Stop Complaining


Stop Complaining 

Stop Complaining 

My New Year’s Resolution is to start writing and stop complaining, in other words, stop complaining about not writing and start. That was sixty-five days ago, I have not done either, which leaves me on the brink of becoming a statistic, joining the  92% of people making resolutions who fail to keep them, or since we are in the first week of March, part of the 80% who give up. Sounds grim.

But let’s think this through, if there are 365 days in a year and we are sixty-five days into the year that leaves 300 days to turn things around, so too early to give up.  Right?

On the up side, although I have done no writing, zero, zip, zilch, twenty-one days have passed and I am not complaining about it, well at least not aloud.

Twenty-one days is considered a benchmark in establishing a habit, good or bad.

Sounds like progress, but maybe not really, the complaints stay in my head, and find visual outlets, strong ones.

For example, when my husband (aka Mr. Wonderful) reminded me for the third time to return a friend’s phone call; rather than my ranting he had already reminded me several times, and that I had NOT forgotten but plan to do it later; I smiled and said, “Thanks for the reminder,” then envisioned stuffing ten indoor snowballs in his mouth.

Not the best outcome, but I am not complaining, well not aloud.

Will Bowen author of “A Complaint Free World” deviates from traditional views about complaining and touts this popular American pastime as being helpful. I agree but have failed to convince Mr. Wonderful complaining has value.

Bowen says the first step to a complaint free world is to define complaining. The dictionary definition is “to express grief, pain and discontent,” his; a complaint is “an energetic statement focusing on a problem rather than the solution,” and if we stick to the facts, and remain neutral eliminating negative attitudes, we will engage in healthy communication.

So on Sunday when Mr. Wonderful questions, before noon, for the fifth time, if Ellen is coming on Saturday, I correct him without the “tude” and say, “remember we discussed going to the Funky Pelican for Happy Hour on Friday and the Bass Sports Store on Saturday, there is a free lecture on Fly Fishing. She is coming on Friday afternoon,”  feeling I am making progress and understand he has been distracted by the Daytona 500, and Phil Mickleson’s one point off the lead golf performance.

In his lectures, Bowen delivers a strong case that once engaged in discussion that focuses on the solution rather than the problem we will discover how we want the world to really be.

I like his point and realize we do not have to keep quiet about Donald Trump’s tweets nor resort to a strong visual, as Kathy Griffin did, what was she thinking.

The next morning Mr. Wonderful asks again if Ellen is coming on Saturday, I focus on the solution, not the problem and suggest we write her arrival on his calendar.

.  .  .  .  just saying



Hack Saw Happiness


 The Happiness Series

I am standing in the kitchen and Mr. Wonderful, my husband Bob, walks behind me headed for the garage.
“Can you get me the hack saw?” I ask.

“The hack saw?”

“Yes, that small saw with the black handle. Isn’t that what it’s called?”

“Why do you want a hack saw?”

I roll my eyes to heaven.

I have used the electric knife before and know the cord and blade are in the back of the silverware draw. However, it will be quicker if he brings the saw back with him when he is done doing whatever it was he was going to do in the garage.

Now he stands behind me breathing over my shoulder as I explain.

“If you saw this plastic container in half, I’ll be able to get the rest of the lotion out.”
The plastic bottle has been sitting upside down the past three days, and I have been sticking my pinky finger in the opening then applying lotion to my arms and legs.

Speechless at first, Mr. Wonderful says, “Lotion is on sale at Publix, I’ll go buy some.

“It’s not about the money.” It’s more like . . . . children in China have very dry skin, so eat your green beans. And this lotion has sun screen in it!”

“Okay, so you’re making a statement, you don’t want to be wasteful?”

“Sort of. Is recycling a good choice if a million gallons of water are used to clean the container.”

He interrupts, “Johnson’s Baby Magic  is a Bogo (buy one get one free) this week.”

“I feel better using the spatula to remove the dribs and drabs. See it practically fills this jar. It makes me happy.” I look at him and smile.

He smiles back. “Great. So you are on to a new kind of cause.”

“If I wanted a new  cause or to protest something, I’d refuse to show my license to have a mammogram?”

“Why do you need a license to have a mammogram?”

“Well, any picture identification. Some type of mammogram fraud. However, I cannot recognize my breasts now that they almost reach the floor. I do not argue.”

“Claudia, how many people would use a hack saw to get the last drop of lotion out of a bottle?”

I roll my eyes and say to Mr. Wonderful, “A bread knife really doesn’t work.”

. . . . just saying

Trump’s Sweetheart Deal


I tuned into the ninth Presidential debate late, listened until John Dickerson questioned Trump about his use of profanity, and when Jeb Bush whined, then professed love for his mother, turned the television off. It was not a debate, as in whole wheat flour vs unbleached flour is a healthy choice, but a headache.

