Friday, July 17, 2020

A Book Review

I love curling up with a good book and non-fiction is my favorite genre, motivational/inspirational books topping the list of fun reads for me. (Blast from the past book story here.) Imagine, then, the thrill it was for me to receive a surprise package on my doorstep containing one.  There was no note, and after I read the title, GET YOUR SH*T TOGETHER by Sarah Knight, I understood why nobody wanted to take credit for the gift.  It seemed like kind of an insult, but I read it anyway.

Well A BIG THANK YOU to my mysterious benefactor!  I LOVED this read so much that I actually gifted several key people in my life (who shall remain nameless) with copies of their own.  Who knows?  Maybe I  even sent one to the same person who sent me mine.


Aside from the potty words which I believe were inserted to appeal to a generation far younger than mine, the book held a lot of brilliant advice.  I highly recommend it; just change the word "sh*t" to "act" if profanity offends you.  Personally, it doesn't impact me at all.  I guess I was probably inoculated against it in my childhood.

My father, whom I have already mentioned was an Olympic Gold Medalist in Napping (tribute to Dad is here), was also award winning in the area of cursing.  That man sprinkled swear words over each sentence like a chef seasons his signature dish.  Sh*t and damn were two of his favorite trilogy, Hell being the third.  So, in a way, I found reading this book strangely comforting.  That probably is a discussion best had with a therapist...  

One of the ideas that the author threw out there was to pitch your "to-do list"  and she suggested instead to replace it with a MUST DO list.  Yesterday I did just that.  I carefully considered at length what was most important for me to accomplish during my day.  My list consisted of three items.  Three.  I was setting myself up for success, that seems clear. What an ugly shock when at    the end of the day, not one had actually gotten completed -- and one entry was "Take a Vitamin."  Seriously, that one seemed like a slam dunk when I wrote it.

If you enjoy the book as much as I did, YOU ARE A BADASS by Jen Sincere is another fun read. "Badass" is mild in the world of the profane and I'm not even sure it qualifies.   THE LIFE CHANGING MAGIC OF NOT GIVING A  F*CK is another.

My father never, ever used the F word.  Even he had his standards.  




Friday, July 10, 2020

The Support Desk

The following is an actual response I received from the Support Desk of TikTok yesterday. I emailed them that when I created my account, I accidentally clicked 2019 as my birth year.  Ever since my oldest grandson casually mentioned to me that I was born "in the last century," I'm not crazy about revealing my actual year of birth.  And why it would matter when I only want to watch one-minute cleaning videos, I cannot fathom.


Your TikTok Support Inquiry: Case ID [6195685]

Inbox
x

Vinxern (Support) contactus01@bytedance.com via zendesk.com 

Thu, Jul 9, 11:08 PM (12 hours ago)
to me
##- Please type your reply above this line -##
Hi,
Thank you for contacting us, and sorry for the inconvenience you 
are experiencing.
In order to help us verify and review your account, please provide 
a form of identification that includes your name, age, and photo 
(such as a driver's license or passport). You may also provide a 
school identification.
Please cover any other personal information besides name, age, 
and photo. Identification will be used to verify your age.
TikTok Support Team
My Response to their response:


If you just look at my neck, you can see I’m well over 21. Necks are a dead give away.  I write a humor blog:
http://www.stillswimmingupstream.com/ and I’m fairly jazzed that I was cleverly able to supply you with this link — which shows you how old I really am because I’m virtually certain the grandson I'm holding in this picture could easily do that.  HE probably could navigate your website, too. 

I know I’m not your target audience.  Frankly you’re not my target destination either; I prefer whiling away my free time scrolling through Pinterest, pinning vegan ice cream recipes that I’m never going to make.  Here’s the thing though, my daughter - the one who got married on Zoom not the one who has a house full of children (and for ID purposes, she, too, is also far older than someone born in 2019) - texted me seven videos of a gal giving one-minute cleaning tips and I wanted to see them. I NEEDED to see them. Trust me on this.  She did not think I could do that without an account. Turns out I can’t to it WITH an account either. 

