A warm spot to curl up in

I’m back home in SA after a wonderful 2 and a half weeks in hot Portugal. I was kinda hoping that I’d missed the last of the winter but unfortunately came back to a freezing cold front. It’s snowing in the mountains. The wind is biting. It’s back to frozen tips of noses and frozen hands. There are gloves for hands but there’s nothing to warm the tip of your nose. I know I’m going to spend the weekend searching for heat, and like a cat find a warm sunny spot to curl up in.

You, Robot – Taxi Driver

WordPress daily writing prompt: You, Robot. Congrats — you’ve been handed a robot whose sole job is to relieve you of one chore, job, or responsibility you particularly hate. What is it?

There are those people who like to talk with taxi drivers and those who don’t. I’m the latter.

Then there are those taxi drivers who like to talk and others who don’t. I prefer the latter.

It’s not that I don’t like taxi drivers – I do – I just want to ride in silence, because I like being in silence.

This morning’s taxi driver was both disturbing and hilarious without uttering many words. My Mom wasn’t able to contain herself and starting giggling while still in the car. After he dropped us off at home we couldn’t contain ourselves any longer and burst into laughter.

This guy was strange. First of all his car was the first in the rank but he was nowhere to be seen. We found him smoking on the pavement – it was obviously a slow morning.

We got in the car and upon giving him the address and he asked such an arb question neither my Mom or I understood. When we asked him to repeat it all he said was “Thanks very much.”

He stopped for every pedestrian wanting to cross the road, and in that area there are many. I guess he was trying to raise his fare by taking long to get to our destination. Occasionally he made sounds like Donald Duck and kept looking at his watch – although he had no watch on his wrist!

We’ve had the armchair politician, the soccer fanatic, the one who takes holidays in Spain because it’s EUR500 cheaper than in Portugal and the one whose neighbour is an ex-President of the country. But this one was the strangest by far.

As mentioned, I prefer the drivers who say nothing. Just like I am with hairdressers, I don’t want to talk. I prefer to ponder on my surroundings, think and use the silence for my relaxation.

You, robot, Mr. Taxi Driver, don’t take it personally but just take me home and… ssshhhhhh…..!


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Everything that kills me makes me feel alive.

Everything that kills me makes me feel alive.

Not the opening line of One Republic’s Counting Stars but my favourite.

The longer I walk this earth the more daring I become, the more risks I take the more dangerous things I do.

In fifty years’ time I will do something really dangerous like climb Mount Everest – if I don’t come back then it’s ok.

Everything that kills me makes me feel alive.

Know what I mean?

 

My feelings for coffee expressed with other people’s quotes

WordPress daily writing prompt: Captain Picard was into Earl Grey tea; mention the Dude and we think: White Russians. What’s your signature beverage — and how did it achieve that status?

Coffee! What else is there? I travel with my little expresso machine, you know, the kind that goes on top of the stove. The water goes at the bottom and the coffee in the middle, which then bubbles up through a spout to the top. I take my own ground coffee blend and the right size of spoon to measure the right amount of grounds.

Coffee is the best thing to douse the sunrise with. (Drew Sirtors)

When I stay in hotels they’d better have good coffee, or at the very least a Starbucks or coffee shop in close proximity to where I’m staying.

We would take something old and tired and common — coffee — and weave a sense of romance and community around it. We would rediscover the mystique and charm that had swirled around coffee throughout the centuries. (Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, 1997)

King Charles II closed coffee houses down, but not for long. Rather surprising for he was known as the Merry Monarch, had many mistresses, and fathered at least 12 illegitimate children. Don’t tell me that he didn’t indulge in a bit of coffee himself…

A PROCLAMATION FOR THE SUPPRESSION OF COFFEE HOUSES: Whereas it is most apparent that the multitude of Coffee Houses of late years set up and kept within this Kingdom…and the great resort of idle and disaffected persons to them, have produced very evil and dangerous effects; as well for that many tradesmen and others, do herein misspend much of their time, which might and probably would be employed in and about their Lawful Calling and Affairs; but also for that in such houses…divers, false, malitious, and scandalous reports are devised and spread abroad to the Defamation of His Majesty’s Government, and to the disturbance of the Peace and Quiet of the Realm; his Majesty hath though it fit and necessary, that the said Coffee Houses be (for the Future) put down and suppressed… (King Charles II of England, December 23, 1675 (This rule was revoked on January 8, due to widespread citizen protest.)

