I’M JUST CURIOUS: Life’s experiences

by Debbie Walker

I know all this will sound “Polly-Anna” (it means to be excessively or blindly optimistic). What the heck, we can all use some positives right now. Do you remember the little saying about, “If life throws you lemons, make lemonade?” What a simple saying but how important.

I know, in the middle of a crisis, if someone told me to make “lemonade” I’d probably want to hurt them! However, when the crisis is over, I’ve found what you do with it is of utmost importance.

Seems like there are two files for these to go in. We have the “poor me” file or the “How can I use this” file. After a little practicing it’s amazing.

Like when I had to fly to Maine when Dad was sick that year. It was really an emotional trip. Everyone thought he was going to die. Up against death, going in debt for $500 doesn’t matter very much. You just do what you feel you must do, beg, borrow, but hopefully not steal.

Two weeks of such emotional upheaval is quite tiring. Leaving your comfort zone of home and having to deal with unfamiliar circumstances is quite a trip. The stress, the worry, then the emergency was gone, everything was going to be okay. A lot of life changes for mom and dad, but at least it was going to be okay.

Two weeks passed, life continued but then the reality of having borrowed the money and how in the world was I going to pay it back. I guess the reality of what really took place was over and I was exhausted.

It was an expensive trip money wise and emotional. So, the choice is to be upset with lemons, yet another blow to my already financial disaster or to realize what an education I got from that investment. It was an education that I learned a great deal immediately, however I believe I will be remembering and learning more in the years to come.

I learned a lot about myself, my values, human nature, culture, medical facilities and care givers, the process and the list goes on and on. That is how I make my “lemonade”, otherwise it’s just a waste of lemons!

That’s enough of serious, how about some fun!

Our friend Ed sends out “funnies” to some of us each day. The following was in Wednesday’s collection:

I still can’t believe people’s survival instinct told them to grab toilet paper.

I’m going to stay up on New Year’s Eve this year. Not to see the New Year in, but to make sure this one leaves!

They said a mask and gloves were enough to go to the grocery store. They lied. Everybody else had clothes on!

Keep in mind, even during a pandemic, no matter how much chocolate you eat, your earrings will still fit!

The dumbest thing I’ve ever purchased was a 2020 planner!

If I had only known in March it would be my last time in a restaurant, I would have ordered desert.

When does Season 2 of 2020 start? I do not like Season 1.

The buttons on my jeans have started social distancing from each other.

I never thought the comment, “I wouldn’t touch him/her with a six-foot pole” would become a national policy, but here we are.

I’m just curious if you are ready for some laughs without politics being involved that is! Contact me at DebbieWalker@townline.org with questions and comments. I’ll be waiting. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful week.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Some silly thoughts

by Debbie Walker

I have been reading again (or still)! Hope you don’t mind. The first one is titled Thee Onderful Werld ov Wirds. The best I can do for the name of the author is it came from a little book titled Moments for Grandparents, from Robert Strand. I hope it makes you smile. (Figure out the title yet)

I take it you already know of tough and bough and cough and dough. Others may stumble, but not you, on hiccough, thorough, lough and through.

Beware of heard, a dreadful word. That looks like beard and sounds like bird.

And dead … it is said like bed, not bead. For goodness sake, don’t call it deed.

Watch out for meat and great and threat: they rhyme with suite and straight and debt.

A moth is not a moth in mother, nor both in bother, broth in brother.

And here is not a match for there, nor dear and fear and pear and bear.

And then there’s dose and rose and lose… just look them up… and goose and choose, and cork and work, and card and ward, and font and front, and word and sword, and do and go, then thwart and cart. Come, come I’ve hardly made a start.

There’s also click and clique, and grove and glove, and hope and soap, and move and love: there’s sane and seine, and soup and soul, there’s lean and lien, and fowl and bowl.

How about pear and pair and pare? There is also fear and fair and fare.

A dreadful language? Man alive… I’d mastered it when I was five.

THAT IS THE FIRST HALF, the second half has a little different spin on it. I will put that in for the following week.