Enjoying your app is not paramount to my happiness (and I don’t perceive myself shooting crazy videos with my pet hermit crabs, but stranger things have happened) still, you need to know that it’s impossible for actual adult adults to navigate your site, if my experience is the norm. All I saw was a dog video (even tho I specifically did not mark pets as an area of interest), four boys singing “Cuma Lotta Vista” (actually a song I knew from Girl Scout camp in the former century) and a black screen that said I’d "come to the end of my content." I could not use the links my daughter texted - each time it went to the dog until it eventually arrived at the black screen.  Sometimes I found a small list of videos I could access but they were mainly videos of cats. My family sends plenty of videos of cats I actually know so I'm not that interested in feline antics of the cat unknown.  No hard feelings, Felix.

I fiddled around on your site way longer than I should have.  Again, it seems impossible for the elderly (and yes, that is an offensive term) to navigate your website. Maybe, just maybe, that’s a good thing.

Enjoy your weekend, kids.


You need a copy of my passport or driver's license?  I think not, my friends.  My husband said that TikTok originates in China and to delete this account.  He told me to take cleaning advice from my friend Ila.  

I did that. Ila's advice was to get a cleaning lady.  

I love my life.  

Monday, June 8, 2020

My Bathroom Walls

                                     

Today I smelled pee when I walked into our guest bathroom.  I guess the technical term is "urine" but I always think of horses when I hear that word. Who knows why?  Oh, I do because when I was 19, I worked in a pharmacy and the drug Premarin is made of pregnant mare's urine.  Weird the things you remember, right?

And now, back to the bathroom.  I found a diaper in the trash and so I emptied that and washed out the wastebasket.  But, even then, there was an odor in the room that I found less than appealing.  Granted, we are not receiving visitors during this season of Covid19, but still a stinky room is a stinky room.  

I cleaned out the toilet bowl, washed the ceramic exterior and, just for good measure, I also washed off the floor.  I was pretty cocky about my great cleaning skills and my wise use of my time ~ after all, I could have been indulging in my secret obsession: Dragon City (my video game of choice that's rated for ages 4+).  Then I looked up at our wall. Sometimes, when the sun is shining just right, you see things in your house that you were never meant to see.  This was one of those times.

The entire purple wall, up higher than my waist, was shimmery with little dried golden droplets. I washed them off immediately which left behind a gajillion little white spots.  Apparently pee is a potent color remover.  [Note to self, if I ever run out of nail polish remover and I'm in a real pinch for time ...]

My first impulse is to repaint the wall but two-thirds of my grandsons (whom I am finding guilty as being the culprits without benefit of a trial) have yet to obtain double digit age status, so, as they say, "What's the point?"

  



Monday, June 27, 2016

Batman!


I was in the middle of a tiling project when my daughter Kate wandered by.  "You look just like a villain from Batman," she commented.  I pondered that.  

Although I'm not a Batman fan, I am crazy-in-love with the beautiful Anne Hathaway, who bears a startling resemblance to my own gorgeous and adorable daughter-in-law Susan.  So, of course, the only woman I thought of was Catwoman.  I was flattered, but why would anyone compare me to a young, tall, slim brunette?  I do totally love her sleek outfit and she is kinda busty. It's a stretch almost beyond imagination, but I was flattered and I'm all about graciously receiving compliments, however ludicrous they are.   "Thanks," I said then turned back to my job, still considering how great I would look in Anne's costume.  

I'm thinking all kinds of happy thoughts. I just adore over-the-elbow gloves and the mask is cool, too.  The hip-hugger belt would probably hide some tummy.... 

"No, Mom. You really do." Kate asserted.   "Let me show you a picture."  In seconds, she's turning her cell phone around for me to see. "His name is Bane."


