Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Stupid Stuff

As if focusing a post on my left thumb was not stupid enough - 

here are a few other stupid things cluttering up my time and my mind  - 

 so when I take my next blog break of 2 or 3 months, 

you will be able to say - “Oh thank God, she has gone blog-post-dark for a bit.

I can’t take any more stupidity."


Correct.  Drinking more water is not stupid.  

But in my case I should really say - Drink water - Period!  Stupid is the “game" I play to make it happen.  Without the game I drink next to nothing.  I could go all day on a cup of coffee in the morning and a glass of wine at night and ... I never - I say N.E.V.E.R get thirsty in-between.  In fact, I could go out for a humid summer walk, work up sweat, and think - Gosh a glass of water would taste great right now! But by the time I open my front door to return, my thirst alert disappears entirely.  Yes, yes, I know, that is not normal, but a majority of my life was lived just like that.  Now as a senior, my water intake has become more important.  Hence the search for a fix ....

Meet my new water bottle!  

Or I should say, my latest new water bottle.  Lots of "almost new" water bottle clutter my kitchen cabinet and are failures for one reason or another.  What I really need is a water bottle with authority ... that has a hand that reaches out, grabs my collar and says “Drink!!”   But failing that feature, here is what this new bottle does provide that the others missed.

  • It divides the water into time periods.  I can look at the bottle and think - oh, I am 2 hours behind.  So I drink down to the current time.
  • It has a “waist.”  I can get my hand around it.  Many bottles are so fat that it isn’t comfortable in the hand.
  • It has a handle that lets me carry it easily when walking.
  • It has a tight seal so it doesn’t leak.
  • It has a wide mouth that easily accepts ice.  Water without ice is still impossible for me.

Nothing is perfect, so here are its 2 short-comings so far.
  • It has a fat bottom so it doesn’t fit into my car’s cup holder.
  • It sweats because of the ice.  It would be nice to have a thin insulation to prevent sweating.
I certainly demand a lot from a water bottle, don’t you think?  The question is ... has it worked. 

Day 1 -  I drank my full 64 ounces of water or the required 2 fill ups!! Smashing success!  
Day 2 -  I drank 32 ounces - only one fill up. Hmmm, ok ... more than the ‘none’ which is my normal.
Day 3 -  The next day I drank only 16 ounces and I managed to forget the darn bottle at my son’s house. 

*sigh*. I was half way home when I discovered it was missing so I  turned around to get it.  I wouldn’t have done that for any other bottle.  I am not giving up.

But seriously, isn't it stupid I can’t seem act like a grown up, go into the kitchen and fill a glass with water several times and day - and drink it - voluntarily?


I finally have a cat who doesn’t eat plants!  Way To Go, Aja!!  

Just a short detour on the plant news.  Here is a picture of Aja sleeping out in the living room.  She finally just this week showed she is comfortable sleeping near us outside the bedroom and by an open window with street noise - but only if there are no others about.

And just now, for the first time in 17 months, I watched her clean herself!  She is always clean, so I knew she was grooming, but I never actually saw it.   Today ... another forward baby step in our relationship.

Just Amazing! 😍

And now the plants ....

After 52 married years with cat companions and being forced to choose between cats and plants - I can now have both.  

I live on the sunny side of the building.  This summer I got a few flowering geraniums that love the sun.  They remind me of my student teaching days in early 1969 when I had a mentor teacher, Mrs. Miller, who was still teaching at 70 (I am in my 70’s and just can’t imagine managing a class of 30 2nd graders at 70).  She had a row of geraniums that stretch the length of her class room along the windows. She pampered them every morning.

These are hardy plants but sometimes have problems adjusting to the indoors in the fall (or that is what I read on line.)  Hoping these few will winter well enough indoors.

What is the stupid part!  I obsess.  Every morning I check all the leaves and pick off the ones that look like they are failing.  I remove blossoms that are at the end of their blooming cycle.  Check the dirt for watering.  I move some indoors or move some out - looking for a stress reaction caused by changing locations.  Ever - single - morning. And while I am doing this I am pondering names for them.  Yep, names!

You see, one of my geraniums came with the name:  Mrs. Pollock on her plant tag!  That is the actual name of the version of geranium she is.  She has the most beautiful tri-colored leaves.   Then I looked at the other plants.  Nameless!  