The second read is a poem I found; I have no idea how many years ago now, but I can tell you the paper I copied it down on is now quite yellowed. Read it and try to still think of me with kindness!

NOT YET

Winter, Don’t descend on me;
I am not ready yet.
The mittens, boots, and woolen socks
Are placed where I forget.
The sleds are piled behind the bikes,
The runners red with rust.
The shovel’s somewhere in the garage
Buried deep in dust.
Winter, don’t descend on me,
Your cold and blowing snow
Keeps whipping through my muddled mind —
Where did the summer go?

I am just curious where your thoughts wander as winter approaches. Let me know at DebbieWalker@townline.org. I’ll be waiting! Have a great week! Thanks again for reading!

I’M JUST CURIOUS: A little bit of history

Tater Tots appeared in 1953

by Debbie Walker

My friend, Ms. Barbara, gave me her copy of the latest edition of her AARP magazine. In it was an article by Ruth Reichl, The Changing American Table.

The article was interesting and she brought a few questions for the reader. She wrote about Vice President Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev having “kitchen debates” in 1959. VP Nixon said, “What we want is to make life easier for our housewives”. (That’s a strange word. I can’t say I was ever married to a house!)

Changes were happening for our kitchens before 1959. Ms. Reichl wrote an article that kept my interest. One point was in the push to speed up growth of garden produce as well as ‘feed animals, to go bigger and better.’ She wonders if that would be why we have lost some of the flavors and about the nutritional value of these foods.

I have taken for granted the products created over the years before I was born and after. I never realized there is a history to go with each generation of products, including food. Simplifying is to say there was the generation of TV dinners. Even that was taking too much time in the kitchen, so they progressed. Next “instants” became the things to prepare, such as instant potatoes, freeze dried instant coffee, Pop Tarts, Tang and Carnation Instant Breakfast. Then came frozen bread dough, frozen pie crusts, Green Giant peas and Cool Whip.

If you get the AARP magazine, I would have to recommend the article. It’ll give you something to read and ponder if you are staying close to home these days.

The following is a list of products and the years they came on the market.

1934: Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup.

1953: Tater Tots: they are crispy recycling of French fry leftovers.

1956: Electric can opener: It had its own cookbook, Can Opener Cookbook.

1958: Jiffy Pop: I remember it being fun to watch it as it ballooned.

1959: Tang: Adopted by NASA

1964: Electric knife: Seems like it was more of a knife for dad.

1964: Pop Tarts: You will love knowing they were developed from research on making a moist dog food patty.

1965: Shake ‘N Bake: “And I helped”.

1965: SpaghettiOs: I had no idea they are that old.

1966: Cool Whip: My mother loved anything resembling whipped cream.

1971: Hamburger Helper: Magic powder could stretch a pound of hamburger.

1971: Crock Pot: A.M. pop in cheap meat to P.M. Enjoy dinner.

1972: Celestial Seasonings: Four hippies began the herbal tea boom.

1976: California Cooler: premixed sangria.

1981: Lean Cuisine: frozen entrees sold out the first year.

1989: Electric Juicer: Now fruits and vegetables could be drunk.

2006: Avocado Toast: gained fame in a New York City café.

2010: Instant Pot: Multicooker.

2011: Meal Kits: Hello Fresh and others take away having to make decisions for dinner.

Anyway, I found the article interesting and I hope you get to read it. My column is a condensed version of an article that gives you plenty to think about.

I’m just curious what you would be interested in reading. Contact me at DebbieWalker@townline.org.

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

I’M JUST CURIOUS: 10 steps to self-care

by Debbie Walker

Hi! Okay I have to tell you right from the start that the basic steps were also on-line. I did add some of my “senior” wisdom. (Anyone who knows me will see humor in that comment.)

1. If it feels wrong, don’t do it.

When my grandkids were growing up, we tried to teach them about their Intuition. We resorted to “Is this something you would want to tell (Great) Grammie what you did (or said)? They adored her and never wanted to disappoint Grammie.

2. Say exactly what you mean.

Don’t assume someone understands what you intend. Don’t give them a half answer or half question. Be clear. Too often we are busy and give a condensed version, not everyone will see things as clearly as you.