So, my daughter thinks I look like a creepy looking bald guy wearing a muzzle. Hmmm....
It's a huge blow to my ego, but I can sorta see what she means.

www.StillSwimmingUpstream.com

Friday, June 24, 2016

Judge Not, Lest Ye be Judged

I was standing at a crosswalk waiting for the light to change. Across from me was a family. Dad, mom in the middle, daughter.  As I looked at them, I realized that the lady in the center was short.  Quite short.  Exceedingly short. Painfully short. 

While I was pondering this, the light changed and I began to walk towards her. As we passed, I said, "4-11. And you? "  She walked by, then turned around and smiled.  "5-1," she replied. 
Even shorter than I realized.

www.StillSwimmingUpstream.com 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Down the Lazy River

Last week I had the pleasure of accompanying Jerry on a business trip to Amelia Island, Florida.  The area is gorgeous and April was the perfect time of year to see it.  With the Atlantic Ocean right outside our window, the sunrises would be spectacular.


There was an opportunity to join a kayaking excursion one afternoon, but since we have our own kayaks it seemed silly to pay for the privilege. Jer hoisted ours atop the car and we drove south. The wind gusted into the kayaks and it sounded like we were riding inside the cab of a semi. Ambiance! Steering seemed difficult and we stopped often for readjustments but weathered the adventure without incident.

The day prior to our privately scheduled "fun on the water," I started to get antsy.  I remembered this is alligator country.  Visions of alligator death rolls filled the movie screen in my mind.

The spouses went on a cruise along the coast that morning and I learned all kinds of fun facts which upped the fear factor exponentially.  "There is a convergence of three rivers here," said the captain, "and one of those is the Okefenokee Swamp.  Every time there's a storm," he said, "snakes get washed in.  There are more rattlesnakes on Tiger Island than anywhere else in the U.S."  It doesn't even matter if he was telling the truth.  That there might be a possibility is enough for me.  Now, my mind movie features alligators AND snakes.  Nice. 

The final nail in the coffin was when I read a local newspaper headline entitled, "Counting Great White Sharks off the Coast of Amelia Island." Kayaking here is clearly a dumb idea. I'm amazed I consented to it! Although I'm questioning my intelligence, peer pressure being what it is, I'm keeping quiet about my misgivings. And, if you believe that, you don't know me. At all.  No, I'm telling everyone, even strangers we pass, what a dumb idea kayaking here is. Jer had to drag me kicking and screaming out to the parking lot.  I was not a happy camper and he knew it.

When we arrived at the boat ramp into the ocean, there were white caps on gigantic waves crashing onto the shore. No way am I entering the ocean - not here with the sharks lurking nearby - especially when I know the rattlesnake holiday destination is just a rock-skip away.

Jerry, undeterred by my protests, could also see that conditions were not right for ocean kayaking.  He was disappointed.  After all, he had struggled  with these kayaks many hours and, dang it, intended to use them.  We got back in the car.  I heaved a sigh of relief because I thought I was home free, but then we drove over what appeared to be a creek. He pulled into a bait shop parking lot.  "We'll put in here," he said.  

Honestly, there were little white caps on this river too and the current seemed fast, but my protests fell on deaf ears and in we went.  I requested -- no demanded -- that we paddle upstream because I wasn't sure I'd have the strength to fight the current on the way back.  Jerry agreed. 

My husband, who weighs more than I do, was sailing smoothly ahead while I was way behind, paddling like a maniac, getting nowhere.  As I inched forward, the wind turned me sideways.  Try as I might to avoid hitting the gigantic sailboats that were lining the waterway, my kayak was now perpendicular to the current. Never have I capsized while paddling in my own kayak and I was determined that today wasn't gonna be that day either.  

Occasionally, Jerry would yell, "We can turn back whenever you want to."  I wanted to turn back before I got in, but I kept struggling because that's what wives do.  Then he shouted back, "I just want to get to that opening ahead."  That was when I had the horrifying realization that the "opening ahead" was the ocean and directly in front of us was Tiger Island!  

