Blog Entries, My Life

Don’t Overthink

I often spend several minutes hours fretting about what to write in my blog. I don’t normally just sit and note what comes to mind when the thoughts arrive. Today, I decided to give it a go and let my thoughts take me where they want to go.

I was looking for some fun things to post on my Facebook page this morning. I keep Facebook strictly light, airy, and totally non-controversial on purpose. I use a lot of self-deprecating humor, humor about getting older, problems with insomnia where I am in a constant battle with my overactive brain, and funny things I observe on a daily basis. It is humor that doesn’t hurt anyone and doesn’t cause anyone to rise up and challenge my thoughts. There is way too much of that kind of thing on the Internet, anyway.

For example, this morning, I posted this:

I love the look on the faces of people who own cats when they think cats are a majestic self-sufficient wonder of nature that doesn’t need humans for anything and suddenly they realize that Fluffy Cat is a total dingus who can’t drink water properly.

https://www.facebook.com/KayFour55
Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

It is cute, slightly humourous and even a cat lover (which I am) can remember that defining moment in their relationship with their beloved pet.

This one is an example of my endless insomnia jokes:

Me: No insomnia tonight! Going right to sleep!
Brain: Dr. Pepper is actually BBQ Sprite.
Me: …

And the ever-popular self-deprecating humor:

What was I like in high school? You know that guy who drove a Corvette and dated all the cheerleaders? I am the reason he passed Geometry and English.

My Facebook has only 41 friends and believe it or not, these are actual REAL friends. With four exceptions, they are people I have met in person and even interact with on a regular basis in other places besides Facebook. Like at Congregation Meetings, restaurants, hanging over the back fence in a marathon gossip session, or visiting when I go on vacation.

The three exceptions are:

  • The sister of a man that I collaborated with online to write a textbook for firefighters. He and I were ghostwriters, so you won’t see my name in print anywhere.
  • A man I worked for as a virtual assistant, fifteen years ago, but I have never met in person
  • A granddaughter who recently cropped up as the love-child between my son and a girl he knew in high school. She doesn’t seem very interested in getting to know a grandmother she never met and doesn’t answer emails, texts, or even respond if I happen to post something on her Facebook page. Quite possibly, she is shy or maybe she has no sense of humor.
  • A distant relative who lives in Australia.

I don’t use Facebook as a place to validate myself as a human. I don’t require thousands of friends and followers to prove that I am loved. The people on my Facebook are real friends and family… that kind I would call if I need bail money.

I don’t use Facebook as a platform to air my views. I don’t deliberately provoke arguments and disagreements hoping I will get more likes or thumbs-up. Point of fact, if someone posts a comment that is designed to be click-bait, I simply delete it.

Everybody has an opinion and I am not different, but I will not tell anyone who reads my posts what they are.

Blog Entries, My Life

Defining Moment

We all have those moments in life where we can remember exactly what we were doing at a given instant. For example, we remember where we were when Kennedy was assassinated, where we watched the first men walking on the moon, and what we were doing when the twin towers fell.

These are moments that change our thinking. They change our perception of the world around us.

Photo by Othmar Ortner on Unsplash

I sat with my Dad and my brother in front of the black and white TV to watch Neil Armstrong take his first steps on the moon’s surface. We were allowed to stay up late that night to watch history being made.

When the planes hit the twin towers, I was at home, not having to work that day. My mother called me and told me that it was like the world just ended. I turned on the TV in time to watch the second plane hit the tower and stayed glued to the TV screen for the rest of the day.

I actually saw the Challenger explode in real-time, looking up at the sky in the parking lot of Bennigan’s in Orange Park, Florida. I had seen many launches, living in Florida, but that was the first time I saw one EXPLODE. I instantly burst into tears and stood in the parking lot for several minutes absorbing the impact of the event, tears steadily streaming down my face. I knew before the commentators on TV told us that Challenger was gone.

Defining moments.

The day I realized that the universe is bigger and there is much more going on than I previously thought was a day in college in a botany class. The professor brought in a stereoscope for us to play with. She put a daisy on the plate and let us look at the wonders. It was an ordinary daisy, with white petals and a yellow center. I don’t remember the magnification the professor had the stereoscope set on, but when I looked in the eyepieces, I saw a miniature world that I didn’t know existed.

