Just in Time!

“Just in time, I found you just in time, before you came my time was running low….”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_in_Time_(song)

Wonderful old song, don’t you think?  It’s a love song!  It was meant as a love song, and the writer was telling his/her love how grateful he/she was that he/she came along…

Transfer that ‘just in time’ message to 2015.  Do you know what it means?  It means that you, the average worker, are needed just in time for the employer–not earlier, not later, and sometimes not at all–just in time.  Just in time to do the work which the employer knows needs to be done when and where and at what time the employer says.

That is to say, your beneficent employer may decide they need you 10 minutes before they actually do.  Or, you may be scheduled to work at a certain date and time, but if circumstances change, your employer may send you a text  ten minutes beforehand and say, “Oh, never mind.  Turns out you aren’t necessary after all.”

That is called human resources, which is what we’ve all turned into.  Resources.  Like any other commodity, for the employer to use, use up, or choose not to use at all.  No consideration, folks–you are a resource, easily replaced in the modern-day workforce.  This, combined with the (laughably named) “right to work” laws give the employer all the cards in the deck.  In fact, YOU are JUST A CARD–To be dealt out, discarded or used as they see fit.  You aren’t even human any longer, you are a resource.

For more information on ‘just in time’ management, its impact on our society and the resulting chaos for actual human beings, I refer you to Robert Reich’s article on his blog: http://robertreich.org/post/116924386855

How the New Flexible Economy is Making Workers’ Lives Hell

MONDAY, APRIL 20, 2015
These days it’s not unusual for someone on the way to work to receive a text message from her employer saying she’s not needed right then.

Although she’s already found someone to pick up her kid from school and arranged for childcare, the work is no longer available and she won’t be paid for it.

Just-in-time scheduling like this is the latest new thing, designed to make retail outlets, restaurants, hotels, and other customer-driven businesses more nimble and keep costs to a minimum.

Software can now predict up-to-the-minute staffing needs on the basis of information such as traffic patterns, weather, and sales merely hours or possibly minutes before.

This way, employers don’t need to pay anyone to be at work unless they’re really needed. Companies can avoid paying wages to workers who’d otherwise just sit around.

Employers assign workers tentative shifts, and then notify them a half-hour or ten minutes before the shift is scheduled to begin whether they’re actually needed. Some even require workers to check in by phone, email, or text shortly before the shift starts.

Just-in-time scheduling is another part of America’s new “flexible” economy – along with the move to independent contractors and the growing reliance on “share economy” businesses, like Uber, that purport to do nothing more than connect customers with people willing to serve them.

New software is behind all of this – digital platforms enabling businesses to match their costs exactly with their needs.

The business media considers such flexibility an unalloyed virtue. Wall Street rewards it with higher share prices. America’s “flexible labor market” is the envy of business leaders and policy makers the world over.

There’s only one problem. The new flexibility doesn’t allow working people to live their lives.

Businesses used to consider employees fixed costs – like the costs of factories, offices, and equipment. Payrolls might grow or shrink over time as businesses expanded or contracted, but from year to year they were fairly constant.

That meant steady jobs. And with steady jobs came steady paychecks along with regular and predictable work schedules.

But employees are now becoming variable costs of doing business – depending on ups and downs in demand that may change hour by hour, possibly minute by minute.
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Yet working people have to pay the rent or make mortgage payments, and have keep up with utility, food, and fuel bills. These bills don’t vary much from month to month. They’re the fixed costs of living.

American workers can’t simultaneously be variable costs for business yet live in their own fixed-cost worlds.

They’re also husbands and wives and partners, most are parents, and they often have to take care of elderly relatives. All this requires coordinating schedules in advance – who’s going to cover for whom, and when.

But such planning is impossible when you don’t know when you’ll be needed at work.

Whatever it’s called – just-in-time scheduling, on-call staffing, on-demand work, independent contracting, or the “share economy” – the result is the same: No predictability, no economic security.

This makes businesses more efficient, but it’s a nightmare for working families.

Last week, the National Employment Law Project reported that 42 percent of U.S. workers make less than $15 an hour.

But even $20 an hour isn’t enough if the work is unpredictable and insecure.

Not only is a higher minimum wage critical. So are more regular and predictable hours.

Some states require employers to pay any staff who report to work for a scheduled shift but who are then sent home, at least 4 hours pay at the minimum wage.

But these laws haven’t kept up with software that enables employers to do just-in-time scheduling – and inform workers minutes before their shift that they’re not needed.

