Good-by Phone. Hello Change

Vintage Elgin Men's Wrist Watch, Sterling Silver Case, 7 Jewels Circa 1918

Do you know about the Time Lady?

“Who?” a group of young people at my discussion table asked.

“Used to be…watches had springs and they had to be wound up. Sometimes they ran fast. But usually, they ticked the seconds off slowly. If you asked a group of people what their watch showed, (of course, most people wore a watch—even kids). everyone would have a different time by a few minutes. This meant that before any important caper like blowing up the world or heisting artwork from a museum, crooks had to “sync” their watches.  But first…..somebody in the group had to call the Time Lady.

Actually, back in the 60s everybody called the Time Lady. Usually it was a free service provided by a bank or the electric company. The electronic pleasant-voiced woman would say something like…
https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisgold/6998063888/in/photolist-bEoUzW-nNDQ4N-a2derf-kPtyqt-atHcjy-gBjBLC-58VhsE-nqkTon-qvR6ht-aGwfC4-hqjzdP-6gpCvj-8xDRuT-mULqL6-55YBjW-7PBEN-7ck9RA-4SDjU3-abR5z5-5kuDUs-a9r2W8-8hBN7K-4tCww7-5EHsVx-4aZZVF-bpywGq-dpdnMa-aaoGmV-qNdN43-gBh5T9-7c4ZeM-5vo6ju-dyfX6r-8DXCH9-i7wKLF-aarCz1-6hftMB-6i7qAL-bCDodD-2TbxJY-ev5z2R-aaoQui-i7wRwj-65iQ9N-j5R14-kPB3fb-7k9Yi2-fEg7Xz-57pb1e-9tZMiJ

“The time is … four thirty-three. The temperature is sixty-three degrees.”

Sometimes lonely people called the Time Lady over and over just to hear a  voice talking to them.

“You’ve got to be kidding!” The young folks shook their heads, appalled at such a hit or miss method to organize schools, trains, and dinnertime. “Well that explains a lot,” one of the young men said. “Now, can you tell me why this weird little barbell is on my icons? What’s that supposed to represent?” Because it sure doesn’t look like a phone.

iPhone: The Home Screen, the Tantalizing Empty Row, and the Four Major Applications

Buckle up, ladies and gentlemen. Change is coming faster.

Photos: watch-Joe Haupt, woman -Chris Golderg; phone-Pleter Ouwerkerk

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How to Get Women Working

Lutheran Ladies Circle: Thanks for Leaving…Book 3 has launched.

I know I should talk about it, but hold on for just a moment,  I really want to discuss the woman in this picture. Taken in 1942 It’s called “Girl in a Bubble.”( Photographer, Alfred Palmer, War Information Office )
It was going to be the cover of Thanks for Leaving, but it ran into a few snaggles.

Beta/Focus/and Critique groups said, “We like it. What the heck is she doing?”

WE’VE COME A LONG WAY, BABY.

This WWII photo was a carefully crafted propaganda shot to encourage women to leave their approved place (the home), and go to the factories.
Note:
• the carefully displayed wedding ring. (Message: Men, let your wives work).
• the lipstick and manicured nails. (A woman could work and not lose any of her daintiness. As a matter of fact, many factories had charm classes).
• Stylish head covering and colorful uniform. (Many women objected to covering their curls.)
By 1945, 6 million women had entered the workforce for the first time to build planes, bombs, ships and ammo. Which is phenomenal when you consider most women had never even worn slacks. For better or worse, it changed women’s roles forever.
Sixty-eight years ago, everyone would’ve known this woman was working on the nose cone of a B17.
Today, most viewers  thought she was working on a spaceship.

I think that’s a blessing.

Many words like: blackout, plane spotter, loose lips, meatless Tuesdays, and rationing aren’t part of our daily conversation anymore.

Book Three

Book Three

And women continue to work, to support, and to grow in wisdom because of all those gals ( our foremothers) “did what they had to do.”

But that’s another story—a funny and touching one—with a different cover.

You can read about it at Lutheran Ladies Circle/Books.

Did women working or serving in WWII change your family’s story?

The Candy Diet

candymakesmuscleI KNEW IT!!!

