What’s the Question?

What’s the Question?

A very special thank you to everyone who read my blog, “liked” it or even left a comment.  Comments are always great because….Hey now we are talking?  Call me crazy (my family has commitment papers within reach) but I really do believe that we need to keep this conversation going.  Why in so many situations we live by the mantra “More is Better!”  [Wait, stop, refocus and please get your minds out of the gutter.  This is Sidewalk Thoughts after all!]  But in today’s high tech society when it comes to communication we tend to be super focused on “Less is Better!”  I really do wonder, why that is?

Remember the family out to dinner who were all looking down at their phones?  I was at a recent similar experience.  I was eating at the table with 5 other people.  Every one of those five people had their heads down concentrating on their phone.  One person was texting and one person was catching a Pokemon (whatever the hell that means).  Two people were pursuing facebook quite quickly.   I say that because there was lots of fast finger forwarding going on.   I suspect they were looking pictures without captions, posts less than 2 sentences long, and 47 second videos with subtitles.  Did you see the one where someone videoed people standing around a underground subway station with a heat sensor camera and a puff of pink smoke comes out from behind this lady? Short caption, short video and I thought it was hilarious.   The other person was playing a word game and she has my utmost admiration.  I am still trying to match 3 colored candies in a row.  I only have 4, 598 levels to go!  I did try a word game once but I got mad when the game won’t let me past level 4 because I couldn’t put 4 letters to make a word.  As it turned out 3 of those letters were vowels and the word itself ended up being a popular word in the mid 14th Century at a monastery in South Wales.  How did I not know that?

At the table everyone was still tapping on their phones when one guy said. “Game night.”  Without looking up the rest of the people contributed to the conversation:

“6:00pm”

“7 n 0”

“11 benched”

“Bad break”

 

In my feeble attempt to be part of the conversation I said, “Who’s playing?” Five heads looked up and 5 pairs of eyes stared at me and blinked.  Finally one person said, “You know you can google that.”   At the obvious confusion I saw in their faces I went on to explain that I left my phone at home.  Five jaws dropped slightly and then everyone offered their condolences:

“So sorry”

“So sad”

“Tough Times”

“I feel your pain”

“Bad Break”

 

All five heads and ten eyes turned their attention back to their phones.  I was left with my own thoughts and thankfully 3 more bites of a sprinkle donut.  I found my mouth filled with yummy chocolate icing and colorful sprinkles but my mind was filled with some dark questions.  I won’t bore you with all the questions that filled my head in case you decide to click over the Haiku blog that has 3 lines and 17 syllables.

Being the age I am; old, my first question went back to the good ole days.  People use to say, “There is no such thing as a dumb question.”  Now I am not so sure.  In this age of high tech communication is a question that can be answered by Google a dumb question?  Is there any question that can’t be googled?  Therefore are now all questions dumb?   I don’t know the answers to these questions.  Maybe I should google it!

Later that day when I was reunited with my phone I had a news alert with the headline:

GOOGLE CONTROLS YOUR THOUGHTS

Somehow I find that NOT so hard to believe.

 

 

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Posted in Daily Life, Humor, Technology | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

What Time is it?

What Time is it?

Which did you just do?  Did you look at the bottom right hand corner of your computer screen, grab your phone or look at a clock on the wall.  Or did you do all three to see if they all have the same time?  Now that we are attached to our cell phones we always know exactly what time it is.  Is knowing the time at all times good or bad?  Well, it is good in that we never should be later for anything at anytime.  It is bad in that are still late for things at times.  Actually I find this “bad” thought a “good” thing.  Even though we are attached to a piece of technology that has us connected to every moment of every day, we as human beings till find endless reason to be late.   If we can still use our imagination to explain away not meeting a deadline, then our brains are not hardwired to the universal atomic time.  Personally I think this is a good thing.  I find it refreshing to know teenagers are still going to miss curfew just like always.  Dads are still going to shout: “You’re late!  Where the hell have you been and you  better have a dam good excuse” just like always.  This means that late for curfew teenagers have to engage their brain in a creative imagination thought process.  Teens of today have to level up their brain activity to come up with better believable excuses.  When I was young we could simply say “I lost track of the time.”   What parent is going to believe that excuse in today’s technological world……NONE! The atomic time keepers of the world feed everyone’s cell phone with the exact correct time to the nanosecond.  The parent knows that their teenager’s phone is set to buzz and beep every five minutes starting an hour before the set curfew time.  In fact the parent probably insisted on this setting.  If the teenager was passed out for 45 minutes and didn’t hear their electronic reminders they better do some high level creative thinking skills to come up with a great excuse.  In my opinion I don’t think “we-were- playing-Star-Wars- Risk-and-having-so-much-fun-we-lost-track-of-time” is going to cut it.  In my day we could say something clever like: “Hey Dad, we were at a dance in a barn where there was no clock and no one thought to wear a watch” and it was a perfectly acceptable excuse.  Quit doing the math and trying to figure out how old I am.  I am almost as old as a barn dance but not quite.

