Passive Aggressive Bar Scanner

Posted by Kathy on October 15th, 2017

mini whoopie piesOK, so I know I haven’t been able to shake a five pound weight gain from a  recent vacation due to the following ice cream and ice cream-related events:

1. Sept. 24: chocolate/vanilla twist

2. Sept 25: chocolate/vanilla twist, chocolate custard waffle cone

3. Sept 26: chocolate twist, cookie dough/hot fudge sundae

4. Sept 27: chocolate custard waffle cone, cookie dough/hot fudge sundae, chocolate/vanilla twist.

5. And for good measure, Oct 1 – Oct 12: Post-vacation ice cream events too numerous to mention.

I know. I have a problem. Note taken.

The caloric nightmare ain’t over, or maybe it is.

I just went to the store for some things and picked up the lowest calorie snack of all the high-calories ones I perused. That’d be a 12-pack container of mini-whoopie pies that clocked in at 1,200 calories (vs. others I wanted that started at 1,600).

When I got to the register and the cashier rung me up, she couldn’t get my precious whoopies to scan.

“Hmmm,” she says. “That’s weird.”

She tries again, this time entering the code manually. No dice.

Gets another cashier to try. Also no dice.

She turns to me and says “That’s never happened before.”

“What never?” I ask.

“It says ‘Item not for sale,’” she says.

“So what you’re saying is it’s not for sale for me,” I suggest.

She chuckles and the other cashier offers to go back and find another. I wave off the offer, thank her for saving me 1,200 unnecessary calories and I leave snackless.

I’m crestfallen. But I’m also relieved.

I know I need to get serious about these five pounds now because if you don’t stare a gain like that down and do something about it, you wind up getting used to it, add another five, get used to that, and suddenly you weigh 193lbs again.

Thank you, grocery store scanner for refusing to sell junk food to me.

Except I still really wanted it.


Too Much Time on Your Hands

Posted by Kathy on August 27th, 2017

When you say “It looks like someone has too much time on their hands,” all I hear is “I’m sad because I don’t know what creativity feels like.”

I read this comment on a blog almost a decade ago and haven’t forgotten it since. I can’t be certain where I saw it, but I believe credit is due the artist Terry Border, an incredibly talented man who began a blog called Bent Objects to showcase his whimsical art, and followed up over the years with eight books, one of which has become a musical.

The comment stuck with me because I’ve been on the receiving end of it a bunch of times over the years (especially during the Windy years) and again just recently when I posted this picture to Facebook, with the caption: “Astonished sidewalk guy.”

sidewalk man

Someone commented “You have too much time on your hands,” to which I replied “I really hate that comment.”

Boy, do I.

A lot.

I was thinking of replying with a different comment, one that would have addressed the time factor, as in “Really? The three seconds it took to take the shot, then the five seconds to post it to Facebook, qualifies as too much time?

But that’s not a comment that speaks to the real problem with the accusation.

The real problem is that no one needs to justify the time they spend for anything creative, no matter how small or insignificant others might think it is. That’s the beauty of art and creation.

There are a thousand reasons why people innovate and create. It could be for utility or to solve a problem. It could be an outlet for stress or to move through a painful experience. It could be to learn a new skill, to seek a new path, to grow as a human. Or it could be to entertain, to enlighten or simply to bring a smile to the face of another person. That is me.

When I observe something off-beat or interesting, it makes me happy and I want to share it. It’s why I took up blogging. I always said about blogging that if I could make someone chuckle for five minutes out of their day, I’ve done my job.

And if it took me “too much time” to think of something bizarre, stupid, uncanny, or ridiculous, so what? That’s my time to spend. I have never accused anyone of spending too much time on something that gives them joy to make, to do, or to experience. Think of all the hours that people (including me) invest in passive activities, like binge-watching their favorite TV series. They’re not creating art, not creating music, not dancing, not painting, not writing. But they’re creating joy for themselves and I say “Go forth and be joyful!”

The last thing we should be doing these days is raining on others’ parades for doing something they love. If it’s not hurting anyone, why even care?

After I received the “too much time” comment, all I could think was that guy would have lost his mind if he’d seen what I did to this fallen tree on one of my favorite walking routes through the woods. I carried a hammer, some nails and plastic googly eyes for three and a half miles to make and take this shot.

googly eyed bear

Too much time? Not to me. It was time well-invested because every time I see it, it still cracks me up.

And when passersby laugh about it, take out their cameras and save it to share with others, that’s icing on the cake.

I do what I do first for me. If someone else finds it just weird enough to enjoy, then all the better.

It leaves me happy, because I do know what creativity feels like, and it feels pretty damn good.

Addendum: I just visited the Facebook page of the guy who made that comment to me. In his profile, I see where he graduated college and what he studied. Wanna guess what his degree is in? Can’t make this stuff up: Art History.


Dear Password Letter

Posted by Kathy on May 25th, 2017

Conceptual Password Key on a Laptop KeyboardDear New Work Password,

I really tried hard to love you. In fact, to prepare for loving you, I practiced many other passwords first to see how quickly I could type them, while maintaining the strongest level of security. I even gave you that one special character I hold so dear, the asterisk. It truly is the star of passwords! I wanted to be your BFF for the six months I would have been with you before being forced to choose another yet again.