In what may become a test case, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman last week warned 13 big retailers – including Target and The Gap – that their just-in-time scheduling may violate New York law, which requires payments to workers who arrive for a shift and then are sent home.

We need a federal law requiring employers to pay for scheduled work.

Alternatively, if American workers can’t get more regular and predictable hours, they at least need stronger safety nets.

These would include high-quality pre-school and after-school programs; unemployment insurance for people who can only get part-time work; and a minimum guaranteed basic income.

All the blather about “family-friendly workplaces” is meaningless if workers have no control over when they’re working.

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I’ll bet, as you read the lyrics to “Just in Time” below, you will have an entirely different ‘take’ on what ‘just in time’ actually means.  I do.  So I had to change some of the lyrics…..

“Just In Time”

Just in time
I found you just in time
Before you came my time
Was running low

I was lost
The losing dice were tossed
My bridges all were crossed
Nowhere to go

Now you’re I’m here
And now I know just where I’m going don’t know where I’m going…

No more  Lots of doubt and fear
I’ve found lost my way

For love work came just in time
You found me I got here just in time
And changed my lonely frantic life
That lovely Every single day

Now you’re I’m here
And now I’ve know just no idea where I’m going
No more Only doubt or and fear
‘Cause I‘ve found my way  need some pay……

For love work came just in time
You found me I got here just in time
And changed my
Lonely life that lovely  frantic life to suit your (way)
Lonely life that lovely  hectic life to suit your (way)
Lonely life that lovely day panicked life to get some pay……..

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/franksinatra/justintime.html

Ontological Things

ontology
noun on·tol·o·gy \än-ˈtä-lə-jē\
Definition of ONTOLOGY

1
: a branch of metaphysics concerned with the nature and relations of being
2
: a particular theory about the nature of being or the kinds of things that have existence

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ontology

At 111, one looks back at one’s life and the history one has lived with some awe.  Human existence has changed so drastically in the past 100 years, a person living in 1915 would not recognize the world in which we live today.  Our world would seem dream-like, astonishing, amazing….magical.

When I was 5, my parents obtained our first television set on which I watched Howdy Doody (“Hey Kids!  What Time Is It?  It’s HOWDY DOODY TIME!”) while sitting in front of that ‘big screen’ in a small chair.  

https://www.google.com/search

I still have the chair, but the TV is long gone and replaced by larger and larger televisions.  The Zenith radio next to my bed which played the wonderful songs of my teen years was replaced with a transistor radio, both now relegated to museums.

https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=Photos+of+Zenith+radios&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

Today, one is “plugged” into one’s music on Smart Phones and earbuds.  (You do see how I keep up, don’t you, with all this new technology?  Ha.)

I took my first ever airplane ride at the age of 36 in a 12 seater.  I loved it!  Since then, I’ve been able to take many flights, some to those ‘far away places with the strange sounding names‘ Gogi Grant brought to my awareness with her songs.

Microwave ovens were large and heavy when first presented to the public, taking up most of one’s limited counter space.

https://www.google.com/search

Today they are much smaller, over the stove or mounted sometimes on a shelf, but a staple of everyone’s kitchen.

You’ll be interested to know that my Mother, Chris (who lived to 98), thought the most amazing discovery of her life was the microwave oven.  She loved the thing–it gave her FREEDOM like she’d never known before.  Though she had lived through the era of flight being invented, two world wars, the great depression, the emergence of women in the workforce, it was the microwave oven she cherished as the most liberating thing in her lifetime.

At the time she told me this, I laughed at the idea–but as I’ve gotten older, I have begun to understand her point of view.  Chris was a housewife of the first order and cooking was never her love nor her forte.  The microwave freed her of that dreaded and unloved task.  Allowed her more time to do those other things a housewife does.  (Hint:  it wasn’t going to lunch with the ladies nor shopping.  No.  Chris liked to CLEAN.  The term ‘obsessive/compulsive’ likely has her photo next to it in the encyclopedia?)

The most astounding inventions of my life, however, have to be the personal computer and the internet.  Expansion of knowledge, sharing of ideas, ability to express oneself to many with a few taps to the keyboard or connecting with that incredible ‘television phone’ system called Skype (and now FaceTime on the Smart Phone) available to almost everyone on the planet–this is astonishing.  One’s personal computer, and now ‘Smart Phones’ allow one source connection, a constant connection, with the world.  Radios, TV’s, movie theaters, phones all replaced by one tiny gadget, the stuff of dreams in my youth.  The comic strip, “Dick Tracy” featured that detective’s two way wrist radio which looked like a watch on his arm.  Today it is real.

http://www.tmsfeatures.com/comics/comic-strips/dick-tracy/

Only those who can look back and recall when all of these marvelous inventions did not exist are able to appreciate the incredible capabilities human beings have today because of them.  To the younger generations, it is the ‘norm’ and taken for granted as though these gadgets were always ‘there’ and available to everyone.

