Why I Still Write:


"It is never too late to be what you might have been" ~George Elliot

"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these." ~George Washington Carver

"Use what talents you possess. The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." ~Henry VanDyke

"With kids, the days are long, but the years are short." ~John Leguizamo (in inStyle)





Where You Should Be


Early or running late, I'm right where I should be.Read more.





LIFE ISN'T FAIR


I don't have all the answers. But I have pondered the same questions my ten-year-old is now asking me. I have a better view sitting on top of my 41 years than he does sitting on his 10. So I see things differently. Life ISN'T fair, but it's still pretty great.Read more.





B&W


Caution: This story contains mature concepts that may be unsuitable for younger viewers. Read more.




Toothpicks


While in college, I heard that after every meal you should brush your teeth. If you can’t do that, you should chew gum. And if you couldn’t do that, you should use a toothpick.

I was recently informed that using a toothpick in public is rude. Huh! News to me! Naturally, I tried to come up with the number of times I could have offended someone and realized I usually grab them on the way out of a restaurant or after dinner in my own home. So hopefully I’m not on anyone’s list of rude and insensitive people.

I understand that we all take in information differently. Some, like my kids, require a distraction-free zone, constant eye contact, and repetition all while obtrusively in their personal space. I tend to retain conversations better when I’m almost distracted. Squeezing a stress ball, taking notes, doing the dishes, folding laundry, utilizing a toothpick…

Then there’s the fact that my “condition” is a genetic flaw. For as long as I can remember, my dad and his brothers have always reached for a toothpick after a meal. When we’d have family over for dinner, the toothpicks were passed around like after dinner mints. I distinctly recall the Onchuck Boys all leaned back in their chairs, legs crossed, one arm across their chest, the other wielding their toothpicks as they discussed their plans for local land domination. Their sons, too. And, well, me. It was this ritual that spoke to a great meal, good company, and satisfying conversation. It was these after dinner dialogs that clarified the day’s events, spurred on tomorrow’s plans, and encouraged good oral hygiene.

It’s not like we deliberately spoke with a toothpick in our mouths. We took them out to speak; it actually helped to have to do that first because it gave you more time to evaluate what you were going to say. It also landed an air of sophistication to the conversation… Like a judge’s gavel banging on the podium, it called attention to the speaker. One is clearly busy using a toothpick mulling over some facts of life or what was just said. When one pauses to take out the toothpick after proper contemplation to speak, all those around should wait. And listen. And learn.

The toothpick: a tool of good oral hygiene, yes. An after-dinner family ritual, in my family at least. An instrument of more thoughtful conversation, sure. But if you’re perceived as being Rude while utilizing a toothpick, you’re doing something wrong.




My Theory on Bad Things


Caution: This story contains mature concepts that may be unsuitable for younger viewers. Read more.




Hoarder?


At work I’m not IT, Tech Support, or a Network Technician. I understand a bit about how computers function and interact with printers, network, and I’m not afraid to replace parts. With budget cutbacks, these qualities have made me popular and probably the most common phrase shared between coworkers at the office next to, “What now?” is “Ask Trish.”

My new coworker Darby asked me for an adapter to make her computer function with her dual monitors. I opened and shut the most likely file cabinet drawer. Opened and closed the second-most likely drawer in another file cabinet. The drawer above that was only keyboards. The fourth drawer was a hit: blue 15-pin female to HDMI. At which point, I turned around and saw the look of horror on her face.

“Hoard much?”

She’s a millennial-deprecating millennial, and while I like her, she’s younger than me and didn’t grow up where or how I grew up.

“Ever been saved by something you picked up in the ditch?” I countered.

“No.”

“Well, then. Until you have, don’t ask me to get rid of things that may help to keep you functioning in the future.”

Back when my summer job entailed the smallest of the Farmall fleet, a trailer, and a nice riding lawnmower, I toured the country between jobs at a whopping 5 miles an hour. I always said I could speed-walk faster than that tractor could take me, but I needed the mower to do my job. But it afforded me a luxury I didn’t know was a luxury at the time.

Traveling a country road that slow, I had plenty of time to study the ripeness of the tiny ditch-side strawberries, locate and identify all the roadkill by smell then sight, and discover trash and treasures that wound up in the ditch. Most of the time the trash was beer cans and hubcaps. But sometimes I found whole bungee cords, complete load-binders, and tools- like wrenches and screwdrivers. Since I hadn’t quite learned the value in packing a small tool set with such accessories as bungee cords and load-binders, these were incredibly useful when the trailer came off the hitch that one time. (Thank goodness for the chains!) And when that part on the tractor broke and I needed to strap it down where it belonged so I could get to my next location....Also, when the weld broke that held the tongue to the trailer. And a screwdriver will work in a pinch for a trailer pin.

My Aunt Kathi had a saying taped to their fridge: “Use it up, wear it out, make do or DO WITHOUT!” Amen.

So, yeah. I keep things that may still have use. Sometimes I don’t know for a year or two. Darby, you will be pleased to hear I threw away all of those 3.5” floppy disks. Last month. And recycled those 12” IBM monitors.