Being older, I can still get by with the excuse that I forgot my phone.  It is that whole sequencing aspect that I am still working on: Keys Purse Phone.    With it being summer I had to add shoes to the sequence which means that on occasion I remember my shoes but forget my phone.  This happened to me the other day when I went to Walmart before I was to meet my friend Brenda for lunch at 11:30.  After the Walmart greeter greeted me and thanked me for wearing shoes, I knew I was in trouble.  Sure enough I checked my purse and I didn’t have my phone.  Just when I actually needed to keep track of the tie, I didn’t have the time on my person.  However, walking down the toilet paper aisle I saw a young man wearing a watch. I felt as if the atomic keepers of time were smiling on me since they sent me an actual person wearing a watch.  So you can imagine my dismay when after I kindly asked him for the time he pulled out his phone and said it was 11:00.  I thanked him but I just couldn’t let it go and walk away.  I had to know.

ME: “May I ask you why you didn’t check your watch for the time?”

Watchman: “Yeah, this is my iWatch and I don’t have the display time setting turned on.”

ME: “What exactly are you watching with your iWatch?”

Watchman: “My weight”

ME: “So you check your watch when you want to know how much you weigh?”

Watchman: “Yeah. My iWatch can also tell me how many steps I took, how many minutes I have spent exercising, how many calories I have burned, how many more calories I need to burn to maintain my ideal weight, my heart rate, my daily average weight and my body mass index. “

ME: “Wow that sleek little black devise tells you all that?”

Watchman: “For sure.  And lots of other stuff too.  It keeps track of when I fall asleep, how many times I wake up during the night, the total number of hours I slept, it graphs my dream cycles, measures the quality of my REM sleep…..

Before he could tell me anything else the iWatch measured while he was in bed, I interrupted him and asked, “But can it actually ever tell you the time?”

Watchman: “Of course it can and in 119 different languages across 24 time zones.   All I have to do is choose the right time setting, but I have my phone for that.”

I thanked the nice young man again and continued down the toilet paper aisle looking for washable Kleenex.  But I kept thing about this young kid and his iWatch.  I couldn’t help imagining that if this kid ever breaks curfew he is going to have a hard time coming up with a believable excuse.   I kept having this vision of the poor kid standing in front of his Dad, vigorously jabbing at the iWatch to make it stop flashing his blood/alcohol level in bright red numbers.

 

 

Posted in Daily Life, Daily Prompts, Humor, Technology | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Did You Get My Message?

Thank you my blends (blog friends) who took the time to read my last blog posting.  I wish I could communicate how very much it means to me.  Thanks to technology I do know some of you who read my blog, but not everyone.  Every reader of my blog is important to me.  I do try and respond to comments but in all honesty I may have hit the Delete” button before the “Comments Menu” button after the “View Message” button and in between the “Respond” Button.  This is a perfect example of not hitting the buttons in the exact right order!  My Bad!! A special thank you to my first and forever friend; Deb.  From now on I am only ordering “Snickerdoodle Cookies.”  That would be sugar cookies and add cinnamon.   Thank you too, my anonymous sister, Mary Mercado, for pointing out that there is always more to the present moment than our phones.

I should clarify that I am not advocating that technology is all bad.   There are definitely some real positives.   For example, learning to press the right buttons in the exact right order is in fact “sequencing” which is a higher level thinking skill.  Not that I would actually know a higher level thinking skill.   After years and years of doing laundry I am still working on the sequence: 1.) Check pockets for Kleenex  2) Then throw the clothes in the washing machine.  As it is, every week the dryer vent looks like I threw a roll of toilet paper in with the whites.  OMG, now that I wrote that statement I am worried my co-workers will think I am the person stealing the toilet paper out of the public restrooms just for shits and giggles.  I swear it is not me but sadly this is  really happening.  We are trying to catch the “butt wiper swiper”  but so far the TP thief is getting away clean!  The toilet paper caper continues to go on and we just have to roll with it. [Side note: This is the type of conversations you have when you work with a bunch of librarians!]  We are quickly headed towards a BYOTP world. (Bring Your Own Toilet Paper)

