Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Driver's Ed.

Here I am.  Going through papers in the former office, soon to be nursery and I came across this gem.  It is from spring 00'.  That was the first school year I moved to Florida.  Having no idea about geography and not having a job when I moved, I found myself in a position where I lived in Plantation but worked in Little Havana.  The drive was about 1,000 miles each way.  There was always traffic.  In traffic it was 2,000 miles.  Now you may think, "wait a minute, traffic doesn't increase the amount of miles, only the time."  Normally that is true but in this case, I am sorry to inform you, you are wrong.  This traffic was so bad it somehow increased the distance of the trip by 1,000 miles, each way.
This gave me a lot of time to sit in the car and think.  Also, it gave me a lot of time to contemplate the driving skills of the people around me.  Since the traffic was often the result of accidents, I wasn't a fan of bad drivers.  Actually, I am still not.  While driving one afternoon, I started making up this quiz for my fellow drivers:

On the long ride home, I decided that no one here can drive and tht they should let me revise the driving test as follows:

1. People who try to switch lanes while you are right next to them are:
a. Idiots
b. Assholes
c. Sufferers of Enlarged Blind Spot Disorder (EBSD)
d. Dumb asses
e. All of the above

2. People who aren't 18 or above should not drive because:
a. They can't pay for the damage they do
b. They are too short
c. They think Leonardo DeCapprio is cool
d. They are dumb asses
e. All of the above

3.  People above the age of 80 should not drive because:
a. They can't see (over the steering wheel or otherwise)
b. They can't hear
c. They complain to much about young drivers
d. They are dumb asses
e. All of the above

4.The first thing you should do when you get into your car in Florida is:
a. Pray
b. Make sure you are wearing clean underwear
c. Buckle your seatbelt and make sure your airbag is functional.
d. Check to make sure they are insured
e. All of the above

5.  People who drive too slow in the left lane:
a. Should be shot
b. Suck
c. Have no life (because they obviously have nowhere to go)
d. Are all dumb asses
e. All of the above

6.  Yellow or red sports cars should not be driven by:
a. People spending retirement money
b. People who were discussed in question 5
c. People who do not open doors carefully in parking lots
d. Dumb asses
e. All of the above

7.  People who cut off other drivers even though they have ample room in front of them:
a. Suck
b. Have no depth perception and therefore should not be driving
c. Probably don't know what the world ample means
d. Area all dumb asses
e. All of the above
8. People with out of state license plates driving in Florida:
a. Should go home
b. Should go home and take all the dumb asses with them
c. Are doomed to start driving like the other dumb asses
d. Are dumb asses for driving in Florida
e. All of the above

9.  People who get caught driving in the HOV lane of I95 from 4-6 PM are:
a. Idiots since the police pull people over in that lane every afternoon
b. Getting what they deserve
c. Kind enough to share their wealth with the Miami Dade County Police Department
d. Dumb asses
e. All of the above

10.  9 out of 10 Floridians think a turn signal is:
a. For leaving on all the time to annoy other drivers
b. Something not needed when driving
c. A cool blinky light that hey don't want to waste by turning it on
d. A tool for showing off what a dumb ass they are
e. What's that?????

In conclusion, I can now throw out this paper that has been in there for over a decade.  Also, I distinctly remember coming home and typing all of this which makes me realize, my memory is not what it used to be.  I wonder if I have become....a dumb ass???

