Archive for the ‘Is It Just Me?’ Category

My younger daughter is encouraging me to continue my education. I am actually considering it. The kids have flown the coop and I am not ready to be put out to pasture quite yet.

So I started slowly exploring it. Not even to complete a degree but because I am so very curious about things. Not calculus. No, not that. Other subjects. ūüôā

My first on-line search was a nearby private, liberal arts university. Would be super convenient. I typed in the address to access their website. Was a bit dismayed when I found the description of their program that would suit an adult learner like me.


I then started poking around the website. The errors in grammar and spelling throughout the site were more than a few.

Now, nobody’s perfect. I totally get that.

But I am allowed to make all the spelling mistakes in the world. Because I am a learner. Not an institute of learning!

Of course, I feel it’s my duty to let them know that their website needs some attention.

Side note: I also let a local long-standing brewery know that their web page needed a spelling correction. And kept the administrator of an author’s Facebook page in the loop when errors glared. Can’t help myself.

If someone has a business or product they want to sell then I think it absolutely needs to be done properly and professional. On-line or not.

It is no different than the receptionist at a Doctor’s office. It helps form the first impression and is a representation of your business. Or how you do business.

Now, let me git bak to explorring mi opchins for furtha edukacation.


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Isn’t it odd how some people can get stuck on a certain thing or idea?

It sometimes just takes a simple suggestion. Which can be a positive or negative thing. But powerful.

The school nurse recently let us know that a couple of students had head lice in the high school.

I’m thinking, “When will it ever end? Didn’t I do enough head checking when the kids were in elementary school? Even middle school?”

Then I started scratching my head.

I checked my daughter’s hair and found nothing.

My head itches.

The book we were reading for book club mentioned a kid at the elementary school that had head lice.

Scratching again.

I was reading another book about a social worker who had an infestation of head lice that she brought home to share with her husband.

Non-stop itching on my head!

Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I asked my daughter if she could please check my hair.

She was like, “Ewww. No, thank you.”

I asked, “Do you know how many times I’ve had to pick through your head (and your sister’s) like a chimpanzee?”

Daughter said, “That’s because you wanted to.”

I laughed out loud. Really?? I wanted to poke around my kids’ heads looking for nits?

Parents only do it because:

  1. They don’t want it spread through the house like a wildfire.
  2. The school requests it.
  3. We want them back to school as soon as possible!

She did end up checking my hair. Guilted into it, I suppose.

Gave me the “all clear.”

Still itching.

Then I finished another read from our book club. Sad story about the rounding up of Jews in Paris. And yes, lice was mentioned more than once.

Right back to some hard-core scratching of my head.

At this point, I’m either going to have a treatment or just stop reading!

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I keep seeing posts and articles stating, “Steve Jobs-son of a Syrian migrant.”

One couldn’t be blamed if, after reading that one statement or headline, they conjured up images of Steve’s beloved father fleeing the political strife of his home country. Fear and angst apparent on his grimy streaked face during the difficult passage to America on a rubber dinghy in shark infested waters.

We could think,”We had no idea! OMGosh! We’d never have this MacBook Air or that phone if it wasn’t for our country taking in a migrant. Like all of these people we see on television risking life and limb to escape Syria at this very moment! Isn’t that what they are calling them at the moment? Migrants? Now, we can totally relate to the human misery of the Syrians flooding Europe and other countries. How do we encourage our government to do more? Loosen up immigration policy? We might be missing out on a future genius!”

Or a future president? Barack Obama’s father was also a “migrant” who studied in the U.S., married an American and had one son who would become the first Black president. Good or bad- like it or not-he’s the head of a superpower nation which effects the world.

I’m feeling pretty darn good -right about now- since I also produced a couple of kids with a “migrant.” Yup, a Syrian one.

But seriously. Is this a good way to poke and prod at our humanity? Get us to really open up our eyes to one of the world’s worst disasters? Because I’m typing on a MacBook?

Yes, it’s true that Steve Jobs would not have been born if it weren’t for a union between a Syrian man and an American woman. In the United States.

But this wasn’t even the man who raised him. I am not sure Mr. Jobs would be especially happy to have the world exploiting his name or his background. He did not care to have a relationship with his Syrian biological father and never did. Not saying he wouldn’t be concerned about a humanitarian crisis of this magnitude. I simply have no idea.

