12: Rummage Sales are Fantastic!

I love rummage sales, flea markets, thrift stores, yard sales, whatever you call them, I LOVE THEM! I was raised on hand-me-down clothes, so I already know that you buy something used, take it home and wash it – presto! New clothes (to me!). So, I love to take a day on the weekend, when I have time, and go to a sale.  I find such wonderful things there, because a rummage sale is NOT like going retail shopping, which is actually WAY down the list for preference.

First, retail stores are WAY more expensive. Second, when the fashions change (and they change FAR too frequently for me), the retail stores always remove all the other choices, so all that is left is whatever is hot off the press. A lot of times I do not LIKE whatever is hot off the press, and lots of times, that is all that there is on the racks to buy! No fair! And eveything is always in whatever limited colors are considered fashionable for this season – YUCK! When I go to a rummage sale, there are fashions from every period in the last forty years or so, plus all the colors ever invented, so there is SURE to be something I want to buy!

PLUS, and here is the best thing of all, rummage sales are CHEAP!! Whee, whoop-te-doo, hallelujah, CHEAP! I can actually afford to purchase three or maybe even six complete outfits, where at the retail level I might only be able to afford ONE lousy blouse. You can see why I love them so much, plus, there is the thrill of the hunt. At a rummage sale, you must sort through a lot of things to find the treasures, and treasures there certainly are! I have found lovely shoes, even brand new ones never worn, for a dollar or two. And there are exotic belts to complement just that special outfit, or a lovely scarf that will match perfectly with that patterned suit, or perhaps a long, flowing skirt that I can pair up with a blouse I already have….such fun! It is like being a detective, there are so many discoveries to make!

So, the only thing that makes going to a rummage sale more fun is going with a friend or two, or three – the more the merrier!

11: Fur and finances

EVERYTHING costs money, dad gum it, ding dong dag nab it. It would be really nice if some of the things in life did not come with a price tag, but, there it is.  Even my adoring fur children cost me money. First, for food and kitty litter. Kitty food is NOT cheap. And they might enjoy occasional treats and snacks of people food, but they know what is REAL kitty kibble, and woe betide the cat mom who lets the kibble run out. Definite parent failure. And they are not shy about getting vocal about it – MEOW, mom, where is the kibble??? And let’s not even DISCUSS the kitty litter – that is just nasty. And usually when somebody really needs to go number two, is when I am at the sink (which is right over the kitty potty) trying to get ready for work. WHY?? It will make your eyes water, it is so bad. And it does not help much to hold your nose!

Then, there are the doctor visits. Kitten shots, neutering or spaying, those are not cheap, either. And a yearly checkup and rabies booster shot, not to mention any other problems in-between. Money, money, money. The cats would rather I forget about the vet visits, but I am a careful kitty mom, and I know they might not like it, but I want to keep them healthy. So, vet visits, too!

Finally comes the damages. You would think a cat that sleeps twenty hours out of twenty-four, every day, could not POSSIBLY get into trouble during the four measly hours they are awake. You would be wrong. I have found cats sitting on top of the referigerator. Gazing calmly down at me, wondering what I am upset about. I have found them sitting on the top shelf of my clothes closet – having OBVIOUSLY used my nice, clean clothes as a claw ladder to climb up there, gazing placidly down at me, wondering what all the fuss is about. I have even lost one of them for hours, only to open a cupboard door and here comes a lazy, stretching, fresh-from-a-nice-quiet-nap kitty (who thoroughly explored the contents of the cupboard before falling asleep in there, of course).

And things that go missing! Whenever you move a piece of furniture when cleaning in the apartment, you will find (pushed to full kitty arm length) any number of hidden treasures: pens, pencils, markers, small packages of formerly important things (medicines, too), paper clips, coins, laundry tokens, bottle lids and caps, q-tips, rubber bands, tubes of lipstick, acorns, peanuts, paper clips, keys, hair clips, various dried-beyond-recognition things (grapes, etc.) and, possibly, one or two actual kitty toys.

All in all, a fur child is not quite as expensive as a real child, but they are not cheap, by any means. It is a good thing I love all of them dearly!

10 Lust

Lust is a word that signifies desperate, whole-mind-and-body desire to possess, whether that be another person, or a piece of chocolate cake.  Most of the time that word refers to another person, but not always. I think that lust is most interesting when it does NOT apply to another person, but instead, to other things. There is so much that is revealed by a person’s lusts about their character.

I lust for spare time to read good books, entertaining books, educational books, books of all sorts. Now that lust tells you some things about me. It tells you that I enjoy quiet past times, and that I like learning new things.  I also lust for sweets- of any sort. That tells you about another facet of my personality and character, too, things like pleasure and indulgence. I lust for shopping (even when I need nothing I am shopping for, unfortunately). I am not particularly proud about what that lust speaks about my personality and character – but, hey, there it is.  I lust for travel to new places to see new things about the glorious world we live on and in. That also says some things about me – adventurous and exploring sorts of things.

