shopping in virus times

 

b65fae1a13a85a0f2470786f3df92557791c70e4.jpg

I’ve been away for awhile – life as usual – for awhile.  But now…..now nothing is as usual.

I’m working from home and fortunate to be doing so while so many have no work to go to right now. However; the work from home set up is not without some stressors.

It became evident quickly that my fancy-dandy Mac wouldn’t work with the system I needed and unless I quickly became a computer tech I was out of luck.  So……. I went shopping for a PC laptop.  I had to have it; I had exactly 4.5 days to learn a new job, with some 30 hours of online training (I know, do the math – it didn’t fit) learn a new program and get to work and my employer was not providing equipment. Crisis times call for crisis measures and I want to do my part.

Dashing into the empty city I found the computer places closed and with only a drug store that has a reputable computer department open.  I went in to awkwardly stand across the room from the sales guy and explain what I need.  He came up with the great idea of hey! how about a refurbished Lenovo? It will handle your requirements and not cost you an arm and a leg.  Well, $500 of an arm and a leg.

I took it. Rushed home to get on-line and try to catch up.  I yanked the “refurbished” tape off and “unboxed” my new to me Lenovo.  I opened the laptop and WTF! there were crumbs in the keyboard!  Someone’s sandwich leftovers refurbished….. In order to enter the Windows 10 code I needed to turn the laptop over to read the number.  Two keys fell off in the process and the code wouldn’t enter. I tried to get the keys to fit back on as I hurriedly tried to connect to the training I was missing.  Just trying to make it work for the day.  Just get through it. After charging the battery up fully, I unplugged the laptop and carried it into the other room with the message battery low – plug me in now or lose everything.

So long story shortened; I took it back. Got my money back.  Went to the computer store that was now open and bought a new PC for substantially more $. I won’t tell you I handled the stress ok, because I didn’t.  I cried. The pressure from work was huge.

IMG_4882.JPG

On my way home I stopped at Walmart to grab a cable to connect to my extra monitor.  The store has made considerable effort to manage shopping with huge red arrows on the floor directing traffic through the aisles and distances marked off at cash registers.

Are people blind or just plain don’t give a damn “it’s not meant for me mentality”? As I follow the red arrows up the aisle, they come from THE WRONG DIRECTION and walk right up as if social distancing was a concept beyond their grasp.

I found some help in the tech department with a close-talker young lady.  As I kept backing up and moving off to the side, I can excuse her for being too young to remember Seinfeld and the “close-talker” episode, but social distancing? Hmmmmm.

We dance around as I show her a picture of the connection I need and she shows me a cable and says “you need the female connection”.   I show her the picture again and say, “no I’m thinking I need one with the poking out ends to go in” and she says “Oh! I get it the male; the poking out thing!” Ah, yes.  Sadly they had none in stock.

Any shopping in virus times compels us to take a saunter down the toilet paper aisle.  Empty of toilet paper, but a couple boxes of scratchy looking tissues that we all have in the cupboard (just in case) and a lot of paper towels.  Maybe the populace has discovered that paper towels and septic systems are not a good match.

Tired of the whole frustrating shopping experience from laptops to cables to toilet paper,  and major stressed from work requirements, I turned around at the end of the aisle and there in front of me was a whole cooler of Haagen-Dazs!  Talk about strategic end of aisle placement!!

Well played, Walmart.  I bought it.

IMG_7171.JPG

goat whiskers and things my mother never told me

goat-long-ears-surpris...ears-farm-987243.jpg

I have a birthday this week.  Birthdays remind us of aging of course, and with this comes some questions I have for my mother.  Like, why didn’t you tell me?

As I sat across from a colleague at a business meeting a few years ago I was mesmerized by a freaky inch and a half long hair on her chin  waving in the gently blowing HVAC breeze in the little room.  My mind wandered from the budget variance agenda to wonder how she lived with that? Like does she blow dry it? Condition it? Does she not have tweezers?

Goat whiskers, my Mom called them. But she didn’t tell me they grace us all as we age.  She didn’t tell me that tweezers will be your new best friend in a few years.