They are, indeed, magical.

Of course, there are negative results as well for humankind.  I don’t need to extrapolate, you know what they are.  But that’s not the point of this–

Humanity has been obsessed (like Chris, I suppose, compulsively) with lightening the workload, the drudgery of living…..inventing robots to do about anything in our place, including inventing computers which can think and make decisions.  I have to ask, however, what are we going to be doing with all this ‘free time’?  Like Chris, will we simply use that time to do more work?

It seems to be so…..for even though I’ve been retired for years and have many wonderful gadgets, my time could be filled with more……work!  Young working families today are more stressed than my generation, though they have most conveniences at their fingertips, many which have only recently been invented or made available to the public.  Their time is filled, they are ‘booked’, they are constantly ‘connected’ checking their phones, texting, searching online for information, with little free time to just enjoy life.  Conversations are hard to come by–constantly interrupted with texts and notifications.  There seems to be no turn off for this frenzy.

So I have to wonder where all this is going and what the next 100 years will present–what will my young grandchildren experience?  What will their world look like?

It would be nice if SOMEONE who frames our future took some time to speculate on the eventual outcome.  Perhaps it is time we backed off a little bit from all this progress?  Maybe we need to reflect on the past and look forward to the future a bit more?  Where ARE we going?  What is the goal of all these new gadgets?  (I know what is stated as the ‘goal’–but it just hasn’t worked out that way.  We do NOT have more leisure time and freedom.)

Where are the philosophers of our lives?  Or are they us?

Waking Up

It’s now 5:50 a.m. and I’ve been up for a while.  Friends of mine sometimes get up at 2:30–those of us over a ‘certain age’ seem to have this internal clock which doesn’t let us sleep a long time.  Maybe it’s because there is so much life to be lived and we don’t want to miss a moment of it.  As long as there is a nap in the afternoon (‘power naps’ they call them, which makes me laugh!), we seem to get along just fine with limited sleep.

But what does one do at such an early hour?

I have a large glass of water, make my coffee, and go to the computer–first up, check my email.  Hopefully somebody has thought to shoot me an email, or put up a new post on his/her blog, or there’s an interesting article sent to me from some website.  Mostly, though, it’s ads.  Ads for products, services, and political groups.

I’ve thought of deleting some of those, but then something will catch my eye or I’ll have an interest in one of those new fangled products–so I hate to remove myself from their mailing list.  Not that one can, anyway.  I think once one is on an email list, one is always on an email mailing list.

Checking my blog, I look for ‘likes’ or ‘comments’–both of which are enjoyed if there are any.  Most of the time, there aren’t.  But I keep posting, anyway–for the friends and family who read this and want to know what’s going on in our part of the world, with our circle of loved ones.

Then, it’s Lumosity games.  It seems to wake up my brain….my favorite one is “Trains of Thought”–where one is presented with different configurations of train tracks on the screen, and for me up to 52 trains in 2 minutes.  The idea is to switch the tracks for each train so each gets to the color-coded ‘house’ which matches each little train’s colors.  I’ve been trying to get all 52 trains into their respective houses for about a year now (working my way up from a few to 52 over time).  I’ve not succeeded yet.  Still I keep trying.  Why I don’t know.  They have convinced me it makes me smarter or keeps me sharper or something.  I think I have just gotten better at playing their games.

So, now I’m awake…..both the body and the mind….and looking forward to a new day (morning, early morning, is my favorite time of the day).  So much possibility!  So many things to do!  So many projects to consider, some to accomplish, some just dream about.  TMWLH will get up soon–whenever Poppy decides she wants out of her kennel which is located in our bedroom–she’ll alert him it’s time to get up and he will dutifully arise to take her outside for her “morning constitutional.”

It’s a good way to start the day.

It’s a good life.

When my children were very young, I relished the brief time in the early mornings when I could have my coffee in peace and quiet–but those days are long, long past.  It became a nice habit for me to arise so early, and now I find it’s a good time to reflect on life, sometimes accomplish a few things (quiet things–like ironing those few items, or organizing coupons, or planning for an upcoming event.  I  like to use paper and pencil when planning.  Seems to clarify things for me a bit better than typing them up on the computer or making lists on Evernote or whatever.  But I am ever so grateful for the internet!)  The early-to-bed, early-to-rise motto grabbed me in my 20’s and I’ve continued the practice for over 50 years.

