Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Reader's Digest

There are times when I'm not in the mood to read a book.  It's a rare occasion, but when I feel either too tired, or just need a break- I read a magazine instead.  The nightly habit of reading is so deeply rooted in me, that I don't know what I'd do with myself if I didn't read something for at least half an hour at the end of my day. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to get to sleep.  Or I might die.  It seems like something horrible could happen. And so I read. No matter what.

The other night, I finished one book but wasn't ready to start a new one just yet, so I decided to pick up a magazine from my pile.  I went for a Reader's Digest that was from September of this past year. 

Reader's Digest Magazine

Is that magazine still around? Am I an 80 year old woman you may ask? Well, no- I'm not.  But this is actually my Dad's magazine subscription and he's nearly that age...

I remember in the 80s, when I was a kid, Mom and Dad subscribed to Reader's Digest. Sometimes, after Mom finished looking at it, she'd mention certain articles and I'd get curious, and then leaf through it myself. It had (bad) jokes, and some cartoons. It was full of random human interest stories.  The magazine even had a little word definition quiz.  I remember taking the quiz every now and then, and while I always got some of the words right, it wasn't the majority.  They were hard.  But I thought, "Maybe I'll learn these words by taking the quiz." 

But I don't think you learn words just from seeing their definition once in a Reader's Digest "Word Power" quiz.  Instead, you learn new words from overhearing them, or reading them and being curious enough to figure out what they mean.  And then understanding what they mean well enough to use them in a sentence.  That's when you've really mastered a word.

I was pleasantly surprised last night when I took the "Word Power" quiz.  Out of 15 words, I knew almost all of them.  And the ones I didn't know, I made a good guess on.  I bet the last time I looked at one of those quizes was over 5 years ago, maybe even 10.  It could be that the words they now choose have gotten easier, or maybe all these hours upon hours of reading in the bathtub has taught me words that wouldn't have otherwise been in my vocabulary.  But if you read enough, you come across a lot of words.

Besides the "Word Power" quiz, this issue had all sorts of articles about the brain, which I'm always interested in.  Reader's Digest is still worth reading.  I just wonder how many people under the age of 45 even know about it...

Monday, January 23, 2017

Art Begets Art

I love going to live performance events.  So when a friend asked me to go see Pilobolus, a modern dance group I had never heard of, I said yes.

I was more than pleasantly surprised by how much I loved it, and how inspiring the whole thing was.  It was visually and creatively stunning.  Here's a little except of the show they are currently touring in the US now, called ShadowLand.

The music was the perfect compliment to the dancing and visual imagery. My friend and I noticed on the program that it was all written and performed by one artist.  And his name, like the dance group, was one I had never heard before... David Poe. 

I've been listening to everything he has on Apple Music since finding out about him that night. The collection of songs from the "God and the Girl" CD is the one that I have not been able to stop listening to- it's very stripped down, intimate, acoustic... And oh, I could listen to a few of those songs over and over and over. And I have been.

There are so many talented artists in the world, it's impossible to know of all of them, but I really can't believe I've never come across David Poe before.  So glad to have gotten a chance to see Shadowland- for the dancing, the music, and the inspiration it brought me.  I just finished writing a song that I probably wouldn't have taken the time to capture had I not been sitting around, figuring out how to play David's song called, "Honeymoon".

Art begets art.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Give Me Love

Today, there were marches across the nation in support of women's rights.  And of course, I'm all for that.

But, I didn't march. 

Lots of my friends did though, and so many of them posted pictures on Facebook.  Pictures of the crowds, and of course pictures of all those posters they were marching with.  Lots of those posters were clever.  Some of them were a little vile and even a little off topic, but that's okay- because many people are mad right now.  And they've got to express it, and say it, and look out for the way people (all people) are treated. It's all okay.  Freedom of speech, for everyone, is so vital.  And thank God, that in our great nation, we have that.

Rather than marching this morning, I will be singing tonight.  I've thought about the songs I want to sing tonight to express myself.  And they're all about love.

Like so many, I am a little baffled that our current political situation isn't reality tv, but is actually real life.  Sometimes, when I think about it I feel scared. And sad.

There are many diverse opinions out there.  But it isn't that one is right, and all the rest are wrong.  Even if it feels that way sometimes, that just isn't the case.  As cheesy as it sounds, I do believe those words of the Burt Bacharach song that says... "What the world needs now, is love sweet love."  Love and acceptance.  We don't all have to think the same way, and have the same opinions.  But we need to be respectful and kind. We all have love in our hearts.  I really do believe that.

So my focus is to remain on love.  Love for myself.  Love for the friends I agree with and the friends I don't.  Kindness to everyone that comes in my path in this wonderful life. It's easy to be loving and kind to the people who are loving and kind to me.  But it's important to go beyond that... So I just have to stay focused on LOVE.  And keep saying it over and over and over.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Why 2 is Better Than 1 (When We're Talking about Days of an Estate Sale)

Show me the way!
Last night I got online and looked up local estate sales.  I was jonesing for some vintage jewelry, because as I mentioned in a previous post, I can't seem to get enough of it ever.  In the pictures listed about this sale I was interested in, there looked to be at least three tables full of vintage costume jewelry.

It is ON!

Today was day 2 for this sale, which is both good and bad. It's bad because it's an entire day that other people got to look at all the sparkly things, and maybe buy them, before I had a chance. But it's also good because some sales, like this one, mark things at a discounted price on the 2nd day.  Everything at the house I went to today was 25% off.

