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Slothly Ruminations on Human Behavior – Part Two

Image result for sloths  Les Sloth, Guest Contributor

Conventions are very strange things. For example, they are very boring. At least this one is. The beautiful, talented people are actually competing against each other. But they don’t talk to each other or fight. It’s not like those people on TV who are competing to be President; whatever that it. I guess those people are not beautiful and talented.

Mainly we have been sitting in a room and watching people walk and talk. Everyone is dressed very nicely. I wonder what they do with all of those nice clothes when they are home. Particularly some of the people on the runway. I have never seen Cat or B in anything like that.

B only walked one time. I thought she was very pretty. She was wearing jeans and looked really normal compared to some of the other people I saw. I guess she did OK. She didn’t fall in front of everyone and that was important she said.

She talked a lot though. A few times she sounded like she was trying to sell things to the other people. The other times she just sounded like she was just rambling about something. She sounded most normal then. She sang one time too.

There were a few people who watched and wrote things down. Some of the other beautiful, talented people watched too. The people B knew all watched each other. They told each other how great they were. The people who wrote things down never told anyone they were great. They didn’t smile at anyone either.

I think Cat will be very happy with the job that C has done. B has not been crazy at all the entire trip. C does interesting things during the day while B watches people walk and talk. I think she has actually been outside the building.

I think I have done a good job too. No strange people have come near except the ones she wants to talk to. The other night the lady with the black hair who is in charge of B’s group lost her phone. While they we looking for the phone, one of the guys had his wallet stolen. That wouldn’t have happened if he had a sloth bodyguard.

The PR part is working too. Already a couple of people have asked for B’s picture and wanted a private audition. It’s a good thing that they wanted pictures. The lady with the black hair wanted B to take at least 50 or 60 pictures with her. She also had to take resumes. They took up a lot of space in her bag. So did the clothes and shoes, but I don’t think she’s supposed to give those to anyone.

The only things left to do are callbacks and the awards dinner. I’m not really sure what a callback is. B says they don’t have anything to do with phones or people calling out her name. I don’t know what kind of awards they are giving out. I really hope they only talk after we eat. I think they will have a salad so I can eat too. Then I can sleep while they talk.

We are going home the day after that. I have to lay on one of those machines again so they can make sure I’m not going to blow up the plane. I hope Cat is there to meet us. This trip has been the longest six days of my life.

 

 

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Beauty and the New Chic

As you may have assumed, my children are just like your children. Perhaps a few minor quirks, but otherwise beautiful, intelligent, and overall wonderful people. 😉

Nevertheless, it came as somewhat of a pleasant surprise to me that my daughter (the cats call her Blondie, so I’ll use “B”) went to an audition for a talent agency and was immediately picked to represent them at a talent convention in LA (Los Angeles, not Louisiana) after the first of the year.

All that I know about this type of thing comes from America’s Next Top Model (which I watched with B) and my cousin trying to get her toddler into some beauty pageants back in the ‘80s. Every once in a while I would wander in and see part of Dance Moms.

Needless to say, as happy as I was for B, I was a little anxious to see how it was going to work out. I figured it had to be good that they were going to give her a scholarship for the classes she needed to take before the trip and for part of the trip. Apparently it helps to also be wealthy if you want to show the world how beautiful/talented you are.

B is going for photography, commercials and singing. I guess another 6 inches would have been beneficial for the runway part. She wears her own clothes which isn’t bad, but a little strange. They had a photo shoot the other day. (I guess the people in LA need to know that they really are only accepting beautiful people.)

She had a “casual” look which included something they called “army boots.” In black (of course.) No, not the ones that lace up to your ankles; the ones that come up to your ankles with heels and pointed toes. B had a pair, but she needed to get another pair because hers did not have a zipper on the side. The ones she got have zippers on both sides, but apparently that’s acceptable.

Before she went to the photo shoot, B went to the salon. I went with her because it was a ways from home and she didn’t know how to get there. It was in a chic neighborhood, so I knew exactly what to expect. The front would be quiet with extremely well-groomed young women who would ask you why you were there. An assistant would take you to the back where there were innumerable people walking around with good haircuts and casual (expensive) clothes. It would all be a little overwhelming. At least that was my experience from my days as a consultant when I frequented such places.

Times have changed. We walked in the front door and it was loud. Not loud music, just loud. She had to speak over the noise to be heard. They had her go to the “face salon” first; they pointed. They took a “before” picture, waxed her eyebrows, and did the final decision-making on her hair.,

The salon had a leather bench across from the reception desk where I waited. Apparently the salon caters to a clientele that is somewhere between chic and shabby-chic. I was expecting cutting-edge; I got suburban instead. How disappointing – it was all regular people with regular clothes and hair. There was a manager person in a mauve silky dress to her knees, ruffled maroon knee socks and black pumps. I knew the look she was going for. Unfortunately she didn’t get there.