So ... do YOU know anyone else who considered naming their plants?  I haven’t done any naming yet, but the thought crosses my mind now. What would be a good name for a geranium!  Here is a picture of Mrs. Pollock’s leaf.  She doesn’t need flowers for me because her leaves are so pretty.  But she is having the most trouble transferring to the indoors.  

I am pretty sure there is a Giovanni somewhere in my group!!  Giovanni Geranium has a certain ring to it.  Or maybe Geronimo!! And then my mind drifted to ... those are male names.  hmmm ...  I wonder if Mrs. Miller had this problem.

Can things get any more stupid?

MY NEIGHBOR (no pictures but a sad story)

I live in a 55+ condo community so I live very close to other people.  Many original owners have died or moved away, but we still have a small percentage of the population well past their abilities to live independently.  

And that was the case of my neighbor, (I’ll call her Jane.). Jane was a nice lady, but a little foggy.  She didn’t seem to have friends in the community, never attended owner meetings, never out for walk, hardly every made trips to the trash dumpster.  Once she mentioned watching her son’s children at his house. Ahh, I figured ... that's where her life and connections are. Still, it seemed odd that family or friends never visited her in her condo.  When we moved here neighbors shared that she liked to shop by mail.  It was common for 3 or 4 packages to be waiting in the foyer for her several times a week.  They whispered the word “hoarder” to me.  I felt bad that they shared this with me - a virtual stranger at that point. I was uncomfortable with this talk and would often pick up her packages from the first floor and set them by her door out of sight of judgemental eyes.  After all, she was hurting no one.  But over the 5 years she and I lived side by side, we were barely acquaintances. 

Three weeks ago I noticed big changes.  She had been gone for a long time it seemed.  Others were going in and out of her unit.  Many very large black trash bags filled the hallway. Those disappeared.  And more re-appeared, but disappeared again.  Later a junk truck pulled up behind the building and started to fill.  It arrived many more times that I noticed and was always full to the brim.  But I never saw Jane.  I began to worry that she had passed away.  At one point I stopped a lady going in - turns out it was her daughter from Florida (wow, I didn’t know she had a daughter ... who apparently never visited ...  sorry, that was unkind of me.) She assured me Jane was fine, had been hospitalized, and was in rehab. She would not be returning, but moving directly to Florida, and they (her brother and her) would be selling the unit.  Ok ... I felt some relief that family was finally stepping in to help her.

So what is the stupid stuff?  For a woman who I barely knew - I felt sad.  In moving, her life and stuff, that she had so carefully hidden from the neighbors was suddenly on full display. While I am sure she could not participate in the condo clean up without saving everything,  it appeared that literally every decision regarding her stuff was lifted from her.   Of course other residents noticed this activity.  Word of this move passed beyond my building.  They commented on a single truck load of flattened boxes.  I heard the truck staff were pawing through other truck loads, pulling things out for themselves.  I am glad I didn’t see that.  Some residents were checking with others - how many trucks did you see? I wanted to shut down that talk.  But I kept my mouth shut.  I have to live here for probably another 10-15 years.  A neutral stance is better.

But I did ponder my own future.  My over riding goal when cleaning out and downsizing - is that I take care of shedding my belongings myself and not become burden to my children (and after this experience avoid being the topic of idle discussion by the neighbors.)  You can be very sure, this episode planted thoughts in my mind that will not easily fade.  

I guess, ... as I type this story for you, I realize this concern for a near stranger isn’t stupidity, but just common, run-of-the-mill, compassion for another human being.  It is compassion for an aging woman undergoing a big change imposed on her for her own good - but beyond her ability to contribute or control.  It is advancing age robbing a person of their independence. This is an emotion am very familiar with as I lived with this thought every day when caring for my own aging mother.  And it is a reminder to me that I still have control - for now.  

Here’s hoping Jane is in a better place in Florida - with a fresh start at life and new neighbors who don’t know all her secrets and a daughter nearby for support.

And as for myself, I won’t raise any ‘red flags’ for my family to worry about - like putting name tags on my geraniums.  We will just keep that little secret between you and I. 😂


Angela said...