The day is beginning.  The sun is coming up; so is the poodle!  Life will be a hustle and bustle likely today:  Friends to see, a workout to challenge my body, appointments to keep, plans to make, and the everyday activities which encompass our lives.

The birds are getting up, too–I hear them singing outside in the trees.  Spring is here, the tulips are coming up, the Red Bud and Bradford Pear trees are in bloom….a new dawn.  A beautiful time of the day.

I hope your day is beautiful and begins as enjoyably as mine.  Take time to notice life–even if it means you get up at 2:30 a.m.  Or 8 a.m.  Just take the time…..and notice.

 

 

Circadian Schedules

I have a circadian schedule I keep with Christmas. 

Really.  I just know when the deadline is for each part of the process.

“Although circadian rhythms are endogenous ("built-in", self-sustained), they are adjusted (entrained) to the local environment by external cues called zeitgebers, commonly the most important of which is daylight. “  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circadian_rhythm

So today I wrapped Christmas presents.  All day.  Piles of yard sale treasures wrapped, marked in my document file (I keep a list of who is getting what).

Anyway, they’re all wrapped.  I am pleased, but the job isn’t completed yet.  There will be more wrapping, but at least I can look at a clean upstairs area, more or less.  Until the next wave hits.

However, with the available wrapping completed, it is time to take inventory of the items for Christmas trees for this year. 

The theme this year is going to be Holiday Christmas Movie Trees.  I’ll be posting how I made the invitations (done at the end of August—I told you I have a circadian rhythm with this!), some of the decorations (with photos) and ultimately the trees themselves.  Always my happiest time of the year, despite the chaos and clutter.  I love it.

I am nuts.

That’s alright.  I think it’s better to be nuts and have a good time than to not be nuts and be miserable.  At 112, it’s really quite an art and not a science to stay nuts.  Believe me!

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On to other thoughts, since I am in the mood to write and you must be in the mood to read? 

Next topic, close to circadian rhythms:  Politics and Zeitgebers (see above from Wikipedia).  If you don’t like the topic, quit reading right here.  (Personally, I think there is a whole article in my head about zeitgebers, but that will have to wait until later.  Jabber’s really into the issue of voting right now.)

If you are a voting citizen of this country, will you please keep up with at least SOME of the current issues with which our country deals?  There are lots to choose from, take just one issue and make it your business to be informed—at least a little bit.  Do this by reading a variety of opinions (or listening to a variety of ads from opposing points of view).

Make it a priority to vote.  Please. 

Get informed and vote.  It’s important.  We live in a country which still, at least ostensibly, honors the public’s opinions cast by voters.  Otherwise, there would not be so much money going into influencing us. 

But we have very low participation.  This is almost a sin……..close to it.  So, whatever and however you lean, please vote.  Lots of people died for this right—and we owe it to ourselves to be educated and participatory voters.

Will you PLEASE think about what these advertisements on TV and radio and newspapers are telling you?  I saw one ad last night on TV which literally turned a situation on its head—that is to say, what the ad said was exactly the OPPOSITE of what the actual issue was.  All one has to do is read a little bit—from various sources—to get a clearer understanding about an issue.

I’m not taking a stand here.  But I am asking you to get current with issues which WILL IMPACT YOU and your families and your financial future.

Take your choice—here are a few issues to consider:

Voting accessibility, environmental issues of all sorts, politics and money in politics, education, fracking (ever heard of it?), oil industry, alternative energies, local and state laws and amendments, pro-choice or anti-abortion issues, women’s rights, selection of judges, legalization of marijuana (especially medical), gay rights/marriage, WARS (the conducting of, for what purposes, with who participating), lotteries, treatment of military (especially injured), health care, immigration, banking and financial laws/oversight, local issues on development (zoning, schools, infrastructure, roads)—these are only a few of the issues we are facing as a community, as a state, as a country, as a society.  Maybe one of these interests and concerns you, maybe you have something else which you place in high priority.

First, be educated on the issues and who represents your point of view.  Do this by self-education or join a group such as League of Women Voters or a political party such as Young Democrats or Young Republicans (Jabber asks, “Why isn’t there a group called Old Democrats and/or Old Republicans?”), then attend some meetings and consider the issues at hand.  (And, as an aside, hold your elected officials accountable for how well they actually represented you!  In other words, if they didn’t represent you and your point of view, don’t vote them back into office.)