Sometimes after I post a blog I ask myself if I successfully wrote what I wanted to say.  The answer is:  probably not.  I think this is an important question that doesn’t get asked often enough. Or if it does get asked nobody waits around for the answer.   If your facebook post is more than five sentences we move on to the next newsfeed.   In texting never spell out a word when a single letter will do. K?  In general technology is linked to the message that “less is always better” even when it comes to communication. I am not so sure I buy into this message.  But believe it or not, this message is appealing to our subconscious minds and becoming a way of life. Just my opinion, but I believe this subliminal messaging is dangerous.   Advertising is an excellent example of subliminal messaging.  It is a much better example than playing a 45 record (vinyl)  backwards and getting messages from the devil.   Advertising has been experts since the first TV commercial hit the airwaves.  [Side note: July 1, 1941 a commercial for The Boulova Watch Company]  That fast food commercial for their new ½ pound hamburger is one of my favorites for subliminal messaging.  In those 30 seconds, which drug on forever, a super model was attempting to take a bite of the new ½ pound hamburger with all the fixings.  Let’s break this down.   First of all, there was no way the super model ate a half pound of hamburger in the last five years much less in a 30 second commercial.  Secondly, we the people, were suppose to get the hidden message.  That hidden message being that if you eat this ½ pound hamburger (preferable daily) you would have an 18 inch waist and you could trade in your size 32 yoga bra for an underwire 38 DD.  So not true.  I did have to get rid of my size 32 flexi comfort bra but only because I took a bite and ¼ of the ½ pound that was drenched in ketchup fell onto my “boob-shelf” and soaked through my T-Shirt.    I will share with you another Secret subliminal message.  White wings do not give you a flat tummy and tiny lace underwear.   In this commercial’s defense they did show white wings and I tried to substitute blue wings.  The blue wings came with Sparkle tights and a blue tutu.   If you wear the tutu correctly it does hid your tummy.  However, the tights gave me a red elastic stretch mark around my flabby gut for a week, not to mention really weird looks from other people.

I have to confess that I had hoped my previous blog had a subliminal message.  More than anything I did not want yet another YouTube video posted showing a fast food worker getting physically attacked for getting the order wrong.  I haven’t seen any stories like this on my news app in a while so maybe someone did get my message.

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May I Take Your Order, Please

May I take your order please?

My dear blends (blog friends):  I was serious about keeping the conversation going on the effects of technology on communication.  In my positive, overly optimistic attitude I just feel like continuing to talk certainly can’t hurt.  [Those of you who know me personally know that I am so not a glass half full type of person.  Mostly I grab for my half empty glass and knock it over. ]

This whole communication conundrum began when I was at a fast food restaurant with my mom and dad.  My mom, Marie, and dad Ted had very specific requests for their food order.  The young girl taking my order was extremely nice, very friendly and asked clarifying questions. I was impressed.   After my parent’s complex order I ordered myself a Bacon Cheeseburger meal.   You can imagine how surprised I was when the girl said, “We don’t have a bacon cheeseburger.”

I quickly shot back: “Yes, you do.  I have had one here before.”

She said very apologetic, “No, I am sorry; there is no bacon cheeseburger on the menu.”

I looked at her dumbfounded and said. “How is it possible every other fast food place I know has a bacon cheeseburger on their menu?   Bacon is the “in” food these days.  It is the main ingredient on every cooking show, it gets put on everything, it gets put in everything and facebook has 100 recipes a day of foods wrapped in bacon.

The girl looked at me and said,” Are you saying you want a cheeseburger and add bacon?”

I just blinked at her and said, “Yeah that will work for me too.”

Please understand I am NOT disrespecting fast food workers in any way.   They are my unsung heroes.  [Actually not “unsung”  if I can remember their latest jingle or moniker.]  Anyone who can give me fresh French Fries in 3 minutes or less is my hero.   So, no, I did not walk away from the counter upset with the person that took my order.   I was mostly feeling confused.  How is it that a bacon cheeseburger is different than a cheeseburger with bacon?  Where and why was there such a breakdown in communication?  These questions were rolling around in my head when that blue and grey screen flashed in my mind that said, “This program has encountered a problem and will need to shut down.”  So when I rebooted my brain I realized my error in ordering.   I asked for the things in the wrong order!   I said bacon first and clearly the order had to be keyed in with cheeseburger first and then add bacon.  This was so NOT the order takers fault.  She was trained to take the orders and push the buttons in the exact right sequence according to this particular establishment’s computerized technology.   So NOT my fault since I did not see a sign asking me to please study their on-line screen menu to ensure that I get the right order.    The breakdown in communication was clearly the fault of technology.

I have to give my friend, Tina a lot of credit.  After several weeks of getting the complete wrong order she took it upon herself to learn to speak “Cash Register.” I do not know if she speaks all the various dialects but for this particular place she speaks it fluently.  When we go to lunch together I let her order.

