Bible Verse

Beg as loud as you can for good common sense. Proverbs 2:3

Friday, December 27, 2013

What’s the Deal With Suitcases?

Have you traveled lately?  Have you packed a suitcase in anticipation of several changes of clothes even though you’ll only be gone 2 nights?  Have you tried to figure out all the zippers and compartments?

Well, I have, and it’s not pretty.
I went on a little trip recently, so I packed one small suitcase.  One thing I really love about suitcases today is the fact that they roll and have a nice handle to grip.

Years ago, when rolling luggage first came out, there were four tiny wheels, one at each corner, and you had a strap that you had to clip on (which I could never do correctly), so you ended up pulling the suitcase like you were walking the dog.  Except this dog kept falling over and you kept putting it upright, and it kept falling over, and you finally said the heck with it and left it on its side.  It looked rather crass, but it pulled much easier and eventually you were able to pick all the grass, dirt and small rocks out of it.
So rolling suitcases have come a long way.  My question is why haven’t zippers done the same?

We’re going to have to face it:  Zippers are here to stay.  I know they are essential in clothes and purses and such.  But they are driving me nuts in luggage.
They are always sluggish so you have to tug on them and give them much encouragement.  By the time I’ve got the thing smoothly sailing along, I’ve forgotten which direction I was going in!  I usually just pick a direction at random because that way I have a 50-50 chance of being right.  I also have the same odds for being wrong, which I usually am.

I’ve got 2 compartments on the front of the suitcase I use the most.  One is very long and deep and the other is much smaller.  The very long one looks like you could hide a big ol’ box of Little Debbie Pecan Spinwheels in there with no trouble at all.  And you can.  You just can’t zip it.  And what’s the use of stashing a secret something that everyone can see?  
I like you just fine, but I probably won’t be asking you if you’d like a Pecan Spinwheel.  Sorry. 

The outside compartments are very handy, but anything that takes up space in a compartment is going to take that space from the inside of the suitcase.  So when I do manage to get the outside compartments nicely packed, I realize that my inside capacity has diminished.
Which brings up an interesting point.  New suitcases now have hard sides.  Years ago, all luggage had hard sides.  When soft sides came out, we thought it a revolutionary idea!  And then when wheels started appearing, we were nearly beside ourselves with joy.

Until the zippers.  And especially that strange zippered part that supposedly gives you more room by expanding the top of the suitcase.  If there’s one thing I’m consistent about, it’s always zipping and unzipping that stupid zipper that goes nowhere.
If you want me to have extra space, just give it to me!  I believe that this feature was designed for the sole purpose of changing a suitcase so they could charge you more for the “new and improved” version.  But that may be because we’ve just come through Christmas and my cynical mind has been working overtime on all these price gymnastics.
I love to travel, but I hate those suitcases.  I’m thinking of using Wal-Mart bags next time – no zippers!  ‘Course that would exposing my Little Debbies to undue scrutiny.  And we can’t have that, now, can we?


Friday, December 20, 2013

Do You Mind?

You, my favorite reader, probably think I don’t put a lot of thought into writing these blog posts.  And sometimes you’re right!  But I normally do think about what the post will be about at least a couple of days before I write it.

So I was thrilled when, on Wednesday of this week, two days before it was due, I thought of the perfect addition to my What’s the Deal With series.  It was funny and something you would immediately relate to.  I could see you LOL-ing and sharing it on Facebook and telling your friends about it.  I said the topic out loud several times in order to remember it.  I was excited!  This was the best topic yet!
If you think I could remember it later, you’re much younger than I am.  A measly few hours later, I couldn’t recall it.  I was in the car when the thought first came to me, and I decided I wouldn’t risk life and limb trying to find my phone or a piece of paper and a pen while driving.

And, of course, when I got to my destination in just a few minutes, I had totally forgotten it, let alone writing it down.
For the last 2 days, I have prayed mightily that the good Lord would whisper that topic to me.  And for the last 2 days, I have been listening mightily.  I’ve been rather distracted no matter what I’ve been doing.  I could barely call bingo at the assisted living facility where my mother has an apartment.  I’m terrible at multi-tasking, so listening while calling bingo was a particularly difficult challenge. 

But, apparently, the Lord is keeping it to Himself.
And He has every right to do that.  Don’t get me wrong, here.  I believe that every good thought I have, whether about writing or something else, is from Him.  And He has His reasons for not sharing this particular thought with me again.  At least not for now.

The good news is that when the thought comes to me the next time, I will not even recognize it as anything I’ve heard before because I will have forgotten that I forgot it the first time. 
And so, my favorite reader, I confess these things to you because I want you to know this:  Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.

Image courtesy of

Friday, December 13, 2013

What's the Deal With My Hair?

For years, the only thing on my body that would cooperate was my hair. 

Alas and alack, the expiration date on that has passed.

For years (like 5 decades) my hair did the only thing it knew how to do.  It just happened to look pretty good while doing it.
My hair was very thick and dark brown when I was a kid.  I actually noticed some grey in it when I was around 12, and I was completely grey at 38.

While the grey was coming in, people thought it was frosted (which was very popular back then).  Strange women would ask me who frosted my hair, thinking I had had it done in a salon somewhere.  I would always smile and say, “Mother Nature.”
I guess I was a little too smug about that, because now my hair is thin and won’t do much of what I want it to do. 

I had kept it pretty short for all those years, so I had no idea that when I grew it out, most of the hair on the right side would stick out at a 90-degree angle from my head.  And any attempt to fix that resulted in a look that I can only describe as a strong resemblance to a used Brillo pad.
The rest of my head just looked like a scrawny, dirty mop.