3. Don’t be a people pleaser.

If someone asks you a question be as honest as you can be. Don’t give them the answer you think they want but don’t be hateful either. Often, I will tell someone that I don’t feel qualified to answer the question. It’s okay to just say, “I would not be comfortable answering that”. And in the real world you have to pick and choose your answers according to the situation.

4. Trust your instincts.

I believe this is pretty the same idea as #1, still have to refer back to instinct/intuition. How many times have you said, “I should have gone with my gut feeling”. Do I have to say more?

5. Never speak badly about yourself.

When you speak badly about yourself, it slowly but surely teaches you to think negatively about yourself. You may use your opinion of you as an excuse to not try something new. Also, who hears your negative comments? My Mom used to call herself “stupid.” One day I told her she had to not do that when doing things for the grandkids. They will someday think the same about themselves and use it for an excuse not to try something new. That would be sad.

6. Never give up on your dreams.

Keep some kind of a dream in front of you. You will be healthier having something to look forward to. They don’t have to be big dreams. It doesn’t have to be big dreams. Try new things and meet new people. You may never know what experiences are coming your way. Keep your Dreams.

7. Don’t be afraid to say NO.

To me this one is very much like #3. You have a right to say “No” sometimes. If you over-extend yourself by always saying “yes” when you have a good reason to say “no”, you may become resentful.

8. Don’t be afraid to say yes.

I think we have covered this earlier.

9. Be kind to yourself.

If you treat yourself as you would treat a friend, that’s a good head start.

10. Let go of what you cannot control.

I am just curious of how well we treat ourselves. If you don’t take care of you there won’t be anything left to care for someone else with.

Any questions or comments find me at DebbieWalker@townline.org . Thanks for reading and enjoy your week!

I’M JUST CURIOUS – Survival: reason to celebrate

by Debbie Walker

This move into the camper has held a few surprises for me. Recently, I was going through some boxes I must have packed a couple years ago and forgot. In going through this one box I found some of dad’s things. I found a piece that someone must have shared with dad but I can’t find it on the internet (keeping in mind I am not an expert) and I have no reason to believe he wrote this. I enjoyed reading it and hope you do too:

For All Those Born Before 1945

We are survivors! Consider the changes we have witnessed:

We were born before television, penicillin, polio shots, Xerox, contact lenses, Frisbees, and the PILL.

We were born before credit cards, split atoms, laser beams and ballpoint pens, before pantyhose, dishwashers, clothes dryers, electric blankets, air conditioners, drip dry clothes … and before man walked on the moon.

We got married first and then lived together. How quaint can you be?

In our time, closets were for clothes, not for “coming out of,” Bunnies were small rabbits and were not Volkswagens. Designer jeans were scheming girls named Jean or Jeanne; and having a meaningful relationship meant getting along well with our cousins. We thought fast food was what you ate during Lent, our Outer Space was the back of the Riviera Theater.

We were born before house husbands’, gay rights, computer dating, duel careers and commuter marriages. We were before day-care centers, group therapy and nursing homes. We never heard of FM Radio, tape decks, electric typewriters, artificial hearts, word or food processors, and guys wearing earrings. For us, time sharing meant togetherness. . . not computers or condominiums; a “chip” meant a piece of wood; hardware meant hardware and software wasn’t even a word.

In 1940, “made in Japan” meant junk and the term “making out” referred to how you did on your exam. Pizzas, “McDonalds” and instant coffee were unheard of.

We hit the scene when there were 5 and 10 cent stores, where you bought things for five and 10 cents. Sanders or Wilsons sold ice cream cones for a nickel or a dime. For one nickel you could ride a streetcar, make a phone call, buy a Pepsi or enough stamps to mail one letter and two postcards. You could buy a Chevy Coupe for $600, but who could afford one? A pity too because gas was only $.11 a gallon.

In our day, cigarette smoking was fashionable, Grass was mowed, Coke was a cold drink and Pot was something you cooked in. Rock Music was Grandma’s lullaby and AIDS were helpers in the principal’s office.