Counter person:  “May I take your order please?”

Tina:   Push the lunch button

Push the picture of the chicken, not the cow

Push the 3rd button down for sandwiches

Push the 2nd button on the left for crispy chicken

Push the 4th button on the right with the red X in the large red circle for                                 No Tomatoes

Push the last button on the left for a meal

On the new screen push French fries and then the M button for Medium

Push the Coke button, then diet, then the M button for Medium

At the way bottom on the right side of the screen push the large green

button that says Total

 

Need I say that the order is always exactly correct?

One time, though I decided that I also wanted desert so I tried to add on a package of chocolate chip cookies.  Immediately the young gal taking the order said, “We don’t have chocolate chip cookies.”

I of course begin to say how I have ordered them before.  Then I immediately realized my mistake and I was so proud of myself when I said, “I would like a package of plain cookies and add chocolate chips.”

That part went fine, except she then wanted to know if I wanted 3 cookies or 6.

I proceeded to ask which is the better deal.  So Tina stepped in and said, “ 2nd row down, 3rd button from the left, punch it twice.”

Then Tina took me by the elbow and led me away from the counter.  She said “How many times do I have to tell you not to mess up the order?”  If you don’t speak the language don’t try to communicate.”

 

Ha, we got a dozen cookies with our chicken sandwiches!

Please feel free to join in on the conversation!!!

Posted in Daily Life, Humor, Technology | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Can We Talk?

Can We Talk?

IDK, can we?  I personally am not that good at talking.  (And not that great at writing either but we aren’t talking about that right now)  So what am I trying to say?  Good question?  But first let me say I sort of borrowed the words “Can We Talk” from Joan Rivers.  Some of me “blends” (blog friends) will know who Joan Rivers was.  The rest of you can open anther tab in your Internet browser and Google Joan Rivers.   If you go to the Wikipedia article you just have to read the first sentence.  All you really need to know is that she was an American comedian and talk show host.  This means she made a career out of talking and making people laugh.   And get this.  And she was funny back in the day when you didn’t have to say the f*bomb to make people laugh.   Weird, right?

What I am really trying to communicate has to do with the fine art of communicating.  Am I the only person in the whole world that is worried about technology running our ability to talk?  (BTW I am much better at worrying than talking)  I actually think a lot about talking and the effects of technology on communication.  Without a doubt, bigger brains than mine are being paid to research and study the effects of technology on communication skills.  So as a “free thinker” I would like to share with you some of my thoughts on this subject at no cost to you.  Oh and I actually borrowed the words “free thinker” from the dating site Plenty of Fish.  Every single guy on the planet describes himself as a “free thinker.”   My first translation of this statement was that it means the guy is a whole lot of fun, but if you want him to think it will cost you extra.  I won’t even share with you my second interpretation.

I am off topic again.  (Not hard to understand why I am conversationally challenged.)  As I contemplated this history of communication without Googling it, I came to the conclusion that communication most likely started with gasps, groans, and grunts.  I picture in my mind a cave family dressed like Fred Flintstone sitting around a campfire all gasping when they bite into their first S’more.  Entire conversations were conducted in monosyllable sounds.   Different sounds and different combinations of sounds had different meanings.  The different meanings were determined by tone, volume and facial expressions.  When I get to this point in my thought process I fast forward to communication today and start to compare.  I personally have seen groups of people standing around together, not talking, but all looking down at their phones.  I find it extremely sad when I see a family out for dinner and every single member is only paying attention to their individual phones.  There is no talking, no conversation, and no communication.  If you are lucky you may heart the mother gasp when she comes across something fascinating on Pintrest.  You might hear the son groan when he misses a goal on his FIFA soccer game app.  You might hear the dad grunt when he checks his work schedule for the next day.  I guess I have a hard time contemplating how far we have evolved.  In any case this is my humble attempt to get the conversation started.   Better yet, let’s keep it going.

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Tooth or Dare

I would dare to say my transition from 2017 to 2018 was very painful.  Not because I sat home watching Hallmark Christmas movies.  Not because I actually cried at the end of Romance at Reindeer Lodge when the reindeer showed up, under a full moon, with a gently snow falling, while the pair of “we-meet-five-days-ago-and-hated-each-other” lovers kissed.  No it was painful because I had a toothache.  This whole ordeal began on December 28th when my tooth hurt so bad I had to make an emergency appointment to see my dentist, Dr. Sam Sticka.  I was trying to remember when the last time I had a toothache and I came up with…NEVER!  Certainly I would not have forgotten such pain. However, I did somehow forget that I had a tooth with a crown on it because that was the one throbbing.  Dr. Sticka was very kind and very apologetic about having to tell me that an ordinary x-ray didn’t show anything.  He diagnosis was that the tooth under the crown was probably infected, maybe cracked and the nerves were dead.  These three things equal a root canal that can be done at a specialist in Bismarck.  He assured me that the referral would be sent immediately so I could get in a soon as possible.   Also he suggested I start antibiotic to start clearing up any infection.  Dr. Sticka went on to explain that Custom Endodontics would be able to do a 3-D imaging of the tooth and then know what is actually going on under the drown.  Pain was going on under the crown….that much I knew.   Wait, can’t a person download a 3-D imaging app onto your phone for $2.99?  But I suppose getting my 3” x6” phone into the back of m =y mouth without gagging may be a problem.