Power to the people I say!

Everybody should believe in something. I believe I’ll have another coffee. (Author Unknown)

I believe that this is not coffee:

Nescafe no es cafe. (Instant coffee is not coffee.) (Mexican saying)

And nor this:

Decaf? No, it’s dangerous to dilute my caffeine stream. (Author Unknown)

Until I’ve had my morning cup of coffee, tread at your own risk. I cannot not be held responsible for what I say invariably because I won’t remember it after I’ve had the first cup of coffee for the day.

As soon as coffee is in your stomach, there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move…similes arise, the paper is covered. Coffee is your ally and writing ceases to be a struggle. (Honore de Balzac (1799-1859))

Excuse me while I grab another coffee now. But before that here is my all time favorite coffee quote:

“Doing business without coffee is like driving a F1 car on diesel,you never get up to top speed. (Robert James)

Yeah, I cheated with this writing prompt. But at least I brought you some quotes you didn’t know before. Now you can enlighten your friends over a cup of coffee or just share this post on your Facebook page or Twitter feed.

Leave me some of your coffee quotes in the comments. I may do another post.

Internet’s research and reference library, Google, helped me find this site – just search for “coffee quotes by famous people” because who wants to read quotes by un-famous people (not infamous people because those you really do want to read) and you will come across this site Coffee With James.


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Work? Optional! What gets me up in the morning

WordPress's Daily Prompt: If money were out of the equation, would you still work? If yes, why, and how much? If not, what would you do with your free time?

The quick and short answer is…
Yes,
I would still work.

I’ve heard stories of people who’ve come into buckets of money who end up losing it all and being worse off than they were before winning the loot.

They give it away, gamble it away, or buy expensive things.

There’s the story of the guy who won the lotto, bought himself a Porsche and ended up crashing and killing himself in the process.

I’ve also heard about the woman who also won the lotto, told everyone and ended being killed by a jealous relative.

Money does strange things to people.

Hence the counseling that the lotto people give to the winners because it’s not easy going from zero to hero overnight.

When I was growing up money was scarce. There were a lot of things I couldn’t do because my folks didn’t have money to spare. When I went to high school my uniform was a hand-me-down from my older cousins.

From an early age my Mom inculcated in me the mantra of never being financially dependent on anyone. So I studied and worked hard to achieve this. And on that journey I discovered my purpose. So the money is no longer the reason I work.

What gets me up in the morning is something more intrinsic, a desire to become a better version of myself every day.

So it’s about the purpose of my life. Having money out of the equation isn’t going to change it. Going to work doesn’t have anything to do with money and I am blessed to work at something I enjoy because it allows me to be me.

So if money were optional I would see no reason to stop working. I’d still have fun. And my purpose would remain the same – to be a better version of myself every day.

What gets you up in the morning every day? Tell me in the comments.

Next To Nothing

The collection of personal information by all shops I enter is astounding!

Almost all have a card of some sort: loyalty card, points card, discount card, the options are many. I have 4 airline voyager-type cards, my points are so scattered that any attempt at redeeming and getting value out of them is next to nothing. Actually, it is nothing!

While in Portugal, without exception as I get to the cashier to pay I get asked if I have their loyalty card. When I say no, they ask me if I want one. The answer is always no. I come here once a year so that any chance of getting any value out of such cards is next to nothing. Actually, it IS nothing!

