Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Summer Shorts & Odd Awakenings: Sight

Two stories in the news this summer...

Source: Jantecneon.com

"Teen wins California Lottery twice in one week!"

Rosa Domingues, 19, bought a $5 Power 5's scratch-off ticket at Eagle Energy, a gas station in Paso Robles while driving home to California from Arizona and won the top prize of $555,555! Then she tried her luck again by purchasing a $5 Lucky Fortune scratcher from a Valero gas station in Monterey County, and won $100,000!... for a grand total of $655,555 for two wins in one week!

Then...

Source: AliExpress.com

"Alarm clock stuck in a wall goes off every night for 13 years."

Jerry Lynn, a Pennsylvania homeowner, back in 2004 tied an alarm clock to a piece of string and lowered it down a second-floor air vent hoping the alarm's sound, set to go off in ten minutes at 7:50 PM, would help him locate the right spot to drill a hole for his TV cable. But the clock slipped off the string and became lodged inside the wall. Lynn described the alarm's beeping sound as starting off slowly then growing louder and louder lasting for about a minute.  "You can hear it from any room on the first floor but it doesn't bother us. I thought maybe in three or four months it would run out of battery, but it's still going off every day."

What are the odds of a battery still working after 13 years, or winning the lottery, not once, but twice in one week???

Don't ask me... I can't do simple math, let alone theoretical probability.

I can however tell a story. Here's another 'odd' one... the last, for now, in the series of Summer Shorts: Odd Awakenings.

An Odd Awakening: More Odd Than Even.

I'm up... sort of. My eyes go from shut to halfway open and immediately I look at the clock. Time will tell if I get up or roll over and go back to sleep.

It's 8:31 AM, Sunday... a good time to get up.

Then it dawns on me... that for the past few mornings, I've been waking up to a time ending in odd minutes.

Curious, I decide to record my future waking times... the exact time when my eyes first focus on my alarm clock, a battery-operated atomic clock that when pressed, lights up to a lovely shade of blue and digitally displays the hour, minutes, and day of the week.

Source: in5d.com

Here's the list of my odd timings:

7:37 AM Monday... too early,  more sleep needed.
8:17 AM... a better time to get up.

7:19 AM Tuesday... decide to drift off again.
8:13 AM... up and at 'em.

After 3 consecutive days of odd minute awakenings, I consider buying a few scratch-off lottery tickets.

Source: chupamobile.com

7:11 AM Wednesday... Ooooo, lucky-sounding numbers, but still feel tired.
8:35 AM... now ready to start the day.

7:05 AM Thursday... guess I'm up.

7:15 AM Friday... another early start.

8:59 AM Saturday... Wow! a real 'lie in'... British for remaining in bed later than usual in the morning.

Now, after a week, 7 straight days of waking to odd number minutes, I give gambling some serious thought... maybe a game of Dice where 7's and 11's will give me instant wins.

Source: Flickr / Mauiss7

Or Roulette, French for little wheel, where I can bet on numbers high or low, odd or even, red or black, then eye the wheel as it spins one way while the ball moves in the opposite direction hoping they meet in the pocket of my choice.


Source: Roulette.org

But I'm ahead of myself. I'm not a risk taker and I've only been to a casino once... in Atlantic City, with my grandparents after they raved about the hotel's smorgasbord and casino's fun slot machines. I don't remember the name of the hotel or casino, but I do recall L19, the number of the machine that ate my only roll of quarters ($10.00) in less that 30 odd minutes... not my idea of fun.

Source: neonsigns.london.com

8:51 AM Sunday... another slow start to the day.

5:35 AM Monday... ugh, 'mind chatter' too many thoughts pop into my head.
6:43 AM... but I manage to catch a 'few' more zzzz's.

6:17 AM Tuesday... ugh... vivid dreams... I'm wide awake.

7:43 AM Wednesday... a better time than the last two mornings.

Hard to believe this run of odd luck, but the numbers are true.

Also true is... Paddy Power Betfair, an Irish online betting agency offering odds on these and other credible Trump Specials:

FBI to confirm Trump Russia Collusion (Yes, No).
The year Trump will be impeached (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020).
What will he be impeached for (Treason, Perjury, Tax Evasion, Bribery)?
Will Trump resign (Yes, No)?
Will he build a wall between the US and Mexico in 2017?
Or will he build a hotel in Mexico 2017?

