Category Archives: community

You’re Kinda Like Me

The other day on Facebook someone posted a little kid’s response to the question, “What do you want to be doing when you’re 100 years old.”  They responded by that age, they’re going to dislike people, live in a tiny house with their tiny pets.  I thought, good for you.  I’m half way there.

I’m not going to make it to 100.  I already prefer hanging out with animals over people.

If I could move out to the country, to the middle of Nowheresville, I’d go tomorrow.

One exception.  There would have to be a coffee shop.  My husband likes to talk to people.  I’d be okay with miles of fields, trees, starry nights and my farm animals.

This is why I love my time at the farm sanctuary.  There’s very little one-upping, high-stepping, no impressing or brown nosing.  It’s purely a come as you are society.  And although I can say it’s quiet.  It’s not quiet.

Turkeys are gobbling.  Roosters are crowing.  Horses are neighing.  Geese are honking.  Donkey is braying.  Alpacas are singing.  But what’s missing is the roar of the television.   Horns are not blaring.  People aren’t yelling into technology as they communicate with friends.  Ear buds are not leaking out the bass….all about the bass.

The other part about the sanctuary I truly enjoy, which is true of much of the animal kingdom, is how everyone has figured out how to get along.  From the smallest chicken, to the largest pig to the tallest horse and strongest cow.   Homo sapiens could use a lesson from Rafiki, the Mandrill from The Lion King, on how to get along with others.  Think about it for a moment.

Humans are like bruised peaches.  Or overly ripe bananas.  Our porcupine sensitivity extender quills are set to the highest rating and we’re zapping ourselves off the sensitivity charts.    It’s either, “this” or “that.”  There is no compromise and you must pick a side.  No, Marie Antionette, you will not have your cake and eat it too!  I’ll give you the coffee bean but not the grinder to make the coffee, figure it out, which do you want?  Bean?  Then better get some rocks to grind for coffee.  We are all in this together, maybe we should learn to blend, bend and balance.

Revert back to kindergarten and one of the first things we all should have learned: Be Nice.  Be Nice to Everyone.

Walk through a sanctuary yard and you’ll see chickens napping with pigs.  Turkeys hanging out with Guinea Foul.  Llamas standing with goats.  Great Pyrenees dogs with alpacas.  Little kittens hanging out with everyone, well they truly run the place, let’s be honest.

Then when you consider the greater animal kingdom, look at how many species are similar to another.  Certainly they don’t worry about identifying with another creature.  Rafiki could provide the next lesson to humans on this concept if we were to be so lucky.

Do you think the rhino might really be trying to be a unicorn with their cleverly placed horn?  Maybe they were the trial run?  Or the warrior unit of unicorns?

What about the donkey?  She is just a delightful, impish horse.  A cross between a miniature and a Welsh pony.  Don’t you think?  Have you ever met a miniature horse?  They think they’re Clydesdales.  There’s nothing miniature about them.  Small and mighty, I know, I take care of 5 of them at the sanctuary: Cash, Flash, Summer, Goldie and  Gypsy.

Panda bears and raccoons.  Black and white, with those clever bandit masks…hiding their facial features.  Both are round, fuzzy and rolly-polly.  What are they up to really?  Their pockets are no doubt filled with lost treasures.   Speaking of bears, you know there is a contest of biggest and baddest bear between Kodiak and Grizzly…brown, large and in charge.

And what about a leopard, jaguar and cheetah?  Big spotted cats that love living life in the fast lane.   They’re obviously all on the same branch of the family tree.  I hear reunions can be a bit of a challenge.

Or a dolphin and a porpoise….gray, slippery, sparkly looking creatures that live in the water.  They splash past ships and zip around like crazy nutters, flinging their glistening bodies through the air like an arrow shot from the water.

Crocodiles and alligators, the leathery looking, tough skinned, snap you in half faster than a spring loaded booby trap critters.  Similar, yet different species.

One that always confuses people: alpacas and llamas.  One is taller and the other one looks like it would be happy living as a house pet.  Lots of furry fluff to snuggle into, big eyes and a long neck to hug.  Which maybe, they could have been the trial run at creating a giraffe.

Beyond the animal species that look alike there are species and couples that are just better together.  Think about your own household, community and neighborhood.  Cats and dogs build special relationships.  Thank to the internet we have seen a multitude of images of different species snuggling and playing together: birds and cats, dogs and hamsters, goats and sheep, chickens and cats, dogs and sheep, rats and dogs, dogs and horses, cows and people.  Think of the combination and it’s out there.

