Saturday, August 6, 2016

Miss Jean Louis

Known to GISHers everywhere as the feisty voice of reason and wrangler of  Misha, MJL was "born kicking and screaming in a hut in Khor Angar." After a childhood spent in anger management and art therapies - including a strange new therapy involving listening to the recorded works of William Shatner - all of which failed - she decided to put her emotions to good use to benefit humankind.

She is a friend to the downtrodden, a fierce protector of the weak, and a hope for the hopeless.

She recently attended HRH Queen Elizabeth's 90th Birthday Celebration under the alias Lady Halolen Kilroy.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

IT Advice: Borrow A Neighbor's Computer - A Rant

This morning I have IT Neck. That's a sore neck from holding the phone between your ear and shoulder while you're on with one or more "support" people who are "trying" to help you get your technology working like you're paying for it to be working.

First up: AT&T. We have UVerse. And wifi. I think it's funny that when I pull up wireless networks in my house I get a HUGE list - apparently all of my neighbors have super strong wifi (which are password protected) but my wifi barely reaches the entire first floor. (And it's not like I have a huge house). Try to get some work done in the living room and you're out of luck. If you're on the second floor, forget it. So AT&T, instead of saying "Hey, our bad. Let's fix that/make it stronger/whatever." said "Yeah, you probably want to get a wifi extender."

Just what I want to do; spend more money.

But I did. Because we needed it. And the extender worked (mostly just ok, not great) for about a year but then I had to unplug it when we had work done on the alarm last week and now it won't re-hook back up to the wifi.

TP-Link, you are up to bat. The first Technical Support person I talked to couldn't help me so she emailed me some instructions. Which I followed. They didn't work. The second Technical Support person I spoke with took more time to try and resolve the problem but then (apparently) decided that the problem was my Mac laptop (which is not true - I had hooked up the extender with it when I bought it last year) and told me to try a different device. You can't use a PC that is physically connected to the internet, so all I have is the Mac laptop to which he said "Well, maybe you can borrow a computer from a neighbor."

Seriously. THAT is technical support?

I hate giving my money to companies who don't try to fix problems but just shrug their shoulders and say "I guess it doesn't work." It's YOUR job to make it work. I'm PAYING you for something that works.

So, who is happy with their internet and wifi providers? I'm in the market.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Things I Noticed As A Salvation Army Bell Ringer

We continued our WOMC tradition of manning Salvation Army kettles all over metro Detroit this past weekend. This has become one of my favorite holiday traditions. And it really makes me respect those bell-ringers I see on a regular basis where I shop. Even though it was a moderate day I was chilly and stiff after my two-hour shift.

Even if you don't have cash or have already donated for the year, please say Hi or smile at the bell-ringers. They get ignored a lot. And while we're out there ringing we realize that not everyone is going to donate so you don't need to avoid us, or slink away.

I did notice a few consistent things while out there ringing:

1. Kids LOVE to donate. They get such a kick out of stuffing money through that X in the barrel.

2. Birmingham police officers and fire fighters don't wear coats.

3. The Kroger employee who brings in the carts NEVER gets a break.

4. Winking is still a thing. I would have preferred a smile  or a nod, but I guess any acknowledgement is a good thing.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Depression and Gratitude

I don't like to admit this, but I have battled depression on and off - for most of my life, I think. I don't like to admit it because it makes me feel weak, but I don't think of anyone else who is dealing with depression as weak. I think that's how it gets you.

For whatever reasons, it's been a rough couple months. And nothing I've been doing has seemed to help. I'm not myself. I'm not my best self with the people who love me (and probably not for the people who listen either).

And I'm tired of not being my best self. Or even being a better self than I'm being right now.

Yesterday, I was checking Facebook and one of my friends had shared an article about how people who live with gratitude live longer. I clicked on the little thing that said Save For Later and of course I can't find it now. Frustrating.

But, I remembered the article when I got up this morning and decided to switch out the word "have" with "get" for the day. And to write down these switches so I wouldn't forget them.

Because, while I know that depression has nothing to do with will power or how strong of a person I am, I also know that the human brain is an amazing thing. I am going to force my brain to work for me instead of against me.

So when my alarm went off in the middle of the night I changed "I have to go to work" to "I get to go to work and talk on the radio."

And when I was getting frustrated because the web site wasn't cooperating while I was trying to write a post I changed "I have to write a post" to "I get to help my friends get the word out about the important work they are doing."

When I realized I hadn't talked to my dad in a good couple weeks I thought "I get to call my dad and talk to him whenever I want to." (I didn't call him today, though. Sorry Dad! I was running around all day. I promise to call tomorrow!)

I get to go work out with a personal trainer.

I get to help with costumes for the school musical.

I get to live long enough to start looking old.

I'm keeping this up. I feeling like it's helping already. Though the session with the trainer, Jaclyn, probably didn't hurt : )  Exercise is great for your brain.

And, please, if you EVER hear me say "I have to do" anything correct me and say "You GET to do that."