Source: Flickr / Caitlin Regan

And these Trump Narcissism Specials, worthy of waging a few 'Washingtons', dollar bills, of my own:

Trump to have a navy ship named after him.
Trump to have a US military based named after him.
Trump to have his likeness minted on US currency during his term.
Trump to commission his own face to be added to Mount Rushmore.
Trump to have the White House painted gold.

And just like that, on Day 12, after thoughts of this President, my odd streak ends.

8:22 AM Thursday... even minutes, another day, and Trump is still in office.

How did we, as a country, EVEN get ourselves into this ODD predicament?

Ya win sum... ya lose sum... I suppose.

Time will tell.


In good times & bad times
may we win 
more times
than we lose.

XOX... Dyan


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Summer Shorts & Odd Awakenings: Touch


Meet Mrs. Weinstock, our dear, smart, and witty friend who passed away in January 2015, two months shy of her 98th birthday. She graduated from West Philly High in 1934 and earned a scholarship to attend the University of Pennsylvania where she graduated with a degree in History and Education. Told you she was smart.

There is so much I could tell you about Mildred... about her love of: family, travel and mementos, museums, theatre, dance, books, and daily routines, like downing a shot of whiskey at precisely 5 PM and savoring a spoonful of ice cream before going to bed. But instead, I'll leave you with this...

After 30 dedicated years of teaching History and English to junior high school and senior high school students in the Philadelphia public school system, Mrs. 'W' retired but never tired of jokingly reminding us every summer that...

"The best two things about teaching... are July and August."

'Mitz' (Mildred) this post is dedicated to you.

No more pencils. No more books: Summertime.
Time for summer shorts: factual stories, short in length.

An Odd Awakening: Princess and the 'Pebble'.


OW! A sharp pain runs through my back and in a snap, I'm no longer sleeping.


It's early morning, though I can't say for sure... my eyes are still closed and my brain's barely working. I try to lay still, hoping the pain will pass, when I sense something wedged between my back and the mattress.

It's a rock!... slightly larger than a pebble, the exact size of the bruise I'll be feeling tomorrow. And like the storybook princess rendered black and blue from having slept on a pea placed under some bedding, I bruise easily too.

Also easy is the explanation of "how" a rock wound up in my bed in the first place.

Long story short...

The rock was in my hand when I climbed into bed for the evening; but before setting it on the bedside table where it belongs, I must have fallen asleep, soon after my head hit the pillow. Then morning rolled around, and with some rolling of my own, my back met the stone... OW!... lodged in the mattress.

Which brings me full circle except for "why"... why was a rock in my hand from the get-go? Not wanting to sound like a total flake, I hope this next bit is not a mistake.

Long story, slightly less short...


Many call them prayers; I call them vibes and recite them both morning and night. It's my way of attempting to connect with the Universe, in seeking guidance, expressing gratitude, and sending positive energy to friends and family alive and deceased. I've been doing this for years but like so much of what we do repeatedly over time, some things get lost. For me, my words began to lose meaning.

Which may explain why some people attend church or temple, build altars, or burn candles, in order to rekindle their spirit. I chose a rock... from my collection of many... a small stone, imperfect, and soothing to touch.

Flickr / Wild Goose Chase

Without knowing it, I chose a 'wishing stone'... a stone with a continuous white line running around its circumference. Perfect for sending positive vibes and making some wishes.

According to Irish belief, if you wish something to happen... "Give it to the pebble," which simply means to whisper your request to the stone.

But I digress... much the way I did when I drifted off to sleep after saying my vibes without setting my rock on the bedside table... where it belonged.


May you always feel a sense of belonging.
And may the gentle spirit of summer be with you.

For a beautiful Irish poem / blessing written and recited by an
Irish poet priest go here.

XOX... Dyan


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Summer Shorts & Odd Awakenings: Sound

Source: istock

"Happy Summer!" to everyone who's waited for this moment to arrive, to thrive.

And for those of us far less enamored with June, July, and August, a shout-out to Willis Haviland Carrier and his invention: the electric air conditioner, for without some respite from our area's intense heat and humidity, we'd barely survive.

Hot and hazy, long and lazy: Summertime.
Time for summer shorts: factual stories, short in length.