1 - I had a teacher friend who was waiting for surgery and told by her doctor she MUST get into the habit of drinking more liquid. Her water bottle was on her desk, and she asked her students [aged 10!] to tell her every half hour to have a swig
2 - I read another lovely blog by a lady who names her plants, especially the watermelons and fruit
3 - So sad about Jane. What a shame she was unable to make friends and socialise

Leftycrafter said...

How much I love reading your blog. Being in the same generation as you, it make me happy to see someone else have the same thoughts I do. Drinking water copious amounts of water is not an easy thing to get accustomed to doing. Living in the desert has forced me to 'drink responsibly'. I too, have to have ice cold water to be able to drink it. Even in the winter time. I finally found a bottle that does not sweat and fits in my cup holder in the car. It is only 20 ounces so I know I need to drink 3 of them to get my intake.

As for mom grew them like crazy. They have such a distinct aroma to them too. I do not remember her ever taking them inside in the winter though. But they seemed to come back each spring. (She lived in Kansas)

I feel for Jane and her family. I know we have more than we need in our home. I do not have an issue with parting with things....that is more on my husbands end. "You never know when you might need that strange screw so do not throw it away". I would say "There is a hardware store a block away where I am sure I can get a strange screw if I needed it so will toss this one". My mom held onto so many 'things' and it was so hard when I had to clean out her place when she moved. I learned then, I do not want to have that problem heaped on my children.

A :-) said...

Way to go on the water!!! If it's overwhelming, start slow. If you only drink your coffee, then add one glass of water. Then gradually, over time, add a second glass. Keep going this way until you get where you want to be, and you won't be running the bathroom all day long because your kidneys and bladder will get used to processing more fluid gradually. Because of my kidney, I drink 3 liters/day. That's a lot of water. Love your new bottle!! It's quite swanky!!

Your geranium is probably what we African violet growers call a named variety, meaning that someone hybridized it and named it. I just looked it up! Not only is it a named variety, it's quite well-known and it's vintate/heritage! Here's a link:

I'm sorry about the situation with your neighbor. I don't think it's at all stupid that you felt sad. I think it means that you are a kind person at heart. I'm with you on downsizing and divesting - I've been doing it for some time.

So - not a stupid post at all. I always enjoy your posts :-)

Michelle said...

Far from making us glad if you stop posting, you are making us hope for more! I, too, love your posts. My geraniums spend the winter at the patio doors of our daylight basement, getting leggy. I try to prune them way back when I put them on the deck for the summer; this summer they never filled out or looked good. Probably need fertilizing, maybe repotting, but they aren't high on my can-do/will-do list.

happyone said...

Oh that is sad about your neighbor. I wish her well in Florida.

I like that you name your plants! :) They seem to like it too because they are so pretty.

I once had a doctor tell me that the way to see if you are drinking enough water (there is no set amount for everyone) is if when you go to the bathroom and its clear you are doing good. Yellow you need more water.

Leigh said...

Your blog title was certainly an invitation to read more! So nice to see Aja so at home.

I don't think feeling compassion for other people is ever stupid. I think the stupidity comes from making assumptions and gossiping. Hopefullly, things will go well for Jane in Florida.

Helen said...

I think it is so easy to 'collect' stuff. I lived/taught overseas for many years and moved a few times, so I used those moves as an opportunity to pare back, but the house in the US was so easy to keep everything and shopping on line is so easy. Need to have another weeding and send things to where they can do some good.

Lynne said...

Not stupid to me . . .
Reflective yes . . .
I liked the Geranium naming.
I do “silky” things like that . . . (birds and squirrels have names.)

The #3 reflection, left me sad . . .
Taking all of “Jane’s” control away . . . it seemed . . .
left me feeling “heartless.” Trying not to feel judgmental.
Reminded me of a winter, a few years past,
when we were “wintering” in Texas.
And we received a phone call that my brother was very ill, dying.
We rushed back to Iowa to be with him.
He was in the hospital and although many things going on,
he was lucid, happy, healing and we were encouraged.
My husband and I were given certain tasks to take care of
from my brother, because it looked like he would not be
going back to his home. So we did what we were asked.
Going into another persons home and “doing” is a challenge.
As I look back, I am happy we did what he asked, instead of
bringing trucks in to dismantle 80 years of art and antique collecting.
Thank goodness . . .
(Living happy as a lark to this day, at 85.)
(And still has all his art and antiques.)

I feel sad for “Jane” . . .