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Snow Day

With all this snowy weather on the news (but not here where I live where it was 80 something again today), I have been pondering snow memories today.  It started because my father wrote something on Facebook about having not been exposed to most of the sports we see on the Winter Olympics, coming from NYC.  He was making up new sports like ice scraping off windshields and climbing up icy steps with no banister.  That got me thinking of my best and strangest snow stories.
First of all, it is a well-known fact that NYC never closes their schools for snow, even if every suburb does.  If you are a school employee (as my father, sister and I were) you go.  Slip sliding to work....come on, you're from the city, you can take it!  As kids, my mom always sent us to school, no matter how much snow there was.  That usually meant spending the day either combining with the other class from our grade or, if it was really bad, the whole school watching old, bad cartoons in the auditorium, all freaking day.  Whatever, I guess, it builds character, or teaches work ethic, or my sister and I, and all the others there were just that annoying (can't be).
Best memories though were the days, where I guess it really was canceled.  What was more exciting than hearing it was supposed to snow, going to sleep and waking up the next morning, running to the window to see SNOW (YES!!!!)? Or what can be worse than, false alarm, no snow or just a dusting (BOOOO)?  The biggest snow I can remember was in the early 80's.  There was a few feet of snow but also it was windy so the drifts were really deep.  We couldn't get our front door open because the snow was blocking it so eventually my parents opened the kitchen window and threw me out.  WEEEEE.  I momentarily was completely captivated and just started playing but then I was reminded I was supposed to be freeing the rest of the family members.  I dug the way so they could open the door and then WOOOSH, just jumped all over the place. It was a good snow, soft and awesome!!!  I jumped around and would stop to dig to try to figure out where I was.  At one point I hit something hard.  It turned out to be the top of our station wagon! Not the hood, the actually top!  So these drifts much have been at least 5 feet.  When I got to the backyard, the garage door was covered to the top in snow.  SNOW!!!!
Fast forward to the 90's.  Home from college, there was a blizzard.  State of Emergency was declared, so only emergency vehicles were supposed to be on the roads.  Well, this seems like the perfect time to find out if the Chinese food place was open.  Why would it be open?  No one was supposed to be out. Well, apparently Chinese food chefs are considered emergency workers because they were there!  Not delivering for some reason (reason being they didn't want to kill themselves delivering Chinese food).  So, my sister and I did the only sensible thing that could be done in such a situation;  placed a pick up order and then walked there in the knee deep snow to get it.  You know, knee deep as in you have to pick your leg up over the snow every single step in order to move.  Totally sensible.  We are serious about Chinese food.  SERIOUS!
I miss the snow!!!!  These were some of my best memories.  I honored them today by ordering Chinese food.  It may be 80 degrees out but some things never change.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Art as inspiration #2 and anthropo-what? continued...

OOH, look, I am getting carried away with my themes here.  I am using two themes in one post!  Is that even legal?  Well, this is my blog so we play by my rules here!

Here's a picture by Auguste Renoir, Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1875.  He is really my favorite artist which annoys me since he was an anti-semite.  Luckily, I can admire his work without him knowing and I am not supporting his career since a) I can't afford his artwork and b) well, he's dead. So I have overlooked the fact that he was a jerk and just focus on his art.  One of the best parts of going to France was seeing so much of his art at the Musee D'Orsay (also, the food).  I did not see this painting there though since it's in Washington DC.  Go figure.  I do have this print in my home though.  I reframed it the other day and it reminded me of the last post about anthropomorphizing.  I like the painting because it looks like a story.  The more closely you look at it, the more you can imagine this scene happening.  Actually, when I looked for it on wikipedia, it gave an explanation of who each of the people are.  I thought it was more fun to look at it without knowing who they all are though so I will post the list at the end.
Here's what caught my eye:

This is the upper right side corner.  What is happening here?  She is being manhandled and spoken to inapproporiately?  I can't imagine what he is saying because I can't think of the last time I didn't want to listen to someone so much that I literally held my ears closed. I mean, I can think of wanting to but this classy looking lady is actually doing it!  That is so cool!  

Look at all the people in this picture and here's a lady ignoring all of them and talking to her dog.  I've totally been to parties like that.  I can almost hear her saying "Who's a good boy?"  Sidenote, according to the notes on this painting, that woman is Renoir's future wife.  Don't know if that was his future dog.

As he often did in his paintings, Renoir included several of his friends in Luncheon of the Boating Party. Among them are the following:[2]
  • The seamstress Aline Charigot, holding a dog, sits near the bottom left of the composition. Renoir later married her.
  • Charles Ephrussi—wealthy amateur art historian, collector, and editor of the Gazette des Beaux-Arts—appears wearing a top hat in the background. The younger man to whom Ephrussi appears to be speaking, more casually attired in a brown coat and cap, may be Jules Laforgue, his personal secretary and also a poet and critic.
  • Actress Ellen Andrée drinks from a glass in the center of the composition. Seated across from her is Baron Raoul Barbier.
  • Placed within but peripheral to the party are the proprietor's daughter Louise-Alphonsine Fournaise and her brother, Alphonse Fournaise, Jr., both sporting traditional straw boaters and appearing to the left side of the image. Alphonsine is the smiling woman leaning on the railing; Alphonse, who was responsible for the boat rental, is the leftmost figure.
  • Also wearing boaters are figures appearing to be Renoir's close friends Eugène Pierre Lestringez and Paul Lhote, himself an artist. Renoir depicts them flirting with the actress Jeanne Samary in the upper righthand corner of the painting.
  • In the right foreground, Gustave Caillebotte wears a white boater's shirt and flat-topped straw boater's hat as he sits backwards in his chair next to actress Angèle Legault and journalist Adrien Maggiolo. An art patron, painter, and important figure in the impressionist circle, Caillebotte was also an avid boatman and drew on that subject for several works.