As a grammar school teacher I had separated first grade students fighting over bad things said about their mothers. Back in those days each one was sent to stand in a corner. There was no reasoning they never met the women.

Trump defended his use of profanity  as “a way of emphasis.” The man does not smoke or drink, and with his classic no apology look implied; cursing, although okay, not presidential. If only he would do something about his hair I could forget about the fake tan.

John Dickerson labeled the shenanigans as “a race to the bottom.” Thankfully, Trump did not retort with, “Your mama wears combat boots.” He probably has not met Dickerson’s mom.

Sunday morning, according to Nielsen,  the debate was the highest rated with 15 million viewers. Analysis claim;

“Marco Rubio is the clear favorite among Republicans, while independents are largely divided between Trump, Kasich, and Rubio.

But get this;

“Donald Trump is the clear leader on values. Twenty-seven percent of Republicans and independents who watched the debate pick Trump as the candidate who most shares their values, with Ben Carson and Marco Rubio tied for second place, each with 16 percent. Rubio does better than Kasich among Republicans, while Kasich does better than Rubio among independents.”

Today I have been remembering the candidates standing in front of a pink and red CBS back drop, many wearing red ties. My headache became a migraine.

Trump says he is a businessman, not a politician. His goal is to win. When asked how to achieve winning, he say by consensus. He does use the pronoun we.

Obviously, Trump is making sweetheart deals and I am not entertained.

. . . . just saying









The Not Getting Younger Series/Understanding Nothing


Understanding Nothing

      The local newspaper, “The News Journal,” informs readers of the number of days left in the year and quotes a notable person on a daily basis. I usually start my day reviewing these tidbits of information. Somehow, the number of days to the year’s end surprises me. Although I should know without checking, since I always look the day before. The quotes vary from familiar and meaningful to humorous and ridiculous.

     On a recent Wednesday, when there were 247 days left in the year, the quote  was by Edward Dahlberg. Initially I was amused and thought he made sense, then perplexed but eventually annoyed.

     Since I am not getting any younger and easily confused, I gave it more thought and made a list of the possibilities.

“It takes a long time to understand nothing.”
By Edward Dahlberg

      • You forgot what you thought you knew, and now understood nothing
      • You never knew enough to understand nothing
      • You are now old enough to understand nothing

     Who was this man giving me a headache? I went online feeling stupid, and searched for an explanation. There was none, but learned Dahlberg, who is frequently quoted, was an accomplished author during the early nineteen hundreds. His words were too obscure to others.

     Getting no satisfaction I turned to the dictionary for a tangible meaning of nothing. Evidently nothing can be a noun, something that is nonexistent or a verb, as in a trivial action. Perhaps I needed more time to think about nothing and went back to doing the laundry. 

     I went to sleep that night ruminating about understanding the absence of meaning in everything.

     On the “246 day left in the year” I awoke smitten with myself, and feeling smarter than Mr. Dahlberg. However, because I was still not getting younger, made a list of other interpretations of the quote, “It takes a long time to understand nothing.”

• Understanding nothing is pointless
• There is nothing to understand
• Move on quickly once you understand nothing

. . . . just saying

PS: Another Dahlberg quote: “Every decision you make is a mistake”

Counting Jelly Beans 101 for Baby Boomers

CANDYLOGOsat“Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door. ” 
    Coco Chanel

The YouTube video “The Time You Have in Jelly Beans” has more than four million views and rightly so. The author, Zefrank 1, demonstrates visually how we spend time using jelly beans and the voice of Sad Cat Diary Guy explains the math. The message is effectively communicated, and the end poses provoking questions:

  • What are you doing with your time?
  • How much time do you have left?
  • What if you had half that amount?
  • What will you do with it?
  • What are you going to do today?

In order to answer the questions I did the math, you know multiplication, division and percentages, and it is complicated for Baby Boomers. The statistics are based on a life expectancy of 79 years or 28,835 jellybeans, minus 5,475 jelly beans for the formative years, leaving 23,360 jelly beans to divvy up among must do activities.  This is the breakdown. 

Activity                                   Jelly Beans                    Percentage of time

Sleeping                                  8,477                                      36%

Work                                        3,202                                     13%

TV Watching                            2,676                                     11%

Food, etc                                  1,635                                        6%

Chores                                       1,576                                       6%

Community Service                     720                                        3%

Attending others                           564                                       2%

Personal Care                                671                                       2%

These activities account for 83% of our time, leaving 3,839 beans to spend as we like. The message is clear; it is not a lot of jelly beans so spend them carefully.

Most Baby Boomers have about 5,110 jelly beans left; many are retired, so add the 13% previously allocated to work, to the 17% already designated to the area of do what you like, and life looks exciting, until you do the math.