I’ve known it since I was five-years-old, but those adults in my life tried to tell me a different story about candy.

So while I was researching WWII era recipes for the next Lutheran Ladies book, I discovered what had already been proven during the 40s: Chocolate really is “Fightin’ Food.” It’s full of protein, makes muscles, and probably cures cowlick, too. (I don’t know….I can’t read the small text on the ad.)

One of the great concerns on the home front was raising STRONG kiddos since meat, eggs, and dairy products were rationed.

This explains: Vitamin donuts, and that gummmy white-bread to build bodies 12 ways. (which we mostly rolled around on the kitchen table and made dough-marbles out of.Food_vitaminDonuts

Food_Bread

And , as any “Boomer” kid knows. You had to clean your plate. I always thought it was a “Lutheran thing.”  But now I know I can blame WWII for our parents teaching us to eat everything on our plates. Now, let me add, the war was over and done with, but the “rules” remained. I quickly learned how to work the system, even at such a young age, and didn’t put icky, always-overcooked vegetables on my plate, but somehow they  appeared there anyway, and I had to force them down with lots of whining and complaining.

If Mom, would’ve read a few magazines and served us chocolate or these souped-up donuts, there would’ve been ZERO arguments at dinnertime.  But we’re Lutheran. We don’t change. So…to this day, ox-tail soup and home-grown veggies from Victory gardens that we never stopped planting, still appear on our dinner menus. We still say grace over it and count it as a blessing. (And if you look at us, you’ll see…we’ve learned to eat it all.) 

rationing-food-is-a-weaponNow…bring on the chocolate. It’s time for a change.

The Chickens of Change

Let me get this out of the way right now. I think chickens are stupid.

peepsNow….before some of you get your feathers fluffled, let me give you my chicken credentials, so that you know…that I know these fowl dummies.

I grew up in the era of getting little purple, pink, and pastel-dyed chicks for Easter. No…
not the marshmallow kind..

chicks_Easter

The live kind.

Oh…stop gasping!!!  Remember, this was the era of no seatbelts, leaving kids in the car while you went into the grocery store….and people smoked in every closed building.

Live chicks were no big deal. After they grew their coming of age-pullet-feathers, we put them with the other chickens. The weather-hardened ones. The ones who stood around, gawping as a chicken hawk soared down and took them for a little road trip. The ones I put in a box and they’d go to sleep because they thought it was night. The ones who couldn’t figure out how to get back on the other side of the fence to their chicken buddies—even though they were standing in front of the open gate….You know…the  stupid ones.

Maybe if I wouldn’t have put the purple or pink chicks with the dumb ones, they would’ve grown up to be geniuses. By the time I was old enough to stop receiving baby chicks for Easter and start asking for a chocolate stash, I was convinced that chickens didn’t have the good sense God gave a whisk broom.

That’s why this trend of urban chicken farming, amuses me. I have a friend who waxes on for fifteen minutes about the pleasurable sounds of chatty chickens. For her, it’s a whole brilliant, new world of discovery as she talks about when they roost and how to get an egg that doesn’t break in her hand.

I keep my mouth shut. Why?

“Stardust Melody” 1927
One of the most recorded songs of the 20th Century

Because years after I became too cool to raise color-tinted chickens, I discovered “good” music. I once went on and on about this great new song. I even sang a couple of verses for my Dad. He let me have my moment of discovery. It was a while before he told be that “Stardust Melody” was a hit when he was young. It was just making the rounds again.

Oh.

Things change. Things stay the same…kinda the same…

I still think chickens are stupid.

Dishwasher Wars

Unwashed dishes in a sink; an authentic situation.

Load according to whose side you’re on

If you volunteered for clean-up at the church Fall Festival, then you
need to choose a side in the dishwasher wars about:

 WHAT NOT TO PUT IN THE DISHWASHER

It’s the church women who ignore the list of No-Nos on the
wall over the machine. Years of dipping their hands in hot water and grease-eating
sulfates have hardened their kitchen-warrior attitudes.

 Vera says:  “If a dish won’t stand up to a good scalding, then it hasn’t earned a spot at a potluck dinner.”

 That’s not meant to be harsh. It was actually the men who put up the list. They frequently try to explain how the washer works….

