Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Why Nana Won't Be Joining the Paparazzo Any Time Soon

After facing a blizzard, cancelled flights, and hoards of holiday travellers with screaming children, the spouse and I arrived in Austin, Texas to spend Thanksgiving with our daughter and her family.  Today we headed home.  When we arrived at the Austin airport there was security staff clustered around two dark sedans and an SUV parked in front of the entrance door.  The security staff were dressed in dark suits and had ear pieces with those squiggly cords running down their necks into their collars.  Obviously someone important was arriving.

We checked in at Delta and discovered that our flight was delayed.  So I decided to hang around the entrance and find out who the important person was.  I asked one of the members of the protection detail who was arriving.  He told me that he wasn't allowed to say.  I asked him if it was worth waiting to get a picture for my blog.  He said he thought so.  So....I hung around and a few minutes later several of the protection detail came out the door with a tiny, white haired, elderly woman.  She looked familiar.  I'd seen her before, but I didn't have a clue who it was.

She walked by me and was ushered into the car...and then I remembered to take a picture.

I went and joined the spouse in the TSA screening line.  After having my water bottle confiscated because I had a half an inch of liquid left in the bottom, we made it through security.  I asked one of the airport security cops who the woman with all the security was.  He said that since she had left the airport he could tell me.  OMG...Sandra Day O'Conner, the first female Supreme Court Justice!!!

And that is why I will never be a paparazzi; I don't recognize a celebrity when she is two feet from me and it's a terrible photo!  I promise I'll do better if I ever run into George Clooney or Brad Pitt!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Nana Comes to Terms With Never Owning a Barbie

When I was a kid I remember really wanting a Barbie. My budget minded mother bought me a cheaper knock off.  It was a "Jan" doll.  Yeah, my name is Jann, but I still lusted after a real Barbie like my friends had.  With my Jan doll I had a little pink metal trunk, complete with tiny plastic hangers, to keep her clothes in. It even had a drawer to hold those miniature plastic shoes and accessories.

I don't think I ever owned a real Barbie. I've made up for it by over-indulging my granddaughters.  Much to their father’s dismay, they have naked Barbies all over their house. For some reason Barbie just can't seem to keep her clothes on. Occasionally we find her unclothed in a compromising position with one of the princesses: Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, or Tiana, to name just a few of her conquests.  That Barbie gets around. 

In my last Bag of Crap from Woot! I got a Brother in Arms figure.
For Thanksgiving we're going to visit the granddaughters and I’m taking the Brother in Arms. I think it's time that Barbie had a manly influence in the house!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

WTF Wednesday: If You Can See the White Pieces, You're Following Too Closely

WTF Wednesday is a semi-regular feature of this blog. It documents the things that have made me pause, slap my forehead and say "What the f**k!" Well, that and I just like saying WTF. I'm retired. I don't have to watch what I say anymore. I'm not any one's role model.

Have you seen the commercial for Charmin where the bears claim to be bothered by specks of  toilet paper left behind after a wipe.  I saw the commercial and thought "What the f**k?" 

With all the problems in the world, why did Charmin feel the need to solve a "problem" that doesn't exist. Were consumers protesting in front of corporate headquarters demanding a solution to an age-old problem?  Who, besides gynocologists and porn stars is looking that closely?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Nana Faces Reality

I got into one of those stupid war of words with a youngster on a blogger forum.  She was complaining about not getting a check for her junior college financial aid and having to fill out a form to receive it on a debit card, and after clicking a button to "complete later" the money still wasn't there and it's just so unfair!  I told her to get a grip and jump through the hoops to get her free government money.  Okay, I also said that anyone who couldn't figure out how to fill out the forms might not be college material.   

There was a time that college kids were grateful for scholarships and financial aid but now they treat it as an entitlement.  She wrote back that I was OLD and college has changed and adults just don't understand how hard it is now.  Like I said, it was a stupid little exchange.  But, it did make me stop and question...Am I that OLD?

I don't feel old.  The reality is that I have an AARP card in my wallet and I qualify for the senior discount at many stores.  I have grandchildren and I collect a pension, but not social security.  I'm still learning new things every day.

It has been less than 10 years since I last took a graduate level college course.   Have things changed that much?   I think that you get out of college what you put into it.  So much of the value of a college education depends on how much the participant invests in the experience.  I've known some  uneducated people who went to college...and four years later they were just as dense as when they started.  On the other hand, college can be a life altering experience if the student is open to new ideas and experiences.  I've also know some highly intelligent and wise people who had little formal schooling.

A college education is not just about what is presented in a classroom.  It is the exchange of ideas with other students from diverse backgrounds.  It is living on your own and accepting responsibility for your own learning.  For many students, college is adulthood with training wheels.  And one of the things you learn how to do is jump through the hoops to get what you want. 