We could take a page from the animal kingdom and learn to get along.  It doesn’t always have to be this or that.  It’s called having a circle of friends. Take a breath.  Sit down next to the llama and say, “what’s up.”  Learn something new from our neighbor.  It’s okay to find out you and the cheetah down the way have the same spots, it’s called being human.  Share the friendship.  Make the connection.  Say hello.  Be kind.  Open the door.  Put the phone down.  Be a human.

News Alert: Decision Making Isn’t New

Indecision drives me nuts.

Making a decision for some people is paramount to counting the grains of sand in the Sahara Desert.  A task so insurmountable it’s nearly impossible for them.

Making a decision involves thinking.  Planning.  Mapping out the consequences.   Analyzing the results.  Looking at the bigger picture, will this decision satisfy the end goal?  Will a successful outcome be achieved?  Or will I fail?

Ask the first question, move to the next.  It’s a cycle and you keep going until the process it complete.  Every day we make decisions.  We’ve been doing it since birth:

I don’t want to eat.  I want this toy, not that one.  I like Mary but not John.  Green is my favorite color and I will only purchase products that start with the letter, “K.”  I hate math.  I must watch this show.  My favorite shop is this one.  I do not want to wear that dress, that shirt, those shoes, that jacket….

Of course, as you get older and the roadway of life hands you different choices, they get more challenging.  What school to attend, who to marry, what house to purchase, what company to work for or maybe to quit working for….some of these are life changing choices.  We all make them.  It’s a choice.  You cast your vote with a simple: Yes or No.

  • Do I have time to stop for a coffee?
  • Should I buy pet insurance?
  • Does Martin need his eye exam scheduled?
  • Can we afford for me to quit my job and sell lemonade on the corner from a cart?
  • THE DREADED:  Where/What do you want to eat tonight?
  • Should I tell Joan those pants make her butt look big?
  • Is investing my money in the new recycled dirt company smart?
  • Do you believe in the Lockness Monster?  Bigfoot?  Ghosts?

You get my point, right?  It’s not like decision making is a new concept to humans.  We make them all the time from the time we open our eyes in the morning, to the time we close them at night, to the time we open them at 3:00AM when we can’t sleep and wonder if aliens are real.

Here’s the thing.

The Internet will tell you, on an average day, adults make about 35,000 decisions.

35,000

decisions

a day.

Let that sink in for a moment.   Quite a bit of computing going on in the ol’ noggin, wouldn’t you say?  35,000 decisions being dealt like a blackjack dealer in Vegas.

So then, can someone explain to me why placing an order at a food truck can be so fucking difficult for some people?

It’s not rocket science.  Shit.  It’s not even algebra!  Make a fucking decision and move on.

Earlier this week, I stopped by the Mexican truck near our office.  Out of all the trucks that come to the park by my office, this is my favorite – yum!

THE MENU:

Choose Option A:  burrito, taco, salad, bowl, quesadilla  (comes loaded with all the typical Mexican fixings)

Add Option B:  beef, chicken, pork, tofu

Done.  That’s it.  End of story.

As always, the truck had a line and I was about the 5th person…so not too bad.  However, for the two ladies in front of me you would have thought they were deciding on one of life’s biggest decisions.  It was a tough choice.  Too many choices.  They were distraught.  It was a true nail biter.  Weight was shifting from one foot to the other.  Eyes darting around, checking to see if  someone might overhear their decision and take it as their own.  Indecision.  Indecision. Indecision.  Time is ticking.  Tick. Tock.  Tick.  Tock.

THE CONVERSATION:

Lady 1:  “We could each get a salad and split a quesadilla.”

Lady 2:  “Or we could split the salad and each get a quesadilla.”

Lady 1:  “Or we could each get a salad and split the taco.”

Lady 2:  “How would we split the taco.”

Lady 1:  “Oh, right.  We could each get a salad and split a burrito.”

Lady 2:  “Ok.”

Lady 1:  “What kind of meat do you want?  I want pork.”

Lady 2:  “Oh, I don’t like pork.  I want chicken.”

Lady 1:  “Really?”

Lady 2: “Maybe we could do a salad and get half and half?”

Lady 1:  “Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. We could still split a quesadilla.”

***** Silence for 1 minute******  The ladies are next up in line ********

Lady 1: ” You know, I think I might just get a bowl with pork.”

Lady 2:  “Okay then I’ll get a bowl with chicken or beef. Or I might do the taco.”

Lady 1:  “You sure?  I might get chicken.  Is it a bowl or a burrito?”

Lady 2:  “Yeah, I’m definitely getting the chicken bowl.  I think it’s a burrito bowl.  I don’t know, it says burrito or bowl.”

