People Can Be Blunt

When I was young, I was taught that with age comes respect.

That meant as a kid I called people who were older than 25 Mr. and Mrs.   It also meant that I was taught to be less than honest.  I mean really I couldn’t  imagine telling my grandma she had a booger showing in her nose.  I just looked away because it was so gross hoping that she would have to go to the bathroom or something.

So fast forward till now I’m the grandma.  I am officially the oldest person in our office.  (and I’m young!)  Same respect???  Same lies???  Here’s my story.

I love Dress Barn.  The 20s something clerk helped me pick out all the right dresses and fashion accessories so that I wouldn’t look like the oldest one in the office.   – Just get the respect.  You see where this is going?

I wore my first new outfit to work the next day –  brown pants, shirt and a beautiful wool jacket with a fluffy collar.  All the women oohed and ahhed when I walked to my office.  I spun around proudly modeling as I walked to my office.  Their admiration was palpable.  Feeling buoyed by their enthusiastic response to my new wardrobe choice, I stopped at the doorway of my fellow consultant, and said, “What do you think, Jon?  Do you like my new outfit?”

He was silent longer than I thought was necessary for a simple, “Wow I love it!  You look great,” which honestly was what I was expecting.  Finally he gave his opinion, “Well……,”more pausing.  I lost my sexy, hand on hip, other hand flipping my hair stance, and should have walked away at that point.  “It’s brown,” he finally finished lamely.

Yes, that was lame, but the rest of the office heard my fashion critic, and I’m sure our laughter could be heard in the basement.

The next day I walked in with, what I thought was my best outfit.  My green sweater dress was accented by a full length gray knitted vest with, yes a fluffy collar that went down both sides of the front the full length of the sweater.  The fluff even had dangly things woven in that subtly caught the light.  I felt like a glamour queen.  Again, the women complimented me, and again I twirled, avoiding Jon’s office this time.

Later in the day another consultant approached my door, and asked me to come to his office.  We have unspoken rules of etiquette in our office.  When another consultant comes to you and wants to talk, even if you are presenting to 600 people in 15 minutes, you stop what you are doing, and invite them to sit down and tell you what’s on his or her mind.  I followed him to his office.

“Close the door, and sit down,” he instructed seriously, and before I could even worry about what was going wrong in the office – and worrying is my default mode – he added, “Has anyone talked to you about your colors?”

Glenn is always up to something, so, of course I lied, “NO!”

“Well, someone should!”   I couldn’t believe I was hearing this!  This went against every grain of respect my parents had drilled into my well-ordered life.  Glenn is at least 3 years younger than I am – how could he???

But he continued pointing at a picture on his bookcase, “Do you see that picture of my wife?  That is my favorite picture of her, and do you know why?”  Actually his wife is my good friend – everybody’s good friend, and she is adorable, why wouldn’t that be his favorite picture?  She looked like she was about 20.

He was getting passionate.  “I’ll tell you why!  It’s her colors.  She hates that picture, but I love it.  Do you see what she is wearing?  Pink.  Do you see how great that makes her face look?  My wife needs color.  That color makes her look great!”  By this time I’m sure everyone on Doe Avenue could hear his voice.  “YOU NEED TO LOSE THE GRAY!  I guess the green is OK,” he hung his head a little sheepishly, “but YOU NEED TO LOSE THE GRAY!” he jutted his chin back up, and repeated his advice a second time for emphasis.

By this time I was reeling.  I staggered out of his office doubled over, and laughed as hard as I could along with everyone else within a 10 mile hearing radius.

There really isn’t a moral to this story.  I sometimes tell it to loosen up an audience before I present.  I try to wear gray every day during the winter – at least a bit of it.  I get lots of compliments when I wear blue or turquoise – pink.  I still shop at Dress Barn.  But people can be blunt – even when you’re old enough for people to lie to you.

One Lovely Blog Award

I feel like I have arrived!

Cherry tree, bee and me – I’m the invisible one behind the camera.