Steve’s biological father was born in Syria and the son of a multi-millionaire. He had choices. Had a university education in Lebanon. In his own words, “Where he spent the best years of his life.” Like many young people he was involved in protests there and was even thrown into prison for a few days. It happens.

He had the choice to be able to return to his home country of Syria after university but it was decided it would be better for him to study abroad. And yes, he was welcome to enter the United States as a student. So, he lived in New York with a relative who was an ambassador. Then attended Columbia University-another nice choice- and continued his studies in Wisconsin. Met a woman and she got pregnant. Baby born and adopted by a family.

I’m not bashing the old man. Absolutely not. That was his life. And it sounds like a pretty good one compared to the current refugees. Because he had choices that these poor people do not have.

Not even saying that one shouldn’t use their celebrity for a good cause. I’m saying the media shouldn’t use someone’s celebrity posthumously. It all gets twisted.

And here is one of my points.

We should allow people into the country because it is the right thing to do. That’s what we have always done. We should continue this. And we need to do a better job of it. To study. To work. Where all people might have an opportunity to realize their potential. Genius or not. Allowing people into the country based on sperm donation for potential future geniuses really isn’t a criteria. Let’s face it. That’s a total crap shoot.

And is it fair to subtly hint, by using the word migrant, that there is any comparison between this man and the millions of starving, displaced people?

Each person has a different immigration story. America is an immigrant nation. That’s a fact.

Do we care about the current plight of the refugees-most of whom have had no choice-because of the man that Steve Jobs never met? Or is it because of a sweet little baby washed up on shore? Or maybe the seventy people who suffocated in the back of a truck in Austria? Or the people suffering in camps who yearn to go back home if only it were safe?

We see many images. Many articles. Most exploitive. But I think it’s really important to know which ones truly represent the suffering of the Syrian refugees. I mean, migrants.

I suppose I should just be glad that people are finally taking notice. No matter how or what means. If it helps the poor people of this world who have no place to call home then so be it.

Okay, I’ll suck it up for the greater good.

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I headed out to the Dr. this morning. Soon realized I had forgotten my “cheaters.” They are not prescription glasses but I need them with me at all times.

Figured it would be no big deal. I’d be in and out. I never have to wait for him.

But, of course, today I was waiting.

Can’t really read any texts. Surely, I can’t send any out without knowing exactly what I typed. Couldn’t see much at all on my little phone.

I spy a magazine. It was about cosmetic surgery. Seriously, without my glasses, I couldn’t tell the difference in the before and after photos. There was a question and answer section also. One gal was interested in hymen reconstruction. A little bit of trickery going on so that the future husband will be none the wiser. I totally supposed this. Because I couldn’t make out the fine print to see what it actually said.

No one realizes more than me how much I rely on the dime store specs.

And yet. And yet a week ago I had my annual physical which includes the usual eye chart on the wall test.

I was taking that test like it was the SAT and meant my future depended on the results. I was so very serious competing against my own eyes. I’m so confident that I’m practically yelling out, “A” “E” “I” “O” “U”!!

That’s quite easy for the first couple of lines.

Then I’m stuttering, “E”

Ummm, no, it’s “C”

No, wait, I think it’s, “F”

What on earth was I trying to prove? I’m going around like Mr. Magoo without my glasses and yet I make every attempt to ace that test.

Like my eyes depended on it.

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Everyone’s always taking photos these days. It’s great. Most of the time.

I take loads. Tons. Mostly because I don’t have my glasses on at the time and end up deleting 75% of them later. Always hoping some actually make the cut.

But there are some photos that are just not worth taking. 

Like when someone crosses over a safety barrier to take a photo by the edge of a cliff.

I read this past week about the Polish couple that plunged to their death from a cliff. In front of their two very young children. It happened in Portugal. Some of the news reports claimed they were taking a “selfie.” I do not know if that is true because I have also read that the children were given the camera to take the photo.¬†

The fact is that there was a safety barrier that they hopped over to get to the edge of the cliff.

And now their two little children have a picture in the head for the rest of their lives. That they will never be able to delete. 

Reminds me of a recent trip this past summer to the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Ireland. I was with Annie and two of my cousins. So beautiful but always gets me nervous and thinking. I told Annie (15) beforehand that we were to stay on the path. 