So, yes, I guess I am old and I have a wealth of experience that isn't much valued these days.  But, I do have a graduate degree and my student loans were paid off long ago...and I'm smart enough not to get into anymore of these online pissing matches with kids.   I didn't learn that in college.  I try to learn from my mistakes.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Nana Has Facebook Friends

I’m a fairly recent participant in Facebook. I joined to keep track of my grandchildren. My daughter posts the funny little things that they say and do, and I feel more a part of their daily life. I’ve also enjoyed keeping in touch with friends and co-workers from my pre-retirement life. I have reconnected with old friends and even “friended” a fellow blogger who I only “know” through the internet.

Sometimes I will see a friend out in the real world and will wonder how they knew about something that is going on in my life…and then I will remember that I wrote about it in the blog and the blog posts to Facebook. The world is becoming a much smaller place.

I’m not one to post the minutia of my life on Facebook, but I may be in the minority. I continue to be surprised by some of the content that others post, but, on the other hand, there are probably people surprised about some of what I’ve written about on the blog. Several of my Facebook friends post a daily “message from God.” So far God has not asked to friend me. That’s probably just as well because I find the “On this day God wants you to know…” messages a little creepy.

Bristol Palin was back in the news this afternoon apologizing for racist and homophobic slurs she and her sister, Willow, made on Facebook. I found it interesting that the news media labeled her statement as an apology. What she really said was that she and her sister "shouldn't have reacted to negative comments about our family. We apologize." She wasn’t really sorry for using the homophobic slurs, just sorry that she posted them on Facebook.

I don’t have a relative who is a potential presidential candidate, but I won’t be making any racist or homophobic comments.  And, I guess I won't be apologising for anything either.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

WTF Wednesday: Didn't We Burn Our Bras in the Last Century?

WTF Wednesday is a semi-regular feature of this blog. It documents the things that have made me pause, slap my forehead and say "What the f**k!" Well, that and I just like saying WTF. I'm retired. I don't have to watch what I say anymore. I'm not any one's role model.

...and while the men and equipment are working the little women are all at home eating bonbons.

I passed this sign and the workers on my way to the freeway this morning.

In 2010 shouldn't these sexist signs be a thing of the past? 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nana Finds Common Ground With The Tea Party

On November 3rd the San Francisco board of supervisors passed legislation forbidding giving away toys in children’s meals unless the meals met strict dietary criteria. Today San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom vetoed this ban. I do not closely follow San Francisco politics, but Mayor Newsom has been in the news before. He was the official who authorized issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.

I’m a believer in a healthy diet for children, but I don’t think an occasional Happy Meal will kill them. Like most things in life, it’s all about moderation. In the interest of full disclosure I should let you know that my grandchildren had never crossed the threshold of McDonald’s until Nana took them there. They loved it, and every time I visit they want to go out to lunch. They also ate very little of their meal. They had a few sips of the chocolate milk and went right for the toy. Nana ate their french fries and most of their chicken nuggets while they climbed the structure in the playground.

In vetoing the ban on the sale of toys with Happy Meals Mayor Newsom said, "Parents, not politicians, should decide what their children eat, especially when it comes to spending their own money."

I have to admit that I’m developing some respect for this Mayor Newsom. In the recent elections many candidates campaigned on a platform of limited government, especially the Tea Party candidates, but too often these same politicians are the first to sponsor legislation to address some perceived flaw in society. Our first response should not be to create new laws. It is not the role of government to save us from ourselves.

There’s not much about the Tea Party that I agree with, but I do believe that government officials need to use better judgment in creating new regulations. I want a government that trusts me to make my own decisions about what is good for me and for my family. Protect me from the real evils of the modern world, not the ones made up for political hay.

Happy Meal toys are still in danger; the board of supervisors may vote to override the veto. Gavin Newsom, Democrat, is moving on to a new job. He won the election for lieutenant governor of California on November 2nd.

I’m going to visit my granddaughters next week. I’ll probably take them out to lunch…the toy is still their favorite part of the meal.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Nana Swims in a Small Pool

Lost in the crowd

It is hard to be anonymous in a small town. While it is nice to know our neighbors and feel a sense of community, there are definitely times that I wish I could go unnoticed.

For eight years I served as the vice principal at our local high school. I left that job six years ago when I was promoted to a position at the central office. Now that I am retired from the school district, I occasionally substitute back at the high school. The students who knew me as assistant principal are long gone, but around town I am still occasionally recognized. There was a time that I couldn’t go through the drive through at McDonald’s without being recognized. I was known by name at most fast food establishments, not because I was a frequent customer, but because many of the workers attended the high school. It always made me nervous, wondering if I had sentenced some fast food worker to detention and if they were exacting revenge by spitting in my food.

I had gastric bypass surgery the last year I was at the high school. Over the course of the school year I lost about 100 pounds. Recently my husband and I were eating dinner in a local Mexican restaurant. The waitress asked me “Didn’t you used to work at the high school?” I told her that I did and asked her when she had graduated. She shared a little about what she had been doing since leaving high school and then said “I thought it was you, but didn’t you used to be fat?”