And to anyone else dealing with depression or the blues or just feeling down in the dumps, my thoughts are with you. Hang in there.

And if anyone knows how to find articles you have Saved For Later on Facebook, please email me!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

After Market Air Conditioning

An electrical hiccup;
for less than half a second
the house loses its hum.
A sudden loud whoosh
as too much air is forced
through long snaky tubes
out tiny circular vents
then dispersed throughout the rooms.
We raise the volume of the TV
or radio
as rooms cool.
I don't know what magic lives
in the metal box sitting outside our window
that controls this process.
It could be pumping in chemicals
or controlling my thoughts
or making me fat;
I wouldn't turn it off.

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Belated Father's Day Toast To My Dad

I'm ashamed to admit that I take my dad for granted. I frequently talk more than I listen. My check-ins and visits and sporadic and sometimes too brief. I know I'm so fortunate to have him, and to still have him around - yet I treat that fact like it's a given and I often forget how amazing he is and why I should try to be more like him.

The biggest reason; his passion. He is always learning. I have lists of things I want to learn about but my dad is the guy who goes to meetings, talks to people to find out what they know, and pays attention. He doesn't flaunt his knowledge. In the midst of a very casual conversation I will discover that he attended a seminar on helping to replenish the diminishing deer population up north and can now tell how old a doe is just by looking at her.

I don't always have the same interests, but it doesn't matter. He is interested enough for the both of us. And his passion is contagious. He listens when anyone talks, and I'm always amazed at the things I tell him that he remembers. He has an incredible memory.

He's also the guy who can fix anything. Anything. When his pipes burst in the winter he fixed them himself. After he fixed his pipes he went over to his church and fixed the broken pipes there.

He looks on the bright side of everything: he discovered that his pipes had burst when the washing machine overflowed, pouring soapy water into the den. His response: "That carpet needed to be cleaned anyway."

At an age when many people are slowing down he is forging a new career making metal parts for machines. He says that so many machines are now being made with plastic parts that people can only get replacement parts for some of their old machinery made out of plastic. He can look at a part or a drawing and make it out of metal, so it will last longer.

And he's so supportive; he drives around the state to see his grandchildren perform in concerts, recitals, sporting events, and plays. He came to my Halloween party -- in costume! He drove 2 1/2 hours (each way!) last Friday to see my brother perform in Les Miz even though my brother told him he was busy after the show and wouldn't be able to chat with him. My dad waited around anyway, just in case, so he could tell my brother how great he was (and chatted up the Director while waiting, telling him how great the show was), then went in to see why my brother was so busy. They were taking official show photos and, instead of leaving, my dad sat and watched as they recreated every scene from the show for photos. Because it was interesting, not because he had nothing better to do. Then he got in his car and didn't get home until 2:30 am.

He's kind and generous. If you want something, he'll give it to you. "It's just stuff," he'll say. When one of my childhood friends was having lingering car issues, he showed up to help her fix her van. He's driving a truck with 400,000 miles on it because "it still works fine." When the odometer hit 400,000 he actually pulled over on the side of the highway to snap a photo. He's shooting for 500,000. He's witty on Facebook and will scan old photos for #tbt (throwback Thursday). He brags up everyone he knows. He would never tell me - or even suggest - that I'm too busy; he shows up whenever I ask him to whether or not I've been consistent in showing up for him.

He's so smart he probably knows how much he means to me, even though I don't tell him enough.I love you dad, and I'm grateful for you every single day.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Cat and the Fire Department

This morning on Liar Liar I partially told the story of the time I called the Fire Department to rescue my cat off the top of an apartment building.  First, I would like to state that I have nothing but respect for Firemen everywhere. Here's the rest of the story I didn't have time to tell.

We lived across the street from an apartment complex and all the kids there LOVED my cat.  He roamed around the neighborhood freely but at least twice a week some cranky mom would pull into my driveway with a car full of kids; one of them holding my "lost" cat.  They were so proud of themselves so I never bothered to tell them that he always made it home.  (Until he didn't, but that's another story).

One day some kids ran over to tell me that my cat was stuck on top of one of the apartment buildings and he was crying.  I still don't know how he got up there, though there was a very large tree next to the building and Barney WAS quite the daredevil.  I called the Fire Department, who gave me the run around for a while but eventually agree to come rescue him.  

It was right after school, so a group of kids gathered around as the firemen set up a ladder and climbed to the top of the building.  My cat ran to the other side of the roof.  The fireman came down and said "Even if I catch him I can't carry him down the ladder."  Without a word an eight-year old girl opened her backpack, dumped the contents on the ground, then handed the empty bag to the fireman who reluctantly went back up the ladder, chased down my evasive cat and stuffed him into the backpack.

He climbed down the ladder and handed the backpack to me.  I pulled Barney out and noticed that he had something stuck in his paw.  I showed it to the fireman and said "I think he couldn't come down because of this."  When I got home I realized he didn't have something stuck IN his paw, he had one of those sticky things from a cotton weed tree stuck TO his paw.  Still, it helped me save face a little.