We were certainly not before the difference between the sexes was discovered, but we were surely before the sex change; we made do with what we had. And we were the last generation that was so dumb as to think you needed a husband to have a baby! No wonder we were so confused and there is such a generation gap today! BUT WE SURVIVED! Good reason to CELEBRATE . . .

I’m just curious what you thought of all this. Contact me with questions or comments at DebbieWalker@townline.org. I am looking forward to them! Thanks for reading enjoy your week.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Public service announcement (Unofficial)

American black bear. (photo by Michael Webber)

by Debbie Walker

Let me first explain this is certainly not official business. The words are all my own, the paper nor anyone connected had anything to say here. Just me.

This one has to do with the bear population of Maine. I am so not knowledgeable on this subject so you may want to check with your local game warden.

The reminder I want to bring up in this column is: I believe we are into the time of year when the bears are getting nervous about packing on enough eating to be able to survive their winter sleep. Are you remembering to be diligent about taking care of your bird seed and feeders, and anything else they consider their food such as your beehives?

Now for a little story: Imagine if you will, waking in the middle of the night to find a bear in your room. Never in your wildest imagination had you thought something like this could happen to you.

My friend held her scream in as long as she could. The scream she released alerted her little tough guy, Jack Russell dog, Petey, down the stairs just ahead of her husband and on the bear’s heels, sending the bear on his way. When she was able to talk, she explained the story of the bear. Being male, he thought she had a nightmare. He couldn’t imagine it could have really happened, but he would humor her by looking around. He remembered they left the door open a crack for the cat to be able to come and go. He went out the door to look for their little dog. In the entryway he discovered their bag of sunflower seeds destroyed. Ooops, guess maybe there was a bear. He got the dog, closed, and locked the door never to be left open again, cat or no cat.

Thanks to D and D and their experience and sharing it, maybe we can prevent someone else from having a similar situation. Thank you D and D and, of course, Petey!

Maybe another note of interest: As you are preparing for the winter you know will show up sooner or later, I would like to suggest if you have animals that stay outside, please make sure to make preparations for them as well. They have to depend on you, please don’t let them down. If you can’t take care of this for them, please find someone who can. I don’t know what agencies you have there who might be able to help you, ask around, someone will know if you have such available.

I heard a good one today. It comes under the Scam topic. Nana Dee got a phone call. It was a man looking for her son, Ray. He claimed Ray had called to see about a brace for his backache. Ray, a quadriplegic, died five years ago!

I’m just curious if you have any bear stories to share. Thanks for reading. DebbieWalker@townline.org for any questions or comments. Have a great week!

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Little things matter (continued…)

by Debbie Walker

Good afternoon! Grab a cup of your choice and relax. In this column I am sharing a few “memories” I received from our readers. It’s a follow up to “It’s the Little things That Matter” column from the August 6 issue. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did. Hopefully, these will bring more memories of your own.

One of my readers sent me a copy of a eulogy her daughter wrote and presented at the grandfather’s funeral. I wish I could share the entire writing because it was beautiful and yet more proof that the memories of the ‘little’ things are so important. In the eulogy I saw no mention of how much money he spent on his grandkids, just activities they enjoyed. It is particularly important to recognize that she is proud of his character over his life and her grandparents having been married for 61 years. Thank you for sharing, Peg.

Another woman remembered some simple words that made a difference in her life as a mom. “If you run now you will run for the rest of your life.” Those quite simple words came the first time the Mom had let her toddler play outside with her cousin, and her little one fell and puckered up to cry. The new grandmother stood with the new mother and watched the incident, guess what. That new grandmother knew what she was talking about. So far, this wisdom has traveled down to what certainly will be this new fourth generation. Thank you, Alice.

My mother told me once, “If you don’t make a big deal out of it, they won’t.” And, oh my goodness, how true it was to me over the years of motherhood and nanahood. What you don’t realize at first is how this will help to keep all involved calmer over the years. Thank goodness, you realize eventually this wisdom will help to keep the drama down. No matter how scared you are if you force yourself to react calmly you can make it easier for those involved.

