Saturday, April 18, 2015

P is Politeness

Polite or Not-So-Polite

When you talk about politeness, I think the first thing that comes to most people's mind is saying, "Please" and "Thank You." Those are the basic things we try to teach our kids when they are young and build upon that as they get older. While what people consider polite behavior can vary from culture to culture and person and person, I think that most would agree that being polite is showing respect to another person during your interactions with them. However, that doesn't always happen. I think we all have examples of the indifferent sales person as well as a friend that says something insensitive. I know I, myself, had been guilty of this from time to time. Sometimes even with the best of intentions, the foot gets inserted into the mouth, and some not-so-polite things come out.

Have you ever said something that you wish you could take back or had something said to you that crossed the line into the not-so-polite area? I asked a few people for examples of not-so-polite behavior and here are some that they gave me.

I was wearing drawstring pants and on an elevator when a person said,
"When are you due?"
"I'm not pregnant."
"Yes, you are. I see your belly button."
"That's not my belly button, that's the tie from my drawstring pants. I'm not pregnant. I'm fat."

My mother had a brain scan because of visual migraines and when it was over, the doctor said,
"You have a beautiful brain for someone your age."
"What does that mean?"
"If you were in your 20's I'd be concerned, but for someone in their 60's, it doesn't look too bad."

To a coworker, "You are thin except for your hips."

Cheerleading sponsor to high school cheerleader, "I can't get over how bowlegged you are. Did your mother ever give you cod liver oil?"

Now for one of my own unfortunate foot-in-mouth stories.
I was back at work after having my first baby, not sleeping well, and overwhelmed with the new parent thing. I was talking to a coworker who said her mother had seven kids. I said, "Wow, how did she keep from going crazy?" She replied, "She didn't. She jumped off the Mississippi River Bridge."

After she said this, I was embarrassed and felt horrible because I hadn't meant to make light of a very serious subject. But sometimes it just happens even when there are the best of intentions.
(BTW, her mother survived and was able to get help.)

So tactless and not-so-polite things are going to be said. When one of them happens, I always think about what my mother told me when I was in school, "Remember the source and move on." Then I try to remember the polite and nice things that happen every day.


Friday, April 17, 2015

O is for Orange

I Spy Something Orange

Can you find?

--A smiling magnet holding up a "pileated woodpecker"

--An excellent biography about a woman who lives on and on

--The seed we use to feed real pileated woodpeckers and other visitors to our feeders

--Some candy we're saving for National Jelly Bean Day on April 22

--A tea kettle that helps with dry air in the winter

--Wally and Theo's sleds that are now used mostly to carry mulch

--The fringe on a classic flower of spring

--A book about a girl in a singing group with her sisters and who appeared often on the Lawrence Welk Show

--A fruit that would be hard to work into a rhyming poem

Thursday, April 16, 2015

N is for Name and/or Nature

N is for Names

“I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I've never been able to believe it. I don't believe a rose WOULD be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.” 
― L.M. MontgomeryAnne of Green Gables

This was going to be a post about names. How a name can affect perceptions and personalities. About how certain names are becoming extinct (Waldo and Zelma) and how Johnny Cash didn't like the name of Sue. Also, I was going to talk about the most popular names of last year (Sophia and Noah) and most popular names over the last 100 years (James and Mary). (BTW, the Social Security Administration has some interesting stats complied in this area.)  Then I was going to touch on crazy celebrity kid's names like North West, Apple, and Myrtle.

Next, I was going to tell the story about a friend, who after her divorce, decided to pick an entirely new last name--not her maiden name or her married name, but just one she like the sound of. And I was going to end with asking if you like your name and have you ever thought about changing it.

However, it was much too nice out to stay inside and develop these Name ideas. So I decided to go outside and do a Second Look and use the N for Nature.

N is for Nature

Here are few things in nature that I saw 
this week during a Second Look.

This is the second set of daffodils to bloom.

This variety bloomed last week, but this is the first bloom in another bed.

The triple blossom daffodils are just coming out also.



The bumble bees have been swarming around the pieris japonica blooms. But also notice the smaller bee in the middle of the picture.

That smaller bee attached itself to the bottom of one of the bumble bees. I asked a friend, who raises bees, what was going on and she didn't know. Now, I've got the question into the extension agent. I've never seen anything quite like that.

This is the first bluebird I've seen this spring and I hope it builds a nest in the box. Last year it fought with sparrows for the box and the sparrows won. 

Female cardinal

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

M is for Model Engineering Show

Last weekend, I went to model engine expo with Ward and Theo. The show consisted of an entire convention hall filled with model engines and related things. Most of the engines were small scale, steel replicas of steam engines. Work to construct them was carefully done including making and casting molds for various pieces. They were remarkable works of craftsmanship and engineering. However, the expo did not hold my attention nearly as long as it did Ward's and Theo's who were also excited by the tools that were offered for sale. So while they were studying the finer points of gear ratios and vises, I took a few pictures.

There were rows and rows of various sizes and kinds of model engines.

Ward was interested in the Cyclops nail remover. It must be able to remove some pretty big nails because it was very heavy for me to lift.

An attraction for many kids (and adults) was this large course for remote control trucks.

There was also a lake for remote control boats. We were very impressed with these kids who didn't even dip a finger in the water. We commented to Theo that he would have been swimming in there at their age.

These men were watching a welding demonstration.

This was a working model of a factory where one engine drove all of the machines.

At a display of rings for sale, this man was trying to figure out the birthstone for April. 

This was a demonstration of a computer controlled milling machine.

This WWII veteran was my favorite spectator of the day. He quietly moved from display to display without comment.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

L is for Lineman

My father was a lineman for the electric company.  He spent his entire career climbing poles and working with high voltage wire, and it was a job that suited him well. He loved being outdoors and physical work. In fact, when he was offered managerial positions, he declined because he didn't want to be inside all day. His mother should have known that this might be the career he would chose when she saw him as a boy jumping from tree to tree playing tree tag.

However, there were parts of the job that were difficult and that's what I remember most. Daddy had to go out anytime day or night in the worst weather because that was when there was usually a power outage. Severe thunderstorms with lots of rain. My father was out. Ice storms. My father was out. Deep snow. My father was out. Sometimes for days. One time he worked 54 hours straight without a break. Luckily since then, there is a rule that you can't work that long at any one time. But linemen still work very long hours in very difficult situations.

Which brings me to one of my pet peeves--people complaining about how long it takes to get their electricity back on after a storm. When it takes more than a few hours, the complaining starts. News reporters go out and get man-on-the-street comments about how bad the electric company is and how things should be fixed by now. No one seems to think about what might be involved to get the electricity working again. It takes a lot of hard physical work usually done in severe weather conditions.

Enough lecturing. But you know, we all have buttons that can be pushed and you just learned one of mine.

The picture is of an amazing cross-stitch done by Aunt Martha. The man on the pole looks much like my father did including the blue jeans and work shirt he is wearing.