It’s A New, Gadget-Filled, App-Designed World

The world keeps reminding me that I am not young. It’s not just having grey hair and 3 grandchildren. That’s about chronological age.

No, it’s realizing there are all sorts of things I don’t know about and/or don’t understand.

TIME magazine had a long article about Reddit. I read the article and I’m still not exactly sure what it does. Or is. The article said it’s mostly used by young men, teenagers or 20 somethings. I’ve never fit in those demographics. So now the question is do I care enough to investigate the website? No, not really.

I already spend an embarrassing amount of time on Facebook reading posts from HuffPost50 and HuffPostParents. The ones I agree with I share with my daughters who are actually parents of young children. Makes my advice and opinions more authoritative, I think. I wonder if they read them. I’m not going to ask.

The last time I applied for a job, the application was on paper and there were no personality tests involved. Another TIME article (yes, that’s one of my main sources of what’s new and improved in the world) described the kinds of tests people often take these days during the job application process. (here’s the link)

Examples of questions:

Would you like to be an art collector? (What does a yes OR a no mean?)

Do you find yourself getting angry easily? (How stupid or self-destructive would you have to be to answer yes?)

Do you often fantasize about being famous? (Is once a month “often”?)

Do people say you are eccentric? (At my age, I consider that a compliment.)

I took the little sample test. For spontaneity I scored a 2 (out of 8). On independence I scored 7 (out of 8). For competitiveness I scored 0 (out of 8). So would you hire me?

I think too many computer nerds have reduced too many things to algorithms. Quirks and talents matter.

On a lighter note–

Did you know that the Denver Post has a designated Pot Critic? I read about that on the front page of the NY Times Style section a while back. Back in the day (or so I hear), there was pot or no pot. Now, I guess it’s like wine or craft beer. So many varieties, so little time. Are some people weed snobs like wine snobs?

I enjoy reading about what’s going on this new, gadget-filled and app-designed world. I’m glad I can pick and choose if and when I participate.

But I still like reading books. From the library. Printed on paper and bound by a cover with a title and a picture.

Published in: on September 8, 2015 at 1:36 pm  Comments (8)  
Tags: , , ,

Homer

My friend, Mark Cassity, is a good man who should share his writing more. He wrote this for the Triad Health Project (THP link) newsletter. He is the Director of Higher Ground, a day center for people who are HIV positive.And, yes, he said I could put this on my blog.

Years ago, we were minding my neighbor’s dog, Homer, when he had what amounted to a stroke during the night. Homer was about 140 years old so no big surprises, and I carried him out to the yard so he could use the facilities before I took him to the vet. He made no complaint. He didn’t show signs of pain or even surprise; he simply stumbled about in ever-tightening circles, diving his head under one leg and then falling over before I would right him and he could try it again. Homer did not cry out that anything had gone terribly wrong with the world but rather simply carried on with what the world gave him that day. His eyes suggested, I suppose this is what today is like. At least every time I fall over I get to see the sky. And the grass smells so sweet. It was one of the noblest things I’ve ever seen.

Homer held up to me the times I’ve caught the flu or my car wouldn’t start or I got a crick in my neck or bleach spilled onto my favorite sweater and I’ve wanted the world to stop. I somehow think this just isn’t right, it’s not correct, something must be done to set the universe back in proper order because this-won’t-do! With Homer’s help, I hear God reminding me that nothing’s gone wrong in the least. Tuck and roll. Why not smell the good grass I made for you? What if you needed help to use the facilities one day? Growing old, getting sick, these are merely parts of life, too; and when you finally fall down, perhaps you will notice the sky like you used to. Perhaps someone will come by and pick you up and carry you home.

Published in: on March 17, 2015 at 12:01 pm  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , ,

Table for One

Last Thursday I was co-pilot and navigator for the retired man I live with while we delivered Mobile Meals to home-bound seniors. A few are couples, most are single men who take a while to get to the door. We had to ask at each stop if they needed a meal for Thanksgiving. Over half did, just for one person.

A haunting picture lives in my brain these days: an older man in a white undershirt watching the Macy’s parade eating a reheated Thanksgiving dinner on a metal tv tray (remember those?) with a carton of milk like we had in elementary school.  The meal was delivered about 9:30 Thanksgiving morning by a nice man with a Mobile Meals sign on top of his car.  That picture is slowly breaking my heart.