Photo by Freya Ingva on Unsplash

My brain told me that the fuzzy stuff in the flower’s center was simple little stalks or spikes that were covered in pollen. I had no clue that on top of each of the stalks was a tiny daisy. Duplicates of the parent plant. I could see the pollen grains, but the small flowers were a total surprise. A shock wave of understanding that I would never forget.

That moment, the universe shifted and I knew there was so much more going on than I could have ever imagined. Those miniature flowers expanded my world far beyond the limits of my previous thought processes. I physically felt my brain shift its direction about 60 or 80 degrees.

I realized that God was real if He could create something so perfect as a thousand tiny flowers inside a larger flower. I realized that human eyes were extremely limited and I needed to observe the world with a stereoscope of understanding. I knew that I had many more things to learn and I was not the self-professed genius I fancied myself being.

The world became much larger, which meant my brain got so much smaller and I had to do something about that.

Blog Entries, My Life

Imagination Confession

Maybe Willy Wonka had the right idea: “Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination.” I hear of people who are lost in a world of loneliness and despair because of the Covid-19 restrictions. Just maybe Willy had the solution. Create your own paradise in your imagination. There are no limits inside your head. Just go there!

In my head, I can find true love, adventure, excitement, and maybe even a chocolate factory. In my life I have imagined myself in many places doing many things. I have traveled to the moon as an astronaut, been the wife of a South American dictator, a 1990’s rock star, a ballet dancer, best friends with Queen Elizabeth, on an African safari with Bear Grylls, on a boat that circumnavigated Antarctica, and at dinner with Neil deGrasse Tyson. You get the idea.

I have imagined situations, delicious meals, epic champagne, euphoric conversations, heroic deeds and heroic rescues. Maybe Walter Mitty is a better analogy.

This has been a pattern for my entire life. I remember imagining being a telephone operator when I was just five or six and talking to Captain Kangaroo on the phone. I remember being a Monkee’s fan when I was barely a teenager who was found absolutely fascinating by Peter Tork. I remember being Mr. Spock’s best girl… the one who finally broke through his stoic exterior when I was a little bit older teen ager. I imagined our local mall being the shopping area of a city-sized space station orbiting earth. When I am driving, I am in the car with the Top Gear guys, showing them the sights in my fair city.

As I have gotten older, I still live in these worlds created in my head. Many have become stories that I will never get published, but will likely surprise my children after I am gone if they take the time to read through my google drive. “Mom did THAT????”

Because of my imagination, I have lived through some of the most traumatic events in my life: losing 3 babies in infancy, house being foreclosed on, divorced from a man who was worthless, divorce proceedings where I got the shit beat out of me in a courtroom, 3 evictions, getting fired from jobs twice, losing my best friend/younger brother to HIV, traumatic car wreck, tragic love affair with another worthless man, and now, confined to my home by the threat of a deadly virus. Home is my haven when I can create yet another world. A coping mechanism.

Don’t worry about me. I have a firm foot in reality. Life doesn’t slip by me because I can’t see what is really in front of me. I get things done that must be done and when I am finished with the necessary responsibilities of adulthood, I can slip into the latest world I have created, which is, I must say, far better than anything I see on TV.

Today, I have a backstage pass to a BTS concert.

Blog Entries

Love/Hate Relationship with My Cell Phone Carrier

My 91 year old mother lives in an assisted living facility in Florida. Recently, every time I tried to call her, her phone would go straight to voice mail. After about two weeks she called me to tell me that her phone won’t hold a charge for more than a few minutes. Understandable because the phone is something like 7 years old.

So, being a good daughter who has paid for her cell service for the last 20 years, I decided to upgrade her current phone to one that would hold a charge.

The criteria was very simple. It had to be compatible with wireless charging, because a wireless charging pad seems a better solution for her than having to remember to plug a phone in, and not cost a lot of money. She only uses the phone for phone calls. She doesn’t check email, or text. Just phone calls. She doesn’t NEED a smart phone, but a flip phone isn’t wireless charging compatible.

