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Monday, January 23, 2012

Am I getting Old?

I must be getting old.

I spent the day in Atlantic City today.  I really enjoyed myself, didn't lose too much.  I also discovered the penny machines.  In the past, I hesitated to play them for two reasons.

The first reason is that I didn't understand them.  So many times I'd try them, spin the wheels and bells would go off and I could never see how I won.  I'm slowly getting to figure out how they work and don't care how, as long as I win.  You do get a lot of chances for your money, so that's fun.

The other reason I hesitated to play was that usually the only people I see there are OLD.  OLD GREY HAIRED LADIES.  I don't want people to think I'm old, even if the calendar says so.

Anyway, in spite of that I really enjoyed myself and can't wait for another trip.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Self Esteem - Given or Earned

There has been a lot of talk lately that the idea of telling children how wonderful they are all the time may have done more harm than good.  I could have told them that years ago.  For one thing, you cannot give a child self esteem, they must earn it by their successes.

The idea of giving every child who joins a team a trophy just for showing up takes away from the child who performs well.  It also takes away any desire to succeed.  After all, why should you work hard if you're going to be treated the same as the one who just "shows up".  When my son played football, he  was a member of a team that came in first and received that trophy as a member of a team, but he said the one he was most proud of was the one he received for Most Improved Player.  That one meant something, it meant he accomplished something on his own.

When I was in school, there was one girl who always won the General Excellence medal every term.  There were times when I thought it was not fair.  There should have been a limit on how many she would get, someone else should have had a chance.  The truth was that she was the best and by losing every term, I realized that, I had to work hard to try to take that honor.  I didn't succeed, but I did learn to work hard, even though I did lose. 

I remember one time when my mother was playing a game with my sons.  I noticed that she tried to let him win.  I called her on that and said that it was important that they learned to be both a good winner and a good loser.  Things would not always work out the way they wanted, they had to be able to bounce back from a loss and to enjoy a true win.

I'll probably take a lot of flack for this statement, but I'm saying it anyway.  I wonder if some of the children who are/were victims of bullying would have acted differently if they hadn't been told for most of their lives that they were wonderful, perfect human beings, that there were no winners or losers, that everyone is equally wonderful.  When I was growing up, there was a saying that we learned:

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.  And when I die, you will cry for all the names you called me."

It's good to remember those words.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Secret

I have had a secret for over 40 years.  It all started one vacation about 42 years ago.  I got hooked on the TV show Dark Shadows while I was still working.

When I stopped working to await the birth of my son I went back to watching Dark Shadows.  I started turning the TV on a little early to get ready for my show.  It seemed that every day I started earlier and earlier.  Eventually, Dark Shadows was cancelled, but by then I was hooked on the lead-in show, One Life to Live, or as we faithful watchers called it, OLTL.

Every day I sat down to enjoy my show.  At first, my excuse was that I liked looking at the fashions and hair styles.  That worked for a while, but then I started getting involved in the lives of Larry and Melinda, Vicki and Joe, and all the other residents of Llanview, PA.

As time went by the stories and people changed, but Vicki was a constant.  This was a show that while it presented stories on very serious subjects like drug addiction, rape, murder, bigotry, it didn't take itself seriously.  I particularly enjoyed the character of David Vickers played by Tuc Watkins.  Most of the time he was a vain, shallow person, always good for a laugh.  But, occasionally he would say or do something  so right for the situation.

I remember one scene that took place in a cabin at night.  I had taped this particular show and as I watched, something just didn't seem right.  There seemed to be something out of place.  I rewound and played in slow motion several times until  I finally found the problem.  The scene called for a cat to enter the cabin, but apparently, the cat didn't follow its cue and had to be gently dropped into the scene. 

My show has been cancelled and this week they are tying up loose ends giving happy endings when possible.  Today, it is over.  It has been two weeks short of 41 years that I have been a fan.  During this time, I've been privileged to see the early work of such stars as Tommy Lee Jones, Laurence Fishbourne, Tom Berenger, Blair Underwood, Roma Downey, Marcia Cross and my favorites Judith Light, Tuc Watkins and Nathan Fillion.

I thank all the actors and writers of this show.  Thank you Erica Slezak for all these years as Vicki, a lady in the truest sense of the word.  I'll miss you.

I guess I can also thank ABC for cancelling this show and giving an extra hour each day.  Now that I won't be turning on my TV, I'll have time for reading or exercise.  The opportunities are endless.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Christmas gift

He did it again.  My son, that is.  I don't know how he does it, but he always manages to give me the perfect Christmas present.