Every third Thursday of the month, the retired man I live with and I stick a Mobile Meals sign on top of the white Camry and deliver a hot meal sealed in a little black plastic tray (like a Lean Cuisine), mostly to older men living alone but sometimes to a couple still living together or an older woman.  (I’m 61–they are older, not old.) The meals are prepared by Golden Corral and packed in expensive special coolers so they stay hot.  Last Thursday we delivered Salisbury steak, rice, mixed vegetables, hot apple slices, milk, juice, and a peanut butter cookie.  The meals ride in the coolers, one hot, one cold, in the back seat.  They all seem to smell the same, no matter what’s in the tray.

The retired man I live with takes the meals to the front door.  Often the recipient is waiting and opens the door as he approaches.  I wait in the car and put the next address into the GPS.  He gives me a report.  One man must be ex-military–he is always sharply groomed and the part of the apartment visible from the front stoop is clean and tidy.  Last week he didn’t get a meal.  Our sheet says he is in the hospital. Another man’s place smells awful and I can see his baggy, used-to-be-white undershirt as he reaches for the food.  A man who takes care of his wife writes a poem and gives us a copy each month.  His faith spills out on the page.

One person didn’t answer the door last Thursday and we didn’t know if she was in the hospital or visiting family.  We gave that meal to a man standing with a cardboard sign on the corner near Panera, at the Target-PetSmart-Payless Shoes shopping center.  We had no forks or knives, but he gratefully took the food.  “It’s hot!” he said about the food and he smiled and blessed us and said “It’s a good day because God let me get up this morning.” We were quiet for a bit as we drove off.  I don’t think he cared how it smelled.

Once we tried to give a leftover meal to a woman holding a cardboard sign standing on the corner beside Chik Fil-A, not far from the Whole Foods parking lot.  I rolled down my window, asked if she wanted the meal and she asked me what it was. I told her (it was meatloaf, I think) and she said “No.” Not even “No, thanks.” I was speechless. We found a skinny man (a boy?) on another corner and he was hungry and even had his own plastic fork and knife.  He smiled and said, “Thank you!”

Thanksgiving is this week.  We will drive to our daughter’s house in Raleigh and get there around noon.  Our son-in-law will be creating a feast, my daughter will be setting the table with a white tablecloth, china, flowers and candles.  I’ll contribute a casserole dish of corn pudding and homemade Blueberry Cranberry Sauce.  We’ll visit with some of our son-in-law’s relatives that we only see once or twice a year and get in line to play with our almost-2-year-old granddaughter.  My daughter wants us to go around the table and share memories of my brother who died this summer.  He was always part of our holidays.

Before we go to Raleigh, the retired man I live with and I will gather with many other volunteers in the parking lot at the Greensboro Coliseum to pick up meals to deliver to clients of Triad Health Project. I’m on the Board of Directors for this non-profit that serves people who are HIV positive.  The Mobile Meals volunteers will be there, too, in another line.

Two restaurant owners started over 20 years ago fixing Thanksgiving dinner for anyone who wanted one .  The project has grown into a massive community volunteer effort.  So many people have offered to help that they have a waiting list for volunteers! Meals will also be served on real plates at tables with real tablecloths and centerpieces a 2 churches (one is our church) and Urban Ministry’s Potter House.  Church vans with volunteer drivers will make a couple of stops downtown and carry folks to the places with food and then take them back downtown nurtured and fed.

Our own Thanksgiving feast is easier to swallow when we know so many others are eating well, too.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Published in: on November 26, 2013 at 10:45 am  Comments (8)  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Litter and Bubbles and Comfortable Shoes

He littered.  The guy in a red pickup truck flat-out littered.  I decided it was a man—I couldn’t quite tell.  He threw a bright yellow box with a red  logo on it (Bojangles, maybe) right out his window.  The box landed on the highway right in front of me.  I crushed it.  That thing had probably surrounded a sausage biscuit or a couple of pieces of fried chicken.  You know it smelled good.