Photo by Neil Soni on Unsplash

My cell phone carrier that I have used for the past 20 years is not, as it happens, very helpful unless I want to purchase the latest, best, brightest and most colorful smart phone. I sent my son to the store to try to pick a phone on the spot and take it to his grandmother since they live in the same city. He was reluctant to do this because of her overall demanding nature and her tendency to lay on heavy guilt trips… which work on him and irritates him when it does. However, I laid a quilt trip on him and he agreed to take on the mission.

But, a phone that matches my current criteria was not available at the store, so after another phone conversation with my son, I told him I would get one online, send it to his house and then he could make sure it was set up properly, gather his wireless charging pad and take the items to her.

The first person I chatted with online got the shipping address incorrect, so I contacted the carrier again and that address was changed to the correct one. But that time, I couldn’t get the credit card info to go through. I called to talk to a human being and got everything set up for the new phone to be sent to my son, but the call dropped and Will (The CS I was talking to) didn’t save any of the info, so I had to start over.

Ditto the same scenario with Cameron.

Finally, my son, who was going to pay for the activation fee because he felt sorry for me for having taken care of my mother’s cell phone for 20 years, sent the money directly to my bank, so I could use my debit card to pay for the freaking phone.

By this time, 4 hours have gone by while I tried to get a preowned iPhone XR, 64 GB in Blue to be sent to my son’s house. I was frustrated, irritated, exhausted and angry. While on the phone with my son, I said, “Jingjah!,” loudly, which is Korean for “Seriously!!!” My son asked, “Did you just swear at me in Korean?” I replied, “Yes, I did.” No English swear word seemed to fill the bill at that point.

The 3rd CS I talked to at the cell phone carrier actually was competent enough to handle my request which I thought initially should be a simple one. Eureka! An iPhone XR 64 GB in blue is on it’s way to my son’s house. Of course the delivery truck could be hit with a meteor or the package be stolen from his front porch. I am hopeful that 4 hours of dealing with a cell phone carrier has netted us a phone for my mother.

Now we wait.

Blog Entries, Blog List

Random Facts

My brain is full of useless information that is sometimes actually interesting to others. However, relating some of these facts during a party makes me a total bore (read know-it-all). I am NOT a know-it-all, and really don’t want to be accused of that, so I keep this stuff to myself. Well, not entirely.

Be prepared to be inundated with totally interesting but useless information that will make you, too, a know-it-all at parties.

Dance Music Can Discourage Mosquitos From Biting You

Photo by Syed Ali on Unsplash

According to Acta Topica, The electronic song “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites,” by Skrillrex will inhibit sexual activity preventing the dengue vector Aedes aegypti from mating by disrupting the normal low frequency sounds they associate with mating. Good news, that! Turn it up!

Those Metal Studs on Your Jeans Actually Have a Name AND Serve A Purpose

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Check out your favorite jeans and you will see those cute metal rivets (their actual name). According to Levi Strauss & Co these rivets add extra support to the fabric and help prevent the pockets from ripping. In 1873, Levi Strauss & Co. and Jacob Davis received U.S. Patent No. 139,121 for Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings. Thank you, guys! Well done.

The Collective Noun for Geese is Gaggle

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Everyone knows the collective noun for a group of geese is a gaggle. Did you know that a group of hippos is “Bloat?” Also, a group of penguins is a “tuxedo,” a group of bats is a “cauldron,” and a group of owls is a “parliament.” Do you know what doesn’t have a collective noun? Octopuses.

Last and certainly least:

A “Jiffy” is About One Trillionth of a Second

Photo by Veri Ivanova on Unsplash

According to Dictionary.com, in the late 18th or early 19th centuries, scientist Gilbert Newton Lewis defined a jiffy as the amount of time it takes light to travel one centimeter in a vacuum, about 33.4 picoseconds. That’s one trillionth of a second. Quite the jiffy.

Blog Entries, retirement

Did You Talk to My Mother?

My elderly mother is in an assisted living facility in Florida. She has a staff of people who do her laundry, clean her room, help her in and out of bed, help her get dressed, help her shower, take her in a wheel-chair to the dining room 3 times a day for meals, bring her any snack she wants any time she wants it, a full time nursing staff and a doctor on call 24/7. Still she calls me daily to ask, when are you moving to Florida?