The wind became my best friend about now because it began blowing with gusto and even Jerry started having problems paddling.  It was a losing battle; we turned back.  Jerry made up the distance between us in a heartbeat. "Don't paddle," he hollered.  "The current is so strong I'm afraid we'll miss the boat launch and I don't know how we'll get back if we do."  He has a knack for knowing exactly what words to say to reassure me.

We struggled into the boat launch but the tide had gone out.  I didn't even know that was possible in creeks, but obviously it is.  The water was at least a foot lower than when we got in. What that meant to me was I had to drag the kayak up a slick incline and I'd have to get out of the boat to do it.  When I did, I sank up to my knees in muck.  Smelly muck.  Think "sewage" smelly.  The kayaks were covered in muck too and when we hoisted them onto the car top, the stuff flew everywhere. It was even in our hair. How attractive.

A half hour later, just as we were turning into the hotel parking lot, my sweet husband announced, "The bus we need to catch for our supper destination is leaving in fifteen minutes.  I don't think there's time to shower."

That just goes to show you how wrong a man can be.  Given a choice between going to a fancy dinner smelling like sewage and taking a shower in under fifteen minutes, most women can probably rise to the occasion.  

I did.



www. StillSwimmingUpstream.com



Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Girlfriend

"Grammy, can I have a dark cookie?" said Grayson.

"Of course, Dear," said I.  (That's what Grammys say.)




"A girlfriend brought these,"  he replied.

"What's her name?"  

A dark cloud passed across my grandson's face as he pondered this.  Finally he answered.  

"I don't know.  A girlfriend came to the door and Mommy bought us a box of cookies."

Sure she did.  Who can resist a Girlfriend Cookie?

www.StillSwimmingUpstream.com






Sunday, January 24, 2016

It's Winter!


Yesterday evening a frigid north wind blew ice and snow into our Carolina world. We welcome you, winter weather!

Trust me, there are sledders in this picture.
Today rosy-cheeked children are sledding on snow covered grass while Jerry is chipping ice off our driveway. Meanwhile the sun is shining brightly. Water is dripping onto our deck off petite icicles hanging from the eaves.
They say tomorrow will be 50°. The winter season is mercifully short here.


www.StillSwimmingUpstream.com

Monday, January 18, 2016

Ugly Words

I read an interesting article on Facebook about Lee Marvin, Captain Kangaroo, and Mr. Rogers. Interesting, but not true. Lies! Lies! All lies! Still, I give its authors an A+ for creative writing. According to Snopes it's pure fabrication, but it makes for a great urban legend.

While doing that research, I stumbled across this picture. It got me thinking. While a picture may be worth 1000 words, sometimes what you see is not really what you get.


Picture from Snopes.com
Mr. Rogers was not gleefully flipping off his preschool audience here. What he was actually doing was a lot more in line with his character. He was singing that classic children's favorite, “Where is Thumbkin?”

Here's another photo that's open to misinterpretation. This is not my grandson dancing to that Motown classic, “Stop in the Name of Love.” It's not even Grayson volunteering that his brother is five years old now. 




In this case, a picture is not worth 1000 words. It's worth four. “No more pictures, Grammy.”

There's about as much chance of that happening as there was that Mr. Rogers was a Navy seal.

www.StillSwimmingUpstream.com

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

All's Well that Ends Well

Yesterday Jerry The Superhero rescued a damsel in distress yet again.  That damsel was ME.

It all started in 2015 when I decided to learn to back down my driveway, a feat that sounds easier than it is, especially if you don't understand we live in a house that's dramatically perched halfway down the side of a steep hill.

Not even ten people have braved our driveway in the five years we've lived here.  One of them, our 18 year-old-niece Maggie, yelled "We're going to die!" the entire time she was driving down. Her mother - my baby sister - DID back Maggie's car back up the driveway, so clearly she has nerves of steel. I'm proud to call them both family.