As usual my timing was perfect.  Toothache on Thursday, dental offices closed on Friday, Saturday/Sunday weekend plus New Years Day on Monday.  I couldn’t even call to make an appointment until Tuesday morning.  At this point of the story I decided to do a “choose your own adventure” option.  A) I either spent 5 miserable days in constant pain 24/7 or B)I had some really great Opioids that worked very well the next day.   You choose.

To my surprise when I called on Tuesday they had an opening the very next day.  I would be more than happy to drive 100 miles to Bismarck to get this 3-D imaging/Root Canal done and over with ASSP.  I asked the receptionist if I would be okay to drive home by myself.  She assured me that after a couple hours of numbness I would be just fine.  She also informed me that I could fill out all the paperwork on-line and submit it to their office that afternoon.  Then when I came in the next day they could get my digital signature.   In hindsight I wish I would have asked why my real signature wouldn’t be better. Whatever…..minor detail. I then asked where they were located and she said that they were right next to the MacDonald’s on Main Avenue.  Perfect, now I knew exactly where I was going.  She did however make a special point to tell me that they share a parking lot with MacDonald’s and therefore I would need to park specifically in one of their marked sports.  Again, I wanted to ask if I went to MacDonald’s first and then walked over to the building would the MacDonald’s parking lot police tow my car.  Another minor detail, I guess.

The next day I arrived promptly at 10:30 for my appointment.  I happily swung into a Custom Endodontics parking spot close to the door.  I took this as a good sign.  Except when I actually bother to read the sign I was actually a parking spot for the law firm that shared the building.   Since I was afraid I might get sued, I had to get back into the car, start it and move it to a clearly marked Custom Endodontics parking spot not quite so close to the door.   To be perfectly honest,  I was a nervous wreck walking into that building.  The nerves in my tooth underneath my crown may be dead but all the rest of my nerves were on high alert.  I didn’t help that when I opened the door the first thing I hear was that annoying whirring of a dental drill.  The receptionist had given me an estimate for a root canal.  For what she quoted me I would have for sure thought that they could have some soothing music piped in to calm the nerves.   I just happened to get the receptionist that did not speak a single decibel above the dentist’s drill.  I finally understood her to say she would check me in, tell the girls I was there, and get my digital signature.   So there I stood and there she sat looking at me with the expression on her face that said, “Why are you still standing there?”  In my confusion as to how she was going to go about getting my digital signature I did find out I could go and sit down (and start waiting.)  I really didn’t wait too long before the receptionist came over to me with a mini ipad and to please sign my name.  There I sat looking up at her holding just a mini ipad and there she stood looking down at me wondering what I was waiting for.  She must have realized that I didn’t know what to do because she asked if I wanted a stylus. My confusion only got worse as the first thoughts that raced though my head where how bad my hair must look.   Then I realized that she was offering me a computer pen and I answered, “Yes Pease.”   WRONG!    She brought me the smallest, stubbiest, flexi-rubber topped stylus on the planet.  I couldn’t hold the stupid thing in my hand like a pen.  It didn’t have any kind of a tip except this malleable rubber that I squished into the screen.  I smashed the rubber tip numerous times into the signature box only to get nothing.   The signature box remained completely blank while I tried in vain to sign my name. I got absolutely nothing, not even one squiggly line.  The receptionist was trying to help me along by giving me directions like” hold the stylus straighter,”  “don’t push down so hard,” and “lift your hand so it doesn’t rest on the screen.”  After much frustration and embarrassment I finally got most of my signature scribbled on the screen.   I was relieved but I also hoped to God this is not my official digital signature for the rest of my life.