There weren't 3 tables of jewelry anymore.  But there was about 1/3 of one table full of costume jewelry, most of it from the 1950s and 1960s.  There prices were okay, but they were made better thanks to the 25% off deal.  All of the necklaces were way over priced, but I was able to snag a couple pairs of earrings, pins and brooches.  I came home with quite a haul. Look!
1950s and 1960s costume jewelry score!
Not too bad!  I asked the sellers if yesterday they had as much jewelry as the online pictures had implied. They told me that yes!, there had been a lot of jewelry but that the crowd was huge, ladies were pushing each other into the jewelry tables, and everyone was complaining about the long line out the door too get in.  Oh yuck.  I'll happily take Day 2 with 25% discounts and much lighter crowds.  There were plenty of treasures left by the time I got there. And I didn't get pushed once!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Our Brush with the Law: Mall Cops

Last night, my brother, Fleetwood and I went to see “Singing in the Rain” at the AMC Theater at NorthPark Mall.  Sounds like good clean fun, right? Our night ended as we were kicked out of the parking lot by a brigade of 3 mall cops, driving go-carts accompanied by car that looked something like a 1977 Gremlin. They told us we needed to leave before the police arrived if we wanted to avoid jail time.

For what, you might ask?

Well, obviously for talking in my car on a cold night after seeing the movie.  According to these mall cops, this is known as LOITERING.  And it’s a pretty serious crime.

Because the movie ended a little after 9pm my brother walked me to my car in the parking garage.  Then, I drove him to his car in a different outside parking lot. During that little walk and short drive, we started having a great conversation.  The kind of conversation that you end up sitting in the car for longer than expected because it's so great.  Until you’re surrounded by mall cops with flashlights pointing in your faces.

As my brother and I had been talking, out of the corner of my eye, I kept seeing yellow lights slowly drive past us.  I didn’t think anything of it, because there were lots of cars in the parking lot, and drivers seemed to be coming and going while we sat and talked.  But then, after about 25 minutes, I heard a little tap on my driver’s side window.  It startled me, and then startled even me more when I saw a young man in some police-looking uniform with a flashlight.  I opened my door and he asked us what we were doing.  So I told him.

With his mall cop authority, he told me we needed to move along, as Northpark Mall has a “strict policy about loitering.”  Were we loitering? Really?

I would like to add a little of the backstory here.  My brother is one of my favorite people.  He's my biggest cheerleader, and I am his.  Since we met at a movie, we hadn’t yet had a chance to catch up at all, so we got to talking in the car.  I've been struggling a little lately, and he was coaching me through some things, and it was a very meaningful conversation. 

We told the mall cop we’d leave as soon as we finished our conversation. We weren't doing anything wrong, and I would hardly call what we were doing loitering.

But within about 5 minutes, I saw his little go cart drive up to my car again.  This time, he gave me a warning: Go NOW, or the Dallas Police will be called. 

Fleetwood told him that if he wanted to call them, that was okay.  But we were going to finish our conversation.  There were still lots of cars in the parking lot and it wasn’t even 10pm yet.

I guess my brother’s response really fired this guy up, because within a few minutes, we saw 3 go-carts pulling up and surrounding my car.  There was also the Gremlin looking car with flashlights on the top, making it look like it might be the head mall cop. 

And apparently, it was!

This man, Parker, shined his flashlight in my face, and as I rolled down my window, he asked me with his country accent what we were doing.  So, we explained again.  And he told us that we needed to leave before the cops arrived, warning us that they had "already called 'em",  and that we were “probably going to jail.”  For some reason, he also felt the need to tell us he was a retired police officer. Somehow, I doubt it.

At this point, Fleetwood and I had actually wrapped up our conversation and were ready to leave anyway, but it sorta became a battle of the wills.  This threat of going to jail was a little too enticing to leave the scene of the crime. I would love to know how a real police officer would react to this whole situation. But my brother took the high road, and just made a joke saying, “Ok Parker, I’m getting out of the car and walking to my truck.  Please don’t shoot.”  And the mall cop said in a very gross tone (sounding like one of those backwoods bad cops you've seen in movies before)  “Well, I don’t have a gun.”  And I swear, he said it as if he was implying that if he DID have a gun, he might use it.

After Fleetwood and I both got home, we were texting back and forth, laughing but also so damn mad at that guy!  I actually looked up the definition of loitering and it’s this:
to stand or wait around idly or without apparent purpose

Hmmm. First of all, we were inside my car.  Secondly, once the first mall cop asked us what we were doing, he knew our purpose. We were finishing up an important  conversation. He should have left us alone.

My brother looked up Northpark Mall’s “strict loitering policy” which basically said  overnight parking or camping is not allowed. 

So we weren't loitering by any standards.  We were just being harassed.  By mall cops.

This is all so stupid it's funny, but its also is enraging. Fleetwood and I are both enraged that these guys are so bored, and so pathetic that they have to harass us for talking in my car.  Enraged that they would even consider wasting the time of a Dallas Police Officer to intervene. And enraged that rather than patrolling a parking lot to make sure NorthPark customers are safe, they’re instead gathering up all of their staff to gang up on a brother and sister who are just talking. 

It's guys like these that make such a joke out of mall cops.