Fact is, without a backup camera I wouldn't have been courageous enough to attempt this insanity myself. With the camera, it is possible.  Painful, but possible.  Or so I thought.  Until yesterday.

Yesterday my positioning was off just a hair and when I got to the tricky part where there are trees on one side and a sharp turn on the other, my front tire ended up off the pavement.

Unfortunately it's been rainy here and the ground is saturated.  In my efforts to straighten the car out, a back tire ended up in the mud as well.  Of course this spot is on the steepest incline and when I tried to go forward I ended up sliding into the clutches of an evil gardenia bush.



This not being my first rodeo, I put the car in park, engaged the emergency brake, crawled over the seat and left the vehicle from the passenger's side.  Why get muddy?

I enlisted a friend to help me.  He dug mud out from under the front tire and added gravel.  Nope.  Next he wedged in a piece of board.  No go.  He shoved the car sideways while I put the car in drive.  Nothing. All that was happening was the rut was getting deeper.


"If it were my car," he said, "I'd back over the bush.  But there's a chance that your [brand new] car will end up at the bottom of the gully and I do not want to be responsible for that."

I respected his candor and was grateful for his efforts, especially because I knew if he couldn't get my car out, I certainly couldn't. I went inside and ate lunch.

When Jerry got home that evening, all he said was, "I need to move your car before it gets dark."  Three minutes later, he was backing the car into the garage.

The best thing about the experience was not that Jerry wasn't angry with me.  I knew he knew I didn't do it on purpose. The best part was that he didn't tease me.

That's the mark of a true superhero.



www.StillSwimmingUpstream.com



Friday, January 1, 2016

Too Good to be True

I was feeling mighty proud of myself for having the presence of mind to check out the "Mark Zuckerberg is giving away millions to Facebook users" post on SNOPES.  It is, as most now know, an urban legend.  

Fresh from that victory, you might think I would have been more suspicious when my friend sent me the video of the two ladies selling laundry magnets for $69.95 that "clean your clothes without detergent."  But no, not me. I got excited.

Forgetting that I make my own laundry detergent that costs approximately two cents a load, I began thinking about how much money I could save. Then I forwarded the video to Jerry.  Immediately I began receiving (many) scientific looking pages refuting these claims.  Ensnared in the web of my own gullibility, I finally cried "Uncle!"  He was right and I was wrong - another great idea bites the dust.  Why is it so always so easy for me to believe something that's 'too good to be true?'
   

Later I stumbled across a video on Pinterest where a guy took an overripe banana, put it in a baggie of rice (like you do when your cell phone goes for an accidental swim in the toilet), waited several hours, then used his blow drier on it.  VoilĂ ! The dark-skinned banana magically turned yellow right before my eyes.

That I somehow convinced my skeptical husband and open-minded daughter to try this still surprises me, but I did.  We buried the overripe banana into the rice and then went out to have lunch and shop.  Hours later, we pulled the banana out of the rice and plugged in the blow dryer.  With great enthusiasm, we all watched as the skin turned ... even darker.   

Banana bread anyone?



www.StillSwimmingUpstream.com




Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Epic Fail!

We were having friends over for supper and I was making an easy meal I've made many times - a mushroom main dish, fruit salad and pumpkin pudding.

Things were not going well.  I had managed to use more dishes prepping than normal so the counter was covered with dirty pots and pans, utensils, and the like.  Grease had splattered all over the stove and walls when I was sautĂ©ing the onions, so the entire kitchen was a dirty, grimy disaster.  There would need to be a massive clean up to be guest-ready. 

Then I scorched the milk for the pudding.  This meal was turning into more drama than seemed necessary.  I realized a lot of the stress I was feeling was self-generated so I took a deep breath.

