Let’s save the word HERO for – the first responders in your town that have no idea what they are up against when the bells go off at 2:00 am and they jump in the truck. It could be a shooting to contain, victims in a burning home that need to be carried out safely, or a young person suicide, whose face will haunt them for years to come…

For the catastrophe workers who load up and run to a natural disaster at a moment’s notice leaving family, friends and their own lives behind with only the one goal of saving as many men, women and children as possible. The diseases that they face due to lack of hygiene and clean water as evident in the Nepal and Haiti earthquakes, the hurricane in Katrina and the tsunamis in Japan and Phuket.   They do not have special treatment, they do not and live out of a four-star hotel…they volunteer and sacrifice to live like the people they are helping with lack of food, lack of water, no bathroom facilities, and very little rest in a make shift tent…

For those everyday people who woke up with the intension of ‘just making it through a day at work’ only then find themselves running into harm’s way to extract a driver or passenger in a burning vehicle… a teacher who wants to make a difference, for the positive, in just one student’s life, but is faced with a gunman randomly ready to shoot any and every one, but he/she steps up and thwarts the evil plan…

These actions (and so many more) are the definition of HERO and deserve all the praise that accompanies it. Let’s remember that.

Keep it healthy and try going vertical

keepcalm

I will preface this post by stating, I am 49 yrs old. (WOW! Hold on… when I say it aloud it makes me a bit dizzy!) I am sharing that information because if you choose to read on, it impacts the content. I am not 20 or 30 where one’s metabolism is higher and exercise comes a bit easier… ok, now continue…

Healthier living can sometimes lead to the domino effect… one healthy swap of double veggie instead of fries with the meal is an excellent example. Water or club soda instead of regular soda or even worse, diet soda, just a few times a day has a huge impact on your sugar, calorie, and chemical intake.

At first you may think, “it’s just one meal, seriously how much can that impact my weight or attitude toward eating and food?” but it does. Your body does not want to be filled with chemicals (yes you are taking in chemicals daily, stop it!) or too much food. It was built to run at an optimum weight with a specific fuel intake, just as any amazing machine or engine does. Your automobile will run much better on high octane fuel than the very low octane fuel option. It will take several tankfuls to notice but it does indeed happen. The same idea can be said for your body. Fueling it with ‘high octane’ and healthy choice foods will allow it to run more effectively and more efficiently.

One of my mantras — if I don’t buy it, I won’t eat it. Trust me when I say this wasn’t easy for me either. Years ago I would stand in the cookie aisle and just stare at the Oreos (or ice cream pie) remembering their chocolatey goodness and devouring half a package without much thought (not in the aisle at the store, although the thought had occurred to me on more than one occasion). Present day, if I had one, it one be just that, just one. I don’t miss them and they are much too sweet. But how did I stop eating them? I stopped buying them; what a concept! What quenches my desire for chocolate these days without eating three pounds of it? Dark chocolate; not the high sugar content dark chocolate (typically distributed in the US) but something along the lines of Lindt chocolate. One or two bites and it satisfies the craving without packing on the high doses of poorly constructed chocolate.

As one small healthy choice will lead to another… you may become more aware of what you eat, how you feel, and take a second look at unhealthy foods and the price tag that comes with it. “Do I want to trade that delicious spinach/cheese/artichoke dip for an extra 2 miles walk?” “Do I really need 3 glasses of wine instead of 2? Tastes delicious now but my sleep will pay dearly for it”… It takes 3500 calories to burn off one pound of weight. EEK! Food will slowly start to become equated with exercise or other trade-offs without much forethought with that figure lingering in your head.

A body in motion stays in motion. I have started to be much more consistent with exercise this last month or so and in doing so I found it somewhat shocking that after a workout, even though I was exhausted, an hour later I didn’t want to just sit down, I wanted to keep moving in some way. I wouldn’t categorize it as having ‘more’ energy as some people do, but I did recognize that I didn’t want to just sit and watch television. It usually ended with the thought of, well guess I will do some chores that I absolutely hate (scrubbing the bathtub is always last on the list). This didn’t happen at first. At first all I wanted was to lay down, catch my breath, pray I would not be too sore to move the next day, and ultimately nap. It was a solid week and a half of exercising before I felt comfortable with it and then moved onto the ‘staying in motion’ feeling.

Looking forward to the ‘sore’. I have had to ramp up my workouts just so I can get that ‘sore’ feeling back. A feeling of- I’m not sure if I can walk let alone hold a spoon- may be alarming at first, but then I started looking forward to it because I knew it found a new muscle group that was in hiding. Simply using the treadmill (notice I didn’t say running, because I hate running, all I do is a fast paced walk and use the incline for more calorie burn), using the stair climber, or the yoga sessions plateaued and I needed to tweak it up. I needed to know I was testing and pushing my body to a different level. I didn’t want anything too extreme (I am looking at you CrossFit) but something to change things up to my weekly routine.

If you are already an avid fan of exercise, try something new. Bring your workout vertical! So here is your laugh of the day, pole exercise. It is not dancing, there are no sexy moves, it is using the pole as an instrument against your body and gravity to pull yourself vertical or push yourself horizontal against the pole. Not many forms of exercise will have you using a vertical plane and a multitude of different muscle groups, especially the tiny ones you didn’t know you had. Running, planking, weight training, all great exercise but they continue to use the typical horizontal plane that we all exist on. Start thinking pole exercise and aerial silks to change things up. Adding the new dimension of vertical against gravity in addition to requiring the extra balance (and being off the ground) is a whole new challenge you will welcome to your exercise routine.

sleeping
(imgbuddy.com/homersimpson)

A better night sleep. Who doesn’t want that? Once you take that first step to a healthier you, sleeping through the night can be a long lost welcomed friend. Walk up and down the stairs of your house a few times, around your house or yard, up and down the street, start small so you don’t become overwhelmed and give up with an unattainable goal. Don’t be afraid to push yourself that extra 5 steps because they will add up quickly and before you know it, you will want more; one step more is one step more.