Friends don’t let friends NOT VOTE!  Make sure your friends and family, if eligible and registered voters, cast their ballots as well. 

Most of us do not have millions to donate to our cause or issues; most of us only have our vote.  While there is lots of money ‘thrown’ in the arena, we are many people—and that money is used to try to influence how we vote. 

This means our vote is VERY valuable.  So, use it!

VOTE.

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“A zeitgeber is an external cue which influences the operations of the internal clock in an organism. The classical example of a zeitgeber is light, which leads some organisms to wake up, while others go to sleep. An interruption in such cues can confuse an organism, potentially causing health problems and functional difficulties, as demonstrated in numerous studies.

The term was coined in 1954 by Jürgen Aschoff, a German biologist who studied circadian rhythms. In German, “zeitgeber” means “time giver,” so in a sense, you could consider a zeitgeber to be like a natural alarm clock, triggering some sort of change in an organism’s internal clock, like a cue to wake up, eat, or engage in various activities.

Light is such a powerful zeitgeber that numerous studies have been carried out on the influences of light over the lives of various organisms. Deprivation of light clearly has an influence on health, as does an excess of light, and many people struggle when they travel across time zones because they receive external cues to wake up or go to sleep at times which feel strange to the body.”

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-zeitgeber.htm

A quick weight-loss plan?

“You got a quick weight loss plan?” Jabber asked, excited at the idea as she’s been trying to lose weight forever.

Well, I’m not quite sure.  I read this article (link below) that said gravity was decreasing in some parts of the world because of global climate change and the ice melting.  I can’t help but wonder if I’d weigh less if gravity decreases?

“You might.” Jabber pondered the question and then added, “But then, of course, you might fly off the face of the earth, too, if gravity decreases a whole bunch.”

Oh.

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Global Warming

Earth’s Gravity Dips from Antarctic Ice Loss

http://news.discovery.com/earth/global-warming/earths-gravity-dips-from-antarctic-ice-loss-141001.htm?AID=11732244&PID=6156271&SID=1ojn1l3ah8muo&URL=http%3A%2F%2Fnews.discovery.com%2Fearth%2Fglobal-warming%2Fearths-gravity-dips-from-antarctic-ice-loss-141001.htm&ecid=AFF-7975437&pa=affcj&PCID=2470763

Herb Harvest and Philosophy

“Oh boy, here we go…” Jabberwocky mumbled under her breath, “You’re about to say something YOU think is profundatory, aren’t you? An’ nobody is gonna’ get it.  You really ARE 112.”

Not quite.   Soon.  I feel qualified to have opinions.

“You always have had opinions.” Jabber muttered.

Of course.

So here is the herb harvest and what to do with it:

image

Parsley, basil, rosemary, tarragon, dill and thyme grew in pots this summer surrounded by mint which comes back every year, and spreads, whether I want it to or not.  So I gave up trying to control the mint and just cut it in the spring and set herb pots in the midst.  That is my herb garden, nicely contained in that only herbs grow there.

Now it is time to harvest some of these herbs for use during the coming seasons.  One easy method is to cut, wash, and trim the herbs and place in ice cube trays, fill with water and freeze.  Once frozen, you can remove the cubes and place in a plastic bag.  Use these herbs for soups, sauces, casseroles as you wish—right from the freezer.  I do this with some of the herbs.

Others I like to dry.  This morning I picked some of each:

image

The mint I’ll use for iced tea (it’s washed and I placed in glasses of water.) 

image

Heat water, place the herbs in the hot water with the tea bags, cover and steep for about 5 minutes.  Discard bags and herbs.  Wonderful mint-infused iced tea!

image  image

To dry herbs, simply group in bunches and lightly tie together with kitchen twine.  Hang to dry for several days.

image

It’s handy to dry my herbs on the wine rack in the kitchen—they have a lovely aroma which is a nice scent by the kitchen table.

image

image

Once dry, one can grind with a small herb pestle and mortar like this:

image

Or simply use one’s fingers to crush the herbs.  I like to keep mine in these:

image

But if you don’t have these, then an empty spice jar will do just fine.  Be sure to label.  These are so nice to have on hand for cooking—and to think you grew and dried them yourself is a plus.

“Ok, where is the ‘losophy in all this?” Jabber inquired, impatient to get to the point.

Waste not, want not. 

Aside from that, how do you think people acquire wealth anyway?  By spending their money on things which could be obtained in a less expensive manner and/or for less money?

Of course not. 

(Please do not give me a cynical retort here.  I know all the cynical retorts.  In fact, I likely invented some of them.  I’m 112, remember?   I’m talking about people like you and me—people who were not born with silver spoons.  And not born yesterday, either.)