I started over - which seriously threw my timing off - and I could almost hear the countdown in my head. Apparently that deep breath had just wasted precious time.  It was becoming obvious that the kitchen was not going to be pretty when the doorbell rang. Oh, well.  What are ya gonna do, right?

I was whipping the egg yolks to finish the pudding when Jerry arrived home from work.  He tasted the entree - one of his favorites - and announced that it was "too spicy to eat." That was happy news.  Not. 


Gross.

Those words were chasing each other around in my mind when I poured the eggs into the warm milk too fast and they instantly curdled, turning scrambled before my very eyes. I didn't have enough milk to attempt pudding for a third time. For a split second, I wondered if I could strain the lumps out - seriously, there was less than five minutes before Dick and Lee were to arrive.  


Then a miracle occurred!  Lee texted me that she had burned the green beans that she was bringing as a side dish.

I believe in divine guidance and I know it when I see it.

Ten minutes later, we were all sitting in a booth at our neighborhood Italian restaurant, ordering dinner.   

The food was excellent.


www.StillSwimmingUpstream.com

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Deer


I just saw this pic of a friend on Facebook:  
Greg in his gear.  Practically invisible.

He is decked out in his camos - I think there might even be feathers involved - his face looks like it's smeared with black shoe polish, and he is hiding in a tree

News flash!  All that effort is not necessary.  There's an easier way.  

Just come to my house, get a cold drink and a plate of food and sit on the deck.   When you look up from your first bite, you will see a deer wander up and begin eating birdseed out of the feeder which is inches away from you.  A second will be ambling up the stairs - why walk through the brush when you can just use a staircase?  Most likely there will be a third who will be dining nearby on the flower heads of chrysanthemums.  

Don't think you will scare them either, because you won't.  Nothing you can do or say will convince them to move on.  Nothing.  Not banging on a pan, not shouting, not running around waving your arms.  Believe me, I've tried. Occasionally they will make eye contact, but it's more to taunt me than anything else.   

My dad told me once that when he was young he went to Michigan's Upper Peninsula to deer hunt, "because there weren't deer in lower Michigan."  

Times have changed.  We live fifteen hours south of the U.P. and sometimes there will be ten deer in our front yard at once.

Hunters are searching for deer in the wrong place.  The deer obviously have all moved to the city.



www.StillSwimmingUpstream.com


    

Friday, October 9, 2015

My Dinner Companion

This week I am in beautiful Banff, a national park in Canada, accompanying my husband to an AHTD conference.  Although one guy told me it means, "Acquired Hyper-tension Disease," AHTD actually stands for "Association for High Tech Distributors." These affairs are old-hat for Jerry but it's a rare pleasure for me to join him.  Yes, I am totally out of my element here.  Meaningful conversation with the attendees will not be happening but I totally can socialize with the other spouses and we are staying in a castle in the mountains.  This luxury is not the normal world I inhabit but I am willing to adapt.

Beautiful Lake Louise
Photo courtesy of
Kathy Golubski

Last evening I found myself at dinner in a noisy restaurant sitting with a table full of strangers.  I was nervous because, as I said, I rarely attend these events and I'm totally clueless about almost any topic which they might discuss.  It's going to be a long, long night, fraught with mine-fields of dangerous opportunities in which I might unintentionally embarrass my significant other.  

The tension mounts.

I choose to forgo the cocktail and I get teased.  I stick to my guns.  I need my wits about me.

There are two other spouses at this table, but I am not sitting beside either one of them.  I am between Jerry and a gorgeous younger woman named Rhonda whom I initially thought was the host's wife.  Of course I didn't keep this assumption to myself.  The very first thing I said to her was, "How long have you and your husband been here?"  to which she chuckled and replied, "He's not my husband; he's my boss."

Oops.  Strike one.

In fairness to me, my husband's chosen career is male dominated so it was an honest mistake.  When you do come across a woman in this field though, you can bet your paycheck that she will be hard-working and as sharp as the blade of a well-honed knife.  Women who succeed in this industry are uber competent and dedicated; there is no express elevator to the top.  Because I know this, I am even more nervous than usual.