In the queue of a sweltering book shop the cashier asked the person in front of me if he had a card. He said yes but didn’t have it with him. So she proceeded to ask him pertinent information to search for his card number on her system. This took a while as I stood in the queue feeling drops of perspiration snake down my back.

Then came my Mom’s turn to pay. The cashier asked if she had a card. My Mom said no. She then asked if my Mom wanted one. My Mom said yes as she buys a lot from them even though it is only once a year. The cashier then proceeded to collect my Mom’s personal information. This took time. In the sweltering shop it felt like forever.

The rewards offered by these cards are paltry compared to the amount of money you have to spend to get something back. And all the while you get spam SMSs and email offering you all sorts of things you would not take up in a million years.

I worked for a telemarketing company early in my career. Out of each campaign that ran if 10% of the leads generated converted to a sale then it was deemed to be successful. The same applied to mail drops. So I guess that if they get a 10% response out of each promo campaign they’re happy. Not at all like shooting fish in a barrel…or maybe it is…where the fish are tiny tiny goldfish.

I do not have issue with such cards – back in South Africa I have many and sometimes I get something out. I get them just to make the cashier happy. Maybe she gets assessed on how many cards she gets out. As as it does not cost me to have the card. Oh wait…?!? It does cost me to have these cards. Not in money but in the inconvenience of spam communications. It costs to opt-out. And what do I get out of them? Next to nothing! Actually, it is NOTHING!

Do you get anything out of such reward systems?

Free Picture: Floppy DisksID: 161945
© Dana Rothstein | Dreamstime Stock Photos

The Age-Old Question about Technology

Remember when you were a child? Did your parents ever tell you to turn the music down?

Like most kids I could never understand when my parents told me that the music was too loud or it was just noise. When I grumbled they said that one day, when I grew up, I would understand. Well, I grew up and I still don’t understand.

As a teenager I could never understand when adults said that they were not interested in “new-fangled” technology, and “Oh, I could never learn something new now. I’ll leave it to the young-people.” You know people like that right?

Since these people are perfectly intelligent individuals holding down responsible jobs and have families I can only think that it’s got to do with their personal beliefs. I mean, do they think themselves no longer capable of learning new things?

I was recently at a family lunch and heard the same conversation I seem to hear more and more when getting together with people I went to school with.

It goes something like this:

“Facebook, I’ll never be on Facebook, it’s a waste of time.”

“…I’m not interested in other peoples twits (sic), it’s like stalking.”

“I don’t have time to waste on the internet. I’ve got better things to do.”

Does this sound familiar?

I wonder if it’s because they feel like outsiders and worry about ridicule since groups of internet savvy people can come across as being in closed ‘cliques’ with their own terms, customs, codes, slang and mannerisms?

It’s well known that communicating in a mutually understood and exclusive code allows a feeling of bonding between individuals.

In this context there are 2 types of “cliques” – the clique who wants to try new technologies and trends, and the clique who doesn’t. Both are closed groups and the apparent “cliquiness” may be unintended and perceived as arrogant exclusivity.

Neither is right nor wrong. It’s simply two ways of viewing the world.

Perhaps some people resist new technology only because it’s an unknown. Or perhaps they fear technology because it takes effort to learn how to use it rather than fearing the technology itself. I’m convinced that once their interest is sparked they’ll embrace it, like my parents, who’ve both embraced technology. And they were the ones that told me to turn the music down!

So where does that leave me? I love gadgets and new technology. I’m an early adopter of almost all tech I can think of. If it’s new, I want to try it. I don’t consider myself better than other people who shy away from new technology.It’s just that I don’t ever want to stagnate or to stop learning. One can never learn enough.

It’s useful to remember that what is ‘old technology’ to some was once new technology to the older generation. To the younger generation ‘new technology’ isn’t new, it’s always been there, since they can’t remember a time before that when it didn’t exist.  The older generation may have grown up with, for example, wireless transistor radio. They used it, embraced it, took it for granted even, never even thinking of a time before radio was invented.

