Are You Listening?

Just this week I needed to have a small copying job done, so I went to our neighborhood printing place. I gave them the half-page outline I had typed up and asked them to copy it and laminate it. Simple, right?

Not really. The young guy who took my order began typing my text into his system, which I thought was odd as most places will just scan the original. But I admit I don’t know everything, so I said nothing.

When I got my order, I was on my way to a class and didn’t have time to check it over. By the time I got home and read it, I found some pretty blatant errors in it. There were misspellings, extra commas and capital letters in the wrong place, as well as weird spacing.

I took it back and pointed out the errors and asked for it to be redone. The manager who helped me said that she would send me an email with the proof so that I could read it and make sure it was what I wanted. She said that, once she received my “ok” email, she would go ahead and have my copies printed.

Sounds like a plan, doesn’t it? But it wasn’t. I eventually did get an email with the corrected text, so I ok’d it. The manager replied immediately saying that she had already printed my order—before I ok’d it.

So, what’s wrong with this picture? First of all, there was the first problem with the misspellings, commas, etc. No problem; this happens. But when a manager tells me that she will not print the finals until my approval, but does it anyway, that means that she was not listening.

Well, this certainly is not the end of the world by any means. All this means is that we need to be present in whatever we are doing. We have all made dumb mistakes from time to time; we are all human. However, we need to be clear in our interactions with other humans so that there is no misunderstanding.

We have all heard the old saying, “when you assume, you make an ass out of “u” and “me!” Or, as an uncle of mine once said, “ever wonder why you have two ears and only one mouth? LISTEN UP aND SHUT UP!”

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The Magic of Compliments

Our 7-year old granddaughter, Ava, is not only a smart, funny, talented and loving child, but she is also kind. She looks for the good things in people, and she always finds something in everyone to compliment.

The Crankee Yankee and I were out with her and her Mom and Dad a few years back (before Ava became a big sister to Juliette, now two years old). We were all in a store together, and Ava, being full of energy, was running up and down the shoe aisles. I had just turned the corner to keep an eye on her as she ran up another aisle.

A woman and her little girl, who looked to be about four years old, were walking down the aisle. Ava stopped short in front of them, smiled at them, and said to the little girl, “you are beautiful!

The girl was very shy, but she broke into a big grin. Her mother smiled too and thanked Ava. You could tell that this little girl had not had many compliments. Knowing Ava as I do, I knew she meant it right from her heart.

This is just one of the lovely attributes Ava has. She is innately kind and genuinely looks for the good in everyone. She always compliments people on something about them. Not long ago we were all together, having lunch at Ava’s favorite diner. An older woman and her friend got up from their table and walked by our table. Ava said, “Oh, I love your necklace!”

The woman stopped and smiled at her and said, “Do you know what? This (holding out the pendant on her necklace; a jeweled turtle) is actually a refrigerator magnet I put on a chain!”

We all laughed and complimented her again on her ingenuity. Ava said, “well, no matter what, it’s beautiful.” This little interchange seemed to warm up the whole diner. When we left, everyone was smiling.

Compliments are magic in their way, especially when they come from a kind and loving heart.

Baby Boomer Women

Speaking strictly for me, I am glad that issues like body-shaming, unequal wages, bullying, and more are in the news. For those of us who grew up in the ’50s, there were nearly impossible standards of what girls/women should look like and be like. Since we didn’t know anything different, we just accepted it and felt bad about ourselves most of the time.

The models we saw in magazines were gorgeous in every way. Their hair was always glossy and styled beautifully, their skin was flawless, their lipstick subtle but lovely, and their figures were perfect. They all were slim and tiny-waisted, and their clothes looked as if they were designed for them. No one we knew ever looked like those magazine women, not even our moms.

When the ’60s rolled in, there was a massive change in women. It wasn’t all about the sexual revolution, the music, the hippies, the bra burnings, and all that rhetoric about “if it feels good, do it!” It was more about women accepting themselves for who they were, what they looked like and how capable they were.

The ’60s was a revolution for women; all women. Us baby boomer girls were sort of stuck in the middle; we were raised almost in a Victorian way: modest clothing, always slips under skirts and dresses, no swearing, always respectful of parents and elders, no running around with the “wrong crowd,” no monkey business with boys, in short: we were pretty well bracketed in what young girls were supposed to be at that time.

And how we longed to break out of that Victorian bondage! We wanted to be glamorous but not slutty, we wanted to be smart but not too smart, we wanted boys to like us, but we were much too scared to think of what might happen should we find ourselves alone with a boy.

So we tried to fit in and act like and look like those perfect ladies in magazines. Looking at them, you just knew that they never had a pimple, or a disappointment, or someone telling them that they were fat or unacceptable.

What we didn’t know at the time was that there is always a price to pay for getting what you think you want. For example, when we were old enough to go to college, which meant not living at home anymore, life changed dramatically. We were more free than we had ever been, and we longed to be free—but carefully. 

For example, once we got out into the workplace, it was blindingly clear that, although we were educated young women, we knew nothing about the dark underbelly of the workplace. I’m sure that I’m not alone in enduring being groped in the hallways, told inappropriate jokes, laughed at for being “all emotional” when we tried to give our opinons or suggestions.

Back then, it felt like working in a men’s locker room. I heard more filthy jokes and innuendos than I ever want to remember. It wasn’t at all unusual for men to make loud comments to their co-workers about our bodies and how much they would love to have a “business lunch” with us.