Spices, like many items, are quite expensive today.  Go to the store and price them!  For minimum cost, I had “decorative” plants all summer—acquired them at a good price early in the spring, simply planted in pots (obtained at yard sales, of course!) with dirt which I did purchase—a little fills many pots—and watered.  If one is going to have ‘greenery’ in one’s yard or on one’s deck, it makes sense to plant something one can eat! 

It took about 30 minutes to cut, wash and hang all these herbs to dry—and I will have additional cuttings this season.  That likely is the equivalent of spending close to $20 or more in herbs. 

As it has always been, so it is now:  Waste not.  Want not.  Plan ahead.  Be organized.  Take time to take care (of yourself, your family, your friends, your things, your life, your money). 

Save the pennies and the dollars will grow.  Even in your 100’s………years, that is.

At the very least, you will have excellent spices on hand to flavor your foods!  Happy Harvesting!


Ruminations

“Is you a cow?” Jabber asked inquisitively as she is wont to do.

No.  Not a cow, although some might argue that with me.

Some ruminants are cattle, goats, sheep, camels, alpacas, llamas, giraffes, American Bison, European bison, yaks, water buffalo, deer, wildebeest and antelope.
Read more:
What animals ruminate? | Answerbag http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/621283#ixzz36Csn77hW

Ah ha!  You see, now,  why I am always saying ‘channel your inner llama’ Llamas, don’t you!  I suppose I could have said ‘channel your inner wildebeest’ but then, who does that?

“Well, I’ve known a few wildabeesteses myself,” Jabber began, but I would not let her finish………..

Channeling your inner Llama is simply THINK ABOUT THINGS, mind over matter, that sort of idea.  Succinctly put:  YOU CAN DO IT! (whatever ‘it’ may be)  HAVE COURAGE!

The verb to ruminate has been extended metaphorically to mean to ponder thoughtfully or to meditate on some topic. Similarly, ideas may be chewed on or digested. Chew the (one’s) cud is to reflect or meditate. In psychology, "rumination" refers to a pattern of thinking, and is unrelated to digestive physiology.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruminant

So now you have had your dose of language for the day (see how cleverly I snuck this in?) and it’s not even 4:30 a.m., although you might not read it until later.  I wrote it at 4:25, so there!  Get up earlier!

A blog, my blog, has turned into a diary of sorts.  My purpose is to entertain those who might stop by, to perhaps share a bit of insight from my point of view, although I don’t believe for a second that my point of view is the only one, nor, sometimes, the right one.

“You just act that way?” Jabber interjected. 

It also documents fun times with family and friends, no matter how mundane the entertainment might be.  Life is truly fun, there can always be laughter to lighten one’s burdens (and we all have a few), and there are family and friends to encourage one along the way.

For these blessings, and they are, I am extremely grateful!  If you care to read any of my posts, I hope you occasionally chuckle, or perhaps see yourself in them or maybe decide to have a more positive slant, no matter how small, on your own life.  Your inner “Jabberwocky’ isn’t so different from mine (although you might disagree).  She/he—that little running commentary inside your brain which always is thinking, thinking—has something to say too.   Do allow that, and hopefully allow it in a very positive way.

So go ahead:  channel your own inner Llama (or Alpaca or even Wildabeest) just a little today.  View the world with wonder—it really is incredible—and try not to worry about the everyday things too much. 

Now, off you go!  Go get ‘em Llamas!

News From the Front, 2nd Edition

When one is 111 or so, survival can be a matter of outsmarting the younger/quicker/more agile and especially, the machines!

Therefore, I offer you (from time to time), NEWS FROM THE FRONT, a summary of experiences and observations about the on-going “survival war” we seniors fight every day. 

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Everyday (God I hope not) Frustrations:

After repeated attempts to repair a washer which had a short in it (this is called attempting to avoid electrocution), Friend Leader orders a new washing machine.  Truck arrives, drives up their rather long and steep driveway, taking out ALL THE LINES which connect their house to ALL THE SERVICES a house needs.  You know:  telephone, computer, electricity and heaven knows what else.

As if this isn’t bad enough (or, WAIT! WAIT! THERE IS MORE!):

New washing machine set up, old washer removed.  Truck leaves with driver handing Leader his card and begging her to PLEASE call HIM and not his firm when she gets the bill for the cost of hooking up said house to what we seniors refer to as ‘life as we know it.’  First day on job for the guy.

Leader gets electrical company to reconnect lines.  Somehow without incident.