The dental technician that took me back to the 3­-D imaging area was named Baili.  She was extremely nice and made a point to explain what was going on and answer all my questions.  However, when I asked what the 3-D imaging showed she said it didn’t show anything.  When I asked about infection, cracks, and dead nerves she said that the Doctor wouldn’t be able to tell until he got into the tooth.  Yup I could already see that the 3-D imaging was well worth the $100. I did ask Bailie, why I had so much pain if my nerves were dead and isn’t that an oxymoron?  But by now I knew the drill (pun intended) …..”we won’t know until the Doctor gets inside your tooth.”  All I really want to say about the actual root canal was that Dr. Wayment was an expert.  He knew exactly what he was doing inside that tooth.   I mostly kept my eyes closed but I got the distinct impression he was deciding something every 15 seconds and Bailie was right there with the right piece of apparatus. I really was impressed.  Those two worked together efficiently and effectively.   I think I did open my eyes about three times.  The first time was to see the 3rd gigantic syringe of Novacane go into my mouth.  The second time I opened my eyes I saw smoke coming out of my mouth like there was some sort of soldering going in there.  The third time they were shining a alien glowing green light into my mouth and studying  fluorescent dancing  images on the screen.  In the end, the tooth was saved and I survived the root canal.  As I left Custom Endodontics, Bailie gave me a sheet of information as to what to expect after the Endodontic treatment.  She also advised me to take some Aleve before the Novacane wears off.  (What she didn’t mention was that it would wear off by the New Salem exit.)  She also handed me a prescription for Opioids and said with a smile, “Now if you don’t need these be sure not to fill the prescription and shred it.  I took the prescription from her, turned to leave, and mumbled (I was only capable of mumbling at this point)…. Bite me!

 

 

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A Christmas Story

It has been a very long time since I have posted on my blog.  If  I am looking for excuses they are “a dime a dozen.”  If I am looking for reasons, they are long and complicated.  But something happened today that I must share.  There is no excuse for me to not write this and after you read it , the reason will be very clear.

Early this morning I went to Walmart to do some shopping.  I needed ordinary stuff like laundry soap and light bulbs.  I picked up some Cosamin DS for my mom which is outrageously expensive.  However, it must work because my mom has the bones and joints of someone half her age. Her peri-osteoporosis daughter much prefers the Caltrate Chocolate Soft Chews.  I highly doubt they are as effective but they sure taste great.  Chocolate candy first thing in the morning is definitely my kind of bone health treatment. [ BTW, this is the same daughter that broke her foot by stepping on an alarm clock that was setting on the floor.  It was a 5th metatarsal beak that took 2 casts, 3 foot boots, 2 pairs of crutches, and 10 months to heal. ]  But back to my Walmart shopping.  I also had two more Christmas presents to buy.  Actually three if you count the necklace and earrings that I gifted myself. Plus my cart was full of packages of pop, ice tea, and bottles of Ice Mountain drinking water.   As I head towards my usual checkout from one direction, a young man was approaching from the opposite direction.  It seemed to me that he had already been through the checkout once since he was carrying two plastic Walmart bags. He must have decided that he should “go green” because he had one of those blue Walmart reusable shopping bags and a package of Tic Tacs.  Me and my Christmas cartful stopped and waited for the other guy to go ahead.  Those of you, who know me well, know I am a Walmart regular.  Now that basically the oil boom has busted, I can happily get everything on my list!  Also I don’t have to move open and half empty cheese and cracker snack packages and half cans of Mellow Yellow off the book shelves to find and unstained copy of the paperback copy of Turbo Twenty Three.  This morning like usual, I was at checkout number 13 where Barb is usually cashiering.  Barb was indeed at register number 13, but this morning she was training in a new guy. Lucky guy, because he was being trained by the best.  Barb has worked at Walmart since it opened in Dickinson.  In spite of long days on her feet she is always exact, efficient and friendly.   Best-Cashier Barb and New Guy Cashier were busy helping the guy ahead of me put all his purchases together in the bright blue reusable shopping bag.  I was busy unloading my cart.  The cashier in training started to check out my items but the guy if front of me didn’t move.  Barb realized that he hadn’t moved either so she kindly asked if he had all his purchases and even checked the plastic bag carousal to make sure he had everything.  By now the guy in front of me had stood their maybe a moment too long.  Barb and I shared a questioning glance, while the trainee continued to scan my items for checkout.  The very next moment the guy still standing at the checkout said that he would like to pay for my purchases!  The three of us all stopped and looked at this guy with wide eyes and dropped jaws.  My immediate response was to tell him that he could not do that because I had a full cart and it was way too much stuff.  This mystery man insisted that he wanted to do this for me.  I then thanked him for his very generous offer but I could not accept since I had Christmas gifts that I needed to pay for.   This young man was not fazed by my protests at all.  Mr. New Cashier announced the grand total to be $158.08. The man of great mystery preceded to insert his debit card, punched in some numbers, handed me the receipt, wished us all a “Merry Christmas” and left.  That left the three of us just standing there looking at each other wondering what had just happened.  The new trainee said that he had never seen anything like this ever happen before and I am guessing by the look on Barb’s face, she hadn’t seen something like this in all her years of cashiering either.  I myself was just stunned.  Why would a complete stranger do such a thing?  By the time I drove back home, I decided that evidently this amazing person obviously understands the meaning of Christmas giving way beyond wrapped presents for family and friends.  When I got home I decided to share a shorter version of this story on Dickinson Classified Facebook page.  I ended the story by wishing everyone who reads this to allow their hearts to be filled with the Joy of Christmas and to share it with family friends and even strangers!  Throughout the day over 800 people have liked the post and each one of the 55 comments is profound and heartwarming.  This extremely generous young man not only paid for my Walmart purchases but touched the hearts of over 800 people and spread a tremendous amount of Christmas Joy throughout Our Town of Dickinson.  With so much hate, violence, and meanness in our world, it is a joy to share this Christmas story of generosity and goodness. Merry Christmas to all and “God bless us everyone.”