The guys were talking about football, or baseball or basketball - some sport.  I have nothing to contribute to this conversation so I'm only half-listening when this gal leans in my direction and says, "Do you like cocaine?"

Panic! 

To say that I was blindsided would be dramatic understatement. My mind froze. Where there was once brains, there are now just icicles.  I could feel the color drain out of my face.  How do I respond to this?  I knew - I just knew - that no matter what I said, it was going to be the wrong answer.

This is beyond awkward. 

After a pause that was far too long, I rose to the occasion.  I may not be in my element, but I have been a mother for almost forty years.  Within this timespan, there have been more than a few uncomfortable conversations.  I prepared for another.

Falling back on hard-won skills that parenthood has taught me, I looked her square in the face and, without flinching, I said, "Do I like cocaine?"

She burst out laughing.

"I'm from Kentucky," she said, "I said, 'Do you like UK?'"

The evening got a lot easier after that.



www.StillSwimmingUpstream.com


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Crystal Clear Instructions

My cousin Nancy had this lovely ginger jar for many years before she looked inside it.







When she did, she found these directions:






While I'm the first to admit that I am not the sharpest crayon in the box when it comes to putting things together, even I feel that this might be overkill.  On the plus side, both steps are easy to understand.




www.StillSwimmingUpstream.com

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

New-fangled gadgets!



Last week, Jerry and I were in Denver visiting my cousins and their families.  We had a blast - because vacationing is fun and because the Denver cousins are good hosts.
Ride 'em Cowboy!
Orange and purple cauliflower.  Who knew?  


This story is even funnier because it totally could have been me and either of my daughters would have responded exactly the way Nancy's daughter Sarah did. 

We were riding in the car on the way to visit Aunt Mary, Nancy in the backseat so I could sit up front while her daughter Sarah drove us.




Sarah, Aunt Mary and Nancy
The phone rang.

The car is equipped with blue tooth which means it rang within the car.  I get that this is a new-fangled way to have hands-free conversations while at the wheel, but I was still caught up in the thrill of it. (I don't get out much...)

The car's backup screen lit up with the name 'Alan.'  Of course, you do have to read the screen and touch it to accept the call, so it's not exactly risk-free but it sure is easier than juggling a phone while you're steering.  Plus when you get a call this way, it's automatically on speaker so it's much easier to hear.    

Sarah moved to answer the call from her Uncle Alan but before she actually touched the screen, her mother pressed the green button on her iPhone, which automatically transfers the call from the car to her phone, which she was holding at arm's length.

"Alan," Nancy said.  "I'm in the car....

...I don't know what's wrong, but....

I can't hear you very well..."

Sarah sighed.  

"Put the phone to your ear, Mom," she said.





www.StillSwimmingUpstream.com




Wednesday, September 9, 2015

At Three




This is the exact conversation I had with my favorite three-year-old:


Grayson:  "Levi is funny."

Me:  "Does Levi make you laugh?"

Grayson:  "No."

Me:  "Then why do you think he's funny?"

Grayson:  "Because he is."



He recently informed me that his
pre-school teacher, Miss Sandy, is his new best friend.  I protested.  


Me:  "I want to be your new best friend!"

Grayson:  "No.  Miss Sandy is."


I could talk to that kid all day long and never get bored.



  

www.StillSwimmingUpstream.com





Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Day at the Beach

For anyone out there in the great, big world who doesn't yet realize that I, Chris Zimmerman, am married to a superhero, here's a true story:

On Saturday we were at the beach and I was jumping around in the waves in knee-deep water while Jerry was out farther playing on a boogie board.  All of the sudden, a monster white cap came crashing in and, at that instant, I was underwater.  It carried me to shore and when I stood up, both my hat and my prescription sunglasses had been swept away.  