Rlcarson , http://randpphotoalbums.wordpress.com/, just nominated my blog for the Lovely Blog Award! Thanks so much! Renee and Pallas have some of the most amazing cloud and sunset pictures ever. Yesterday I had the hardest time writing, and had more readers than any day except the first, and I think most of those readers were me editing. I enjoy R’s blog, and especially his last comment when he nominated me (hehe!) It’s amazing to me to be out there writing and having someone respond – much better than a journal!! Thanks so much!

Pass it on!

These are the rules for receiving this award:

1.) Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them in your post.  (See above)

2.) Share 7 things about yourself.

• I love to learn.
• I love to teach as I am learning, not when I am already an expert.
• I am never an expert.
• I love to write.
• I love to eat, but cooking, not so much.
• I walked in a three-day 60 mile Sarah G. Komen Race for the Cure when before it had any bad publicity.
• I love a great story, so sometimes I exaggerate. I know – you’re shocked! I don’t exaggerate much. Stories are better when you don’t have to make them up – just slant them slightly.

3.) Nominate 15 or so bloggers you admire.

In no particular order, here are the 15 blogs that I have most enjoyed during my short blogging journey.

1. http://smilesalot1969.wordpress.com/
2. http://mangoshenanigans.wordpress.com/
3. http://seasonsgirl.wordpress.com/
4. http://tasithoughts.com/
5. http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com/
6. http://cristianmihai.net/
7. http://photonatureblog.com/
8. http://amazingazaleas.wordpress.com/
9. http://manipalphotoblog.wordpress.com/
10. http://travelagos.wordpress.com
11. http://lijiun.wordpress.com/
12. http://suellewellyn2011.wordpress.com/
13. http://modernchristianwoman.com/
14. http://whoslifeisthisanyway.wordpress.com/
15. http://suchthelike.com/
4.) Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know.

That is the time-consuming, but interesting part. Some of the sites you may not get back to as regularly as you mean to do, so this is a great way to revisit those who have encouraged you along the way. Thanks so much to all of you, and especially http://randpphotoalbums.wordpress.com/ my nominator

Blogger’s Block

So what have you accomplished today, Marsha?

I can’t even answer that question to get me out of blocked status.  My new blog buddy, Cristian from Romania, reminds me that writers have to write.  So I wrote comments on all my Facebook friend’s posts.  I looked at all the new posts of all my followers, and wrote comments on their posts.   Still had blocked brain.  Then I clicked on THEIR blog comments, and checked out at those people’s blogs.  I found some impressive blogs, and dribbled a few more comments from my brain.  Still nothing bloggable for my own new post.   Here are a few of blogs I liked:  http://seasonsgirl.wordpress.com/, http://suchthelike.com/ , http://whoslifeisthisanyway.wordpress.com/ – Be sure to check out Promenade in the Rain on her blog – very funny!

I looked for a picture to use to symbolize writer’s block online.  Nothing pleased me.  I asked my husband to take a picture of me with blogger’s block.  He just looked at me like I was nuts.  I haven’t combed my hair today.  I have really, it just doesn’t look like it.  He was too kind to take of picture of blogger’s blog in his own house.  OK, he wasn’t kind, but the picture was worse than blogger’s blog!  Like the furrowed forehead?

Since my creative brain was being dysfunctional, I focused on mechanics.  I looked at blog background colors, and tried about 16.  BORING.  I went online and checked out background patterns.

I chose 6, and tried uploading one.  It came out in the left hand corner of my blog only.  Now, I’m not only blocked, but frustrated as well.  I left it off, but it is aMAZing, don’t you think?

I also added widgets to my blog.  While I was snooping around other people’s colorful and inspiring blogs, I looked at their widgets.  I added a category cloud, top posts, and a gravitar to my blog.  Six whole words in my entire cloud!  I was expecting about 2 inches of margin to be consumed in my many words like I saw during my blogging cruise.  But no, six words.  So I checked my list of categories – only six.  So now I know, tags and categories are NOT the same thing.

Next, I looked at customizing appearance.  I tried different fonts.  Nothing seemed to fit, so I left things the same.  Besides I couldn’t remember if Frank said to use serif or sans serif for headings.  I looked through all my notes, and I had forgotten to take notes.  So I decided that WordPress knew best.  However, one bright spot is that for some reason now I have two rows of format buttons across the top of my new post.