WALT: “Now, look here. Most dishes can’t stand the heat.  This machine gets so hot, you could wrap salmon filets in foil, run ‘em through a couple of cycles, and they’d be cooked. Completely cooked!”

 VERA: “Oh good grief. That sounds like something you’d do.
You must have stock in the detergent company if you want us to hand wash
everything.”

 The men’s list of “Taboo Items” include:

  • Wooden Stuff
  • Plastic stuff
  • Fancy stuff/Crystal/chinaware

 There’s more, but The Ladies have
crossed them off the list (even though they ignore the list).

  •  *Cast iron skillets
  • *Insulated travel mugs
  • *Teflon

 VERA: “What kind of an idiot would put a cast iron skillet in a dishwasher? It’d turn it into a rusty doorstop. Not even you would do that, Walt.”

 WALT: “Nope. I never wash any of my cookware.”

 VERA: “I have no doubt.”

 So the kitchen debate continues with each event. It makes for interesting clean up.

 In the spirit of controversy some joker has added a few “Allowed” items on the list.

OKAY TO WASH ON TOP
RACK

  • *Toothbrushes
  • *Baseball hats

 The Ladies haven’t marked off these items. Vera says…
“JUST PUT ANYTHING BUT A PRICELESS ANTIQUE IN THE DISHWASHER AND FORGET ABOUT IT.”

 After all, the dishwasher was invented by a woman who got tired of the servants chipping her fine china.

A hand crank dishwasher.

 Josephine Cochrane is said to

An electric dishwasher. Both were in use in 1917

have exclaimed, “If nobody else is going to invent a dishwashing machine,
I’ll do it myself!”

 In 1886 she created a
motorized washer. Her company is now part of Kitchen Aid.

 I don’t know if Ms. Cochrane was Lutheran, but I bet if she were here…

she’d ignore “The Not Allowed List” too.

The Lutheran Ladies Guide to Movie Etiquette For Morons

I know the title seems rather harsh, but I didn’t know what term to use for someone whose

We like going to the movies…or used to….

actions fall between blockhead and half-wit. Let me explain…

We like to catch a matinee every month. Five of our last six outings have been pestered by people whose brains have been disconnected from their social skills. Honestly! We’ve decided that movie watching behavior has gone the way of  the typewriter and the corded phone.

Let’s have a short refresher course in Movie-Watching Etiquette in case anyone needs a reminder of these transgressions.

CHOSE YOUR SEAT

Maybe it’s been a hundred years since you’ve been in church. There’s a reason why people sit in the very back pews. It’s so they can slip out easily.  The same rule applies at the movies. So, if you :

  • have a bladder problem
  • need to call the baby sitter
  • or plan on getting a free refill on that half-gallon of soda and bathtub of popcorn you bought at concessions….

Then for the love of everyone’s knees…SIT BY THE DOOR.  Don’t climb over people.

And if you do have an emergency and must leave, WALK SIDEWAYS down the row. Nobody wants your bedonkadonk in their face.  Or…heaven forbid…your crotch.  Just shuffle like a normal human being would down a sidewalk and move out of the row.

THERE’S A REASON MOVIES HAVE A RATING SYSTEM

Just because you can haul a child into an R-rated movie if they’re accompanied by an

The Eye of Sauron as portrayed in Peter Jackso...

adult, doesn’t mean you should.  So when a child cries because aliens are probing innocent beach party-goers or psychos are jumping from behind every tree, or the Dolby sound system is rattling the tubes in your kid’s ears…it means your child isn’t enjoying the movie.  The rest of us aren’t either. As a matter of fact, you may be the only one in the theater, ignoring your kiddo , watching the flick. Your bliss won’t last long. Someone will  get management and you’ll be asked to leave.

So why not save everyone the hassle?  Go to the child’s age-appropriate film in the first

Image representing The Walt Disney Company as ...

place. All of us have paid our dues and sat through more Disney, Pixar, and Hannah Barbara movies than we can count. Please…Adult-up and do the same.

JUST SHUT UP

“Oh, my.” one of the Lutheran Ladies will say, when I quote this rule. But these three words cover a legion of movie sins.  We think the problem originates because folks are used to sitting at home, talking back to their TV. People cuss the news, moan at the weather, sneer at reality shows. They’ve trained themselves to talk to their entertainment.

