It’s Not April (but it feels like it)

19 01 2022

I’ll do it myself, look in the mirror and “Okay, Boomer,” me, but WTF is it with today’s consumers?

I just heard that someone paid almost half a million REAL dollars for a piece of VIRTUAL real estate in the Metaverse. I’m sure they will decorate the place with their cache of NFTs, also paid for with REAL dollars.

Kids, has it been that long since grandmas told their children the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes? Just because someone tells you something you can’t touch is real and has monetary value does not make it so.  I heard the metaverse described in glowing terms as a “wonderful new consumer avenue.” Baloney! What this is – and I’m not sure whether the titans of this idea are brilliant or we are stupid – is truly money for nothing.

We are buying nothing. We can’t swim in the virtual pool, drink the virtual champagne, or drive the virtual Countach. Ain’t nothin’ virtual about the cash coming out of our accounts, though.

Remember when the joke about someone’s gullibility was to offer to sell them the Brooklyn Bridge  . . . some idiot will probably fork over large for it in the virtual world. Yikes!

I am sure there are many who will disagree with my take on this – that it’s the scam of the 21st century – but it’ll take a lot of explaining why spending real money on imaginary stuff makes any more sense than buying life insurance for my imaginary friend.





Say What?

12 01 2022

How’s this for more head-scratching “information” is being shared on (anti)social media?!

Anyone who would believe such a thing would come from one of their friends has a strange definition of the word friend. I know and trust my friends, if they had a problem with me, would not be posting nasty stuff on Facebook; they would be in my actual face!  

We need to stop this downward spiral of suspicion of every action, assumption that every word said should be taken in the most hurtful way, and belief that everyone who is not swaying to the same tune is doing a war dance.

We are in dire need of re-trusting each other. 

Can we stop and remember our experiences before the series of “Fates Fling Feces into Fans” headlines that have been our lives for too long.  When this crapstorm began, we were all looking for something steady to cling to as things turned upside-down. We were too scared and tired to sort out details; we just wanted to get to a place we felt even a little bit safe. That led me, and I bet some of you, too, to take some unhealthy shortcuts in sorting out my friends, neighbors, and associates.

In the short run, US or THEM worked well. We were in our little houses, not being challenged to think about hard things in any deeper ways than cat memes. What has come from staying too long in those little houses is that we neglected to notice that US were in ones of straw and THEM were in ones made of sticks.

We all know that neither of those is going to survive our Mother’s (Nature’s) wrath.

Like siblings whose squabbling has gotten on Mom’s last nerve, we all need to calm down and figure out how to behave like decent human beings before we are grounded forever.

I am not suggesting that everything can be resolved with a campfire and Kumbaya. I promise that nothing will get better if the reasonable, ethical, caring people who outnumber the amoral by a factor of big-ass, continue to argue over who gets the last of the chocolate chip cookies when every one of us knows how to make more.

Stop looking for fights. Even those who win bloody their knuckles.

Start listening to what others say, not what you think they will say.

Please.

Beauty in Symbiotic Relationship




A Little Climate Spin

5 01 2022

As lots of my friends know, I am not a big fan of the winter season. It’s too dark, too cold, and  . . . isn’t that enough?!

I realize that no amount of kvetching will persuade Mother Nature to change her schedule so I think I have figured out how to help me cope with the time between now and play-in-the-garden.

I think it will be helpful for me to never acknowledge that it is, in fact, winter.

From now until April, I will consider myself in Pre-Spring.

Ah, yes, while winter reeks of blecch, pre-spring sounds full of promise.

WINTER

Snow

Gray Skies

Frozen Ground

Leafless Trees

Shoveling

Dangerous Traveling

PRE-SPRING

Fluffy Irrigation

Sunglasses Conservation Days

Naptime for the Perennials

Backyard Buffet Critter Seating

Mulch Training Workout

WOOHOO!!!! Stay Home!

Pre-Spring sure has a nice ring to it. I’m sure it will catch on, but if not, it will give me something to grin about when I feel the lack of sunlight sneaking up on my good mood.

Just to show you how much my positive re-branding is already doing, THIS was on my deck just a few days ago!

Happy New Year and Happy Pre-Spring!





The Resolution Solution

29 12 2021

Since it’s just a few days from finalizing that big old traditional annual To Do List – the one so many of us make, only to have it beat us into abject humiliation before Punxsutawney Phil’s alarm clock buzzes – let’s talk about refusing to be our own Aunt Naggy-pants.

In the space between the last big rush of too many cookies, too much food, too much spending, and too little sleep that was last weekend and the cold harsh light of the day after too much alcohol, too close-for-Covid-canoodling, and too few Tylenols that will come banging on the door in our brains on Saturday; there’s just enough time to participate in that most wasteful of human endeavors:

We fret.