Yet another lady told me a story about her adult nephew. He asked her to go out with him one night, just the two of them and she did. She learned how important the little things are. He reminded her of her bringing pool toys with her when they were on a family camping weekend. She took these toys for the nephews and little niece and she had toys for each. He realized somewhere along the line that while they were having fun they were also learning skills and endurance. There was nothing fancy about the toys, it was the time spent that he remembered. He said they always knew they could go to her for fun. They both remember that wonderful evening.

Hope you enjoy these comments and when you are ready to send me yours, I will be right here.

Before I finish, I have to tell you a story. Have you been getting calls from people wanting to sell you extended warrantees for your car or possibly threats from “IRS” and you owing money and will be arrested that afternoon? Well, Nana Dee got a different one. She got the call from a Medicare/Medicaid representative telling her about her son Ray calling them and requesting a back brace this afternoon. She asked when he had called and was told it was last week. She said she didn’t realize he had been having back pain, she didn’t think he needed a back brace. Ready to start his speech she stopped and informed him that Ray had died five years ago. That ole boy was tripping all over his tongue!

I am just curious what you will send me next!! Contact me at DebbieWalker@townline.org. Thank you so much for reading and have a great week.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: 12 things to always remember

by Debbie Walker

I believe I found this material on Facebook, a social website, and I really wanted to share it. I don’t know who the original author is but I liked the thought behind this. And, of course, I had to add a few of my own thoughts. Any thoughts or comments you have I would be glad to hear from you.

1. The past cannot be changed. If we were able to change the past, we would lose some of the lessons we needed. What we don’t think of is in our quest to redo the past we would also lose some of the things you weren’t considering.

2. Opinions don’t define your reality. I will listen to anyone’s opinion, if I agree then it is part of my reality already. If I don’t agree I just ignore it. We all make mistakes. From those mistakes we learn. These are what makes our realities.

3. Everyone’s journey is different. No one is in the exact same spot in their journey. Everyone’s journey is different, that’s what makes us who we are, makes us all special. We might be the same age, in the same income bracket and may even have similar goals in life. Fortunately, the way we accomplish it is what makes our journey different.

4. Things always get better with time. Most injuries get better with time, most illnesses get better with time, grief and losses get better with time. Usually even our children get better with time!

5. Judgments are a confession of character. You will only know the character of a person through three things. (a) When you live with that person. (b) When you do business/partnership/employer/employees/ or friends with that person. (c)Any reason to spend a lot of time together. Character says a lot about a person, and that character is being judged, often, before you meet someone.

6. Over thinking will lead to sadness. Overthinking is focused on the past, specially the bad things that have happened or unfortunate situations that a person wishes had gone differently. Sadly, it is not just something you can’t shake off. The sadness or depression usually requires a little help, not just wishing.

7. Happiness is found within. According to my dictionary, True Happiness is enjoying your own company and living in peace and harmony with your body, mind, and soul. It’s for being truly happy you neither need other people nor materialistic things. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. I think we look for other people to make us happy rather than doing it for yourself. Such as: My husband doesn’t have a clue what I would love for Christmas. My suggestion is to purchase a couple of your most wanted items, buy them and put them in his hands to wrap. I doubt he will be unhappy and you will get what you wanted without disappointment.

8. Positive thoughts create positive things. Explains itself.

9. Smiles are contagious. I believe in smiling, especially when I have eye contact with anyone, strangers, and all.

10. Kindness is free.

11. You only fail if you quit. Or…If you don’t try at all.

12. What goes around, comes around. A person’s actions or behavior will eventually have consequences for their behavior.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Being in the right place

by Debbie Walker

I read an amazing theory on Facebook: a computer social program. I have no idea who is the author, but I am impressed with the words of wisdom. If you already saw this, I hope you will enjoy the premise of the theory again.

A man was giving his daughter the gift of an old “seen better days” car. His instruction was for her to take it to a car dealer to see what they would offer to purchase the car. She came back and told her dad they offered $1,000.

Next, he told her to take it to a pawn shop to see what their offer is. Well, that price was only $100.

