Sunday, April 22, 2018

Stormy Weather

When the weatherperson predicts a storm, we flock to stores grabbing much more than necessary for a one-day event. We clear the shelves of special treats and precious essentials. We overload our shopping carts with must-have items like bread, milk and cereal, but I’m adding another necessity—kettlecorn. It is delicious. Don’t underestimate the salty, sweet snack because it counts as a vegetable and a carbohydrate. Even better, if there’s a power outage, kettle corn doesn’t require refrigeration. Also, the label says we can eat two cups and still maintain a healthy calorie count. Barring the annoying kernels that lodge between your gums and teeth, it has to be part of any storm readiness plan. On the other hand, this should not:

Although the audio is difficult to hear, it sounds family-friendly. Actually, we don’t need the audio to know that this isn't the place for selfies. I'm sure you can think of other storm non-essentials. If you didn't expect kettle corn to appear on the list, what do you want in the middle of a storm?               


Sunday, April 15, 2018

English As a Foreign Language

I’m glad I already speak English because many of the idioms and nuances of our language make it difficult to master. I can’t imagine entering the United States as a non-English speaking person. Think about our silly terms like whatchamacallit, thingamabob, thingamajig and whosit. When memory fails us, we resort to all kinds of interesting placeholders.
Not long ago at a gathering, a lady forgot someone’s name so she referred to an acquaintance as Mrs. Blah Blah. It’s a good thing the ladies were on friendly terms. Substituting Mrs. Blah Blah for a forgotten name kept us laughing! Under different circumstances, calling someone Mrs. Blah Blah might cause big trouble and lots of drama.
Emotions boil over quickly when people feel attacked for their English-speaking abilities. If you’re fortunate enough to travel, be it Louisiana or London, the English you hear may sound like a foreign language and you could become the speaker people ridicule. Watch how one soldier handles his communication situation:
With so many accents, dialects, and new slang words in America, we could all use subtitle assistance. What are you trying to communicate, but still wonder if anyone understands you?

Modified from a 2012 post.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Your Valuable Treasures

Although precious metals like gold retain their value, and the lira may earn top dollar at an auction, those currencies won’t buy beverages from a soda machine. Soda machines are designed to accept quarters, not gold or lira. Many times, we calculate an item’s value based on the box we create for it. Over time, as our needs and perspectives change, our ideas of what’s valuable change also.   

Maybe you’ve noticed how drivers slow down, swerve around, or completely stop traffic to let a goose cross the road. On the other hand, if a squirrel tries crossing the road, it’s a risky and potentially fatal adventure. Somehow, geese grew in value. Maybe this collection’s value will rise, too:

That’s brave. My only comment is this modified, popular saying: one person’s horror is another person’s treasure. While we wonder if these treasures will ever warrant any monetary value, they certainly bring joy to their owner. What things, regardless of your age or life stage, will always be valuable to you?   

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Erasing the Imprint

Nothing indicates a good night’s sleep like waking up with zigzaggy lines across your face. Here’s what happens: you sleep in the same position with a bunched-up part of sheet on your pillow for a few hours and—wham—you spend half the morning with imprints decorating your face. They’ll disappear eventually, but until then that’s the face you’re forced to show. Imagine living with something that’s not disappearing anytime soon. Something like this:   

We forget that every situation, whether it’s where we lay our heads or how we choose to present ourselves to the world, creates ripple effects. Ripples shock us when they create scars either on ourselves or on family members and friends. Unfortunately, scar removal always comes with a price. Thinking about your personal scars, what’s it going to cost to make them disappear?

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Stepping Into It

These days no one behaves in ways you expect. My cat acts like a canine that almost plays Fetch. Whenever we throw a toy, she sprints across the floor like a dog, but there’s where the similarity ends. Instead of retrieving the toy, she walks away from it, faking us out. When her feline attitude kicks in, it’s clear she only acts like a dog, but  thinks like a cat. Similar to the movie, “Freaky Friday” where the mother and daughter swap places, switching is happening all around us. In addition to cats acting like dogs, there are kids acting like adults and adults…well you get the idea. Check out this switch: 

People will push boundaries to figure out if animals can communicate with us. One lady spent years training a gorilla to understand sign language. Switching positions usually helps us understand someone else’s point of view, so think about your toughest critic. If you stepped into their shoes and saw their perspective, what things would you better understand about you?

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Looming Tower of Rights

The moment you think everybody’s on the same page about a subject—bam—someone pops up with a totally different viewpoint that would have never crossed your mind. For instance, thousands of students across the country walked out of school protesting gun laws and a school shooting, but not every student walked out.

Some students held indoor vigils, and in one school, students traveled the hallways, posting encouraging notes on one another’s lockers. It sounded like a creative twist on an unfortunate incident. Unfortunately, not everyone agreed with that decision. They thought the idea oversimplified the issue and placed responsibility on the students to modify questionable behaviors in schools.

We’re great at arguing about issues and picking apart other people’s opinions. Sort of like what I’m doing and what you’ll see here:

Granted, some arguments are simply dumb, and it’s fine to disagree with an opposing viewpoint. How about if we do it by reinforcing our key points instead of taking a bat to someone else’s position? Maybe one day we’ll all share the same perspective on an issue. Which one do you wish everyone believed in and supported?    

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Getting Salty

Last week, I couldn’t believe the amount of salt someone had deposited on a sidewalk. It looked like they wanted to skip salting the next storm and all the ones to follow. How much is too much? Granted, salt melts ice on slippery sidewalks, but you don’t need a cupful dumped in one spot to do the job. That’s called overkill. Too much salt can be bad for the body and it kills your concrete by pitting it with divots and pockets.

On the other hand, thousands of years ago salt offered tremendous benefits by preserving foods, and then there’s this phenomena: 

Depending on the circumstances, too much of a good thing can be detrimental. Where can you exercise greater balance and better judgement?