It is not as difficult as the “New Math” of the 1980’s but it is tricky and there is a learning curve. Here is an example:

Retired, Dave has 5,110 jellybeans left, of which he plans to use 1533 for fun. He is invited to play pickle ball, and with the first serve falls, shatters his hip, and undergoes surgery. He now has a metal pin. How many jellybeans does Dave have remaining for leisure activities?

Please leave your answer in the comment section.

                                                                                          . . . . just saying 

You’ll enjoy this post,Ten Surprises Your Body Has in Store for You


Q is for Quagmire – The Alphabet Series

Aging & Attitude


New Thoughts on Words

We call them lose-lose situations, predicaments, or sorry plight. We feel squeezed in a trap; morass, swamp, or quicksand­­­­­­­­­. It is a quagmire. Quagmire is a noun meaning, “soft miry land that shakes or yields under foot, or complex or precarious position.” Both are difficult to get out of.

The joke about the Jewish Mother comes to mind. You know the one; A Mother buys her son two shirts. The next morning he comes to breakfast wearing one of them. The Mother says, “What, you don’t like the other shirt?” The son is in a quagmire, an emotional trap, and wonders how to get out.

As with all types of swamps, cranberry to quicksand, once immersed there are techniques to avoid drowning in quicksand, whether you are dealing with your mother or mud.

  1. Stay calm, panicking or wriggling around will only get you in deeper.
  2. Delay reacting while you think over the predicament.
  3. Slowly pull out one leg, and if the muck is only up to your knees, your best bet is to move slowly.

Now let us practice responding to the Jewish Mother’s question, “What, you don’t like the other  shirt?”

  1. Do not explain that you plan to wear the other shirt to the game on Saturday because it is a pastel color. Guaranteed, she will say, “So it’s not good enough to wear to the office. You’ll wear it when no one sees you, strangers.”
  2. Control negative body language, wait her out and let her keep the discussion going. She will continue with  something like, “Did you try it on? Does it fit? I can take it back.”
  3. This may be a good time to kiss her Good Morning, then respond with a question. For example, “How does this shirt look?” With any luck, she will say, “Perfect!” If her response is, “You look like your cousin Jonathan,” you could be in over your knees. Move slowly out the door saying you have an early office meeting.


                                                                             ….just saying

O is for Ordinary – The Alphabet Series

Aging & Attitude


New Thoughts on Words

“Honey, I’m home,” yells Mr. Wonderful* as he parades himself through the front door carrying a boxed Hamilton Beach toaster oven I requested he buy. I meet him in the kitchen as he continues saying, “You’re gonna love it,” his chest buffed out, ready to strut his feathers like he is a peacock.

“Great,” I respond as excited as he is, “Was it still on sale?”

“Yes, $37.99.” He answers and reaches for a sharp knife to cut through the cellophane tape.

“Wait!” I demand. “Don’t open it! You didn’t get the red one. It says black, see.”

I point to the bold lettering on the box.

Hamilton Beach Toaster Oven


He says, “What’s the difference? They didn’t have a red one. Black, red, it makes toast, heats rolls, melts cheese.”

She says, “Black is ordinary, dull, predictable. Black lacks distinction. Red adds, pizzazz, makes a statement.”

He says, “Who needs a statement? I want toast in the morning, ordinary, plain toast. I add cherry jelly if I need pizzazz. Dull and ordinary is just fine by me.”

She says, “Fine? As in average, common and mundane. I want better than fine. Red adds color, interest against the black granite. I’ll take it back, where’s the receipt?”

He says, “What difference does it make, nobody sees it. It’s a toaster.”

She says, “I see it. Now I’m a nobody?”

He says, “Claudia, that’s not what I meant, you’re being ridiculous, why can’t you ever be happy?”

She says, “So I’m a ridiculous unhappy nobody.”

He says, “I didn’t say that. Don’t put words in my mouth.”

She says, “It doesn’t matter what you said, what you meant was, STOP being a pain in MY butt and settle for ordinary.”

He says, “Geezzzzzzzzzz, What if it only came in black, you’d have to be happy with black.”

She says, “Now I should fake it, pretend I like humdrum black. Did you look for chrome? Chrome, at least chrome would be different.

He says, “You’re right. I’ll take it back. Why be ordinary? God forbid we’re ordinary. Whatever you want. If a red toaster oven makes you happy, I’m happy too. Yada, yada, yada”

….just saying

*Mr. Wonderful is my husband of 42 years.

P.S. You can read the history of the toaster at The Toaster Page.

High Definition

Aging & Attitude

My husband can never die. One of the many, many reasons is his ability to surf the TV channel guide. My television viewing is dependent on him. Just when I’ve remembered that Lifetime HD is 1137, it’s not. The local newspaper does not list High Definition channels but I have a dated program locator (aka guide), with several notations about changes, although not enough to entice me off the couch, into the study, and rifling through a file cabinet.