Lady 1: (Said literally while biting her thumb nail) “I can’t decide.  Pork.  I’m definitely going with the pork.  Yeah.  A bowl with pork.  Maybe a burrito.  No, I’m getting the bowl.”

Lady 2:  “If I get a quesadilla, will you share it with me?”

Lady 1:  “Oh for sure!”

*****  Lady 1 & Lady 2 approach the order window of the truck *****

Truck Master:  “Hello, what can I get you?”

Lady 1:  “Hi!  I’d like to get a burrito bowl with pork.”

Truck Master:  “A what?”

Lady 1:  “A burrito bowl with pork.”

Truck Master:  “It’s either a burrito or a bowl, not both.  You pick Option A and then Option B.  Which do you want?”

Lady 1:  “A bowl with pork.

Truck Master.  “Okay, anything else?”

Lady 1:  “No, thank you.”  

Truck Master:  Looks to her friend …..” What can I get you?”

Lady 2: “Hello!  I’d like a burrito bowl with chicken. And a quesadilla.  WAIT! Oh my god, I don’t know!  HEY! Do you still want the quesadilla?”

Truck Master:  “It’s either a burrito or a bowl…..”

 

Note:  They got the quesadilla.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lift This. Sweat on That.

Who invented the idea of going to a gym?
Who decided it was a good idea to go into a room and sweat with a bunch of strangers?
No. I mean really.
Who?

gym 4
Have you seen what they were doing? The first gym rats willingly went to sweat and do physical activity with strangers in a dark room. Actually, kinda sounds kinky, but you know…why not…Marge said it would be good for me.

And so they went.

I get the whole men going to the gym, back in the day. The lifestyle changed. No longer were they running around hunting and killing animals. Dinosaurs weren’t trying to eat them all the time. They didn’t have to carve instructions into stone. Fields were plowed by tractor, not ox. And they no longer had to walk to work, uphill both ways, in the snow, without shoes….cause they had a horse and buggy.

How did all this get started?

Gym5

How exactly did you get selected to be a guinea pig for these contraptions? Here just step into this and strap this on. No. Really. Trust me.

Yeah and that’s exactly what Sweeney Todd said before he trimmed your hair. Then you were the main ingredient in his lover’s meat pies. Oh so delicious. Filling, yet half the calories.

I’m not impressed.

And when did women think it necessary to start torturing themselves on these mind-boggling machines? The women of yesteryear were, without a doubt, in better shape than most are in today’s society.

Their movie star golden girls had curves and softness, voluptuous bodies that were adored by men the world over. So who said this contraption was a good idea? Jiggle it, make the fat disappear and the muscles appear. Gym 3 is just a little too much pushing and pulling going on in this example. I mean, how exactly do you make it go?

I’m suspicious that there were quite possibly other enjoyments going on with the early exercise machines.

I’m also not seeing any instructions on these machines. Did it just come to Marge automatically? So obvious how this works, type of moment? Did they fumble through the steps after watching someone else? Or did they have personal trainers? Was there a posting in the daily mailer reviewing the necessary steps to getting the Betty Boop attributes?

I’m just curious.

Did they sweat? There doesn’t seem to be any sweating going on here. And if you go to a gym today and I would assume this goes for ANY gym – they smell. Some worse than others. But it’s like they say on the crime shows, “just breathe normally and you’ll get used to it.”

No getting over it. Gyms smell.

Bad.

No doubt the men sweat. It was therapy for them.

Women, I’m thinking not so much. They didn’t start sweating until Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons hit the scene. Then I’m fairly certain they were sweating to the oldies and goodies.

gym 1 No sweating here.

I bring all this up because I’ve been going to my local gym. It’s a new place for me since we’ve only been in this area for 3 months. Less than a 5 minute drive from my house, couldn’t ask for anything better.

Since college, however, I’ve belonged to a handful of different gyms and I’ve concluded one thing:
It’s like signing up to become a resident of another country.

I can only speak to the environments of the countries I willingly joined, all seemed like good ideas at the time. Flash back on some of them and I think WTF?

First.
There are the ones in town where people join to go and be seen. There’s no sweating allowed. In fact, as you walk in, they spritz you with glittery body oil….just to make you shine and sparkle even more. The residents of these gyms are usually the ones who are half plastic.

Top to tail….fake. Fake. Fake. Fake. Fake.

Fake.

They laugh loudly and prance like reindeers from one side of the room to the other. Did you see me? No? Here, let me go over there and look at the magazines. Wait, did you see my butt? No? Let me go this way….

Just stop the insanity, please. I’m may throw up.

Second.
There is the local gym, which houses two different types of residents – mostly:

1. Older residents who have been told to start a gym program for their health.
2. Middle aged people who just want to try and look better.