There were safety barriers in some of the areas. But there were a few folks from Australia (and possibly other places) who hopped over the barrier so they could get some photos. They weren’t exactly on the edge but on a mound of dirt/grass. The problem is that one wrong move or stumble could send someone down the hill and then off the cliff.¬†


The photos they were taking were ones with their hands raised in the air like they were falling. Just trying to go for the funny shot with the craggy cliffs and wild ocean in background. There wasn’t anything funny about it.¬†

My cousin was beside herself and didn’t care who heard her. She was like, “Are they insane?”¬†

A fellow (friend of the one who was having his photo taken) heard her and said, “He’s absolutely mad.”

The thing of it is this. We all would have felt terrible if the man slipped and fell. The value of life and our fellow human beings and all that.

But we also would have a horrible image in our head for the rest of our lives. Totally not cool. That is what my cousin was upset about this day.

Many people already have pictures that cannot be erased. They don’t need others, who are unnecessarily taking risks, to add more to their mental gallery.

I arrived back in Malaysia the beginning of August. One evening I was driving back home from the city of Kuala Lumpur and realized that I had forgotten (after being in United States and Ireland) what a menace the motorbikes are here. They dart in and out of traffic and they are everywhere! So scary. I am always afraid I will hit one of them.

This particular night I hear the roar of three bikes together passing me on my right. On the highway and going very fast. Three pals from the look of it. 

One was driving his motorcycle on his stomach! Totally prone. I couldn’t believe it. Then the two guys on another bike behind him are taking pictures¬†of him on a mobile phone! Not the driver but the passenger. But still! And the third motorcyclist was just supporting them with laughter.

I found out at lunch yesterday that this was called “planking.” Oh my gosh. I learn something new every day. I was also told that the fellow who had the phone was probably filming it. And making a video.

All I could think of that evening was, “Please God, don’t let them fall and make me run over them on this highway” and “Please don’t let them crash and make me witness it.” ¬†

There really are some photos that are just not worth it. 

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What is wrong with this picture?


Besides the fact that there is a broken mirror and seven years of iffiness heading my way.

We are all such incredible creatures of habit. Grabbing the same clothes from the closet. Using the same products each day. Eating the usual foods. Hanging out with the same folks. Gravitating toward the same colors.

Makes me realize that I should probably shake some things up.

And if I never get there? Because I like what I like?

Then maybe I just have to remember that I don’t ever need the whole palette. I can just stick to what makes me happy.





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Sometimes I get overwhelmed.

I view all the books out there in the world and know that I cannot read them all. Way too many. And how will my children read, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” unless it is required reading in school? I have checked it out twice from the library in the last decade but I don’t think they ever finished it. There are so many others out there.

The movies! How can I ever finish watching all the old black and white movies when new movies are being produced at astonishing speed. Will my kids ever watch Sidney Poitier’s “A Patch of Blue” like I did during rainy, Saturday film marathons in the finished basement?

Songs. How can I compile a list of my favorite songs? How will my children appreciate music from days gone by and still keep current with all of the new songs that pop (couldn’t resist that pun) up every single minute? There isn’t enough time.

How can we absorb it all???? It’s a lot, isn’t it?

But the biggest worry I have, believe it or not, is words. I fear that my children will not know words.

I have been known to shout out random things to my kids, from the front seat of the car, like, “Do you know what a dumbwaiter is? And no, not the quiet fellow from the restaurant last night.”

A couple of months ago I asked Rory , “Do you know what gridlock and bottlenecking are?”

“Yes, Mom”, she answers.

“How do you know??”

“Because you have told me three times already.”

Maybe it’s more important that they learn words like antediluvian and obsolete. Both of which bring me back to my point.

I am afraid that things will be lost. And that they won’t know what I know. Should they? Is it normal to want your little people to experience and know everything you know? Or is it just too much? Is it just me?

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So, back to the subject of noticing things. One of my favorite subjects.

A car accident always commands our attention. That is why there are plenty of other wrecks caused by people gawking and not paying attention to their own vehicle. We use the term rubbernecking to describe this phenomenon.

When we are talking about something in which we cannot tear our eyes away (whether we want to or not) we say, “It was like a car wreck. I couldn’t look away.”