Oh, dear, look at all the things I didn’t accomplish in 2021.

How did I get so (fill in the blank): old, fat, skinny, hairy, grumpy, gorgeous-that-nobody-likes-me-because-everybody’s-jealous . . .

Why did I let the whole year go by without (fill in another blank): learning to speak Mandarin, going to the gym every week, renewing my car’s warranty – wait – maybe not that one.

We look for every possible failure of the last twelve months, forgetting that there’s been a pandemic, runaway inflation, a little scuffle at the Capitol, hurricanes, wildfires, and assorted other stuff that is, unless you’re keeping a BIG secret from me, not our fault and causing us some pretty major troubles as we try to live our lives. It MUST be our fault. How else can we beat ourselves up in this time between other crap week?

Well, kids, I’m not playing this year. I’m quite tired of blaming myself for every dang bad thing that happens in my house, on my block, in my town, in this galaxy. (Yes, I have had therapy for my delusions of bad grandeur. Why do you ask?) I’m trying a new list for 2022. You’re invited to stop whacking yourself in the conscience with me. Here’s my plan.

Paula’s Surefire Top Ten Solutions (forget the Re) for 2022

10.   Every day, I will smile at someone.

9.     Every day, I will feed a creature in my yard.

8.     Every day, I will notice how good my coffee smells.

7.     Every day, I will be grateful that I have teeth to brush.

6.     Every day, I will attend to the needs of my guinea pig herd and know they think I am a god.

5.     Every day, I will drink good clean water and marvel at the fact I can get it by pushing a button.

4.     Every day, I will think of my friends and know I am lucky to have them.

3.    Every day, I will hurry up the stairs to remind myself that I am able to do it.

2.    Every day, I will learn something new.

1.    Every day, I will cherish my family.

May your New Year be filled with love and happiness and safety and health. May we all do, in our own ways, things that bring others the same.

Wrap yourself in kindness and feed your joy. (Blueberries do it for Piggy Stardust.)





Christmas Without

22 12 2021

You know how it feels when you get a new pair of shoes and it takes a little while for your feet to feel at home in them? My rose-colored glasses were kind of like that. They took some getting used to, but now they are as comfortable as my favorite slippers and as weatherproof as my gardening shoes and, in my mind, they make me look as glamorous as the sparkly high heels I used to wear when I was (much) younger.

In this time of familiar yet different holiday buzz, it’s easy to fall into the angst and loneliness and grief that many of us manage to keep in check until our emotional switchboard overloads on the seemingly endless combination of messages to be merry and bright and our own inner voice reminding us of all the reasons to be frightened and sad.

This will be my first Christmas without my mother. It will be our twelfth without our Jessie. If it weren’t for my trusty rose-colored glasses, I could be a real mess and there are moments when I am, but I just push those pink specs back up on my nose and remember this is also a Christmas without worrying about either of them being sick. It’s a Christmas without wondering if we can afford to stay warm. It’s a Christmas without personal health problems. It’s a Christmas without tension amongst our sisters and brothers and in-laws – we are lucky that way.

Whenever I start to dwell on all the lovely people and things Fate has taken from my life (and the holidays are times that push hard on those memories), I have learned that it’s only fair to remember all the things she has protected me from, too.

I wish you a Merry Christmas, one without (too much) worry. I also wish you a pair of your very own rose-colored glasses. They make everyone who wears them look – and see – better.

Peace on Earth, my friends.





A Fine Gift

15 12 2021

I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.

                                                                                                 – Albert Einstein

What a lovely idea. While I am pretty sure Al’s being a little bit too humble with his first assertion, he makes a proper point. I am 100% on board with the idea that curiosity is magic.

When I was young, I believed that I should only do things for which I had some “natural talent,” a supposition that left me bored, unfulfilled, and stunningly shallow. I also felt like a failure, as my natural talent was, as is many people’s, sadly ordinary.

Must’ve been in my middle 30s by the time I accepted that talent was overrated and genuine interest in the world was a secret key to life.  I wanted to know about more stuff – different stuff, stuff I might not be good at, stuff I might be terrible at, just more kinds of stuff than I had ever considered before.

I now have hobbies I enjoy, even though I will never be “good” at them. I know a ton of little useless (except when I want to beat the husband at Jeopardy) factoids that keep my brain working. There are household upkeep jobs that are within my abilities. Trees, the wildcat offense, double welt cording, kokeshi, and plaster casting are all in my ever-growing lexicon. Who knows what I might next find interesting!