She wants me to take over all of the duties of her staff. And she will not pay me for my services. Taking care of woman in her nineties would put me in the grave long before her.

I have told her repeatedly that I am NOT moving to Florida. (I live in Virginia where the weather is infinitely better and never as hot for as long as it is in the Sunshine State). I have explained that I will NOT sell my house, after evicting my two roommates. I will NOT evict my roommates. I will not let them live in my house and move to Florida, anyway. I don’t know how to make my stand any clearer. I will visit her in Florida a couple times a year, but I will NOT move there permanently. Stop asking me, when?

So, why my current rant?

I get regular calls and texts from people requesting I sell my house and they would love to represent me in the process (thereby getting a huge commission.) When I answered my phone this morning and John asked me if I wanted to sell my house to him, I asked him if he had talked to my mother. From his stunned reaction and loud “NO!!!!” I can’t tell if he talked to her or not. “No, of course I didn’t talk to her. I don’t even know your mother. Why would I talk to her?” I think the man protests too much (to paraphrase Shakespeare.)

Never mind. My answer is still NO!!!!!!

Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash
Blog Entries, retirement, Writing

Distracted Blogging

I get distracted very easily. Every shiny thing that comes my way captures my attention. For example, a pop-up on my PC, a notification on my watch, a text message from an advertiser.

I have a ton of distracting things on my desk like a calendar with pretty pictures, a wooden doll, a cobalt glass elephant, an iron wood duck, a magnifying glass, ever changing pictures on my PC background, journals for various reasons.

The journals are each specific to a task:

  • One for random thoughts
  • One for Bible Verses that catch my eye
  • One for Korean words and phrases to increase my knowledge of the language that I currently learning to speak
  • An old Journal that is filled with random lists

Getting distracted by a journal is never a problem, however. I sometimes find myself writing pages and pages of interesting thoughts.

But, because I am retired, what am I distracting myself from? Boredom? Vacuuming the carpets? Folding the clean laundry? Unloading the dishwasher? Are these tasks really so relevant that they must be completed on a particular timetable?

You would think that with all of these fascinating task to complete that I would never be bored and always have something to blog about. Today, the air is cool and fresh, the flowers of spring are just starting to bloom, the sky is dotted with fluffy clouds. Maybe I need to forget everything and just go outside and let the wind play with my hair.

Photo by Johnny McClung on Unsplash
Blog Entries, Opinion

Current Obsession: K-Drama

I have recently fell in love with Korean Dramas. It is super-easy to find them on streaming services like Netflix, Prime, and Apple TV. I have gone as far as paying for a subscription to Rakuten Viki, an Asian Streaming service which features movies and TV series from many different Asian Countries.

The first K-Drama I watched was Descendants of the Sun about a Korean Doctor who falls in love with a Special Forces Soldier. They have a series of false starts to their romance while she wrestled with her philosophy of saving all lives as opposed to his philosophy of killing the bad guys to save good guys, particularly if the person he was rescuing was a child, an elderly person or a beautiful woman. After the 16 episode series was finished, I was totally hooked on the genre.

A lot a people don’t like watching foreign films or TV series because they aren’t in English. In the case of K-Dramas, they normally have English subtitles, which is no hardship for me to read while watching the show. O prefer watching subtitles to films dubbed in English. The first time I encountered subtitles was while watching the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Photo by Kseniya Petukhova on Unsplash

I have watched many, many K-Dramas to date and this is a list of some of my favorites.

  • Guardian: the Great and Lonely God
  • Tale of the Nine-Tailed
  • The King: The Eternal Monarch
  • Navilerra
  • Vagabond
  • Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha
  • Legend of the Blue Sea
  • Dr. Romantic
  • Oh, My Venus
  • The Kings Affection

In all of these stores, be prepared to cry a lot. They are very emotion but most have happy endings, so they make it worth watching. Sometimes, the happy ending doesn’t occur until the last seconds of the story. There is plenty of action, edge-of-your-seat situations, and new storylines not found in American TV Series’.