On the other hand, B was stunning. In place of her wavy dark blonde, shoulder-length hair, she had a chocolate brown short bob with a chocolate glaze (kind of sounds like a pastry). She has dark blue eyes and high cheekbones, so the short hair really worked. I hardly recognized the exhausted barista I had brought in.

Before we could leave, B had to have her “after” picture taken and a final color consult for the actual shoot. Apparently she passed.

As we left, I had one thought: Thank goodness the agency paid for this out of the money we gave them.

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The Return of Cat TV

Everyone has their own indicator for when spring starts.The first robin. The first golf game without a winter jacket. The lilacs blooming. For us it’s the start of Cat TV. Cat TV starts on the day that we can first open the windows and pull the screens down. It usually starts in the dining room (the window is easily accessible) and moves to the living room (table in front of the window). Both cats race to the first one open. When they’re both open, they choose whichever has the best picture. During the day it’s a toss-up, but at night the living room is definitely favorite since the lights attract bugs.

Cat TV is undoubtedly a popular time for the cats. Unfortunately, it also coincides with the time of year when we notice that we can’t see through the windows from all the gunk that the storms brought all winter. At least for me, the problem with washing the windows is that once it gets hot, we close all the drapes against the sun. You may remember that we live in an old farmhouse with a boiler for heat. Apparently farmers in the 1920’s did not see a need for central air. Probably something to do with being out in the sun all day making anything feel cooler. Or possibly that AC hadn’t been invented or discovered or however it came to be.

OK, windows have fallen to the bottom of the list. If I want to see the weather, I’ll take a chair and sit outside. We have a lot of trees. The traffic isn’t too bad and goes by at 55 mph (or so). If I’m really motivated, I can sit in the backyard.

Of course, it’s a lot more pleasant to sit in the yard if the grass has been mowed. Our lawnmower broke toward the very end of mowing season last year. We’ve been meaning to get one for awhile, but you know that goes… It will be delivered today. I’m not good with mechanical things – do they come with a machete function? I really should have bought that alpaca. It is amazing how quickly grass will grow when it knows you have no defense.

The other day my husband jokingly suggested that we replace our grass with lemon basil. Apparently it only grows a few inches high, so it wouldn’t require cutting. We may have to try it. If the deer and the rabbits and the rest of the beasties like it, maybe they’ll get full before they make it to the shrubs in the front. Or maybe it would just be a first course for them.  We could try phlox. Every year I cut it back and every year it takes over the sidewalk by the time it’s warm enough to garden.

I remember a humorous story by a Soviet writer (I wish I could remember his name) about the electrification of the Soviet Union in the 1920’s (bet it didn’t include AC either). A government official was going around asking the peasants how much they enjoyed their new light. When he got to one house, he noticed that the light bulbs had been removed. He asked the woman about it. She told him that she didn’t realize how dirty her house was until she got the lights.

I am looking around the house and seeing about twenty things that could be done. And I continue to sit here and write this post. Why does housework have to be so boring and repetitive? That’s the real reason men resisted women moving into the workforce. They knew that some of that stuff would eventually become their responsibility. When my kids were younger, I’d read articles about how to make cleaning up more fun. I’m really glad I didn’t lie to them about that.

I have a pile of books that I want to read sitting on the table behind me. Actually it’s grown to two piles in the time I’ve been trying to get to them. I can hear some voices in the back row: “You need to make time for yourself.” That’s great, but if I make that much time for myself, the dust bunnies are going to find out, get organized, and take over the house.

Thinking about it, I also have magazines, crossword puzzles, and books in the living room. And the bedroom. It’s probably a good thing they don’t do periodic fire safety inspections on houses. It’s truly unfortunate that we don’t entertain much anymore – we always cleaned the house thoroughly before we let anyone in.

And don’t forget about the closets. I need to bring out my summer stuff. Actually it’s more about putting away the winter stuff. When you don’t have AC, it is really unpleasant to be rummaging through heavy knits to find the sundresses. To say nothing of the psychological damage thinking about winter in July could cause.

I really should do that thing about throwing away anything I haven’t worn in the past 12 months. Unfortunately due to wearing a uniform I don’t have to change after work in the winter, I really don’t have any idea what I would wear if I got another job. And if I can’t do the winter clothes, why bother with the summer clothes?

