Saturday, May 28, 2011

No Response

When did "I'll call you" become a man's way of avoiding an uncomfortable situation by lying to a first date when he had no intention of ever seeing her again? Probably with the invention of the telephone. Before the invention of the telephone, I am sure men had other "lines" to offer instead. ("Nice to see you at the church harvest social, ma'am. Hope to see you at the barn raising in June.")

I am not letting women off the hook here. If a guy calls and a woman has no interest, it is common for the woman to not return the phone call. Eventually, the guy will get the message. Most of the time it works and its easier than having to tell someone you are not interested.

We run into casual acquaintances in the grocery store, and promise to get together for coffee or lunch "sometime soon". We tell another little white lie, for the necessity of social graces.

With email, the little white lie often runs along the lines of "I never received an email from you", implying that we would have responded if we had seen it in our inbox. Or "Your email must have landed in my junk mail folder." Right.

And so we come to Facebook well prepared in lying or avoidance techniques. "I rarely check my Facebook account" is popular with the older generation, and it is probably true for some of my friends. The younger generation just shrugs it off, with attitude. ("Oh, you expected a reply to that?" or something along those lines. Trust me; I have teenage nieces.)

But at what point did it become appropriate not to reply to email messages in the work setting? Maybe not responding has always been around the workplace. Perhaps it has been around as long as there have been uncomfortable situations, power struggles and office politics.

Or maybe with all of the electronic communication available these days, not responding just seems a little more blatant.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I've had them for almost a year now. They appeared virtually overnight, as if I were bitten by a vampire. Their sharp points took some getting used to at first, as they poked into the soft tissue on the inside of my mouth. But over the past few months, I've grown rather fond of them.

But my fangs are going to be removed next month because I am done. I am SO done with the transparant technology wrapped around my teeth like hardened Saran Wrap 24 hours a day.

I never did get used to biting strangers on the neck though...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Foam Rollers

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" a famous author once penned. The saying is true of course, but lets face it - a product name can be a crucial factor in determining its fate. After all, who would buy a perfume called "Stinky"?

Which brings me to the point of this post. You see, I wear "Aligners" - braces for adults. These braces are made of hard plastic instead of that metal-wear that filled the mouths of some of my friends when I was a teenager. I didn't have a terrible bite, its just that some of my teeth had shifted over time, and when my dentist suggested it one day, I guess I was just in a mood to say "yes". It didn't hurt that my dental insurance was paying for a big chunk of the bill.

I think "Aligners" is a great name, very descriptive of its purpose. So, why does a company that sells a product called "Aligners", encourage its dental customers to use another product which is given to you with the aligners -- and which they have named "Chewies"? You see, the "chewies" are a foam-type of product, shaped like a small Tootsie Roll, that you are supposed to chew on to make the aligners fit more snugly. Whenever my dentist asks if I need more "chewies", I feel like the family dog. ("Arf, Arf, yes I would love more Chewies! Arf, Arf!! Slobber, slobber, slobber.)

So, I came up with a few substitute names for the "chewies". One was "snuggies", but not only is this name too cute, it also sounds too much like "Huggies" the diaper products for babies. My best suggestion so far is "Refiners". Aligner Refiners. I like the sound of it. It sounds descriptive, yet not too cute.

The main reason this product is still named "Chewies" because they don't need to sell it to anyone!! Several packages are provided with the Aligners, and my dentist hands extras out like candy. They could be called "Rot-Your-Teeth", but since they are provided for free, no one seems to care. Except me.

So I am asking my readers (all 15 of them) if you might be able to think of a better name for these teething rollers. I have just one request -- just don't call them "wedgies".

Saturday, May 14, 2011

My Favorite Place

When my son was in third grade, he had a writing assignment - to write a poem about his "favorite place" at home. My husband and I had been divorced since Sean was four, so he had two homes to chose from. At the time, my ex-husband still lived in the cabin we had built, up in the hills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. "The Land" is still is a wonderful, magical place, with a fast-moving, clear water creek, sounds of coyotes howling at dusk, and sunsets that bathe the landscape in golden light and create tall black silhouettes out of nearby fir trees.

I've been thinking about "home" lately. What makes a place your "home'? Is it the place where you grew up? Is home the place that is most familiar to you? Is it where your family lives? Or is it the place you most fit in and most prefer to be? Is it on the road and out of a suitcase? Is it the land of your ancestors? Or is it, as the saying goes, "where the heart is"?

I find I have no answers. And so, as I contemplate whether or not to leave my West Coast home, the place I am most comfortable and where I have lived the longest, to move back to where I grew up on the East Coast, the poem my eight year old son wrote sprang to mind.

My Favorite Place - by Sean Emdy

My favorite place is on the porch.
It is so peaceful too.
And when the sun is setting,
who would know such a beautiful view.

We lived in many places, Sean and I, before his untimely death at 17. Even though neither Jim or I lived at The Land at the time of Sean's death, it is the place we chose to scatter Sean's ashes. By any definition, it was certainly "home" to Sean.

Guilt Dreams

I am one of those people whose unconscious emotions are reflected in my dreams. I often have dreams where I come to school unprepared to take a test, or I cannot find my classroom, or I am trying to catch a plane but I am late or I am traveling but don't know where I am going. I have read that dreams such as these are not uncommon.

I also have "guilt dreams". Dreams that I have not been a good enough parent have plagued me for many years. Now that I have matured into later adulthood, I am having dreams that I am not a good enough daughter either.

Friends of mine have recently had to deal with aging parents. One had to put her dad into institutionalized care because his Alzheimer's disease was no longer something his wife could handle. Another good friend's dad has been diagnosed with lung cancer, and has come back to California to live with her. And yet another slightly older friend's husband dropped dead recently from a massive heart attack.

My dad is 85, lives by himself in a big old house, and as far as I know, is in relative good health. I have five siblings, four of whom live close enough to keep tabs on him. I have been fortunate to be able to live in California for over thirty years. The bay area has long been the place I think of as "home". When I lost my job two years ago, I went to stay with "family" back East (ie, I moved back in with my dad). While I loved spending time with my dad when I was there, I couldn't wait to get back to my beloved California and my friends.

Now, I am having second thoughts, partly because had a dream the other night. My long dead grandmother was lying in her bed, the covers pulled up to her chin. I stood right next to the bed looking at her face. Her grey hair was piled in a bun on her head, as it had been in life, but the skin on her face was a mottled dark purple. She open her eyes, wide, and stared at me. And with a deep raspy voice that sounded more like the wolf than grandma, she said "You're too late".

And so I wonder. Is it time for me to give up the luxury of living in California, to go back to Connecticut and spend more time with dear old dad? That is, before it really is too late.