This year, in addition to a few others, he gave me the Fitbit.  For anyone who hasn't heard of it, it's a small, about 2" piece of magic that manages to keep track of the steps I take in the course of a day or the flights of stairs I climb or the miles I cover in my day.  It also tracks my sleep.  I'm proud to say that I usually sleep 8 hours a night and only wake up 4 or 5 times, giving me a sleep efficiency of between 92 and 96%.

This is perfect for a numbers person like me.  I love to see a record of my steps and the calories I burn either sleeping or during the day.  I'm still getting started, but yesterday I walked 10,000 steps and got a badge for my effort.  All of this is recorded on my computer even when I don't physically sync it.  All I have to do is be near and it is automatically synced.  It's spurring me on to do more walking, which is a good thing.

I had mentioned that I was going to get a treadmill so I could exercise at home, possibly in small increments rather than getting dressed and going to our clubhouse gym and working out for 45 minutes to an hour.  That's how he got the idea.

I'd really like to know how he got the ability to pick the perfect gift.  He certainly didn't get it from me.  I'd be lost without his list on Amazon's Wish List.

I was telling some friends about my new "toy" and how great it is to track my activity 24 hours a day.  They all thought it was a good idea.  One of them called me today and said that she's going to get one for herself.  It will be very helpful to her since she has sleep apnea and can get a better idea about her sleep.  She also takes a lot of trips and has often wondered just how much walking she does on those tours.

Thanks again Bill.  That's quite a talent you have.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Post Christmas Clean-Up

How can something that is so much fun and so enjoyable be such a chore when it's over?

This weekend I decided it is finally time to take down and put away all the Christmas decorations.  I brought all the boxes in from the garage and started the work of wrapping and packing everything.  Saturday, I had the brilliant idea that I would put everything away and work on the tree last.  I would take all the ornaments off the tree and wrap them later in the evening when I was watching TV.

Unfortunately, I didn't take into account that the tree is in the sun room where I foolishly did not put any lights because it's a sun room and who needs lights there.  It never occurred to me that even a sun room is dark at night.  So much for gathering ornaments in the evening.

This morning I took the ornaments off the trees, all three of them, trees that is.  Now they're safely tucked away for another year.  My next project will be wrestling with the main tree which is 6 1/2 ft. tall.  A friend leaves her tree fully assembled, but undecorated, in the garage all year.  She finds it easier than setting it up every year.  I've thought about that, but I think I'd rather wrestle with it and squeeze it into it's box and tie it up.

I'm going to see if there are any decorations that I haven't used in years and see if I can part with them, although I doubt there will be any.  I do like the flexibility of changing colors or wreaths occasionally.

The only good thing about all this work is the exercise I'm getting with walking back and forth, back and forth and the lifting of the boxes onto their shelves in the garage.  I'm glad it's not too cold today, otherwise I'd have to wear my coat out there in the unheated garage.

Oh well, back to work.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Anniversary

I've done a little checking and discovered that I missed my anniversary.  I've been writing this blog since December 30, 2006. 
 
I should have realized this sooner since my son encouraged my blogging efforts when he was here at Christmas  back in '06.  Every year on his annual visit he teaches me something or sets me up with a new program, system or social media outlet.

This year, much to my embarrassment, he taught me to send e-mail on my i-Pod.  I've had the i-Pod for a few years, but thought it was mainly for listening to my music or podcasts.  Last year he showed me how I could check my e-mail, but I never made the connection that if I could read, I could also send.  Now I know.

He also tried a new background for this blog and jazzed up my profile.  I sound a little more interesting now. 

Another of his lessons involved setting me up on Google+ which seems to be similar to Facebook.  It's  new and instead of Friends, you have Circles which can be broken down by Family, Friends, Acquaintances, Bloggers, etc.  It's not as popular yet, but he believes it will be.  Why not look into it?

I love having him here for about a week at Christmas.  Since he lives on the other side of the country, I only see him twice a year.  I enjoy his company and he keeps me up to date on the electronic world and makes me think.


Monday, January 2, 2012

A New Year

Happy New Year one and all!

This is a good time to start fresh.  Most people make resolutions on January 1.  I don't.  I compose a Mission Statement of my goals for myself for the whole year.  I realize that this is the same as a list of resolutions, but somehow it sounds better, more professional.  Maybe if I treat my life as a business, I'll be more likely to be successful.

One of my goals is to write more both for my blog and also for our creative writing group in our community.  I've been very lax on both counts.  Hopefully this will change.

I've been trying to not be so cranky and follow the adage - if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.  That's as good an excuse for not writing that I can think of at this time.