 

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Veteran’s Day 2016

I have never reposted a blog but today I am making an exception.  It is Veteran’s Day and we owe our most sincere thanks to all the brave men and women, past and present, who have served our country to protect our rights and freedoms. Please join me in giving thanks to all of our Veteran’s who answered the……..

Call To Duty

You have taken an oath to serve our country

And to take up your post of command

You have been assigned to protect our freedoms

Our values, our citizens, our land

You will give everything you possibly can

And never ask for anything back

I know I can’t go with you

But will you let me help you pack?

Courage

Take all the courage you know that you have

And then find some and take even more

For where there is no courage there is fear

And cowardly fear never wins the war

Allegiance

Stand firm on respecting the rights that

Our founding fathers deemed as most important

For there are many who demand respect with

Powerful guns and a meaningless rant

 

Loyalty

Believe in your country, your commander

Your comrades, our nation as one

For it is our faith in each other

That provides the greatest protection

 

Love

Fill your heart with love for family, friends, coworkers

And all those whose lives depend on you

For what better defense against the enemy that

Hates all the good that you will do

 

Time

You will have too much of it when you are lonely and sad

At other times endless responsibilities will fill your day

You may not have time to think, to eat or to sleep

But not matter your schedule always take time to pray

 

Obedience

Give it and demand it because strength comes

From unified cooperation and discipline

A weak and easy enemy is one that operates on

Chaos from within

 

 

Dedication

Commit yourself to all those who will look up

to you for guidance and purpose

So they will understand what their dedication

Means to all of us

 

Unity

Our country will remain great if it stands together

For our freedoms, our morals and for what is right

Our enemies will look closely for any division

Or uncertainty that will enhance their fight

 

Tolerance

Not for the enemy; but for your fellow

Soldiers who also took the oath to serve

Promise them that you will look out for them and

The life we all deserve

 

Yourself

As your family, we know you will face challenges every day of your tour

We know you will face fears that you must have the strength to endure

We fervently pray that God guides you and keeps you safe in everything you must do

And with His unrelenting help you come home as a better version of you

 

 

 

 

 

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Eclipse

Eclipse

Now I am determined to try and understand why for the last 245 days any word from the Daily Prompt Challenge prompted my brain to do a complete shutdown.   I want to know why accessing the linguistic area of the brain is completely denied.  However, just before the dark shadow of oblivion was about to pass over my right frontal lobe, this tiny glimmer of an idea snuck out. I got this idea that maybe I could trick my brain out of its unconscious state with a role playing game.  Heaven knows my mind is always playing ticks on me!    So I get this idea that I would fantasize that I really am at a psychiatrist’s office taking part in the word association analysis.  In my fantasy the good doctor looks more like Fabio than Freud.  Anyway, I am lying on the leather couch with my eyes closed and Dr. Fabio in a deep sexy voice says, “Eclipse.”

In a millisecond I respond, “A virtual haircut.”

At that point I open my eyes and Dr. Freud is leaning over me and saying,  “Vhat fur ein answer ist das?”

Sigmund stares at me blankly, wrinkles his forehead, blinks and says; “Vould you explain dein answer, Ja wohl?

I actually answer no but then I go on to explain that he said “e-clips”.  I immediately thought of the ‘e’ as meaning Internet Explorer and ‘clips’ means haircuts to me.  My answer ignited more conversation.

Dr.  Freud:  Ach Ja, Do you believe a virtual haircut is possible?”

Me: Can I count watching a haircut on YouTube?

Dr. Freud: Vat is das U-Tube?

Me: Forget it.  I actually was fantasizing about my Avatar getting a haircut.

Dr. Freud:  “Ich Versteh nichts.  (translation:  I understand nothing.)