He’s still alive, sitting in his chair so I double-check, “Lifetime is 1124, right?”

“No, it’s number 1237. All HD channels have been regrouped in the 1200 range.”

“How would I know that?”

“It was in the newspaper, remember I told you.”


Bright House also mailed a flyer about Channel Lineup.”

“That was a TV Guide?”

He is a sweet man. Surely, I can figure Television viewing for myself.

Sunday I study the News Journal television guide, and with a highlighter make note of the day and time of my favorite programs and copy the information in a daily calendar. It does not work.

The shows I like are on at 9PM and later, The Closer, Mad Men, Men of a Certain Age, that lawyer show with Cathy Bates, not Andy or Jackie, you know, Harry’s Law. Typically that’s about the time we switch. I swap whatever I am doing for TV and he retires to the bedroom, saying, “Don’t you want to see such and such?”

“Yes! Thanks for reminding me, Mr. Wonderful.”

In the morning I phone Bright House and after pushing several prompts hear a voice say, “I’m Murray your customer service representative, how can I exceed your expectations?”

Now we are talking.

                                                              ….just saying

Ha Ha Baby Boomers

Aging & Attitude

Statistics show that as you age you laugh less. The elderly lose their sense of humor, no Shit Sherlock! What is there to laugh about?  We cannot see, cannot hear, and cannot remember.

A recent News Journal article informs us of the latest national disaster, sarcopinia, the wasting away of the elderly. Who needs a new word we cannot pronounce, and reminds us of things, we do not want to remember.  It is no surprise, the elderly feel depressed, and lose humor.

I heard that if you cannot get out of the car or off a chair, it is from muscle atrophy. So I started going to the gym, now have muscles and can get out of the car, couch or chair easily.  I just cannot straighten up once I am standing. I am stiff and cannot unbend.  I have termed the condition de-stiff-i-tiz-ing. It is not an official medical condition but most Baby Boomers suffer with it.

We were out to dinner, a table of ten, dear friends who shall remain nameless. After paying the bill, everyone stood to leave and a uniform moan ricocheted off the restaurant walls. A few of us were quick to laugh, covering the additional groans people spewed as they hung to the back of chairs, shook legs awake, and de-stiff-i-tized to reclaimed stature. There was no giggling.

Men actually laugh less and stop laughing sooner than woman, around fifty. (Mr. Wonderful sports a Grumpy tattoo, gotten on his fiftieth birthday.) That statistic may change once the numbers are in on Viagra, although after four hours a man could permanently lose all ability to chuckle.

The humiliation does not end.  A woman attending a wedding went outside to smoke, after extinguishing the cigarette with her foot, bent over to pick up the butt and toppled in her kitty cat heels. Fortunately, her dress did not blow over her head and no one was around.

This never happened to grandma. She could smoke indoors, did not worry about green and thought gym was a man’s name.

So here are my tips for Baby Boomers. (Will someone think of a better term, PLEASE)

  • Replace old toilets with new Hi-Boy’s(the taller  ones).
  • Park in the same spot at the mall everytime.
  • Write down the make, year, and plate number of both cars you own and keep the information in your wallet. (Forgetting where you parked is one thing, forgetting what you parked is another.)
  • Stop telling people you do not remember their name.  They do not remember yours either.
  • Do not smoke when wearing high heels.                                                                                             
                           …. Just saying

Thanksgiving Turkey & Christopher Columbus

Turkey and Christopher Columbus

Aging and Attitude

Writers can be odd thinkers. Their thinking is not peculiar, insane, or eccentric; they think differently. In my case, thoughts of cooking a turkey attach themselves to Christopher Columbus, the explorer.

Thanksgiving is a week away and Columbus Day Sale events are fresh in my mind. I could purchase a turkey on sale and cook it perfectly.

A bigger issue may be fueling this association.

Christopher Columbus questioned conventional thinking that the earth was flat. He was a trailblazer.

I am not in his league, but why do ‘people in the know’ or chefs say, “cook a turkey breast side up”?

For years, I have secretly roasted a turkey breast side down.  Recently, my discretion was revealed to a few close friends. They were speechless. Fearing they would consider me mentally ill, I explained.

“A turkey dries out breast side up as the juices sink to the bottom of the pan, so we baste the bird frequently. Why not turn the turkey upside down and stop opening the oven door?”

I was ready for their concerns and cautioned myself, do not mention your view on gravy.

“The bird will sit lopsided in the pan.” Several exclaim.

“So what, does it need a perfect tan?” I say.

“The pop-up button letting you know when it is done will not pop.” They announce in high-definition.

“The pop-up button doesn’t always pop-up.” I counter.

Christopher Columbus was not the only one to consider the earth might be round.

Perhaps I am not a lonely turkey renegade. 

Please cast your vote below for breast up or breast down. 

Just Wondering