Musings and Amusings

Archive for the ‘Baby boomers’ Category

In Bloom: Flowers and Friendship

Our emails went something like this:

“Wouldn’t it be fun to meet each other? I don’t mind driving to Denver, and I enjoy the DAM (Denver Art Museum). What do you think?”

 “Sure! I have a DAM membership and would love to meet you there. (I hoped you would ask!)”


Doors, Portals and Gateways, Oh My!

A door is defined as “a hinged, sliding or revolving barrier at the entrance to a building, room or vehicle or in the framework of a cupboard. “

Unmistakeably manmade.

And yet, the synonyms for door include “portal, opening, entrance and exit.”

 The synonyms for portal include “gateway”. Furthermore, portal also means a metaphorical opening to another world.


Good, Better, Best – Alice Munro

Although I was somewhat disappointed in the first two Annies I read for my Annie Project, the stars aligned with my final three selections. (Future posts for Annie Proulx and Edward Abbey.)


Announcing the Cherished Blogfest

Hey!! Help us celebrate the first-ever Cherished BlogFest I hope you will join. Fun bloggers, fun topic, and minimal amount of time or effort. You’ll see a link at the end of the post. All you have to do is click it and add your blog URL. You KNOW you want to!!

No Facilities

I know. I’ve been talking all week about how I stink at organized blog activities, but I’m one of the organizers of a Blogfest? WTH? That’s like putting me in charge of the checkbook, or asking me to guard the bacon, or to take fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies to a bake sale.

You might not think this makes any sense, but it does.

A blogfest is a great way to meet new people, see what they have to say and get your stuff in front of them. I’ve never been part of a blogfest, but, as I understand it, it’s pretty easy:

All you have to do is to write a blog post. Post it at the designated time. Fill out a Linky thing, read a few posts, and give us your first-born child.


Apparently, we dropped that last requirement?

Official Story

For the Cherished Blogfest, we – Paul…

View original post 228 more words

Balance, Please

When I worked my after-retirement, parttime bank teller job, my branch was located in a Denver neighborhood with a large Russian immigrant population.

Immigrant as in displaced Russian Jews who came to America decades ago; who are certainly in the last decade of their lives; who live on a monthly disability, Social Security or displacement settlement stipend administered by the US government and automatically deposited into their bank accounts.

On the last Friday of every month, a steady parade of 4’5″-5’0″ tall Jewish men and women – widows, widowers or married couples – marched into the bank on aged, stiff joints wearing their heavy overcoats, warm ear-covering hats and sensible walking shoes. Many used canes, and all were so squarely built nothing could topple them.



Each waited patiently in the interminably long teller line holding a small square of white paper in one hand. They’d approach my teller window one by one, push that small square of paper across the marble counter, and say in a deep, gutteral voice,

Bullenz, plizz.”

On the paper was a scribbled account number. I’d look up the account balance, write it on the paper, and turn the paper towards them.

bank moneyThey’d study the paper – if they were a couple, they’d whisper to each other in a language I couldn’t name – then painstakingly print a dollar sign and a 3-digit number on the paper. That was the amount – always in NEW hundred dollar bills – they wanted to withdraw from their account.

Quietly in English, I would slowly and deliberately count the bills to them as I laid each bill on the counter.

They would slowly – in Russian or an Eastern European language – count the bills a second time to themselves or each other. After methodically placing the bills in a black purse or trouser pocket, they would push the piece of white paper back to me a final time.

Bullenz, plizz.”

I’d mentally subtract the withdrawal amount from the balance I’d previously written, and write the new balance. They’d study the paper; whisper to each other, pick up the paper and pocket it.

A few would nod or thank me; others just turned and shuffled out the door.

Don’t we all – when life goes sideways or priorities get out-of-whack – wish we could stride to the Counter of Life and shout,

HEY! May I get a little balance, please?!?”


If there’d been such a Counter during my earlier decades, I would have been tempted to stand in line. Now I have the benefit of hindsight, and I view ‘balance’ from a different perspective.

I’ve concluded that well-meaning Life Coaches and ubiquitous ‘Healthy Life’ articles exhorting the necessity of balance in your daily life are just a current-trend version of the ‘You CAN Have It All’ myth.

I was in my early 30’s when I rejected the ‘You CAN Have It All’ harpies.

You can’t. I couldn’t. No one does.

Is it possible we’re stressing ourselves more by reminding ourselves how out-of-balance our lives are during any given week, year, crisis, or life event?