Me in a mumbled voice: “Big surprise there”

Dr. Freud: vould you pleeze  explain mehr (translation: more) uf dis Fantasies?

Me: Nope.   I will only discuss them with Dr. Fabio.

 

By this time I am realizing the part of my brain responsible for word association capabilities is suffering from a total eclipse of the brain. In which this thoughts reminds me of the song, “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”  And now I have that song playing over and over and over  in my head.  And you know how frustrating it is to have a song stuck in your head.  Then if you don’t know any of the lyrics there is a lot of dah-dah-dah rolling around in your head to the melody.  Hey, I just realized that the word “Melody” was the Daily Prompt for September 2nd.   Maybe I will get this one word prompting concept to “turnaround….every now and then I get a little bit……dah-dah-dah.

 

 

 

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Sidewalk

I have wanted to participate in the daily challenge of the one-word prompt for months.  In fact I would say 8 months.  I vaguely remember New Year’s Eve, as probably 88.8% of the rest of the population.  The thing with New Year’s Eve is that I don’t do New Year’s resolutions no matter how much I need them.  Just for an example, if I would resolve on New Year’s Ever to start eating a healthy breakfast of fruit, granola, and yogurt by 8:00 am New Years Day I will have already eaten 2 chocolate chip pancakes with a can of Redi-Whip.  So even though I officially don’t make New Year’s resolutions, I sort of consider some in my own mind.  In my own mind I will tell myself I am going to use my Pedi Perfect electronic foot  file religiously every day until the heels of my feet are as soft as New Year’s baby’s behind. By January 10th the bottoms of my feet have such a dried thick layer of impermeable skin that I could walk across the Sahara desert barefoot at high noon.  So since January 1st I have been unofficially dedicated to attempting to write a blog based on the one word prompt.  To be honest this is something I really thought I go do.  I always loved writing assignments in school that included a challenge of some kind.  I remember in 2nd grade we were to write a sentence using as many of our spelling words as possible.  To this day I still remember the sentence.  The rat hit the hat off the fat cat that sat on a mat with a bat. I remember the sentence so well because 88.8% of the other students wrote the very same sentence.  Sadly 8 months have gone by and I have not written a single blog from the one word prompt challenge.  However, I have faithfully checked every day for the word prompt.  For the first couple of weeks I operated on the mindset that obviously not every word is going to speak to me and I had to be patient and give the challenge a chance.  After 3 months of unsuccessfully prompted by one word, I realized the whole challenge wasn’t clicking for me.  Daily I would read the word and my mind would go completely blank.  When I say completely blank I mean that my mind would experience a black hole of complete nothingness.  It makes me wonder how I would do on a personality profile test when you are asked to say the first word that comes to your mind when they say a single work to you.  I shudder to think where I would be right now if someone knew that after 245 different words my best response is a blank stare and a slow blink.  Until today!   Today’s one word prompt is “Sidewalk.”  Considering the fact that the name of my blog is ‘Sidewalk” Thoughts I got this one.   On July 23, 2006 I decided to start taking walks every day before I had to go back to school as the High School Librarian.  When I returned home from my very first walk I realized that while I was walking I was thinking of all sorts of random thoughts.   For some reason I decided to write down what I thought about on my walks. So for the next 28 days I kept what I called a walking journal.   Just for clarification I didn’t take the journal with me on my walks.  I would write my thoughts down after the walk in a notebook.   After school was in session for a couple of months I found my walking journal and re-read it.  I thought some of the things I wrote down were funny.  I thought that if I thought some things were funny, maybe other people would think they were too.   So I typed up my journal and submitted it to Publish America for their consideration to publish the journal.  I choose Publish America because it cost me absolutely nothing to have the book published.  Basically I had nothing to lose when hit send.  That was what I liked most about the whole process.  Publish America accepted my journal and agreed to publish my walking journal.   However, they informed me that I needed to come up with a different title as “The Walking Journal” was already being used or was too similar to another book with that title.   I renamed my book “Sidewalk Thoughts”.   The sole purpose of the book is to the same as the purpose of my blog.  I strongly feel that everyone could use more laughter in their lives.  The next summer I wanted to repeat the walking/writing process but I found out that I really loved to rollerblade.  As a result I didn’t keep a rolling journal because I realized that the only thoughts I had in my head were about not falling down and breaking something.   Since my book Sidewalk Thoughts is 28 daily journal entries it is much like my blog.  With many thanks to Word Press I am able to post my Sidewalk Thoughts in blog form.  Every once in a while someone will ask if I have written another book yet.  After my divorce, I thought about a sequel title, “Life in the Gutter” but so far the blogosphere seems to best suit my needs.

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