I’m sure there are other things to do, but thankfully, I can’t think of them right now. Guess I’ll go watch Cat TV and see if they come to me.

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In Praise of Thumbs

No offense intended to the rest of the digits, but thumbs definitely rock. I guess it’s their opposability. (WordPress says that isn’t a word, but play along.) That and their ability to play well with others.

As usual with these things, it came to mind because one of mine is being difficult. As you may have guessed, hauling boxes of cheese around and putting it on hooks is kind of physical work. Thankfully I haven’t had any trouble with my back. (Leg and abdominal muscles also deserve a round of applause while we’re at it.)

Not so much luck with my right arm. The current issue (hence the title) is my thumb. I’m not sure if it’s tendons, joints, muscles or whatever. It kept me awake a couple of nights. Yesterday it was awful. Today it felt like something snapped a few times in my hand/wrist and it’s much better. I think it’s some kind of evil spirit.

Some days I have almost nothing to think about at work and my mind wanders. It’s been like that for years, but is much less disruptive without the job requiring thought. Unless you count matching the colors on bags of cheese as deep thought. In which case we should probably talk about the viability of your own blog.

Without further ado, here are some of the things thumbs don’t get much respect for:

It is almost impossible to zip up jeans without using your right thumb. It is particularly an issue if you have gained weight since the last time you wore the jeans. Or are in denial about the true size of your body.

Pulling open potato chip (or other unhealthy) bags. It seems like such a failure to need to resort to scissors. Besides, it’s pathetic to need something like that so badly that you can’t wait. Go with an ice cream cone.

Holding an apple while you eat it, even if you slice it. Or French Fries. Or pickles. Some things just can’t be held like a cigarette, and a lot of them are food. Do you have any idea how silly you would look holding a pickle spear between your first two fingers when there is no obvious reason for it?

Doing dishes. I admit it. We are also the only family in suburbia without a dishwasher. Holding soapy dishes without using your thumb is most useful for getting rid of the hideous dishes someone gave you for your wedding but you haven’t ever gotten around to sending to charity.

Holding your cat while you try to brush the winter furs out from the spring ones. One one cat seems to be a cross between a Siamese and something that lives in the Arctic circle. Gorgeous soft fur that sheds and sheds and sheds.

Peeling vegetables. Probably less of an issue for those of you who live at Taco Bell or PF Chang’s. Or have a significant other who cooks. Or children who could be coerced into doing it. Or use frozen vegetables.

Writing by hand. It means taking a pen or pencil and making marks on a piece of paper that someone else can look at and see meaning. It is a relative of texting and email which are also more difficult but don’t require grasping a small round instrument to do. Also crossword puzzles.

Opening pill bottles to get at the pain relievers that are supposed to make it easier to do things with your injured thumb. You need one hand to hold the bottle and the other to push down or line up or whatever to get the bottle to actually open. Both jobs require thumbs.

Forks are really difficult. Chopsticks are impossible. Of course, it takes me several bites to remember how to use chopsticks anyway. You can’t even pick up the food discretely in your hand. Forget eating that really excellent chip dip at the party unless you want to have your date feed it to you. Don’t do that unless you are still in high school or it is your wedding.

Shaking hands. You will feel like the dog when he puts his paw in yours and you shake it up and down. You will have no control over how long or hard it is shaken. I do not recommend growling to get it back.

Holding the shampoo bottle while you are pouring some into the other hand. Same problem with controlling the force of ketchup. Pump bottles start to look better.

Using a corkscrew. I guess you shouldn’t be drinking alone in the first place, so this issue can probably take care of itself. Let’s hope they remember to take the cork off the pointy thing after it’s out of the bottle.

Turning the key in your ignition. Unless you have a button ignition. In which case, you probably have one of those gear shift levers on the floor that you have to press with your thumb to release it for the rest of your hand to pull back. Once you get moving, you’re fine.

Scraping the snow from your car. Never mind. We won’t think about that.

Snaps, hooks, buttons. Tying your shoes. Might work as an excuse to go to work in your pajamas. Doubt it, but you never know. Going in naked is an even worse option.

Of course, you can also perform most forms of housework and lawn maintenance poorly. Unfortunately it’s sort of a mixed blessing since you’ll have to fix it all eventually. You may have the same issue if you get your spouse or children to do it for you.

On the bright side, there is more white space and fewer words in my post. You should be able to get through it more quickly.

(Correction to previous post: Dick and Jane’s cat is Puff, not Fluffy)

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You Lost All of It?

