Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Thoughts of a Twitterless Thinker 9-23-09

When Em got back from the Philippines last week, she presented me with a beautiful three-strand necklace with aubergine colored beads. She says when she put the necklace into the sack, it looked gorgeous. When she pulled it out of the sack to give it to me, it had been attacked by the chain sprites. Somehow they had gotten into the sack and played a rousing game of Jungle Knots.

I told Em I would work on untangling it at home. I’ll be darned like a sock if those pesky chain sprites didn’t sneak back into that sack on my way home, creating an admirably magnified tangled mess.
I am not a visual thinker (I stink at chess and lose mightily at Risk) therefore after trying on and off for a day, I handed the knot to Computer Geek. He used his awesome manly thinking skills to untangle my necklace in a matter of minutes. Hmm…maybe he was a chain sprite in a previous life.

I was thinking, as people without Twitter are wont to do, about airports. Em was mentioning how she purchased Dan Brown’s latest novel The Lost Symbol, while waiting in the airport in the Philippines, a full fourteen hours before it was available in the U.S. (There are advantages to time changes while traveling. The disadvantage was that she didn’t get to have a September 9 this year.)

Back in the olden days, pre-Patriot Act, people could hang out in the airport while waiting for loved ones to arrive. This means they could sip a latte at the airport Starbucks, buy some cheesy souvenir toys for the kids, or yes—even buy the latest Dan Brown novel.

If your r
elative’s flight was delayed, then you could justify spending even more money—going back for another slice of pizza, picking up that pair of $14 socks that you always wanted, or actually buying a birthday card on time.

Now, the people waiting for someone to arrive are allowed nowhere near the airport stores. We have to bring our own games to play.

Having managed businesses for most of my adult life, I started wondering how keeping the flying customer sequestered from the general populace has affected sales in airport stores. Surely, the stores must have taken a huge bite when part of their clientele was no longer allowed access. Didn’t they?

And don’t you feel sorry for them?

There. I’ve spoken my piece against injustice in the world.

The end of summer always causes a feeling of slight melancholy in me. The days of splashing in creeks and pools are gone. Garden greenery turns crisp and brown. Days are spent with open textbooks instead of lawn chairs and sprinklers.

That slight sadness disappears the first time the temperature drops a bit. A few days ago, I
looked out my living room window to see sun-highlighted golden leaves shimmering against the backdrop of a charcoal gray sky. A cool breeze rustled the leaves that had already fallen.

As the first raindrops fell, I felt energized by the change in season. Instead of regretting that summer had gone, I looked forward to the freshness of fall.

Last year, a group of friends decided to ring in the ne
w season with an outdoor breakfast in the park. At eight a.m., almost on cue, it began raining—a light autumn mist. The fathers were assigned cooking duty and the kids were assigned to decorate their aprons. We snuggled in sweatshirts and under blankets as dads prepared pancakes, hash browns, bacon, sausage, orange juice and hot chocolate. Some of the mothers were on decorating duty, arranging luminaria on the tables and pumpkins and cornstalks around the pavilion.

If you find yourself dreading fall, pick a cool October morning to have breakfast in the park. Invite all your friends and their kids and enjoy what the season has to offer.

I watched The Biggest Loser last week for the first time. The show is amazingly good and I chastised myself for never having watched it before. The story of Abby, who had lost her husband, 5-year old daughter and 2-week-old son in a car crash, especially touched me. I couldn’t wait to watch it again this week, all the while wondering why I had never watched it before. When Tuesday came, I remembered. It’s Dancing with the Stars night. Sheesh. What was I thinking? Will someone tell me if Abby wins?

Kids give us such great perspective. After a day at the lake, creating moats and rivers, my son looked on his creation and said, “Mud is a good gift.”

There are actually days in my life when I think to myself, “In order to feel complete, a salad must be eaten.” And then I go eat one.

Here’s my nomination for Amazing Video of the Week. I could go through a hundred boxes of Tic-Tacs and would never think of doing this. (Hayden, here's an example of what we were talking about on your site, about the internet being a catalyst for creativity.)


  1. hey Randi, nice post and i remember when my uncle comes from USA each year to India so we all "used" to do all that you just mentioned eat, drink and even shoppe at the airport! haha but now. we don't even go to receive him on airport! why? its too boring for now! hey do tell me about the book the lost symbol.. i m also thinking to buy it..
    take care

  2. Randi,

    Enjoyed this. Wonderfully entertaining. "Mud is a good gift", "A salad must be eaten", and "the freshness of fall" (the dying season) are great starters for a bout of meditation.


  3. Randi:

    Mud is a gift. A memorable quote from a child. Having just visited my grandkids in Virginia, I recall that Grace and I had fun playing with sweet gum balls that had fallen from a neighbor's tree.
    In case you don't know what they are, they are prickly little balls a tad smaller than a golf ball. While homeowners bemoan the mess these droppings cause each fall, we created a family of little hedgehogs out of the balls. Kids don't always need expensive toys; nature provides tools and kids
    create playthings.

