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Let me say this right from the start: I very much dislike what the word community has become.  It’s too touchy-feely for the hermit I am and I rarely find the need to belong to a “community.”  Alternately, I’m a social creature simply due to the nature of my species, so there’s a tiny bit of me that likes and needs to belong to something.

When I started blogging I discovered it was quite satisfying to belong to the many (millions?) people who take to the page and write, despite the fact that I’m unknown and invisible to most of them.  But there are those fabulous people, many whom are bloggers, who actually read my blog, and many magnificent writers and photographers whose blogs I follow.  There’s a connection there and it feels good.  So what can I call this instead of the blogging “community?”

Because the word community rubs me the wrong way I took to my trusty Thesaurus to find a synonym, a word I could use that didn’t make me feel like I was a blind follower or someone less than completely independent physically, mentally, and psychologically.  I am independent in all of those areas, because in case you didn’t know, I’m totally awesome.

I liked the word confederation, but that sounds too Civil War-y.  Then there was clique, but that was just way too uppity.  How about affiliation?  I belong to the blogging affiliation?  That doesn’t sound right.  I decided on collective.  I am a member of the blogging collective.  Yes, that sounds right.

Where am I going with all of this verbiage?  I’ve been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award by the author of La Audacia de Aquiles, an excellent member of the blogging collective.  It’s a very sparkly award and I accept it with great humility.  It’s these moments I’m happy to be a part of something (a collective) and to be recognized.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.  And being part of the blogging collective I’m paying it forward to some bloggy friends of mine, as well as some people whose blogs I read even though they don’t even know I exist.  Because they all deserve it.  Check them out and let me know what you think.  And let them know what you think.

Miniscule Moments of Inspiration
Cindy Ricksgers
Lorna’s Voice
Uncle Spike’s Adventures
She Walks Softly
Drinking Tips for Teens
Tongue In Cheek
Butterfly Mind
15 Minute Lunch

I was breaking up with Alex. We’d been together for nearly four years when he started doing weird things, like giving me pasta containers for Christmas. I didn’t need pasta containers and I didn’t want pasta containers. Then he went out and bought a car and a house without even telling me he was in the market for either. Red flag, right?

We agreed to have a date and break up like civilized people. We met at an Italian restaurant in Uptown Minneapolis, had a lovely dinner, and discussed the demise of our relationship. No one was angry, but I was a little sad. Not heartbroken, but a little sad. I’m not sure if he was sad or not, but if he was elated he had the good sense to keep it under control.

As synchronicity would have it the song Sara by Starship played quietly throughout the restaurant. I put my hand on Alex’s and said, “you’ll think of me every time you hear this song.” He said yes, he would.

I haven’t heard the song since that night. I can only assume Alex hasn’t either, giving him no reason to ever think of me again. It was the perfect break-up song, at least.

Mixed Feelings

She wore all black to reflect her mood

Then added polka dots to brighten her day

MaryAnn’s Pickles

There’s something about someone else’s cooking. Or handiwork. Or home decorating. It doesn’t really matter what it is, if someone else can do something well and you can’t do it at all you appreciate that thing so much more.

Husby made a delicious meat-thing* dinner, and what goes better with hamburger than pickles? And what better pickles are there than MaryAnn’s? She knows how to make pickles and I totally don’t, which makes me appreciate hers that much more. When I take a bite out of these crunchy wonders I know MaryAnn is the most talented cucumber pickling artist since Mr. Gedney.

Look at that savory clove of garlic at the bottom of the jar.  Yum!!!

I could probably learn how to make pickles, but why should I with MaryAnn around? Whenever she offers me a jar of these dilly delights I welcome them with open arms and a watering mouth.  As far as I’m concerned she’s the Pickle Queen and always will be.

Thanks, MaryAnn – keep ’em coming!

* Meat-Thing = a bachelor term used by Husby and Pinky (Husby’s former roommate and my now brother-in-law) for seasoned hamburger spread on a piece of bread, broiled in the oven; served open-faced.

Now that I’m closing in on retirement I feel more bold about what I write regarding my workplace. I know I could get Dooced, but at this point I don’t even care.