American TV series’ tend to be formulaic to the point there are few surprises. The standing ideas for TV Execs seems to be, if this works, let’s to the same thing again, except change the names of the characters. (In my humble opinion)

Also the K-Dramas have much stricter rules about what can be shown on the small screen. The romances are sweet and lovely and not racy, there is not a lot of foul language, no nudity, no smoking (smoking is implied, but not shown), and even violence is portrayed in a different way. Drinking alcohol is not restricted in K-Dramas. All of this is quite refreshing to see. I know that will turn off a lot of viewers, but I watch TV to see interesting stories and to be entertained with something different than just another American Sitcom. If you have never watched a K-Drama, I recommend you start, today!

Photo by Samia Liamani on Unsplash
Blog Entries, Blog List, Writing

My Life in a List

I make a lot of lists. I make lists to tell me where my lists are.

  • To-do lists
  • Password lists
  • Grocery lists
  • Things I want to buy other than groceries

The list goes on and on. (See what I did there?)

Photo by WanderLabs on Unsplash

This list is an update of my list so far. I do this about once a year and then re-read it later. Here goes:

  • I am now fully retired and not working for the man any longer. Just me and my retirement, plus income from 2 room-mates.
  • There is no way I am going to sell my house and move to parts-unknown because I could make a profit. It would not be enough for me to live out the rest of my life, so I will stay in my humble home and get my mortgage paid down and then live here for just the cost of insurance and taxes.
  • I sold my car and have found that to be liberating in the extreme. I am without a car payment, car insurance payments, maintenance costs. I can have my groceries delivers and Amazon is my favorite place to shop. If I have to leave my house, I have options: Friends or Uber.
  • My brother who lived with me for the better part of 12 years died 2 years ago, just after the COVID-19 lockdown. But, I have two roommates now and we three get on famously. They are 2 ladies who are near to my age and we share history and philosophy.
  • I have a good friend who mows my grass and takes care of any household maintenance issue that crop up.
  • I have fallen in love with K-Dramas and K-Pop music. Who knew that would happen at my age. But, realistically, the BTS boys– Bangtan Sonyeondan — can SING. They are also known as the Bangtan Boys or Bangtan Boyscouts.
  • Before I make any list, THIS:
Photo by Rahul Bhogal on Unsplash
Blast From the Past, Blog Entries, Writing

Not Another Kitty Litter Post!

Talking to one of my kids on the phone:

Me: You know there was a time when there was no kitty litter. Everyone had to use shredded up newspaper in a carboard box. No fancy plastic kitty litter boxes, either. Tin foil wrapped over a box. And shredded newspaper.

Kid: Wow. And I bet you had to walk to school in ten feet of snow. Uphill. Both ways.

Me: Actually, I grew up in Florida. Only five feet of snow… and hurricanes. I had to walk to school during hurricanes in ten feet of raging water.

Kid: Uphill?

Me: Yeah. Both ways. You should try that. Walking uphill when there is a torrent coming down the hill.

Kid: What’s that got to do with kitty litter? I told you I needed to buy kitty litter and you start telling me about the good old days.

Me: It was the ultimate in recycling. People got rid of old newspapers at the same time as they filled their litter box. That was before kitty litter was invented.

Kid: I think kitty litter was discovered, not invented.

Me: Discovered? There were prospectors panning for kitty litter in California rivers?

Kid: That isn’t what I meant.

Me: Kitty litter was invented. Back in 1948 by Ed Lowe. He is famous for it. I mean the only thing noteworthy the guy ever did was inventing kitty litter. He invented the name “Kitty Litter” and it has stuck. He was worth about a half billion dollars when he died.

Kid: How do you know this stuff?

Me: I must have read it somewhere.

Kid: Well, as I said earlier, I am hanging up so I can go to the store to buy some kitty litter.

Me: But, now you know more about kitty litter than anyone else.

Kid: Except for you. It was a question on Jeopardy, wasn’t it?

Me: In the Category of Kitty Litter, Alex, for a thousand dollars…

Kid: No, that would be in the category of stuff only KayFour knows for a thousand dollars.

Me: You got me.

Kid: And to add insult to injury, you are going to blog about this.

Me: I hadn’t thought of it… until NOW.

Kid: Just don’t mention my name.

Photo by Litter Robot on Unsplash