How else can anyone explain why some people narrate the movie?   If you’re guilty of being a movie commentator, you need to know that you don’t need to tell us:

  • “It’s Glenda, the good witch,”  “He didn’t really die,” “Sauron did it,” or anything that’s happening on the screen. We can see it for ourselves.
  • We’re not  talking about emotional gasps, laughs, and moans that are a natural part of movie enjoyment.  This rule is for those folks who share their running commentary of what’s happening.
  • As brilliant as your observations probably are…people paid to hear the movie, not you commenting on the action.

This Just-Shut-Up-And-Enjoy-The-Movie rule, takes care of:

  • sucking the last ounce of liquid out of your cup
  • rattling your Raisinettes
  • filling in your movie-friend on what he/she missed when they went to the bathroom
  • and just because you’re texting, doesn’t mean you’re not talking or disturbing anyone.  Shut it off.

Aunt Ula has a longer list of movie sins. (She should know because she’s broken most of them and been asked to leave.) But nobody wants to read a blog that long.

Actually most movie problems can be solved if folks simply remember one thing.

Movie-watching is a community experience.

You’re not alone at home. Or as they say in the movies…

You’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.

Do you have a movie-watching etiquette pet peeve?

.

Photos: Theater:Joeybls Photography; Saurons Eye-Wikipedia; Disney-by Crunchbase; dog-yuankuei; Dorothy-Wizard of Oz-FanPop

The Best Compliments—Ever

When I’m having a tough day, there’s a special compliment I pull out and imprint on my brain….

It’s from a woman who emailed me saying: “I was receiving chemo and reading your book outloud. All of us in the room were laughing so hard, the nurse came to check on us.”

The compliment made me cry. Little did the reader know that I’d written the book for my mom. She died before I finished it. The reader’s words were balm to my soul.

My writing critique group analyzed the mysteries of what  makes a GREAT compliment.  The warm words you haul out when days are dark and the laughter is scarce?

Here’s a start.  Feel free to add to the list…or even argue with it:

The Secrets of  A WARM COMPLIMENT

Recognize the person’s character. It’s easy to say, “That was a  (good meal, nice piece

Your smile reminds me of the Laughing Cow. NOOOOO…that’s not the compliment you want to use.

of writing, kind gift, nice outfit….blah blah,whatever ).

So go one step deeper. Compliment the character trait. The willingness of the cook to take time to create such a  tasty meal.  Or the openness of the writer to share so deeply. Or the talent of the giver to craft such a lovely gift or outfit.

Anybody can give someone a piece of chocolate,  But the compliment comes from recognizing the behind-the-scenes personal effort (thinking about them, spending time and money, and delivering it—that takes intent and concern.  It’s like a kiss to the soul when someone else

You have a crocodile smile. Er…I mean a BIG smile. Forget it. That won’t work either.

recognizes the depth of your efforts.

Make the compliment specific. I like to hear the words, “Good job,” but I like it even better when someone says, “They way you describe this character makes me laugh and cry in the same sentence. “Nice smile,” becomes even more personal when it’s “Your smile makes me feel important.”

Do You appreciate it or not? I have a friend who hands out compliments in this manner: “It’s a good thing you’re small, or you couldn’t wear that dress.
WHAT?
I have begun replying, “Is that a compliment or a complaint?”

C’mon. Don’t be stingy. If you appreciate something, commit to saying say so with, “I really

Your smile helps my heart laugh and remember the world is good.

liked it when….”  “It meant a lot to me when….”

Be genuine.  I bet everyone has received a fake-O admiration. It’s like pouring sour milk over a conversation. Thanks for the Blaaaah feeling I get from your pseudo goodwill. If you don’t mean it–don’t say it. But surely there’s something positive you can say about a burnt meal or a bad hair-cut. Even if it’s about how they have the character to deal with it (eventually laugh about it??)  and go on.

So now share with me please….

What’s a compliment you pull out on your crummy days?  Why is it special?

Photos by: Jo Jakeman, fdecomite, Delirante,Vanessa Pike Russel