One thing that really bothers me about the day job is the unfair way people are paid.  In our agency we have everything from the most base (but very necessary) jobs like paper shredders and mail routers to those who hold advanced degrees, the likes of PhDs and MDs.  As you would guess the doctors get the big money, and I suppose they should in order to pay off all of those student loans.  Those without advanced degrees, or no degrees at all get paid less.  Way less.

I have a college degree, but am one of the people who gets paid way less than the doctors.  And the thing of it is, the doctors are always asking me questions.  Not hard questions either.  “Where can I get some Scotch tape?”  “Do you have a stapler?”  “There’s a paper jam in the copier.”  These are simple questions and problems I can answer and fix, but seriously?  Aren’t they smart enough to figure these things out?  I don’t get paid enough to take care of people who make seventeen times more money than I do just because of the proximity of my cubicle to their problems.

Not only do these pompous high-brows not know how to work a photocopy machine, what their fax number is, or wonder if they can exit the office from a door that clearly leads into the hallway, one of them doesn’t even know how to hang his jacket.

This jacket belongs to Dr. Smart E. Pants.  Quite frankly I think he gets paid way too much for not even having mastered the coat hanger. This isn’t a fluke – most days he hangs his jacket like this.

Really?  Why doesn’t he just ball it up and toss it in the corner? It’s time for me to retreat into a place where the inequities of the world aren’t so obvious.  Is there such a place?  Above the moon?  Beyond the rain?  *Cue Dorothy Gale singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow*

I might never be rich but I earn my money, at the very least for my patience and tolerance, and for the simple fact that I know how to hang my clothes.

Drink Refills

My friend MaryAnn and I go out lunch every month. Every month we go to the same place, the name of which place I’m not going to mention because 1) I’m a little ashamed to claim I eat there and 2) I don’t want to slander the place with what I have to say, particularly that I’m ashamed to eat there.   So, the restaurant shall remain nameless. The reason we eat there every month is because 1) we’ve become regulars and it’s the only public place we can go and be “recognized” like famous people, and 2) they don’t kick us out for staying too long or being too rowdy.

The staff at this particular restaurant has remained the same for as long (and probably longer) as MaryAnn and I have been going there for lunch. That means we’ve become fast friends with the waitress. OK, maybe not “fast” friends, but we all know each other on a first name basis and the waitress likes to walk slowly by our table from time to time to catch up on what’s going on in our lives. She also makes sure our drinks are refilled often, probably to give her an excuse to hear what we’re saying.

This past Christmas, without consulting me, MaryAnn decided to get a gift for our waitress. Yes, that’s right, she gave the waitress a beautiful, sparkly snowflake pin that, for all I know, was made of solid gold and dozens of diamonds. All I did was feel sheepish and compliment MaryAnn on how nice she is.

When it came time to refill our drinks, this is what our waitress brought:

Should I take this personally?

They’re called reFILLS. My Coke is on the left, MaryAnn’s ice tea is on the right. Not only is her glass bigger, but it’s filled to the top. Mine? The drink for a person who didn’t give the waitress the gift of jewels? A measly half glass of pop.

Next Christmas I’m giving the waitress a car.

Springtime?

We’re getting a little hint of springtime where I live.  The wind still blows cold but the sun’s been shining and temperatures are above freezing.  There’s still snow on the ground, but it’s sticky and wet.

Husby made a present for me with the sticky, wet snow.  I looked out the patio door and saw this:

He stood on the deck with his crooked willow arms and shy smile looking into the window of the sliding door.  At about one-and-a-half feet tall he was the cutest, most petite snowman I’d ever seen and made he me laugh every time I passed and looked out.

Alas, by the next day the sun kept shining and the temperature was determined to reach forty.  By mid-day the eyes of my little snow friend had popped out and all that remained of his happy smile was an indentation in his icy head.  And because the wind was strong and the sun was warm his icy neck melted and his head hung at an odd angle.  I felt sad pity for him, but his faceless, lopsided self gave me the message that spring is on its way.

I hope little snowman’s demise isn’t in vain.

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