Saturday, December 28, 2013


I used to have a roommate who was a psychologist.  She told me that I anthropomorphize a lot.


verb (used with object), verb (used without object), an·thro·po·mor·phized, an·thro·po·mor·phiz·ing.
to ascribe human form or attributes to (an animal, plant, material object, etc.).

I forgot to ask if this is a bad thing.  Also, who cares? She never did it and I found that quite boring.  So I can translate what the rabbits are thinking by just looking at their facial expressions.  They aren't moving stuffed animals.  I never put batteries in them. Something must be going on in there.  I didn't say I thought they were human.  I just choose to believe they are thinking about something when they look at me.  They have feelings after all.  I know when they are scared, angry or hungry.  So I just put a voice to it.  Why I have decided that Squirtford's nose ends every sentence with "pellets pellets pellets" (always three times), well I don't know.  He likes pellets! So sometimes he looks at me and says "What are you doing? Let me out. pellets pellets pellets."  When I check my purse repeatedly for my keys and phone in the morning, he stares at me, clearly thinking "You have them!  You already checked!  Get out already!!!! pellets pellets pellets!"  Well, there's no need to yell but he does make a good point.

"Did somebody say pellets pellets pellets?"

McFlurry appears to just be thinking about escaping at all times, oh and snacks.  We have basically figured out all her escape routes so now she just stares at us. When she looks at my husband, I translate "Let me out.  I'll be good this time...I promise" but she is clearly lying.  Plus she stands up everytime he walks by and says something like "bananas?" "snack?" "escape?"  She just always wants stuff.  I don't know how I know.  I can't explain it.  Its just obvious!
"I'm dressed up so you might as well let me out.  I'll be back by ten."

Actually, I don't understand people who don't anthropomorphize.  They're missing out. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Music as inspiration #3

Did somebody say Howard Jones?

This song was a big hit in 1985, so it's easy to not pay attention to the lyrics and just get caught up in the woah woahs.  However,  I am still a big fan of Things Can Only Get Better, all these years later and listen to it often.  Here's the video, (just the hair is fascinating, in itself):

Things Can Only Get Better video

You know how when a bunch of things go wrong and you think, nothing else could happen, things can only get better?  Well, that is a) totally not true (does anyone really think that, things can always be worse) and b) not what this song is talking about.  Oh and c) a really irritating thing for someone to say to you when things are going wrong and they are trying to "comfort" you.
So the song is interesting because it is really all about letting go of what holds you back and just going for it.  The best things in life are often hard to attain, full of risk, a scary path to walk down and not a sure thing.  Sometimes it is difficult to get to your goal but if you know your course, you can get there, as long as you keep your goal in mind.  Sometimes, however, you want something and you don't know if you can achieve it, even if you try your best.  It becomes tempting to not try because of the risk and your lack of control of outcomes.  Wouldn't it be easier to change your goals than to remain focused on something that is a "maybe"?  In the short term, not going for it may feel right but what about in the long run?  Regret is a hard pill to swallow and likely harder to swallow than trying and failing.  So regardless of outcome, sometimes you just have to throw caution to the wind and go for it.  If it works, great and if it doesn't, there is comfort in knowing that you will never look back and say "I should have..."  "I was too afraid to...."  "I wish I had...." This is why I love the final paragraph of this song.  Sometimes when I don't know what to do, or am afraid to make a risky choice, I listen to this song and go for it.  Success or failure is out of my control but being afraid to take the chance, well, that is up to me.

Things Can Only Get Better

We're not scared to lose it all
Security throw through the wall
Future dreams we have to realize
A thousand skeptic hands
Won't keep us from the things we plan
Unless we're clinging to the things we prize

And do you feel scared - I do
But I won't stop and falter
And if we threw it all away
Things can only get better
Whoa, whoa whoa whoa oh oh

Treating today as though it was
The last, the final show
Get to sixty and feel no regret
It may take a little time
A lonely path, an uphill climb
Success or failure will not alter it

And do you feel.....
Whoa whoa whoa whoah...

And do you feel...

PS This song has a recent remake (but without most of the great lyrics) but I guess this means there is a whole new generation dancing to this song!
Things Can Only Get Better Cedric Gervais and Howard Jones