Yes, logically they would know that over time inventions have occurred, but our perceptions are perhaps not based on logic and from the moment we are old enough to be aware of ourselves and our surroundings, that is the world we reach for and use.

Perhaps the trick is to just remember to keep on doing that. And keep the music loud and clear. Don’t you agree?

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WordPress daily prompt – Age-Old Questions


Featured Image -  Free Picture: Floppy DisksID: 161945 - © Dana Rothstein -Dreamstime Stock Photos
My first friend, Isabelinha (left) with me on the right - wasn't I cutie pie?

Friendships seasonal and evergreen

My first friend, Isabelinha (left) with me on the right - wasn't I cutie pie?
My first friend, Isabelinha (left) with me on the right – wasn’t I cutie pie?

I am blessed with many friends, some of whom have been with me for almost 40 years.

Like most Moms, mine kept a baby album which I treasure above all others. In it are photos of my very first friends.

I vividly remember Isabelinha. Her parents were neighbours of my Great-Grandparents and she was a few years older than me. She had a younger sister and we were all friends until I left to live in another country.

About the time I turned 6 another little girl came to live next door. Her name was Mercedes. Very soon we became friends, and the trio because a quartet. It was not a happy quartet. Mercerdes was closer in age to Isabelinha and they became quite close. I felt the tendrils of jealousy enclose my heart as I was left behind on adventures, skipping and hopscotch on the pavement.

Strangely Mercedes and I also became good friends. Such are the ways of children. The day I left was the last time I saw them.

In my adopted country my first friend was again a neighbour. We went to the same school and in the afternoons one of us used to holler the other’s name over the wall – the daily call to play. When my family moved to another town we exchanged letters and birthday gifts. We started seeing less of each other, the letters becoming less frequent until we completely lost touch.

We grew up and moved on with our lives, the young girls we were became young women. We didn’t accompany each other’s maturing. When we met, as adults, we found that we had little in common. The strands of family and childhood memories got frailer as ethereal time became physical space. We again lost touch until recently, with the wonder of Facebook, we found each other again.

Friends for a season have come and gone. On close examination I know they were in my life for a reason. There was never a definite ending to these friendships, no acrimony or harsh words. Just an ebbing of contact, of not needing to be together anymore. They came for a season and the season moved on. Their friendship is part of who I have become and in my heart they  will always be my friends, never strangers.

Then there are the evergreen friends. You know the ones I mean. Those that are with us all the time. Distance and time are of no consequence because each time we meet after being apart for a few years, we pick up where we left off. There is no strangeness or a need to re-establish rapport because it is always there. There is a familiarity, a recognition that goes beyond the present.

Many live in other countries and we meet every few years.

During the first day of high school I noticed a girl in the same class as me not wearing the official dark green school jersey. Her jersey was light green and as our eyes met across the classroom I knew that we were going to be friends.

Our friendship was strengthened with movies and burgers at the Wimpy, our parents taking turns driving us to the mall. Initially we were 2, then 3, and by the time we got to grade 10 we were a group of 5. This quintet became quite close.

We stayed close during our student years, got married within 2 years of each other, celebrated the birth of children and showed off our first homes.

These are friendships with the unforgettable bonds of firsts – first boyfriends, first kisses, first break-up heartaches, first successes and first failures.

And then there are those friendships forged with the insight of adulthood have the established deep roots of shared values and beliefs. These are the friends I share with openly, my fears, dreams and secrets, those who know me better than I know myself, those who encourage me and also tell me when I’m being silly or unrealistic. There’s a saying that friends are the family we choose for ourselves – these are they.

Friends have come into my life for a season of growth and then left. Others have come and have stayed in my life, season after season, my evergreen friends. I am grateful for them all.

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Welcome to my personal blog. I write about a lot of different things so if you like eclectic then you'll like being here. Sometimes I'm #justsaying.

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