My Mom said that if you slept in your underpants you would grow funny.  I am not sure if that’s ‘Ha Ha funny” or “weird funny”.  I may have dodged that bullet.  Just sayin’.

I was introduced to face cream and moisturizer at an early age. Many, many thanks for that Mom. I remember overhearing (or eavesdropping as us kids so often did) my parents talking about a friend of ours “she needs to wear a turtleneck or hide at Thanksgiving”.  A comment I thought uproariously funny at the time. Not so much now.

Elbows, for some reason were super important. It seemed that potential husbands would flee with horror at the sight of elbows peeking out like bearded dragons from the 3/4 sleeves of the peter pan collared blouses we wore.

Maybe it’s not fair to say my Mom never told me.  After all, we all age and change and morph into versions of ourselves we may not be ready for.  The grace is in accepting that it will happen, and fight to preserve what we can  or wish to. The grace is in staying healthy; taking control of what we can. The grace is in being happy with the here and now.

And as my friend says ” carry a pair of tweezers on your key chain”.

shaking it off

dog-2447846__340-1.jpg

Those things, you know…the things that you have to shake off. Do they bother me? Those things? Of course they do but there’s no one at the edge the lake with a big fluffy towel so I’d better learn to shake it off.

I went in to get a colour correction.  That’s fancy talk for fix the gold streaks in my hair that look like streaks of “oh no…..not a good look”.  I went to a new stylist because I wanted a change; came out with hair so blonde it looks like doll hair. A cross between yellow yarn Raggedy Ann hair and bombshell Barbie synthetic hair.  A friend of mine said “I wouldn’t have done that” when she saw me.  Well, I did it and actually kind of like rocking the blonde again for a change. Doll hair and all.

My friend said to me ” don’t you worry about your brain tumor?” Interesting question which I suppose requires more than a yes or no answer. Well yes, I worry about it just before it’s time for the next MRI to check what it’s doing.  Besides making me deaf, that is.  Yes, I worry about that.  Do I worry about it otherwise? Not so much. The hearing aids work and I get by. For now.

Standing across the counter from the cell phone lady, I explain that I need a new phone and want to review options and all that stuff with the phone plan thing. Because there was background noise and she was talking down at her computer I couldn’t hear her so I moved around the end of the counter and said “I am pretty deaf and need to stand closer to hear you”. Great. She spent the next five minutes explaining my plan to me by YELLING at me very slowly. People in the store were all watching her yell at me as I backed up around the front of the counter.  I wanted to yell back “I’M NOT THAT DEAF”,  but she was trying so hard I didn’t have the heart to.

This is the time of year that no matter how long I’ve lived away from there, I get homesick for Oregon.  On my way to work early in the morning the air might feel like Oregon, or it might smell like Oregon. A tiny pang of homesick. It’s not always practical to pack up and chase homesickness so I buy Rainier cherries. Well, we called them Queen Ann, but whatever you call them, they taste like Oregon. Shaking it off.

These things that bother  – I can usually shake them off and find some joy and even a smile in doing it. Even if sometimes that wet dog smell lingers…..

 

 

 

 

reflections in the bridal shop window

IMG_4731.jpg

Walking to work every day I pass by the bridal shop on the way to and from my office.  I stop and check when the dresses in the window change and I wonder if they’ve gone off to walk down the aisle or to the marked down section in the back of the store.

I took a picture one day with the intention of writing a bit of a bitchy blog post about it.  As bitchy as I am when I talk about my wedding dress. Bitchy to say all these years later that I made my own wedding dress and had no one; no mother to care. So, that’s what this post was supposed to be.

But it’s not.

You see, a couple of days ago as I hurried up the block on my way to the parkade after work , I saw a lady stopped on the sidewalk looking in the window at the dresses.  Something about the lady and how she was looking in the window slowed my march along the sidewalk and I stopped beside her.

We stood side by side quietly looking at wedding dresses. Me, fresh from work with the dress, details like fancy nails and lipstick, briefcase and designer purse, and the lady slightly stooped over in a faded looking beige sweater, short bowl-cut shaped grey hair with a few soft whiskers on her chin.

