Friday, September 30, 2016

17 Irrational Fears I Have

Woman looking horrified

Common fears exist throughout the world: fear of spiders (arachnophobia), fear of the dark (nyctophobia), and fear of being unable to parallel park. But here are some irrational fears I have that may - or may not - entertain you, I fear:
  1. I'll get a call from a friend saying she saw me on TV in one of those news clip videos showing obese people from the neck down.
  2. Someone might steal my ancient red car (dubbed "Big Red") that is held together with red duct tape and prayers.
  3. The next time someone texting walks into me as I walk up the street I may lose my temper and shove them into oncoming traffic.
  4. On Pinterest, a "Colon Cleanse in 3 Days" pin that I want to save might show up in a public post rather than my private folder.
  5. Hilary Clinton becomes president and Bill Clinton, as First Man (?) picks out a hideous China dish pattern for the White House.
  6. When taking up art, I find my cat snickering at me behind my back at my attempts to paint.
  7. People will think this list of 17 fears are in order from most feared to least feared.
  8. The song Disco Duck will be redone by a popular artist, will be a hit and receive frequent airplay on the radio.
  9. Pat Robertson will live to be 150.
  10. I find out that my neighbor (who likes to hold long conversations with me when I’m in a hurry) and I were celebrity and paparazzi in a previous life.  I am forever doomed to repeat the situation in various forms throughout my next lives.
  11. I will only come up with 16 irrational fears.
  12. I get a self driving car but it is programmed in dieter's mode, refusing to stop at all Dunkin' Donuts, bakeries, and fast food places.
  13. When it becomes necessary for me to go in a nursing home, my roommate will be a senile woman who sings the song Muskrat Love all day.
  14. Because of the pro-breastfeeding-in-public movement, I will be forced to buy a life-like doll to hang off my breasts in public places to show my solidarity.
  15. My ship will come in and not only will I be at the airport but I will be pulled aside for the "deluxe" cavity search.
  16. Trump becomes president, World War III begins, and I am forced into doing unsavory activities in order to secure coffee and chocolate.
  17. Hillary Clinton becomes president. Mandatory uniform for all women over 50: pants suits. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Remember Thanksgiving - Boycott Black Thursday

I love the holiday season with all the decorations, music, food, and excitement. But one thing saddens me: the diminished attention giving to Thanksgiving. Sure, I joke with my friends and post Christmas countdowns way too early. I hum Christmas songs weeks before Thanksgiving. But Thanksgiving holds a special place in my heart. It is a time to truly be grateful for everything we have no matter how seemingly inconsequential. I am upset how Thanksgiving is being treated now as the starting day of Christmas shopping.

Oh, how I cringe and my heart sinks when I see news video of people knocking each other down to get fifty dollars off a TV on Black Friday.  People camp out in front of stores sometimes weeks in advance. I believe it should be renamed Greed Day. And now some stores want to open on Thanksgiving day, forcing their employees to abandon their friends and family only to deal with massive, unruly crowds. Why are we doing this to such an important holiday? Why are some malls being greedy and demanding stores to open on Thanksgiving?  I applaud and will only patronize those stores this holiday season who refuse to cave in and stay open on Thanksgiving Day. Here is a current list of stores so far doing the right thing by staying closed- please support them this holiday season:

American Girl
Barnes & Noble
Bed, Bath and Beyond
BJ’s Wholesale Club
Burlington Coat Factory

Crate & Barrel
Hobby Lobby
Home Depot
Jo Ann Fabrics
Nieman Marcus
Pier 1
Sam’s Club
Sierra Trading Post
Shop Rite
Sur La Table
T.J. Maxx
Trader Joe's


Holidays aren't the only time stores should remain closed. When I was growing up stores were closed in Massachusetts on Sundays because of blue laws. People actually got to spend time with their families and friends doing something other than shopping. I am probably alone in this opinion, but I want blue laws back.

I would be lying to you if I said I don't like shopping for or buying gifts. I drool over the latest new gadgets like anyone else. I take great pleasure in seeing my nephews open their gifts on Christmas morning. But I try to make my main gift on Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season the gift of spending time with loved ones: laughing, listening, and doing fun activities, letting them know how grateful I am to have them in my life. That is something that is priceless; you can't buy it in a store.

So this Thanksgiving I have a challenge for all of you: stay away from all stores on Thanksgiving Day - join Boycott Black Thursday. If you'd like to go a step further, boycott those stores during the holiday season that did open.  Spend Thanksgiving Day reflecting on everything, big or little, and everyone in your life that you are grateful for. Actually go up to people in person, not via texting or email or social media, and hug them, tell them how much they mean to you and how they've made your life richer.  If you have a lot, give to others less fortunate. Donate to your favorite charities in honor of loved ones who are no longer here. Let us keep the true spirit of Thanksgiving alive.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

One of Those Days

I had kind of a bad day today. It was a day that would have made the most well-adjusted person paranoid.