But I’m giving you up early because you just don’t flow freely from my fingertips like you should. We’re good together on paper, but in practice, it’s just not working. You just became too hard to get right. I misspell you constantly. I curse at you with your mixed case and nonsensical words. You’re even harder to get right when I’m typing you while standing or leaning in at an angle. ERROR! ERROR!

I know there must be that one special password out there for me. But deep down, I know I’ve already chosen all the good ones in years past. And since I can’t reuse an old password, I keep searching. Searching for the one that will be complicated enough, secure enough and easy enough to get right the first time.

I’m sorry I led you on. I really tried. It just wasn’t meant to be. Good night, sweet password. Maybe you’ll find someone else out there who’ll love you like you deserve.

Remember, it’s not you. It’s me.

For a Quarter More We Could Buy You More Brain

Posted by Kathy on October 5th, 2016

washing machineEvery so often I perform one of my most-hated chores: taking our oversized comforter to the laudromat. Somehow time spent at the laundromat is some kind of wrinkle in the time space continuum, such that 1.5 hours is really a day. A whole staring-at-tumbling-laundry, God awful boring sort of day.

I load up all my crap in the car and lug the hulking blanket, along with my wallet, iPhone, car keys, detergent bottle and fabric softener sheets into the laundromat. Did I mention how much I hate this process?

So I get things going by pumping $6.50 worth of quarters into the Volkswagen-sized washing machine. I see a message on the display asking whether, for one more quarter, you want "Super Cycle."

I’m thinking "Yes, yes I would like a Super Cycle because that probably means it’ll be done faster. Like a lightening fast SUPER DUPER WASH CYCLE THAT’S DONE IN A FLASH." No, that’s not what it Super Cycle means.

I means it adds 10 minutes to the wash cycle.

10 minutes.

It’s like 4.5 hours.

But at least I had my iPhone! Did I tell you I bought an iPhone?! Changed my life. Gets you through the tough times, like waiting at the doctor’s office, standing in line at the grocery store, and Super Cycles at the laundromat.

Smartest thing I ever did.

The Last Holdout

Posted by Kathy on September 2nd, 2016

iphoneWe are shutting down our 2G network by the end of 2016.” – Your friends at ATT.

And so it begins.

I’ve been a cell phone user since 2008. The crappy kind of cell phone with the capability for only old school texting. The kind where you put only a handful of minutes on it each month for emergency calls. The kind that gets you laughed out of the room if you dare show it to anyone.

I deserve it, though. See, I’m a computing consultant by trade, surrounded by cutting edge technology every second of the day. And yet, I used a ridiculously outdated Nokia that I called my “Playskool phone” because it really was. Actually, even toddlers would point and laugh at it.

But now I have to be dragged into this century kicking and screaming because ATT won’t support my phone anymore. “Come on, Kathy. You can do it. Everybody’s doing it!”

Why have I resisted coming into the smartphone age? For a couple reasons:

1. The cost. I don’t want a new large monthly bill that I will surely have the rest of my life. We’re always trying to cut costs and now we’re negating all that effort.

2. I’m already plugged in everywhere I go, except my car and leisure stuff. Laptop at work, laptop at home, iPad at work and at home. Yup, my iPad is on the nightstand because it’s the last thing I check before calling it a night. I don’t want the last slivers of freedom from technology consumed by yet another device.

Sure, I could just let my 2G Nokia die a natural death and leave it be. Live my life cell-phone free and continue to have people question my sanity.

I was all set to fade into the connection-free abyss until I needed a phone in a bad way last weekend.

After doing steps at a local football stadium with my sister, we went to leave and I discovered my car battery dead.

Luckily, she hadn’t driven away yet and she has a phone. So I called my husband to come with jumper cables, which he did. My sister’s like “GET. A. PHONE. ALREADY.”

The next day my husband dropped me off at a job fair so I could hire a student assistant for the year. I don’t always stay at these fairs for the entire time allotted and didn’t want to tell him to come pick me up at the end. If I wanted to leave early, how would I reach him?

No phone, only email on my iPad. So the poor guy had to keep checking his email from home to see if I sent a “Come get me” message. Ridiculous, I know.

Yeah, I could have asked my table-mate to borrow his phone to make a call home, but then he’d realize I didn’t have one and I’ve had enough people laughing at me this week, thank you.

So here I am in the market for an iPhone and it’s crazy what they cost and how much the monthly bill will be. Part of me thinks I should just get a pay-as-you go Playskool phone again, but the other part sees the value in upgrading to something more full-featured.

When the gal at the ATT store laid it all out for me, I complained about cost at every turn. Data plan, cost of phones, installation fee, taxes, accessories. Even with my discount from work, it’ll cost something like $120/mo for two of us and that’s not including the cost of the phones.

The saleswoman said “Wow, I haven’t seen someone like you in a long time.”

What? Someone who’s disgusting by having to attach myself to a never-ending bill every month for something I wish I didn’t need?

I don’t know. I hate it, but I probably deep down want it. It’s like exercise. It’s good for me, but it costs time and effort. The phones and plan will cost me mucho bucks and freedom from every-waking-minute connectivity. I’m not the sort of person who can disconnect easily.

And so it begins.