Speaking up or staying silent?

I live in low-income elderly housing and one-third of the people on my first floor don’t like me.  My crimes?  When the guy two doors down the hall had loud booze parties for 3 – 4 hours a day starting at noon I put up with it for about two months and then politely asked him to please keep his door closed.  You would think I slammed him over his head with a boulder.  Where has courtesy and consideration for one’s neighbor gone?

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Christmas decorations and bowling balls in July

My neighbor upstairs woke me up at 2:30 AM.  She was banging and crashing around until 3:00 AM.  I had to take a tranquilizer in order to fall back asleep.  Over the weekend she was hammering on Saturday and Sunday for about four hours each day.  It sounds like she was laying down a new floor except, it can’t be as this would be the third or fourth new floor she has installed.  Besides, we are renters and not allowed to install our own flooring. Perhaps she is building an Ark, like Noah?

The noises she makes are amazing.  Sometimes I just sit and try to imagine what she is doing upstairs.  There is the noise that sounds like she is lifting one end of a sofa up three feet off the floor and letting it drop.  Then there is the noise like a giant bowling ball rolling back and forth along the ceiling. Rrrrrrrooolll, boooom. Rrrrrooool, booom., except you, never hear pins dropping or a strike. Continue reading

Fingerbowl Tea

finger bowlI wonder if other people look back on their lives and chuckle about the funny things they did when they were younger (or older).

I remember once working as a waitress in an ice cream shop in downtown Boston across from the Tremont Street subway station (Brigham’s).  A classy guy came in a few times and then asked me for a date.  Of course, I said “yes.”

The evening of the date I wore my best clothing and made sure my makeup was just right.  We went to a fancy Chinese restaurant somewhere in Government Center and after our meal, the waiter brought us each a small, soup-bowl type dish that had flower petals floating on top of the liquid. Ever wanting to impress that I, too was classy,  I picked up the bowl with both hands and sipped the liquid.  My date was horrified,

“That’s a finger-bowl to use to clean your fingers.”

Needless to say my efforts at looking high class backfired and he never asked me for another date.

Whenever I thought of that embarrassing moment in later life I blushed inwardly.  Then, one day I was reading the biography of Sylvia Plath and discovered, she also drank from the finger bowl at a Chinese restaurant.

I am never ashamed anymore.  If Sylvia Plath owned up to doing something dumb like that I’m really in good company.

Using shoelaces to determine excess body mass (BMI)

shoeI noticed this phenomenon about ten or fifteen years ago.  Overweight people tend to tie their shoelaces on the inner edge of their shoes instead of the middle.  I bet you looked just then, didn’t you?  Some overweight people tie theirs on the outer edge and I still haven’t figured out the reason why but, the inner edge is definitely more common.

From careful observation, I notice that when I bend over my flesh gets in the way so I have to part my legs in order to tie my shoes.   My foot bends to the outer edge and the resultant knot is on the inside.  If you don’t believe me, I challenge you to survey skinny people and see how many tie their laces smack in the middle of their shoe.  Almost all do unless there is something seriously wrong with them.

I’ll bet one could mathematically figure out the degree of overweight in a person by how far away from the middle their shoes are tied. Imagine being able to determine body mass index by something as simple as, ” My shoelaces are tied all the way to the inside so my BMI is 50%.”  I may add this to puzzle to my “to do” list.

The next time when you are in a restaurant or a doctor’s office check out where people tie their shoes.  You will be surprised to find verification of my observation.  If not, please, let me know.

Unconfusing the computer

lady-on-computer-cartoonI am addicted to the computer.  I admit it.  There is something fascinating about being able to find answers to life’s deepest questions in the blink of an eye.

I never took a computer class but am proud to say I can do simple repairs on computers (like replacing a laptop keyboard after one has spilled wine on it), taking out hard drives and installing new ones and adding ram.  If I had my life to live over again I would have majored in computer science instead of psychology.  Continue reading

Pretentious pockets and optical illusions

pocketI think I was in my early 60’s when I discovered not all pocket decorations on clothing were ornamental.  For some odd reason, I had bought a suit jacket and discovered what might be the outline of a pocket hidden in the inner lining.  Yes. This might be a real pocket, but why is it sewn shut?  I grabbed a stitch ripper out of my sewing kit and carefully pulled the thread from the outside where the pocket met the material and lo and behold, it was a real pocket that one could use for all sorts of things–not just a decoration. Continue reading

Noisy neighbor solutions

upstairs_neighborSometimes I am angry at my deceased Mother for making such a big deal out of being considerate of our neighbors.  We lived in apartment buildings when I was young and Ma always was shushing me or telling me to not make too much noise, “There are people living downstairs.”

I remember buying a plastic bowling set with my allowance.  I couldn’t wait to set up the pins in our long hallway and play to my heart’s content. You guessed it. It was banned by Ma because it would “Disturb the neighbors downstairs.”

The people who live near my apartment apparently were encouraged by their parents to make as much noise as they could and the hell with the neighbors.  Or, they just don’t seem to realize that they are living with others. Continue reading

Did I yawn when I was young?

It’s amazing how one’s body changes as it ages.   I used to be able to do laundry, hike eight miles, do grocery shopping and clean my house all in one day.  Yesterday, I did one load of laundry, picked up a few items from the grocery store, made dog food, took a shower, made my bed and I slept two extra hours this morning. I’m still tired.

I know some of the exhaustion comes from having a low hematocrit, hemoglobin and red blood cell count from my kidney disease but this is ridiculous!  Some days are better than others. Continue reading

I am, I am, I am, I am

meditation quoteI have been meditating on and off for about two months and it’s been hard getting back into practice.  I set a computer timer for 30 minutes and so far, the longest I’ve been able to sit still is about 20 minutes.   Apparently, according to Zen, 20 minutes a day is doing great but then, I’ve always had grandiose expectations for myself.

Some of my distractions are my dog, Dixie.  As I get into my position and close my eyes I can hear her toenails clicking back and forth on the floor.  She pauses in front of me, yawns (loudly) and starts softly whining.  She is resolved and will click and whine for the entire 30 minutes. Continue reading

Meditation or mayhem? It’s your choice.

About thirty years ago I attended a 10-day sit at the Vipassana Meditation Center in Shelburne Falls, MA.  I remember worrying before-hand because I couldn’t sit in the lotus position.  I discovered there were others like me; we sat in chairs.

I sat for many hours during the day without moving.  It was the hardest Continue reading