It’s because it is so startling and so horrifying that one cannot just ignore it and not notice it while passing.

So, what about underarms? I guess whatever’s hidden under there could be slightly startling and strangely horrifying. Depends on who’s looking.

I have noticed that most everyone (or just females?) seems to notice underarms. Am I wrong? So weird. Is it because it’s considered an erogenous zone? I don’t have a clue.

I could say to my daughter five hours later, after spotting a woman in a store, “Hey, did you notice that lady’s……?”

And she will immediately respond, “Yup, saw it. Hasn’t seen a razor in ages.”

Because she noticed. And it doesn’t really matter if it is the underarm of a man or woman. Equal opportunity gawking.

And I don’t know much about men and what they notice (Ummmm, nothing?) but in this context I am talking about the females¬†being the ones who always notice. The eyes are immediately drawn to armpits the minute someone raises their arm.

I see people looking at mine all the time. Lord have mercy, sometimes I’m afraid to raise my hand to ask a question at a P.T.A. meeting. I’m not blurting out questions without raising my hand because I’m rude. I’m just scared.

This is not a judgement of what’s under the arms. It is an observation of an observation. And just wondering if I am the only one.

That notices.

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Time is flying by and there is much to do.

I saw this snail on my front walk and thought, “Isn’t it swell? Isn’t it grand? To just be moving along so slowly?”

Although sometimes I wonder¬†if it all isn’t¬†one big lie specifically purported¬†for us.¬†That when nightfall arrives¬†there is a whole¬†lot of this going on with them, “Pssst, Lefty, I think all the humans are asleep. I think it’s time we¬†shed the stealthy¬†image and get our groove¬†on!”

Because when I rise¬†in the morning my plants and lemon tree are totally chewed up by these slimy suckers. Doesn’t look like there was anything slow in the destruction¬†of my garden. They certainly seemed to have made quick work of it. And this is just from those slow moving¬†slugs and¬†snails.

I remember asking the guy at the hardware store what was the difference between a slug and a snail.¬†He said one had the shell and the other didn’t. I was like, “Oh, slugs are the homeless ones.” Said without¬†an¬†ounce of sympathy because while they might not have a home¬†they are certainly well fed. Well fed.

Maybe I am just a bit in awe of these slippery creatures. Because they appear to move so slowly yet accomplish quite a lot in a day. I, on the other hand, move very quickly all day long but not sure what is actually being accomplished.

Maybe the snail’s pace is the way to go.

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It’s winding down. Only a few more weeks until the big move. Or at least the big packup. Going to visit (hide) at Mom and Dad’s for a week before heading to Asia.

Still unloading stuff. The pantry is not quite bare but it is getting there.

And Rory said that the inside of¬†my fridge looks like an old person’s fridge.¬†So, I guess it’s working. But it’s slow going.

Not wasting is hard work. Way harder than wasting.

I brought over all the canned goods that I had (that weren’t expired) and won’t use (ever) to my elderly neighbor.

The spices made their way¬†to friend Ken since he’s always got¬†something cooking¬†on¬†the¬†smoker (slow smoking grill.) He did ask, “What would¬†you use sumac for?”

Bag of school uniforms being sent back to thirteen year old¬†Annie’s school.¬†At least the¬†ones that don’t have oil stains or tire tracks on them. Honestly, I am like,”Do you attend an automotive vocational school that I don’t know about?”

Scooter, school supplies, stuffed animals and some toys left at the front door of my¬†little friends, Nicholas and Natalia. They are so sweet and precious.¬†Natalia¬†whispered to her mother the other day, “I don’t want Miss Mary to move.”¬†Awww.

Bags of clothes continue to be left on the front stoop for various charities.

I am using up the remaining pantry food.¬†So, if you do peek¬†into my old lady fridge you might spy a half emptied jar of sweet and sour red cabbage.¬†Or some canned Spaghettios.¬†Just depends on¬†what day.¬†And my mood.¬†Sometimes there might¬†still be¬†a protruding fork or spoon in the can or¬†jar. Okay, I’m just kidding about that.

Yes, it would be so easy to throw everything in the trash. But knowing I did my best not to waste and maybe helped other folks not want? Well, that just makes it all worth it.

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