Curiosity is the great entertainer. It destroys boredom, allays fear, distracts from worry, and it’s led me down paths strewn with challenge, laughter, disaster, learning, and beauty. Curiosity brings the little delights of the everyday into focus and renders them extraordinary to me. I can’t say my curiosity has led me to speculate on the origins of the universe, but I am certain that I will never be bored by my little corner of it.

When curiosity blends garden and concrete and acrylic paints.




Decorating Don’t

8 12 2021

As we approach the end of the year, social media is filled with the usual deluge of lists of things that we need to STOP:

Stop eating this.

Stop watching that.

Stop wearing those.

Stop liking stuff you have been liking!

Seriously, how many of those joyless little prescriptions have you clicked through to see what a failure of an adult you are because you still have shiplap in your den? You mean to tell me you haven’t thrown out all your floral linens and replaced them with buffalo check and stripes? How can you continue to live in your minimalist place when tchotchke chic is a la mode? Disgraceful that you are so off-trend.

Here’s a trend that really must go out of style – people telling other people what they should like!

Taste is personal. Who is better qualified to define our style than we are? Stop letting others make us feel bad for liking the stuff we like!

Have your steak well-done, bloody, or veggie.

Dye your hair, shave your head, or wear a hat.

Paper your walls, graffiti them, or put up knotty pine paneling.

Sleep in a four-poster or on a futon.

Choose what YOU want.

Home, to me, is not a means to impress people; home is the place that fits me. I am happy here. There is no place I’d rather be. If you are one of those folks who doesn’t like my style, please don’t tell me how poorly I’ve decorated; just go home and enjoy your own!  

Home Sweet Home!




Ho! Ho! Holy $#!t, it’s December!

1 12 2021

Whatever tradition you celebrate, including doing your level best to hibernate through the holidays, I think it’s time I share a few of my personal favorite tips for getting through the next few weeks with as little stress and as much glee as possible.

Paula’s (Latest) Top Ten Holiday Survival Tips

10. Lock your scales in the attic until April!

9.    Have short-term amnesia regarding family squabbling. If you can’t have amnesia, develop temporary hearing loss.

8.    Don’t rush (unless you need to pee).

7.    Bake cookies and eat as many as you want.

6.    Don’t spend money that you don’t have.

5.    Be kind to everyone, whether you feel like it or not.

4.    Eat some more cookies.

3.    Smile at little kids and especially at stressed-out parents of little kids.

2.    COOKIES!

And the Number One Happy Holiday Tip Is:

Put Anger in the shed with your scales! It’s not welcome this time of year.

Anger is a valuable emotion, but only when it energizes us to make a positive change. Don’t waste it on Aunt Naggie or Uncle Yahoo. They are the result of what happens when you allow yourself to be consumed by anger instead of rising above the fray . . . ooh,  rising reminds me that you should also bake some cinnamon buns and consume them . . . mmmmmmmmerry thoughts to start December!





Thanks for the Memories

24 11 2021

Ah, in just one week, it will be December. I gotta admit that I won’t miss 2021 when it scuttles out of here, but, for now, it’s still November and on this day before Thanksgiving, I want to give thanks to a very special something:

Tablecloth Stains.

As I was preparing to set the table for tomorrow’s feast, I tried out a few of my well-worn tablecloths and found every one of them carried at least one stain. To some, this could mean disaster; the table will not be “perfect.” To me, the faded remnants of the gravy drip, the errant berry, or any number of tasty comestibles that found their way onto my not-so-fine linens is a sweet reminder of the people I have shown love by feeding them. These little abstract works of food art are happy proof of gatherings past. That makes me look forward to making more happy memories this year and the next.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and all the ones you love.

Some of the folks I feed prefer al fresco dining. I accommodate them. Food is love.




(Please Don’t) Surprise Me

17 11 2021

My family and friends know that I am not good with surprises. Perhaps it’s that I spook easily or that I am just too much of a control freak for anything that hints at spontaneity. Whatever the reason, I am usually a terrible recipient of surprises . . .

Except for this week.

I am thankful for THREE surprises in the last few days. That’s so far out of character for me that I find myself checking my own I.D.

The first surprise involved one of my least favorite things – a schedule change. I was expecting my new bedroom carpet to be installed next Tuesday, but they wondered if I would please change my appointment to today, so – happy surprise – I now have new carpet a week early!

The second surprise came in the mail. One of the loveliest of people and a fine artist sent me a delightful letter and one of his “doodles” – colored pencil works that he does just to make people happy. Color me happy for this surprise.

The third surprise came from my best friend, who always makes me feel grateful for her spirited company. She returned a few containers that had gotten to her house and, in the bag, a very naughty surprise – my favorite truffles. Now, I just need to surprise myself with some hard-to-come-by willpower!

Don’t be surprised if someone does a kindness for you. Just be thankful.