I started noticing the thinning of my hair a couple of years ago.  I love actress Judi Dench’s hair, so I went for that look for awhile.  It was super short and looked pretty good.  Unfortunately, you could see my scalp all over my head!  Not the look I was going for (sorry, Judy).
But now that it’s longer, I find I can do different things with it that I couldn’t do before.  For example, my natural part has always been on the left.  Now my natural part has fled the scene entirely, so apparently it’s up to me to decide. 

So, because I was particularly lacking hair on the left side and had 90-degree-angle hair on the right side, I parted my hair sort of right of middle and flipped it over to the slim side -- the female version of a comb-over.
And I guess I can forget about having a straight part.  It’s a different road every time.  Looks like a Google map gone terribly wrong.

I asked the lady who cuts my hair what advice she might have for me.  She said, “I’ll tell you what worked for a customer of mine, but you’ll think it’s crazy when you hear it.”
I replied, “My husband puts Vicks Vapor Rub on the soles of his feet, then sleeps in his socks in order to clear his sinuses.  I doubt anything you suggest would sound crazy to me.”

Turns out, her customer has had gastric by-pass surgery and was taking chewable vitamins.  Her doctor said that pills sometimes don’t dissolve correctly so anything chewable was better.
Unknown to my hairdresser, I had gastric by-pass 10 years ago (please, no comments like, “Really? I hadn’t noticed.”).  At that time, my doctor suggested taking 2 multivitamins a day instead of the usual one.  Adult chewable vitamins weren’t available yet.  So, since I hadn’t received an update, all this time I’ve been a good girl and have taken 2 a day.

Within 24 hours of that haircut, I was chewing away at those vitamins.  They have the consistency of a rubber band, but I keep chewing away on them, encouraging them to fix my hair quickly. 
I’ll probably know if they are going to help after I’ve taken them for a month.  That would put it near Christmas.

So, all I want for Christmas is my hair to be thick again.  Or the sudden knowledge on what to do with it now.  Or a cruise around the Hawaiian Islands.  Or a professionally landscaped yard. 
Well, you can’t blame a girl for trying..

Friday, December 6, 2013

What's the Deal with Gift Wrapping?

I cannot wrap a gift to save my soul.

Fortunately, God doesn’t require this for salvation.

I have never been able to wrap adequately.  Even back in Girl Scouts when we had to learn to gift wrap neatly and wonderfully, I failed miserably.  I remember our leader working with me one-on-one, telling me, showing me, and finally just doing it herself.  It was that bad.
And it hasn’t improved all that much in the 50 years since. 

I can’t explain this imperfection of mine.  I try, I really do.  When gift bags came out, I was so very grateful.  The tissue that you put in the bag has to be sticking out just right, and I usually can’t do that either, but that’s for another post entirely.
David’s mother could wrap like nobody’s business.  When she cut the paper, it was a joy to behold.  No veering off the straight line, no tearing, no miscalculations of how much paper was needed.  She’d just flip that paper onto the table and start cutting.  Perfect every time.

And the way she would patiently fold each corner, tuck in what needed to be tucked in, pull up the flap she just created, and tape straight across.  Beautiful!
Me, on the other hand – well, if you happen to get a gift from me, please excuse the wrapping.  I’m thinking of asking one or both of my 5-year-old grandchildren to wrap for me.  They would do a splendid job and if there were any obvious goof-ups, I could always blame it on them.

As it is now, I have only myself to blame.
I mentioned gift bags earlier.  Love them, love them!  But this year, I had some things that were very box-like, not something that would be hard to wrap.  I had quite a few and I knew getting the bags would be kind of expensive, and since I already had a lot of wrapping paper, I decided to wrap.

The horrors of wrapping appeared very quickly.
Now, you would think that a box-shaped gift would be easy.  Just measure – well, we’ll stop here for a moment.

For some reason, I can’t accurately measure how much paper I need.  I either cut a little too little or much more than I need.  And when I cut it down a little, I’ve cut too much and end up with too little.  Ack!
I love paper that has a good pattern on it.  On some of the wrapping paper, there were even handy-dandy lines to follow.  Unfortunately, I can’t cut straight.  Never could and, evidently, never will.

And taping – oh, my goodness!  It seems that every time I put a piece of tape down, the whole line of paper pops up at very inconvenient angles.  Of course, the only solution is to tape those angles down.  And there are always a lot of angles.
I’m telling you, sometimes there’s more tape than paper.  It’s embarrassing!

And for you people who delicately disassemble a wrapped gift, who very slowly and carefully pull off the tape so that you can neatly fold the wrapping paper – well, knock it off!  There’s only one thing worse than offering a horribly wrapped gift to someone, and that’s if they unwrap it in such a way as to show off my gift-wrapping-gone-wrong style.
I gave up sticking bows on gifts years ago when I had a cat that loved to munch on them.  Talk about awkward!  “Here is my gift to you and please excuse the bow because my cat tried to eat it.”  Unless you’re a hard-core cat person, I’m imagining that that would be a turn off.

And did you know that those bows have an expiration date?  It’s just my luck that they expire shortly after I put them under the tree.  Any movement whatsoever, and they let go and drop like leaves fluttering to earth in the fall.
So here are the conditions if you get a gift from me: 

v  Don’t look at the wrapping job, even the obvious stuff like no paper on one end.

v  Don’t undo the wrapping.

v  Just get on with it and rip the paper off.

Now that we’ve got the rules all straightened out, Merry Christmas!
And if you don’t like the gift, just pretend you do, and we’ll both be happy.