Leader calls phone company and whoever else and arranges for lines to be repaired.  Phone company guy arrives and delivers his life’s story whilst connecting phone lines.  He just came back to work—injury from falling off a ladder.  Attendant troubles with bills, baby at home, etc., etc.  Leader feeds said repairman a chicken sandwich—guy really has had a rough time.  Leader really has a soft heart.

Meanwhile, Leader had started a load of clothes after the electricity was back on.  Because she NEEDED to start a load of clothes.  She is also watching 18 month old Granddaughter who is sleeping (God is compassionate sometimes) to make sure Granddaughter does not decide to go wandering off somewhere without supervision.  Eighteen month old Granddaughters often can and do.

Leader’s husband suddenly begins yelling.  Seems it is raining INSIDE the basement.  There is a flood in the laundry room above which is now encroaching the kitchen and threatening the family room carpet.  Grabbing whatever towels are available, Leader and her spouse mop, rinse and repeat.  There is a lot of water in those washers, let me assure you.

Washer guy forgot to hook up the drain.

Company called.  Ceiling in basement area wet.  Stored furniture and other items wet there; floor tiles now have water underneath them in the laundry room and likely elsewhere.  Granddaughter thankfully slept through commotion, although her parents are trying to reach Leader on landline phone and can’t get through.  Trying to find out if she can pick up Grandson at school.  

Keystone Cops LIVE!  (Per Leader)

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Checking Out

Jabber is in line at a “convenience store” (an oxymoron if ever I saw one).  Man ahead of her is an older gentleman who is making a small purchase.  He slides his card through the machine and is prompted to

1.  give his pin number which he carefully enters and clicks ‘enter’

2.  asked if he wishes to contribute to some cause and how much—$5, $10, $15, $25, $50? 

What?  No.  Not only no, HELL NO!  His purchase was about $2.

3.  asked to put in his phone number which he does after finding out the machine wants his area code as well as his phone number.  This takes a little while.

4.  clerk asks to see his card and signature. 

5.  the machine asked if the amount is correct? 

He accidentally hits ‘no’ and the process has to begin all over again.

6.  finally, he is asked to SIGN the machine.  The signature disappears as he is signing it.  Yes, it’s one of ‘those’ machines.  He tries a couple of times and finally says, “Well, I did the best I could.”  Machine accepts his signature even though only about 3 letters of his name actually showing from his signature.

7.  Clerk says, “Wait, sir!  I will print out and hand you your receipt.”  Man responds, “This is worse than taking out a mortgage!”

I agree.  I pay cash.

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One of those “Courtesy Calls”:

From our provider of internet, telephone and TV services.  We are not home, so a ‘robo’ message is conveniently left on our phone telling us we are entitled to a new modem, FREE!, and that it will allow us to have the fastest access to internet and streaming video.  All we have to do is go to a certain website.  I dutifully copy down the website and enter it on my computer.

Website asks me to log in to my account.

Lookie here:  how many darned passwords does one have to have anyway?  I’ve got about 20 and I can not for the life of me remember what password goes to which website.  So, I write them down, but I missed this one because how often do I even have to GO to this website?  Once or twice in twenty years?  Don’t you just love it?  And, God forbid you actually say you ‘forgot’ your password.  Then you have to invent another password which you definitely won’t remember and it has to be so many letters WITH numbers somewhere interspersed and the computer will tell you if it is a ‘strong’ password or not.   Don’t forget to write it down!

Okay, back to the website which actually gave me an alternative option:  enter last 4 digits of  my Social Security number.  I do,

Nope, says screen.  You are not the primary subscriber. 

So, since there are two of us in this household, not including Security—and I really don’t think Security HAS a Social Security number, but maybe she should?—I enter TMWLH’s last four digits…..

No, that’s not right.  He has ten digits still, and I certainly would not use any for a website……….

I enter TMWLH’s last four digits of his Social Security Number.  There.  That’s right.

No, it’s not.  It says he is not the primary subscriber either.  So who the heck IS the primary subscriber.

I’m beginning to look at Security a bit suspiciously…….she isn’t talking. 

The automated “courtesy call” didn’t give me a phone number.  This means that I will have to call the provider, spend the rest of the afternoon trying to reach a person (you know—press 3 for service, press 2 if this service is related to TV, press 5 if this is in regard to your billing for the service related to your TV, etc., etc., etc. and then I’ll get a computer voice which will tell me everybody is busy for the next umpteen hours, but my call is VERY IMPORTANT TO THEM, so please HOLD ON to keep my place in line and my call will be answered by the next available operator, of which I am certain there is only one.  It’s probably the guy who got fired for not hooking up the washing machine drain and he wasn’t happy to begin with.