An Odd Awakening: Comforting or Unsettling?

Dawn's atmosphere must be optimum, for through an open window as I lay in bed, I hear the sweet trill of harmless birds singing, followed by a repetitious...

Painting by Roy Lichtenstein

POP!  POP!  POP!

It takes just a few minutes to exit sleep and enter consciousness before I can place the sound, a sound I've heard before... while walking far from my home, down Pleasant Avenue.

Again, another round, POP! POP! POP!, a most unpleasant sound, of gunshots
fired by police, honing their skills on a firing range: a place I've never seen, but know exists, somewhere... somewhere perhaps too close to where I live.

NYPD Target called "The Thug"

SOUNDS TRAVEL.
BULLETS TRAVEL.
HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL.

For the story behind the NYPD paper target "The Thug" go here.

"Have Gun Will Travel" was also the name of an American Western television series that aired from the late 50's to early 60's, starring Richard Boone, as Paladin, a gallant gunman for hire who made it his job to help others. To listen to the show's theme song go here.

Source: Kahrtalk.com


"May all your sounds of summer be pleasant ones."

XOX... Dyan


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Text & Emoticons

Source: Seniorplanet.org

I'm probably not the best person to be doing this... using emoticons to inject 'feeling' into a factual story. I own and operate a discontinued Motorola RAZR V3 flip phone with text messaging disabled. Enough Said.

And while I know little about emoticons, I do know that the sideways smiley face :-) (colon-dash-parenthesis) was first used in an email sent on September 19, 1982 by Scott Fahlman, a research professor at Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science to indicate light-heartedness in a text joke that might be mistaken for being sarcastic or serious.

And so, these quirky little keyboard strokes not only function as cute symbolic shortcuts, but can also suggest intent in text when facial expressions and body language are not present.

Here... I present a series of events... with emoticons and their meanings.

In the words of Stravinsky to his orchestra... "Once more with feeling."

April 9, 2017... Sunday

Bruce died.
Our 20-year-old, metallic champagne-colored Chevy van, with 155,973 miles on its odometer, has died from massive engine failure.
:( (sad)

Michael, my husband, is both capable and confident that he can make the necessary repairs himself and bring Bruce back to life.
:) (happy)

The repairs will take weeks to complete.
:O (shocked)

It's now three weeks. Bruce is still in a coma. And I've been holed up at home with a loop playing in my head of Willie Nelson singing, "On the road again. Just can't wait to get on the road again."
:-[ (pouting)

May 5, 2017... Friday

We decide to rent a car for the weekend. We're told by the dealership that the only car they have left, isn't the compact we reserved, but a brand-new Infinity QX80 SUV (purchase price starting at $63,000 and renting for about $200 a day). They're giving it to us for the originally quoted price of a compact: $9.99 a day, for three days.
:@ (exclamation "What???")

Knowing we'll probably never be in such an elite vehicle again, we run errands, lots of errands: post office, library, three supermarkets (Acme, Fresh Market, and Whole Foods) three craft stores (Michael's, AC Moore, and Jo Ann Fabrics) Bed Bath & Beyond, Bob and Ron's World Wide Stereo, and Target... more errands than we should attempt in one day, but this vehicle, which we've named 'The Behemoth,' demands to be on the road, not sitting idly in a driveway at home.
:D (big grin)

Once home (7:30 PM) we realize we haven't eaten all day. Beyond starved and too tired to cook, or dine in a restaurant, we discuss take out.
>:( (grumpy)

Only we can't decide what to eat. Fifteen minutes pass. We narrow our choices to pizza or pasta. But which? I suggest flipping a coin. Michael tosses a quarter. It lands on tails. We're running on vapors and forget to assign heads or tails to each item.
%-/ (braindead)

We declare pizza, heads and pasta, tails. One flip and it's heads... pizza. Michael reaches for the phone to place an order, but an order where? Salerno's is out, too far away. Whole Foods? Pizza Box? Trios? The clock keeps ticking. We return to the coin. Heads, Whole Foods, tails, Trios. Heads again. Now it's heads, Whole Foods, tails, Pizza Box. And what about toppings???
:l (indecision)

Instantly, Michael and I have the same thought... that this could go on all night into the wee hours of the morning. And by morning, someone might find us: splayed out, laying side by side, on the kitchen floor, with a shiny silver coin between us and the day's headline.. "Couple Found X_X (dead) From Hunger."
:'D (crying with laughter)

Two more weeks pass...