So, having lived through all that, I am very pleased to see so many women standing up for themselves. ALL women; the beautiful, the plain, the fat, the thin, the nerd, the weirdo, the way-too-smart, the compassionate, the driven, the joyous, the brave, the bold and the adventurer.

What is most wonderful to see is how women are changing—to suit themselves. Just look at this generation; they are their own people, with their own looks, style, agendas, interests, talents and gifts. Women of all sizes, shapes and colors and backgrounds have become the glorious norm, and how wonderful it is!

Slowly but surely, we are evolving into who we were always meant to be. Our sex does not define us, nor our looks, our weight, our chosen profession, whether or not we have children, husbands, partners; whether we are transgender, gay, straight: we are who we are. Our talents, our gifts and our unique and magnificent value in this world are changing this world for the better.

Oh, the times they are a-changin’!

Hula Again!

Last January I posted my experience in trying to go back to dancing hula again. At that time, I found I needed a knee revision as my knee replacement was failing. So much for any type of dance. Also I have shoulder issues (no rotator cuffs on either shoulder) that, if I’m not careful, I can have some painful twinges. Ah well, you live with it and do what you can. So I reluctantly left hula, hoping for the day that I could come back to it.

Well—that day was yesterday! I danced with my teachers, and was amazed that, after all that time away, there were dances I could remember. I learned some new ones as well, and can’t wait to dance again. Sure, my shoulders complained by the time we were done, but it was worth it.

I had forgotten how these beautiful dances could touch my heart. My teachers are not only patient and encouraging, but they help me understand what each dance means. Hula is all about history, people, customs, stories, grace and beauty. When dancing hula, I forget my age, my physical issues; all is lifted up by the grace and joy of hula.

I can’t explain my love and attraction to hula, in fact all things Hawaiian; perhaps I danced it each day in another life. If you like hula and watch the Merrie Monarch festival (check it out on you tube), you will see fabulous dances. Dancers can be little kids, teenagers, young men and women as well as older men and women.

It has been a long journey back to hula, but finally, I am here and loving it all over again.

*Mahalo!

*”Thank you” in Hawaiian.

That Peaceful Easy Feeling…

If you’re a baby boomer like me, you will no doubt remember the Eagles song, “Peaceful Easy Feeling.” The words of the chorus always comfort me:

“I got a peaceful easy feelin’
And I know you won’t let me down
‘Cause I’m already standin’
On the ground.”

These days I have a new perspective of this song. My childhood is over, as are my working days, and I have outlived my parents. However, these days that “peaceful easy feeling” comes from a different place and has a different meaning for me.

For example, one of our beloved and terribly spoiled five cats, Pookie, has developed occasional tremors and sometimes stumbles and/or falls. Our wonderful vet advised two remedies, one of which is taken twice in the morning and twice in the evening. They do help, but from time to time Pookie will stumble and sometimes fall. So far we have been lucky that he has not hurt himself.

Fortunately, he is the one who naps the longest, usually under all the blankets on our bed. As he was the second cat we rescued, he has a special place in my heart. He came from a home with too many children and animals, and, when I adopted him he had a UTI and an eye infection.

It’s hard enough on an animal to be moved into a new home, but worse when they come with afflictions you have to treat to get them better. But we all got through it. Years have passed happily, and, three more cats later, we are a family of the Crankee Yankee, me and the five “kids.”

This affliction of Pookie’s makes me hyper aware of where he is; is he somewhere where he could fall and hurt himself, and so on. Last night I was worried sick about him and couldn’t get to sleep. And then, just like an angel swooping in, came those words:

“I got a peaceful easy feelin’
And I know you won’t let me down
‘Cause I’m already standin’
On the ground.”

In this circumstance, these words mean to me that He who made us all and loves us all is watching over this sweet cat more vigilantly that I ever could. Certainly I will do all I can to keep Pookie safe and healthy, and get him whatever he needs. But also in my mind is that he, like all of us, came from a place where love abides and where there is no death and no pain.

So, remembering this, I could sleep again, knowing that my life, his life; all our lives are not solely our own. As we stand on the ground looking up, I know that this peaceful easy feeling will stay and won’t let me, or Pookie, down.

 

Herons on the Pond

The weather has been perfect the last couple days for walking around the pond. All the fierce-eyed red wing blackbirds are on constant patrol in the cattails on the edge of the pond as their ladies are now busy raising their young. The males keep circling around their nests, calling and protecting their territory.

As I pass by, I always murmur, “you don’t need to worry about me; I wish you and your family nothing but good.”

The young turtles now sun themselves on the long logs on the edge of the pond. Their shells shine in the sun, and they enjoy the warmth so much that even my footsteps don’t move them from their sunny spot.

All the mama ducks are paddling through the pond, their young trailing out behind them. Seagulls wheel overhead, squawking and calling to each other. Sometimes, a rare osprey shows up, like a prize for the day.

The pond is also home to the occasional flock of swans. Seeing them drift on the surface of the pond reminds me of ballerinas in white tutus, twirling in the eddies.

But my favorites, the great blue herons, are back again. They stand, nearly immobile, in places where they can watch for minnows and other small fry to swim by. You can tell only by the small movement of their heads slowly bending down that they are about to spear their breakfast.

When they are done fishing or are disturbed, they utter a grumbling “heerawk!” snd they lift their large wings to fly off, long legs trailing behind. They like quiet spots, the herons do, and they are likely to choose quietude over good fishing. Each time I am lucky enough to see herons, the day goes right for me after that.