And I’ll have to listen to ads for the next several hours interspersed by some type of obnoxious music.

When operator finally DOES get around to me, he/she is so disgusted by his/her job and complaints from dissatisfied customers he/she will be in no mood to deal with my request for a free modem.  Which isn’t really free.  I’m PAYING FOR IT to begin with!

And as we all know, there IS no such thing as ‘free’ when it comes to such offers.

Still, I am compelled to check it out.  Wish me luck.

  

Llama Llama Ding Dong

“Really?” Jabber asked.  “Really?  Lookie here, I know you is a ding-a-ling or as our ol’ friend Pooh Bear used to say, ‘a bear of very little brain,’ but what’s with this llama llama stuff?”

It’s hard to explain, Jabber.  Unless you’ve been there.

Wait a minute, you WERE there!  You are me—sometimes.  (Score one for Jabber’s initial insight into…….oh never mind.)

(And no, this is NOT about the Dali Llama, who I think is a pretty fine guy.  He laughs a lot too, and so should we.  Go ahead, channel your inner llama—Dali or otherwise.)

This is how llama obsession all came about:

Prior to the half, we all ‘did’ twelve miles on the marathon route—for practice.  I sent out this video along with a note which said I KNEW everyone felt just like this! 

One week and ready to  go!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VthKC_XZKS0

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So then I was committed. 

“No, you weren’t.  Shoulda’ been, but you weren’t.  You were runnin’ free..and people were unawares………” Jabber commented.

Which is true.  I was committed, obsessed some might say, with llamas.

So, a while later, I sent out this:

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Keep channeling your inner llama.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHNczNvOnGc

I’m hung up on llamas at the present time.  Sorry to inflict them on you.  Can’t help it.

Half-crazy………….(half marathon………get it? Huh?  oh, never mind………)

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Followed by this:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-y_RXVBKpAc

First 17 seconds—You may THINK these are llamas, but they are really us channeling our ‘inner llamas’.  It’s ALL OF US!  And somebody just said they didn’t believe we did the half marathon—go get ‘em llamas!

Okay.  I’m done with my obsession with llamas.

Smile

P.S.  The rest of the video is kind of funny at times, too—but it’s the first 17 seconds that really illustrates us!

P.P.S.  Well, no I’m not done with my obsession with llamas.  This is my llama love song to all of you!  Smile

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3rpRjxQLN4

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And so now, of course, I have found out that Cupcake’s daughter lives next door to a bunch of llamas! and Kaki’s brother actually lives WITH llamas.  Who knew?* 

Everybody has a llama but Jabber, who obviously loves llamas.   Well, actually, I rather prefer Alpacas, but llamas will do in a pinch.  There aren’t many videos on youtube about Alpacas.  Or Llamas, either, actually.  I have more or less exhausted the supply of readily available youtube videos of llamas which were to the point, more or less.

Likely less.

Llama Llama DUCK!

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*Oh, alright.  Cupcake’s daughter’s neighbor doesn’t actually live with llamas that I know of.  Might, but I doubt it.  I think he just HAS llamas.  And Kaki’s brother doesn’t live with llamas, either, at least not inside his house, as far as I know.  He has some, though, and he raises them I’m told.  And guess what?  SOMETIME SOON I’LL GET TO GO VISIT THE LLAMAS.

I just hope they don’t spit at me.  I’ve been giving them pretty good publicity here lately………..

 

 

 

Hotlanta Hugs!

All good things come to an end and our Hotlanta! trip had to come to an end, too.  Which is why I’m here, at home, writing this blog entertaining all of you Weeders.  Otherwise, I’d be there.  Still. 

You ARE entertained, right?

Okay, never mind…….

The last day of our Hotlanta trip began with hugs.  From the most amazing lady we’ve met in a long, long time.

We decided to try this place for breakfast:

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Daughters had oatmeal with all kinds of luscious toppings and Jabber had an omelet.  Of course she did.  And we all got HUGS from this lady:

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Her name is Yvonne.  She MAKES the Corner Bakery joyful.  She gives hugs to EVERYBODY to enters. 

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This is a woman who has adapted her career into her life’s work—making other people happy, showing them some ‘sugar’ and some unconditional love.  If ever you are in Hotlanta, go see her!  You will be very very happy you did.

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Thank you Yvonne!  You made our day and our weekend in Atlanta something wonderful to remember!

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