May 18, 2017... Thursday

Truck repairs are complete: the engine has been restored, front shock absorbers, spark plugs. and wires have been replaced. Bruce is resuscitated and lives to run another day... hopefully years, not days.
:)) (very happy)

May 19, 2017... Friday

With today the last of the promotional weekend deals until after Labor Day, we decide to rent one last car, another compact, this time to do more tootling around and less running of errands. We're given a new Fiat 500X... and for just a second, I think I hear the voice of a young boy (from the Mazda television commercial) whisper in my ear... "ZOOM ZOOM."
:<> (surprised) and :) (happy)


Safe and :) (happy) travels to you!


XOX... Dyan

P.S. Watch ZOOM ZOOM here. And if you're still wondering... we eventually ordered that pizza... a pie topped with: mushrooms, olives, roasted garlic and sausage... from Whole Foods.

More tales next month
@
"Here and Next"



Saturday, April 8, 2017

Toys, Stuff, & Kids


"What about the prizes?"... Four words that often slip from my lips to my husband's ears, when I'm bored, stressed, or need to smile.

The exact translation: "Time to buy my next toy."

Not a grown-up toy like a giant screen TV, luxury car, or digital gadget, but a toy-toy, a kid's toy, something small, made of plastic, cheap and often found in places like: vending machines, dollar stores, Five Below, and Toys "R" Us. Objects that can easily be held and displayed, provide levity to gravity, and are capable of waking the child within who has long been asleep.

Unfortunately, today I woke up early, 4 AM early, due to 'mind chatter': the constant bombardment of thoughts and the inability to turn them off. Thoughts about our government: the deception, nepotism, fabrications, leaks, ties with Russia, power for personal gain, the eroding of our Democracy and human decency, and sheer incompetence, to name a few, compounded by...

Thoughts of having to relocate, after learning that our lease which expires next year will not be renewed. Instead, the house we've rented for 10 years will be sold, forcing us to find another transitional home, who knows where, until we eventually move into the building we bought years ago... a building that's still being gutted and sure to be angst for some other morning.

But for now, I'm in Target, ambling the toy aisles... as a distraction, to feel kid-like unburdened and carefree, to smile, and buy my next toy!

I pick up these Li'l Woodzeez... small bobblehead animals nestled in cute plastic-shaped acorns. And... they're on sale! But the containers appeal to me more than the fuzzy composite critters inside.


So, I pass on the Woodzeez, and gravitate toward these...


12 little, hard plastic characters pressed into one package! Not cheap, but HEY!... I've had a difficult morning AND... it's almost MY BIRTHDAY!... SOLD!

WHAT FUN!

Once home, I give my new friends time to settle into their new temporary digs, while I.... 


settle down in front of the computer and track this story...

"BOY GETS TRAPPED IN ARCADE MACHINE!"

WHAT???


APPARENTLY... Jamie, a clever 3-year-old boy who loves toys, managed to get inside a giant claw machine and retrieve the prizes of his choice, but wasn't quite clever enough to find his way out! Ya gotta love this kid!

Here's a better look at the "Great Toy Machine Caper" with 5-year-old brother Shane checking out the situation.


And here's Jamie, safe and happy at home with his nabbed toys... 2 green dragons: one for him and one for his brother. Sweet!


I'm not sure the last time I belly-laughed so hard, but between my new Peppa Pig toys and this story, I'm in a much happier place.

Watch a snippet of the arcade video here. And read the complete story, much of it told by Jamie's dad here.

And just when I couldn't imagine my day getting any lighter and brighter, I discover this odd little video by 'Disney Car Toys'. To some it might seem as interesting as watching paint peel off a ceiling, but to those like me, who love little plastic toys and vending machine prizes, it might just put a smile on your face, too. Watch Sandra & Spidey make a roll of quarters disappear here.


Here's hoping our next and hopefully last transitional dwelling
"TAKES THE PRIZE!"
My wish when I blow out my candles.


XOX... Dyan

Update: The day after publishing this post, I came across this short video: "Chen Zhitong Wins 15,000 Stuffed Animals from Claw Machines." It's worth a look here.