Someone on the beach called that they had grabbed my hat and I wandered away to retrieve it.  After I got it, I realized that, by moving, I'd dramatically reduced my odds of finding my sunglasses.  Ever.    

Meanwhile Jerry, who had seen what had happened, swam over and I waded out a bit to meet him.  As I was telling him that they were lost for good, my husband reached into the Atlantic Ocean and pulled out my sunglasses.  I repeat:  I lost my sunglasses in the ocean and my husband found them.  Only a superhero could do that!  I'm still amazed.

That man should be wearing a costume with a cape.


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Thursday, August 20, 2015

My Pets

Toby, my pet SCOBY

This is Toby.  He's alive.  I know that Toby looks like a placenta but he's actually a SCOBY - a Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast - and he's alive.   I think of him as my pet.  

Although Toby likes to eat, he's as picky as a toddler.  All he wants is one thing: sweet tea.  Toby floats in about a gallon of sweet tea which I refresh every seven to ten days.  If Toby were a cat, you'd change his litter that often, wouldn't you? So my pet doesn't take any more maintenance than your cat or dog.  And, I don't have to walk him.  Totally a plus.

What Toby does, and does well, far better than your pets - even if you have gerbils or mice, is procreate.  He breeds faster than a rabbit! Every week when I change his tea, I take Old Toby, who is now lying below Baby Toby and remove him, allowing Toby Junior (the clone) to bask in the sweetness of the new batch of tea all alone.  Papa Toby goes into my SCOBY hotel, a resting place for Toby, Toby Senior, Grandpa Toby, Great Gramps and so on.  
The SCOBY Hotel

I could just pitch Old Toby onto my compost pile or eat him like gummy candy but I prefer to "put him out to pasture" in the friendly gallon jar with his family.  That way, if something happens to my current Toby, I have one in reserve.  Or two.  Or ten...  

Another, happier, alternative for me is that I can give Old Toby to YOU.  YOU take Old Toby, put him in a jar full of sweet tea with a cup or two of his fermented tea and then you have your own cute pet.  

What's that?  You don't think Old Toby is cute?  Didn't your mother ever teach you that if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything?  Maybe I don't think your pet is that cute either, but you don't hear me announcing it to the world.

You could buy yourself your own Toby online.  Tobys there cost $50.  Makes my gift idea seem more generous, right?

Toby can sit on the counter, all but ignored, for several weeks, just happily floating in his sugared tea water and growing more SCOBYS but the longer he sits without fresh food, the more sour his pool water becomes.  Ultimately, Toby will be swimming in vinegar - lovely if you want to use it for salad dressing, but pretty tough to drink.  

Drink?

Yes, that's right.  The byproduct of Toby's sweet tooth is KOMBUCHA, a fermented tea that's chock full of probiotics, 38 - 43 strains of those little buggers, all just waiting to improve my gut health when I swig down a drink. And swig I do.  

When I put Baby Toby into his new tea (again, with a cup or two of old tea, just to keep it acidic), I bottle his used-up pool water which is now Kombucha, add flavoring and let the tea sit on my counter for a day or so.  Then I put the bottles into my fridge.   

Because I like the taste of Kombucha, which is like a sparkling apple cider with a champagne-like fizz, I also change the SCOBY hotel once a week and bottle that tea, too.  My fridge is filled with fermented-tea-in-beer-bottles at all times and usually more is just a day away.  I am happy to let guests who wander down taste test the current flavors.  Usually there's one that's a standout and we chug down that bottle immediately.  The rest will improve as they age.

Kombucha sells everywhere these days.  Somebody told me you can even buy it at WalMart.  I have never seen it sold for less than $2.50 on sale and some brands sell for nearly $4.00 each.  Mine costs me $.50 a gallon.

Now that you know that, I don't seem to be one cat shy of crazy anymore, do I?



* * *

This is Karen.  She's alive.  Karen is a Water Kefir Grain.....





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