Lastly I lust for happiness for not only me, but for the people I care about. I want them all to have good lives, not necessarily trouble-free, but good lives. Happy lives. That lust is the one I am proudest of of all of my desires. I want the important people in my life to share a joy for living. And, to what extent I can possibly arrange, I work to that end!

9 Justice

You know, I just do not believe that the criminal justice system in America is so flawed that it is beyond recovery. No justice system in ANY country is flawless, but the system in America tries very hard to be sure that only the truly guilty are convicted. In fact, I believe the system is weighted a little too heavily in favor of the accused, and not enough in favor of the victims. However, I don’t want innocent people paying for crimes they did not commit, either.

The same thing holds true for most of America’s other ills. There are a lot of people on government assistance who should not be getting it. And government assistance should ALWAYS be a temporary thing. Even disabled people can do some useful work, it is a matter of discovering what sort, and getting in a program what can provide an opportunity. Only truly incapacited people (and they do exist) should be on permanent government assistance. However, there are far too many people who are getting help who are perfectly capable of working. And that matter of passing a random drug test to qualify for assistance? It IS free money, and there should be some strings that go along with qualifying for it. If the recipient is offended at having to prove they are not taking illicit and illegal drugs, they should get a paying job, where they can do with the money they are paid as they choose and see fit. When it is the money you earn, no one can say how you spend it. When you are taking other peope’s money, they CAN say how and what you can do with it. Food stamps have always had strings – there are certain sorts of foods you cannot get using them, like tobacco and alcohol. What is wrong with the same sort of restrictions on other government assistance? NOTHING. That is FAIR, not flawed.

And last but  not least is America’s government. I will be the first to claim that the system is flawed. Whenever people are enabled to vote themselves a pay raise, that is asking for trouble in a big way. Congress must revoke all of the special priviliges they have voted for themselves, and begin to rejoin the public, and the public programs they pass for the rest of us to live with. NOBODY should have such a retirement system, and it must go. They have to join the same programs the rest of us have, and no exemptions whatsoever. PLUS, they HAVE to be limited to two terms maximum. If it is good enough to limit the president to two terms, it is good enough to limit the congress people to the same restriction.

That should prevent career politicians. It WILL encourage other citizens to serve, and perhaps return this country to some common sense, unlike what we have now.

8 Weekends

I know that the Bible states that “six days shall you labor and rest to honor me on the seventh,” but I am SOOOO grateful that our modern culture gives us TWO days, the weekend, to relax, instead of just one day. I LIVE for the weekends. Mondays are dreadful days, Tuesdays see a little life draining back into the corpse, Wednesdays are “hump” days, where you cross the mountaintop towards the weekend, Thursdays are pretty OK, and Fridays are super-duper wonderful-fantastic. Saturdays and Sundays are heavenly, even if I do nothing. ESPECIALLY if I do nothing!

Some of my best times ever were on the weekends. Camping trips, concerts, theme park visits, other special, once-in-a lifetime events all happened on the weekend. Those are the times when your soul is rejuvenated and energized and made whole once again: only to face another humdrum week of work. Work truly IS a four-letter word, in all that implies. I know I have to work, because I was not born independently wealthy, and I have to earn my living, or I will be a bum, which was never my life’s goal for an occupation. However, the vacations from work, like the magical weekends, are pretty special times for me, and for nearly everyone else that I know. Still, if every day was a weekend, then they would no longer be special, so I guess I will just wait impatiently for the next one.

7 Shoot ’em Up Movies

I hate “action” films. Too many people get killed. Why would I want to watch that for entertainment? If I am wanting to be entertained, I want something light and amusing – a romantic  comedy, or just a comedy, would be fine. Why do I want to watch blood and guts flying all over? I am not totally against somebody dying in the movie, mind you, but violence for the sake of violence is just not on.

For this same reason, I generally dislike teen-age slasher and horror films of that sort. They are almost comedies, though, really, they are so predictable. NO, don’t go outside the house into the fog in your nightgown, little sexy teenaged, blonde girl!! You ain’t gonna make it! NO, don’t check out that noise in the basement! NO, don’t double-check to be sure they are really dead! Don’t answer the phone, either! So predictable. I do understand how the Scary Movie series got going – they make fun of the utterly predictable plot lines of the “real” scary movies. The funniest horror movies I have ever seen were the Exorcist with Linda Blair and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It is hard to laugh in a movie theater filled with other people who are squealing with fright and freaking out. I had to smother my snickers behind my hands.

Actually, I go to the movie theater for the buttered popcorn – such a sinful indulgence. That stuff must have a million calories, and it is loaded with salt into the bargain. SOOOO good. And their candy is outrageously priced, but at least it does come in the large-sized box.  Sorry for getting distracted by movie junk food. I could use a giant-sized box of that buttered popcorn right about NOW.