I said “they’re lovely, aren’t they?”  and she said “yes, they certainly are”.  For some reason I blurted out that I’d made my own dress and it wasn’t lovely like these and I told her I ended up throwing it out last year because I hated it so much.

The lady said “oh my dear, that’s sad”.  She said “I still have my dress after 56 years and still love it. It’s turning a bit yellow now, but still beautiful”.  With our faces bathed in the soft tulle, satin and lace reflection in the window I  said “and I can see you 56 years ago as the beautiful bride you were.”

I continued on my way warmed by her smile reflected in the bridal shop window.

 

 

 

 

 

 

only so many barks to give

IMG_4527.JPG

Molly comes out to bark at us every day as we walk by her house.  She roars off the porch with the determination of a much younger very much fiercer guard dog running along her fence line beside us as we meander down the hill.

I noticed lately that her bark is much quieter than it used to be; almost like the whispery voice of an old lady that we need to lean in close to in order to hear what she’s talking about.  And while Molly starts out with a big bark when she sees us, she only barks a few times quietly in conversation with us as we walk by.  It’s like she’s saving what she has to say; she only has so many barks to give so she makes them count. At least that’s my theory with Molly’s barks.

A little over a week ago it was my birthday.  I am between the age of “yay!!! it’s my birthday and I want everyone to know it” and the age where the server in a restaurant brought me a senior menu and explained in a loud voice (although she didn’t know of my deafness) that it was senior day and so forth……. BTW I ordered a steak from the regular menu.   Continue reading

that one friend

IMG_4475.JPG

Who’s to say where we find that one friend – in a new job orientation session, in an airplane, in a theatre sharing Ted X, in a dish drainer.

Pipy found her friend who doesn’t judge, doesn’t criticize, just listens in the dish drainer. While Pipy’s friend resembles her in almost every way, it isn’t a prerequisite or condition of finding that one friend.

Friendship is wondrous as it grows and evolves. That one friend what just”‘gets it” is a true rarity and an adventure to be brave enough to dive into head first. Watching Pipy and her friend as they talk, talk, talk sharing excitement, chirps and joys is how others see us interacting with our one friend.  The engagement is contagious and we can’t help but share in it, by backing away and watching Pipy chat with her friend or by having a stranger comment that watching the conversation is heartwarming.

The beauty of that one friend is in celebrating differences as well as shared vision. The daily chat of that one friend as a steady companion in shared situation, a shared “help you get through the day”, a shared “well done!” Priceless.

The beauty of that one friend is the resilience that allows the friendship to go on sabbatical and come back refreshed.  Tanya will inevitably empty the dish drainer and put that one friend away, but not to worry Pipy, the true friendship will show up again the next time you are together.

As always, thanks Tanya for sharing Pipy with me.

 

 

i’ll give you a daisy a day, dear

IMG_4469.JPG

Our walks give us a changing mural as plants step forward to flourish in their short moments in the summer sun.  We always look forward to the daisies dancing in the sunshine along side the fireweed and purple clover.  They are the smiles of the group.

Such is our delight in wandering in the untamed “country” as opposed to the city.  Sure they have beautiful flower beds carefully tended by city workers, but we prefer our hikes where we discover wild raspberries and the pretty golden fox that flirted with us today.

I’m reminded of my friend who appreciates the “wild” and lives nestled in some hundreds of acres of wilderness that he explores with sled dogs in the winter and llamas in the summer. On a visit to a gated retirement city where snowbirds from Canada flock to in the winter, he told me the community was so manicured that he was pretty sure the few wild rabbits around there were bathed and fluffed up to be picture perfect and not really so wild.

Delighting in the exotic-to-us fresh oranges picked from the tree, he verified that there is indeed a tipping point in how many fresh oranges a person should devour in the novelty of the moment.  Much like me with fresh pineapple in Maui.  That tipping point.

But back to our daisies. Summer in the north of Canada is magical. Not manicured. Not managed.  With a growing season measured in weeks and daylight staying around until well past bedtime urging plants to show their stuff, it’s just magic.

Nope, no oranges to pick here, but enough daisies to “give you a daisy a day, dear and love you until the rivers run still and the four winds we know blow away”.

A Daisy a Day  – song by Ernest Tubb