I will admit to being one of the least organized people around. Sadly, one of the best parts of my job is the awful uniform I have to wear. Since they tell me I have to wear one of their shirts, khaki pants, and a blue fleece over the shirt, I never have to get up and spend 10 minutes trying to figure out what to wear. Yes, I know. You’re supposed to pick it out the night before and put it aside so all you have to do is wear it. I could never get motivated enough to do it. So I’d wake up with the “perfect” outfit in mind. Then I couldn’t find the blouse I had in mind. Or any blouse that would work. Or realize that the sweater really didn’t match the skirt. Or the tights were dirty.

I can never find my keys. My husband told me to always leave them in the same place. Silly man. If I could remember to do that, I wouldn’t keep losing them. I’m the sort that comes home on a good day and leaves my purse, gloves, keys, sunglasses, etc. all in one place – preferably on the floor behind my chair in the dining room so I can find them in the morning. If I’ve been shopping, I drop things where I can before I lose the bags I’m carrying. If I’m upset, things end up in whatever room I find someone to complain to (even if it’s the cats). As much as I love my cats, they are not at all helpful in finding lost keys.

My daughter gave me a stuffed Tigger key chain. Tigger is too large to comfortably fit in my coat pocket. Tigger has a bad habit of walking away from where I put him. How else to explain continuing to lose keys that are attached to a stuffed animal? My husband got me one of those electric tracker things. You put a fob on your key chain and the base unit someplace safe. If you can’t find the keys, press the color corresponding to your fob and it will beep. Assuming you remember what color you used. And have some clue where you left the keys.

I recently completed a three-year course in religious studies. I really enjoyed it. Especially when I put the books somewhere obvious so I would remember to do the homework. And remember to take the homework with me. And remember where I put the folder so I could take the homework with me. Luckily, most studying comes easily to me, so I could usually fake it if I couldn’t find what I needed. The strangest part was that as soon as I got home, it would magically reappear.

I tried to do better with the papers that my kids brought home from school. As soon as they would hand it to me, I would sign it and give it back. It worked really well with my daughter. My son, if possible, is even more absent-minded than I am. Between us, we have spent more than a week trying to get something back to school, while my daughter reminds us that the deadline is getting closer. I thought the Internet was supposed to have made us a paperless society by now? Why am I still signing all these forms?

I just found out what happens if this personality trait goes corporate. My mother recently spent a lot of time in hospitals and rehab centers. “Her” hospital normally sent her to rehab facilities somewhere in their general vicinity. This fall, we got lucky and they sent her to a place out here. Unfortunately, she went back in the hospital and was sent to rehab in a very nice neighborhood that isn’t close to either her house or ours.

I should have had some clue there would be a problem when I filled out the inventory of her belongings and they told me they would file it. Not put it in her file. File it. That is the last anyone has seen of the list. It’s not like there was anything too significant on it. But it was all the clothes she was going to wear while she was there.

Mother got pneumonia and had to go to a very nice hospital in the very nice neighborhood. Too bad she was too sick to eat; the food was delicious. Since the rehab center sent Mom over, and she was returning to the rehab center, I didn’t think anything of the clothes in her closet. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.

After a few days, Mom returned to rehab. She had no clothes. I called and asked the person answering the phone who I should speak with about the clothes, explaining that Mom wasn’t a new resident. That person didn’t know but said she would forward the message to the social worker. It seemed a little odd that the social worker would have nothing better to do than look after clothes, but who knows? I have no idea what happened next because there was no follow-up at all. I called again and they found the clothes that my mother was wearing before she went into the hospital with the dirty laundry. I guess that makes sense. She’s only been gone a week and a half. What institution does laundry more often than that?

My mother asked the nurses and aides. They have no idea (obviously) but offered to help find out. One of the therapists calls me and told me that no one on the floor can find the clothes, but she will talk to housekeeping. Once again, silence.

In the meantime, I had to buy clothes so Mom could come over for Christmas. A few days after Christmas, I received a call from Housekeeping. No one told them my mother wasn’t a new patient. Her clothing had been in storage the whole time. When I was ready, I should call and they would have the stuff ready.

Last Thursday, the rehab center called and said that Mom would be released on Friday to be taken to a nursing home. I called Housekeeping and told them that my husband would pick up the clothes when he picked up my mother. Fine. They would be in a box in her room.

Guess what? No clothes Friday afternoon. My husband did his best to get them to understand that he wanted the clothes. He said that if they couldn’t find the clothes, he wanted payment. Someone “in charge” said she would find the clothes and send them to us. I had to buy more clothes for the nursing home.

What I can’t figure out is what they would have done with the clothes in the week she was at the hospital. My guess is that someone stole the clothes to resell them. There has got to be a huge market for used polyester pants and white cotton socks.