I think all action films should end with the bad guys getting killed in the most awful way possible, like in the OLD days when the good guys always won. I HATE a movie where the bad guys get away with it. Makes me feel cheated, somehow. I want the bad dudes to get what they deserve, not retire and live out their lives in luxury on some island where there is no extradition. With comedies, that is seldom a problem, or else the bad guys are so lovable, you don’t really mind if they get away with whatever silly crime they committed!

6 Yesterday, today, tomorrow

My yesterdays are dead and gone except for my memories. Some of those are sweet, and some of those are bitter. I choose to learn from the bitter ones, and cherish fondly the sweet ones. What else can you do with memories besides learn from the not-so-good ones, and remember the good ones?

My today is FAR too busy with demands from work and home. I am not someone who has learned how to settle and relax, and that is a goal that I work towards each and every busy, overcommitted, exhausting day. Who wants to live their life being too busy to relax? That was NEVER my goal for living, and I am actively seeking the remedy to overcommitment. The problem is that most of the business is patently my own fault. I am learning to slow down and enjoy the simple things. Really. I am, I swear.

My tomorrows are filled with explorations and travel to see new places and things. I want to have time to spend with a good book, stretched out beside the pool, and time to walk arouond the markets, “just looking.” That is relaxation for me, seeing the sights, enjoying a walk, reading a good book with a warm and purring kitty person comfortably settled in my lap, watching a movie with popcorn and a cup of hot chocolate milk. YUM. Maybe that would be an excellent “practice” idea for this very evening!

5 Sleeping buddies

I am a cat mom. I have four fur children. Three girls and a boy. Whenever I get ready to catch a nap on a lazy weekend, I have at least one sleeping buddy (not including my husband). Fez, my champagne-colored little girl, really prefers to nap settled on my chest and belly, where she can recieve lazy strokes down her back, purring all the time. Sugar Daddy, our sweet man kitty person, likes to settle down beside you, with his back up against your warmth. Medina, the calico athelete of the family, has one spot on the bed she prefers. This spot happens to be at the end of the bed, between my feet. Souk, when she deigns to accompany us in a nap, does not want to be too close – she will settle on whatever part of the bed is furtherest from me and any other sleeping buddies. That means that if my husband wants to nap, too, there is precious little room on the bed left for him, usually, unless I come to join him in a nap, in which case there is precious little room left on the bed for ME.

It does not do any good choosing to nap on the sofa, either, because you will soon find yourself festooned with sleeping buddies there, too. Even chooing to nap on the thick and cushy rug on the living room floor is not safe. Where ever you choose to settle down and relax, before long a purring kitty person will come and join you for your naptime. I think this might have something to do with the fact that cats genetically sleep far more hours than people do in the first place, so they are always ready for a nap when you are.

If is kind of nice to have a nice warm fur person cuddled up with you for a nap. Think I could use a nap right about now. Wonder who will join me this time?

4 French keyboqrds

?y School in ?orocco uses French keyboqrds on its co,puters: Every ti,e I get reqdy to use q co,puter; there is this co,plicqted rigq,qrole I hqve to go through in order to set up the keyboqrd to type using English configurqtions:

This is an extremely annoying situation for someone who was trained using a qwerty keyboard. And it is a problem that occurs each and every time I try to use a school computer. Generally, it is only a minor annoyance that takes some time for me to change the system settings so that I can type properly, based on how I learned to type. However, it does take this extra time, each and every time. This might explain why I prefer to complete my work on my personal laptop whenever possible. It is already set up for my personal preferences, which includes the qwerty keyboard configuration.

Such a pain. But then, I leave the computers I have worked on set up for the qwerty keyboard, so anyone who comes after me gets the American keyboard setup, which no doubt annoys them every bit as much as the French keyboard annoys me. And causes them time and trouble to re-set up for French. So, I guess we are even.

3 Many names

There are many names I call myself. No, not stupid, although I DO call myself that fairly often: I mean job titles like mom, wife, teacher and student. I also call myself names like artist, motorcycle rider, jeweler, horseback rider, cat mom, cook, chocolate consumer (yum) and sleepyhead. Doughnut lover, Earl Grey hot tea drinker (with cream, not lemon) and cinnamon toast baker are also among my descriptive names. I am book reader, husband back scratcher, and mom advice giver.

A montage of roles, all adding up to one slightly eccentric person who still enjoys living at my advanced age. There are many names you probably call yourself, too – are you happy with most of them? I am pretty satisfied with most of my own name labels, and the names that others call me are their own concern. Much less important than the names I claim for myself.

I see places inside me that no other person sees. Those are not always places I share with others, and those are not always names I call aloud. Some names are just for me, and perhaps those names are the most special ones of all.