Marriage, divorce, birth, death, job change/loss/overtime, weather calamities, accidents, injuries, illness …

You name it; life brings it. Generally not in a balanced pattern.

Life is uneven.

That’s not to say your life, in its totality, can’t be balanced. If we lessen the emphasis on evaluating balance in any given time capsule and accept that – for most of us over our lifetime – our ebbs and flows average out, we might stop pining for the Counter where we can plead,

Bullenz, plizz.”

My Picks for the Best Books, Part One

Although we have some crossover in readers, I thought some of you budding, wanna-be artists would appreciate this excellent list of recommendations from one of my favorite artists, mentor and cheerleader.

I’m buried in year end, new year paperwork this week, and Katie’s post is a perfect way for me to feature her while slogging through my week of administrative chores.

D.Katie Powell Art

I’ve been asked quite a bit about my favorite how-to art books, and here is my answer.  I will divide them into beginner’s best and then those that are good no matter where you are, but you must know that rarely do I find a book a dud!  I can almost always find some value in another artist’s experience.  That said, I was given some books that  I will sell or give away — I simply don’t find them interesting or valuable or engaging enough to ever crack a second time.

I put books into categories:

  • Those that set out to teach you
  • Those that inspire

The former category is more straightforward.  Either someone is pretty good at reaching their target audience and showing them great ways to accomplish their goals, or introduces them to ideas they never even considered, or they aren’t good teachers! I have eons of teaching…

View original post 1,447 more words

This Doesn’t Add Up!

Hub and I sat down last night to help Sparks (5th grade) with his homework.

You know where I’m going with this, right?

Sparks gave us an hour lesson in New Math, during which my thinking cap was knocked so askew I had to lie down for an hour. In New Math, that adds up to 1½ hours of no one learning any New Math.

We recovered by having some pie.


Apparently 98% of our population in any given year doesn’t grasp how to add, subtract or multiply numbers by columns. Neither do we know how to divide numbers using this cool Boomer doodle pattern:


That’s the only reason I like long division – that rockin’ doodle pattern!

Don’t worry, there are doodle patterns in New Math; just not that obsolete Boomer pattern.

In New Math, the doodle pattern is 100% addition.

That’s right. Subtraction, multiplication and division are each distilled down to addition. Specifically addition of tens. See how this problem starts out as subtraction but quickly morphs into addition?


In addition, Plus Also, horizontal processing has replaced vertical calculations.

For instance this kind of problem:


Now looks like …

new math

The gist is 72 and 39 are broken down into tens and reconfigured into completely new numbers spread out across that doodle-y horizontal line. The new numbers are then … … ok, I have no idea how to proceed, but I’m 97% certain there’s a subsequent calculation requiring an additional doodle.

new math doodle

Is anyone seeing a pattern here?

Call me doodle-brained, but New Math looks like it’s taking us down a slippery slope to a nation of … well … doodlers, not mathematicians!

Nevertheless, I’m encouraging Sparks to stick with New Math. I’m counting on him to calculate answers to some mathematical problems that have long plagued my musing mind:

  1. How is it that my nieces and nephews are approaching age 40 when I’m barely one face-wrinkle past 39 myself?
  2. How is it that my youngest brother, who I invariably describe as age 22, is actually – when I doodle it out – 57?
  3. Why can audiologists fine tune Hub’s hearing aids with eight different programs so he can HEAR, but not a single calibration will entice him to LISTEN?
  4. How can we successfully land a space explorer on a comet after traveling a cumulative four billion miles, but my cable provider cannot accurately sync my ‘automatic recording option’ with the actual start time of my shows?
  5. How can we bask in 70 degree sunshine at 10am; shiver in 29 degree snow flurries at 10:30am; and shovel two feet of snow in single digit temperatures 24 hours later? What is a Polar Vortex anyway? It sounds like something out of the Hunger Games (which I pray is not New World repercussions from the New Math Doodling curriculum).

When I was an auditor, I had a client who developed his own catch-all math response to my intrusive audit inquisition – probing for the truth about sales, inventory, expenses and profit.

Me: “Hey Sam, I’m looking at your inventory records stating the number of new and used cars you have on the lot, but my actual count is … well, it’s just not adding up.”

Sam (grabbing inventory sheet and his eraser): “What number would you like it to be?”

Sam didn’t need New Math OR a doodle to calculate that!


Source of graphics and photos: Google Images



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