The side note for this type is sometimes you get a local gym, owned/operated by a locally grown person who is definitely into good health and weight lifting. In which case, you may get some serious body builders. But, that’s okay, they’re doing their own thing and really, the owner of this particular country just wants to keep it going and is happy you’re there. In fact, so happy, they will even help you learn new exercises! Score! Didn’t need a trainer for that!

The local gym, out of all the ones I’ve experienced, has been my favorite…..thus far.

Third.
A gym that is part of your housing community.
One word.
Children.

Fourth.
Is only allowed for individuals with estrogen.
The pink ladies gym.
I’m not talking about the Grease Lightening Pink Ladies either.
The color pink.
Pink walls. Light pink carpet. Pink towels.
Pink.
And the competition is so high that you can’t hear the music on your head phones.

Conversations, are flung with these one line, free roaming daggers:

“My butt isn’t as big as hers, right?”
“I can’t believe she’s wearing THOSE pants.”
“She smells.”
“Her tan is so fake.”
“I can lift more than that girl.”
“Are you looking at me?”
“Look! At how much she’s sweating! GROSS!”
“Do you think they’re real?”
“Slut.”

Yep, that about sums it up.

So here I am at my current gym. This was after I realized the gym associated with our housing complex was not going to work out…..see above explanation.

I’m on my second month now. It’s not bad.
Smells? Yes.
Lots of equipment. Bonus.

I have been going after work. It’s a enormous mix of younger folks (translate that into college kids), a smattering folks my age (some grey hair sprinkles) and few older folks (translate that into white hair and balding.) It’s crowded, but not terrible. Definitely have to wait for things like benches to do free weights, but meh, I can find something else. Definitely no ginormous body builders here – that I’ve witnessed. So we’re all doing about the same and hoping to look as good as that person over there.

The bonus here – no grunting. Seriously. There could be a law about that in this place. Thank you.

When I go, I’m in the zone. I’m not paying too much attention to who is looking at who or not looking. I’m in and out. I don’t have time for the piddly nonsense of the gym social scene. I mind my etiquette and move on.

Confession though: I do notice that I am one of the older women. I do notice the college girls looking at me. I don’t care, I’ll march over into the mix of the boys and use the free weight leg press just like any of those guys wishing he was like Popeye, but these college girls won’t. I will hop up on the assisted pull up / dip (cause my arms are weak and I need the help) and not give two flying monkeys what anyone thinks. If nobody, after careful surveillance of course, is using one of the Smith Machines, I will walk over and do some squats. the-smith-machine-good-or-bad
Life is too fucking short to worry about what everyone else is thinking about you. In all honesty, they’re probably not even noticing.

Unless I fall off the assisted pull up – then I’ll be damned they would of course be watching, with a spotlight, sports commentator and I’d get a 3.7 combined score for landing it.

Or if I collapse under the Smith Machine because my hands slipped and I can’t get the weight off my collapsed body. (Talk about awkward positioning.) The next day’s headline will read: “Woman crushed by mere 50 pound weight while squatting. Should have used gloves to avoid slippage.” Hindsight.

This morning I decided to switch things up and go first thing. No make up. I didn’t even comb my hair – just put a clip in it. 5:30AM – and there I was at the gym.

THIS, for me —— insanity! The cats were even confused with my early wake up. If sleeping were an Olympic sport, I could get a bronze medal!

The gym parking lot was nearly empty. What is this great fortune I have? Park by the front door? Are they open yet?

Turns out all the college kids come after work. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

I walk in and any machine I wanted could have been mine. The age bracket – completely different. I was one of the young chicklets walking around. Everyone was in sweat pants or baggy shorts. Nobody was wearing liquid latex body paint outfits….oh, this is nice!

I’ve found my people! This is when the people in my age bracket and older come to work out. They’re serious. They’re here to get a job done and then jump head first into the rest of their daily routine.

They aren’t here to fein idiocy at how to do a bicep curl.
They aren’t here to twirl their hair and laugh at the guys doing bicep curls.
They aren’t here to prance from one side of the room to the other. Wait. Did you notice my butt?
They’re not here to try and out weight the guy next to them in the mirror!

We’ve got shit to get done and in under 60 minutes.

Go!
Go!
Go!

I can’t wait to go back tomorrow! We’re like a little early morning gang!

Maybe tomorrow I’ll wear my Jazzercise thong!

Jane Fonda thong

That has as much of a chance at happening as me finding Forrest Griffen on the machine next to me.

In which case, I’d totally be twirling my hair and feigning how to do a bicep curl.