  4. I enjoyed this post thoroughly. You always bring a fresh perspective to experiencing the everyday with joy. Thanks Randi for your insight and example. "Mud is a good gift." will probably be one of my favorite quotes for a while :)

  5. Naqvee: I am hoping to read The Lost Symbol soon. My daughter has quite a list of people who have requested to read it after she does, so my turn may be a way off. If you read it first, you'll have to tell me how you liked it.

    Airports used to be fun, didn't they. Now we can't even take children to watch the planes land.

    Robert: Thank you! I'm anxious to see the results of your meditation bout. :)

    Auntie M: I loved this: "...nature provides tools and kids create playthings." So, so true. My driveway is covered in gravel and my son and friends will sit out there for an hour, scooping rocks into various sized piles. For what purpose, I do not know. The sweet gum balls sound very interesting!

    septembermom:Thanks for your nice comments. I think life is all about learning to enjoy "the moment." Jere will be happy to know you liked his quote! :)

  6. WOW, you have to be FEARLESS to just start grabbing people off the street like that. What an amazing experiment(?)! I'm sure those people walked away with a memory for life.

    P.S. I also deeply :heart: what you said about salads. My mother-in-law says I'm going to turn into a rabbit!

  7. Hayden: Isn't that great what a little creativity can do? I love it when people just go around creating random happiness.

    For a real treat, go to youtube and do a search for "flash mob." I love seeing events that appear to be random but are actually well orchestrated. My faves are "Beat It" in Stockholm and "The Sound of Music" in Belgium.

    So Hayden, someday let's be in a flash mob, ok?

  8. I love the twitterless posts but never know where to start - they're like watching a TV show that shows unrelated items from all over the place!

    Bendy straws - sometimes sliced lengthways - good for separating strands in transit.

    Mud is GOOD! (Except when you try and wash it off stuff...) My son and Jere would get on. He spends hours on the beach digging and building.

    You and Auntie M (and Jere) just reminded me of my childhood, shelling - and thankfully not eating - lupin pod peas for my dolls and trapping dozens of daddy long legs in empty jars, transferring them to cardboard boxes and letting them go free under our least favourite neighbour's clean washing on the line and into her house... I also dammed burns (wee streams) and made precarious makeshift treehouses by wedging logs in between branches.

    Please can I be in your flash mob and eat salads with you guys, too? Pleeeese?

  9. Janice: Bendy straws! I will have to keep that in mind when the chain sprites strike again! Good advice.

    Jere had such fun that day on the beach because right near the water there was more mud than sand. He was in seventh heaven! He would love some building time with your son.

    I was really getting into your stories about your childhood! I would love to see these examples as a full-blown post. What is a lupin pod pea? And Janice---I didn't know you had a streak of mischief! I was laughing at the thought of you letting spiders go under your neighbor's laundry!

    Yes, we would love to have you in you in our flash mob, eating salads with us. Maybe that could be the theme of our flash mob--everyone meet at one place at a certain time, munching our salads. I wonder if it's been done before? Sound fun?

  10. Ken! You're back! I've been trying to comment over on your site but can't find the comments section. Welcome back to blog-land, my friend. We have missed you!

  11. Salad crunching flash mobs. Sounds like a surreal plan! As long as there's chick peas....

    In my notebook of blog ideas - the one lying on the dusty boardwalk outside the saloon with the creaking swing doors in the ghost town with the tumble weed rolling down the street - I had scribbled down ideas for writing about my past as part of the promotion of Auntie M's doll book.

    Lupins are flowers on tall spikes. When the flowers go to seed, they develop these dry, furry grey seed pods, shaped like pea pods. I used to split open the pods and pretend I was shelling peas. They're poisonous.

    I'm glad Ken's back; it suddenly dawned on me that he's the only one who uses the term "daddy long legs" (we also call them jenny long legs.)They have delicate wings and long skinny legs and they flutter scarily around a room, but they're stupid and easy to catch. That's how we managed to capture hundreds in the fields behind my house. We put all the captives in a cardboard box with a dish towel over the top until they were ready to be released. I never pulled off their wings or legs, but some kids did. I'll send you some photos.

    I did some mischievous things as a kid, but they were the standards, like eating the farmer's raspberries or tying two outside doorknobs together and then knocking on both doors and running away. We called it chap door run. ("Chap" on a door is Scottish for knock.)

  12. Janice: Oh, lupins as in Monty Python! I hope you didn't lick your fingers as you were shelling those "peas!"

    So I guess a daddy long legs is something different in Scotland. We use the term to describe spiders that hang out in your garden that have extremely long and thin legs. They have no wings. I'm glad you never pulled off the wings or legs of your daddy long legs. Ouch!

    I laughed when you mentioned your trick of tying two door knobs together! Thanks for giving me a new term to use: chap door run. I love it so I will have to think of a creative way to use it this week.


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