Lastly, he told her to take the car to a car club meeting to see if there was any interest. Some people in the club offered $100,000 for it since it was an iconic car and sought after by many.

I am quoting the story now: “The father said to his daughter, ‘The right place values you the right way. If you are not valued, do not be angry, it means you are in the wrong place. Those who know your value are those who appreciate you. Never stay in a place where no one sees your value.’”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were all raised to be aware of our personal value? Are you aware of your value in your daily life? Do you know your value to your childhood family, friends, and teachers? Do you know your value to the family you are raising? Do your spouse and family know their value to you?

I’ll bet you never thought much about it even after reading the story but take a few minutes to think about this, what would your value be? What value do you give others?

None of this has anything to do with dollars and cents. Since I am retired the career/job doesn’t fit my life’s value. I am looking back at my employment years and I believe I placed too much value in that part of my life. It had a great deal to do with what I saw as my value of myself.

Raising my daughter, I am not sure either of us truly understood “value”. I think she looked at me as “something to survive”. We argued quite a bit. I think we both looked at each other more with the word “tolerance”!

Unfortunately, in my married life my husband suffered from depression most all his life. I doubt either of us valued the other. After too many years I did realize I was in the wrong place.

These days I am very aware of my wonderful friendships and family and how much we value each other. If you doubt your value, are there grandkids around? The first time this little chubby toddler came running towards me with arms flying wildly hollering “Nana” hug! Value, oh yeah!

I’m just curious if any of this has you changing your perception of value. It did me.

Contact me with any comments or questions at DebbieWalker@townline.org.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful week!

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Aahh Choo!

by Debbie Walker

The next thing you usually hear is ‘God Bless You’. Why? Where did that get started and why? This was my curiosity today. As often happens I open my laptop computer and start with the Google files and, ta-da, there it is, the answer on the website of Wikipedia. (I find answers to a lot of my questions there.)

It is okay if you decide to add this to your pile of “Useless Information”. I won’t be offended if you smile a little at the time.

As I said, I got this information from Wikipedia, read and chuckle:

What is the origin of saying Bless You?

In Rome, the bubonic plague was ravaging Europe. Sneezing was one of the plague’s main symptoms and is believed that Pope Gregory I suggested that a tiny prayer in form of saying, “God Bless You” after a sneeze would protect the person from death.

What are alternatives to saying Bless You?

Say “Gesundheit,” which is German for “{to your} health”. Say “Salute!” which is Italian for “{to your} health.” Offer a tissue if you have one handy.

There are a few different explanations about the origin of “God Bless You”. In the earliest days, it was deeply rooted in superstition. A sneeze was sometimes thought to be the body’s way of trying to rid itself of evil spirits. In that case it was a way to try to provide a protection, or a good luck charm, against the evil spirits leaving or inhabiting the body.

Is it true that your heart stops when you sneeze?

When you sneeze, the intrathoracic pressure in your body momentarily increases. This will decrease the blood flow back to the heart. The heart compensates for this by changing its regular heartbeat momentarily to adjust. However, the electrical activity of the heart does not stop during the sneeze.

Has anyone died sneezing?

Some injuries from holding in a sneeze can be profoundly serious, such as ruptured brain aneurysms, ruptured throat and collapsed lung.

Do you kill brain cells when you sneeze?

No. It is said the increase in pressure from a sneeze is so brief and slight that it would be enough to cause brain cell death.

Can you sneeze with your eyes open?

If you sneeze with your eyes open, your eyes will fly out from the force. It would be impossible for your eyes to pop out because of the number of natural attachments that keep the eye inside the socket.

Interesting facts: (?) (the following is from Everyday Mysteries)

Sneezes are an automatic reflex that can’t be stopped once sneezing starts.

Sneezes can travel at a speed of 100 miles per hour and the wet spray can radiate five feet.

People don’t sneeze when they are asleep because the nerves involved in nerve reflex are also resting.

Between 18 percent and 35 percent of the population sneezes when exposed to sudden bright light.

I’m just curious if you ever question something you have said or done for years? I would love to know. Contact me at DebbieWalker@townline.org with questions or comments. I’ll be waiting. Have a great week.