Being a public figure in a small town presents some challenges. I used to be a little uneasy taking my pop and beer bottles back to the local Safeway where it might be one of my students counting the mountain of beer bottles accumulated since my last visit. I could hear the talk in the hall at school. “Yeah, Mrs. T brought her beer bottles back on Saturday. She had $12.00 in beer bottle deposits!” I’ve known fellow teachers who made all their alcohol purchases out of town. There are certain drug store purchases that you wouldn't want to make locally if you live in a small town. Imagine parent teacher conferences and facing the parent who was the checker at Rite-Aid when you bought those fancy colored condoms…or even worse, the little blue pills!

A former band teacher at the high school had the best story about his run in with students outside of school. He had scheduled sick leave to have that test that we all hate…the colonoscopy. He checked into the local hospital early in the morning and was prepped, gowned up and wheeled into the exam room. Imagine his surprise when a group of students were led through the room. They were excited to see him and all chimed in “Hi, Mr. P.” He had chosen Career Day to schedule his test and hordes of his students were touring the facility.

Retirement has given me some anonymity and it’s safe to drive through McDonald’s. Now that I’m not employed I don’t have to be a role model and I can return all the beer bottles at once. I could even have a beer at lunch…too bad I don’t drink!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Top 5 Things I Wonder How I Ever Lived Without

I could fill this list with just technology. How did we ever live without cell phones, computers, the internet? But, once in awhile, in the middle of an every day task, I will stop and recognize satisfaction or a little burst of pleasure…delight in the ordinary.

1. Pizza cutter: I had never owned a pizza cutter until I bought one recently at the dollar store. The nice thing about the dollar store is that if the item doesn’t work out, you’re only out a dollar. I threw caution to the wind and tossed a pizza cutter in my shopping cart. For years I have been cutting my home-baked pizza with a large kitchen knife. Now my dollar store pizza cutter slides across the crust and I cut it into even slices with a minimum of effort. Luxury for just a dollar!

2. Underwear that fits: I suppose most people have underwear that fits. Several years ago I had gastric bypass surgery. I lost a lot of weight. Little by little I had purchased a whole new wardrobe, except for underwear. My old underwear was still serviceable; why waste money to replace it? One day I went shopping with a friend and she caught a glimpse of my bloomers and burst out laughing. I bought new underwear. I don’t know why I held on to the oversized undies for so long. Perhaps I was resisting letting go of the old self image, perhaps I’m just cheap. Undies that fit are a good thing.

3. Heated leather seats in my car: I love, love, love heated leather seats. I splurged when I bought my car back in 2004. I had never had heated seats and now I will never buy a car that doesn’t have them. As the weather grows colder this fall, I am looking forward to driving with a warm butt.

4. Slurpees: I love them. If there were a diet coke slurpee, the world would be a better place.

5. My blog: I’ve gotten so much pleasure from writing regularly and getting responses from my blogging buddies. My blog opened a whole new world to me and I have enjoyed “meeting” new people and learning about so many new things.

 Once I started making a list it was hard to stop. There are so many simple, everyday things that I enjoy. One of the great things about the slower pace of retirement is having time to reflect and take a moment to enjoy the simple pleasures of every day life.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

WTF Wednesday: Halloween Pimps & Hos

WTF Wednesday is a semi-regular feature of this blog.  It documents the things that have made me pause, slap my forehead and say "What the f**k!"  Well, that and I just like saying WTF.  I'm retired.  I don't have to watch what I say anymore.  I'm not any one's role model.


I spent Halloween in Austin, Texas with my granddaughters.  At three and five they anticipate in each holiday activity with such joy.  They had a hard time waiting for it to get dark for trick or treating.

The hardest part is waiting for it to get dark!

Still waiting...

WHEN is it going to be dark?
  When the sun finally set we circled the neighborhood, ringing bells and remembering to say "Trick or treat," and sometimes remembering without prompting to say "Thank you, Happy Halloween!"  The girls went to about a dozen houses and were thrilled with their haul of candy.  We were back home and had them in jammies and in bed at their regular bedtime.

But the knocks on our door continued, and I got to see what the rest of the neighborhood was wearing for Halloween.  That's when I said "WTF!" 

When did it become appropriate to dress pre-teens and children as pimps and hos?  There were at least three pre-teen boys dressed as pimps and several pre-teen girls in whorish costume.  I get that a high school aged kid might find it funny to dress as a pimp, but a pre-teen?  Some nine year old's mother had to think "Gee, wouldn't Junior be cute as a pimp" and then drive to K-mart to buy the costume.  What does it say about a parent who would think this type of costume is suitable?  I can't imagine a parent saying to a little girl "Honey, why don't you be a whore this Halloween," or to a son "Junior, why not portray an exploiter of women for Halloween."

All I can say is "What the f**k!"  and be grateful that the granddaughters still want to be princesses.

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