Challenge yourself, not against others. Coming in last place means you were in the race! (metaphorically speaking) Just keep moving, that is the key to all this. The eating healthy and constant moving works hand in hand. You will find you won’t want to do just one or the other, they actually feed off each another and it becomes effortless; just be patient, give it time.

It is not easy, that is a given, but the rewards are huge. Will you live forever? Nope. But for those remaining years, you will definitely feel much better and more than likely, cut down on many diseases and health problems by doing so. The endorphins will rise to keep you feeling happier and make the tough times not so tough.

Keeping weight off is much easier than losing it. If this old body can do it, I know YOU can too!

I am grateful for…

A very intelligent, wise, and overflowing with love individual named Patreeko inspired me to write about what I am grateful for (or at least the short version/part I).

junglelove
Q – Hiding in the jungle

Without putting a concrete order to the list, let’s start with the parents. Without knowing their background, meeting them for the first time you would think they were on top of the world (but one they worked very hard to obtain). Very meager childhoods did not dissuade them from striving to meet their full potential. They enjoyed everything life had to offer. Even when faced with working three jobs to own his own home and put food on the table for a family of six, my father did not give up and could see the bigger picture. A college degree became very important in the working world if you wanted to move on up and even though my mom was a full time housewife, he pushed her toward the same (as they would say, knowledge is something that no one can take from you). He always maintained a beautiful garden, the envy of all the neighborhood. Growing each plant by seedling, they flourished, spread, and brought amazing colors to all who went by.

Graduating with a high honors Bachelor’s degree to teach, was the obvious choice for my mother. She had so much to offer young people that was not offered in school books. Life is not all black and white (I am looking at you Math) but having a deep passion, appreciating, understanding, and acknowledging the utmost importance of music, art, dance, languages, cultures, travel… it is all related and connected to the ‘black and white’ and if you don’t know and understand these pieces to the puzzle of life, than you are not getting the whole picture, and that’s just sad. She was a docent at a very prestigious art museum and would give tours every Sunday. With a very young me in tow, I learned more about the subtleties of color and symbolism in art than any six year old needs. So yes, very grateful for their wisdom, their commonsense, their teaching me (and my daughter) about the bigger things in life and how to push through, focus, understand, analyze, problem solve, and keep it moving, keep it positive, the ‘you got this’ attitude.

Next up, the kid, or Goose as she is known in this blog. Through no fault of her own, she has pushed me to become a better person. One with more patience and understanding (although she may not agree with that statement but it is on-going and always working on it), one that makes me look deeper into my own self to do what is right and not what is easy, to try my best to be a good role model, to be less selfish, to enjoy what life has to offer us, and at many times, make our own fun. She is the bright ball of smiles and laughter you would expect any child to be and even to this day, her naivety is a breath of fresh air in this sullied society. Our time together has been unmatched…all the day trips, international vacations, daily up and downs…I wouldn’t change any of it. She has always had the gift of giving and has found a way to bring her sunshine to those that may not have it. She currently works as a caregiver (while working on her nursing degree) for the elderly and while not all are homebound and alone, she offers companionship and many laughs for them and their family members. Her patients are very lucky to have someone who loves to assist and support them as much as she does, for growing old can be a very lonely and scary process these days. She is simply an amazing person that has so much to offer, on so many levels, to so many people.

I am very grateful for The Q – can’t talk about her and you can’t make me. But she most definitely was my world.

I use the word ‘friend’ sparingly because there are very few people who actually can be honored by it. In today’s world it is overused and tainted. Very few people who will drop everything and be there for you when you need it, no questions asked, no judgement given, and not ‘yes’ you to death but one that will tell the truth for your own good, no matter how much it hurts and want the same in return. I have had the privilege of befriending Brienne (like Brie cheese and then N), “DubaSue” and her dolphin move, one that shall remain anonymous, and Rebecca (aka Beth to her family, she is Rebecca to me). Each one of them has been a part of my life for well over 15 years and although we don’t get to see one another or talk as often as we would like, truth is, I know I could meet up at any given point and carry on as if no time had passed, just a few more gray hairs to count the years since we last met.

To end this ‘Part I’ of sorts I will say, I am very grateful for my health. I thank God every night for my health; mental, physical, and emotional. It does need a little tweaking here and there. I am now in the battle of the bulge mode; maintaining what others may consider to be a ‘normal’ weight but it bugs the heck out of me. If I don’t contain it now, it will only become an issue later one. Being middle aged brings on a plethora of health issues and thus far (knock on wood) I have been blessed with a body that requires little to no maintenance; no medication, no surgeries, no therapy…yes very blessed and it does not go without thanks.

Days go by quickly and it is very important to take the time to remember what we are grateful for, even if it is not a list of things, but merely one or two (this sounds corny but every day I thank the man out loud, that invented indoor plumbing and the hot shower-that guy rocks!).

Look hard, find that thing you are grateful for today, big or small…embrace it and be grateful for it, today and every day.