We drove 75 miles an hour on I-40 East, past Raleigh.  I was headed to a week-long mostly silent writing retreat.  He was obviously headed to Hell.

I forget sometimes what a safe bubble of a world I live in at home in Greensboro.  I have a reddish-brown leather chair with a back that reclines and a matching ottoman.  That chair and ottoman fit my short body and sometimes-sore back better than any chair ever.  I read the paper and fall asleep in it.

My husband has changed out the 50-year-old worn brass doorknobs for new lever ones.  Some of the old ones are too hard for me to turn.  A couple of lamps are modified, too.  One turns on when you touch any metal part and one has a big screw instead of a knob to turn.  My husband has a lot to do with my bubble being safe.  I have a Tempurpedic bed and pillow that support my back and let my joints rest peacefully.  I sleep well and long on it, especially when it’s cold and we use the poufy down comforter.

My bubble includes friends who I am sure do not litter.  I doubt if most ever eat fast food from a clam shell box in the car and the few who might, including my husband, would most likely recycle the box.

I live easily and peacefully inside my bubble with my husband, a few friends and, often, two daughters with grandchildren and husbands.  They light up my soul.

I have commitments.  They fit in my bubble, too.  I spend time at a day center for people who are HIV positive called Higher Ground.  Sometimes I help my church bring in lunch, sometimes I lead a writing group, and other days I just hang out.  I feel safe there.  I can be myself.  I know their secret and they trust me enough to tell me their stories.  I learn from them every time I go.

A while back I wrote a blog post titled “You Can Tell By the Shoes.”  A friend and I traveled in her minivan to Atlanta for the Spiritual Directors International Conference.  There were to be 500 of us at a huge hotel and conference center.  We waited in a slow line to check in.

“Hey look, Marjorie,” I said.  “Look at people’s shoes—you can tell who is one of us.”  I wore clunky Teva sandals and so did she.  At least we didn’t wear socks with them.  Other (younger) women wore pointy-toed, stylish shoes, even with tight jeans and t-shirts, that clicked on the polished, bare floor.  Our shoes maybe squeeched a bit and our pants were not tight.

Now I’m at a Women’s Writing Retreat for a week at a big house close to the beach with 7 other women.  We line up our shoes by the front door.  Sandy or dirty shoes we wear outside, then we switch to clean shoes or slippers or just socks.  I didn’t pack my super-thick European hand-knit cotton slipper-socks so I just wear regular black socks.

Here’s what I see by the door at 4:30pm on a cloudy, chilly Sunday afternoon:

4 pairs of broken-in sneakers, for serious walkers, maybe.

2 pairs of black clogs, one SAS and one Merrell.

1 pair of tall black Ugg boots.  I’ve never tried one on.  I almost did just now but I decided that would be nervy and rude.

1 pair of slip-on Reikers.

I pair of flip-flops.  She must have been outside.

1 pair of brown Finn Comfort loafers.

And, yes, I did look inside to see the brands.

I am with my people, again.  No clickety soles.

Published in: on January 8, 2013 at 4:48 pm  Comments (8)  
Tags: , , , , ,

Write To Soul (a workshop/retreat)

Nobody knew everybody.  Some didn’t know anybody.  One is 20.  One is soon to be 40.  A couple are almost 50.  Two will soon be 60.  There were two more: one who admits to being in her mid-70’s and her friend who never did share her age but looks cool even in velcro sneakers.  (They had great hats!)

We are complex, vibrant, funny, spiritual women.

We are writers.

And we came together for a weekend in the mountains.  We wrote about a time we felt free and alive and then used some of those words to create a poem.  We made a timeline of the “teachers” in our lives and then wrote about one we left out.  Sometimes we just wrote randomly whatever came to mind and sometimes we answered a question like “What mountain do you need to come down from?”

We shared our writing and learned how our words touched the others.  We were gentle and supportive and we listened.  Some words painted pictures, some phrases sang a song and some stories made us laugh.  We wrote about our pasts (how do you not?), our nows, our dreams and our fears.

We worked hard, we ate well, and we became friends.

We savored a weekend of writing in the mountains.

Published in: on November 29, 2011 at 5:23 pm  Comments (8)  
Tags: , , , , , ,