I hate to say it, but that cheered me up.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll have something worth saying to say.  Sorry faithful readers!  (Dennis, Mary and Paula, and sometimes Elo, Laurie,  and Cindy.)

Old Sacramento

I don’t know how a person can turn a fun day into a boring article, but I’ve started this at least three times, and I have succeeded in boring even myself all three times.

I could just describe the site of my story, and let you take guesses about where it takes place, but the title was the one good thing I started writing, and I refused to edit it.  So I ruined that serendipitous moment.  I wanted to tell you all about my pictures of Evangeline’s Costume Mansion, but I forgot to resize my pictures, and they wouldn’t load fast enough, so in the interim I started writing about paying $20 for parking, then getting  lost.  That’s an exaggeration.  No, not the parking fee.  You can’t get lost if you have a working a cell phone.  If you can’t read a map, or the directions, or even if you can, and you can’t see your husband, if you are conspicuous enough, he will see you and text you, “Look to your left.”  There he was waiting to eat at Railroad Fish and Chips at 1100 Front Street.

But Evangeline’s really was the shop that grabbed my attention.  At work I am planning a student event in Allensworth, a turn of the century freedom colony State Historic Park in southern Tulare County, and my fellow planners want to bring the historic state park to life by training 150 African-American teen docents to be the townspeople resplendent with turn of the century costumes.  So when I saw costumes in this old west town, I thought, “Perfect, I’ll find just the costumes I need to bring Allensworth to life.”

I walked in and was greeted by the saloon girl up on the shelf.  She probably gets her feathers ruffled by the air conditioning blowing on her all the time, but she never complained while I was there.

Sally pointed the way with her cane to the Old West Room.  This was the room if you wanted to look like Sally.

I was pretty sure that we didn’t want 75 young teen-aged female students looking like Sally.  For a little bit more respectable look, you could walk out the door and into the hall.   However, the key words here were “a little bit”.  Still not quite right for a student event for teaching local second to fourth graders about California’s only all African-American freedom colony, founded by Col. Allensworth, a retired Army chaplain.  Fortuitously, there were more rooms.

 Unfortunately, the rooms had different themes, and none of them quite fit the Allensworth I had envisioned.  It was an interesting diversion, though.  For someone feeling a little more militant, and a little pessimistic about the air quality in California, then this might be the perfect costume topper.

Of course there were boots or shoes to go with every costume.

Ladies, right this way. Boots and gloves to go with your gas mask.

Now, if you want to go even higher in the line of military gear, you can go to the very top.

Arnold, what are you doing in with this bunch? You are the terminator, not the Commander-in-Chief.

Maybe you’ve felt a bit off your game, a little strange, out of it even.  Have they got the costume for you!
I AM smiling.

Just hope you don’t land in the hospital.

If you do I hope you find someone helpful to fit into  these shoes.
 
There were bloody legs and heads, police helmets and badges and more shoes,  but after that I thought I’d better find my ride back to the real world.  
So I headed back to the street to call my husband, but I got side-tracked.
About then my cell phone vibrated me, “Look to your left.”  It was time to go back home.

Yard Art Springing into Summer

Some of our yard art automatically changes with the seasons even though California is not as seasonal as Indiana where I grew up.  When I started this website, the creek behind our house that is a sandy trail for motor cycles 9 months out of the year had water in it.

In April the flowers getting most of the attention in our yard were primarily the wild, California poppies.  Bees were busy.

Cherry blossoms attracted the bees, too.

Trees this year promised lots of cherries.

Things happen, and in a region where the temperature usually goes from wintry cool to instant three digit numbers, our weather pattern took a detour on April 11 and pounded our yard art.

All I could do is stand and watch the beauty and art in the storm.

Some of the living art made it.  The cherries, not so much.  If you look really closely you still can’t find a single cherry on the tree that looked so tempting before April 11.

By the end of May I anticipated biting into ripe juicy apricots in spite of the hail.

Tonight, two weeks later, I have lost some of my naivety about trees that tease you with their abundance.

However, I can’t totally lose heart and hope.  We may not have green thumbs when it comes to fruit, but the roses  bloom until the weather does get into the 100s, and the cooler than normal temperatures helped them keep up their artful color.

Some of our yard art is planned quaint.

Some is unplanned quaint.