I was eating lunch at a cafe with a friend, and I decided to play a song on the jukebox. A little boy was flipping through the songs. So I waited a few minutes or so, then said, "Do you mind if a play a song, then you could look so more?". A middle-aged woman at the booth nearby snarled, "He's playing a song." I blurted out, "Oh he has money?". I don't know why I said that, truly, but my tone was friendly. She just looked at me with an icy stare. She said "He already put it in. Will you show him how to do it?" This was said in an unfriendly tone, and she went back to staring at her cell phone (she was texting). So I helped the kid choose the song he wanted, then put my money in and picked my song. I just wanted to get away from there so I quickly picked She Blinded Me With Science by Thomas Dolby. Not a bad song choice, since I love 80's rock, but still not my first choice. If there was a song title She Blinded Me With Rudeness I would have played that. Then the kid says, " No I wanted this song" picking another song different from the one he first chose. I had a vision of the kid throwing a tantrum, and the woman beating the crap out of me (she was bigger than I am), so I said (within earshot of the woman), "Oh hold on I'll get another quarter". I went back to my table and got another quarter from my friend, and picked the song. The woman never thanked me. She still had her snout in her cell phone.

When I went back to my table, my food had arrived and it was cold because of the time I spent at the jukebox. The woman was in viewing range, and was talking on her cell phone now, even though she had someone else at the table (someone who I gave a little smile to,mostly out of pity, but he didn't smile back and just turned his head away). The she went back to texting. Her food arrived and I saw her shovel it into her mouth, taking large mouthfuls, and talking with her mouth full. She let out a loud burp, but did say excuse me. Then she got up to use the rest room, loudly coughing without covering her mouth, not even the non-elbow way of covering it. Back at her table, she sat down and proceeded to lay her head back and close her eyes. She was taking a nap! It blew my mind, let me tell you.

I decided to put the incident behind me as best as I could, and go shopping. Now, I have a habit of giving a little friendly smile to everyone I go by, even if I don't know them. Ninety-five percent of the people smile back. Today I did my smile thing and everyone seemed to have a slight scowl on their faces. I asked my friend "do I have something on my face or stuck in my teeth? Is my hair messy?" She reassured me everything was fine. What was going on? Were people just stressed out about Christmas? Were they just worried about the snow coming tonight? Did they turn into zombies?

The rest of the time I spent shopping I decided not to look at anyone, certainly not smile at them. I thought about spending the night with Ben and Jerry, drowning my sorrows (icing my sorrows?), but I resisted. I couldn't wait to get home and read my Zombie Survival Guide.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lobster, Insanity, and Something About Mary

Yesterday was my birthday so I chose to go to a seafood restaurant for lunch with a friend. The restaurant wasn't fancy, but affordable. I had a craving for lobster pie.

As we were waiting to be seated a woman with four children came in. One of the kids must have had the swine flu, because he was hacking and coughing. I discreetly requested being seated far away from them.

The young waitress came over and took our drink order. Suddenly, a manager/supervisor came over in our face in an annoyed tone asking, "Did Mary [not her real name] come over?". I was stunned by this unexpected interruption and was speechless. She asked us again. We said yes, mostly to get rid of her. Another waitress came over and said to just say yes when asked about Mary. I figured poor Mary was either a new waitress or one that wasn't very good.

We got our drinks, after a bit of a wait. My friend was annoyed having to wait for her coffee. We were enjoying a conversation when again this manager came over and asked us if we wanted an appetizer. Her tone was still annoyed. I stuttered and said no. I was afraid of this lady. Would she hit us if Mary failed?
Not even two minutes later, the manager again came over and asked us if we ordered brandy. We told her we ordered coffee. She said, "oh, I smelled brandy" and walked away.

Things were temporarily quiet when an elderly woman got up and started singing in a wobbly voice, loudly. It was an old song, not familiar. There was a partial wall so I couldn't see if she was a customer or an employee. My friend said maybe she sings Happy Birthday and I threatened her not to mention it was my birthday. We asked another waitress, and she said the woman was an employee and she sings all the time. When the song was over, a little girl at the next table started singing, imitating her. We could hear a bunch of employees in the back room singing. Was there carbon monoxide in this place? Something in the water? We finished our meal and left.

Keep in mind I've been playing the game Left 4 Dead, killing zombies infected by a plague. These people weren't blue-grey tinged, but still I wish I had an Uzi, just in case.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Can You Read This?

This was in an email I got, and I thought I'd share it:

Only great minds can read this This is weird, but interesting!
fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too
Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.
i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed i t whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

I could read it. Could you?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Update on Cats in China

I have not forgotten about the cat situation in China. I did initially contact a group in China that actively works on protecting the cats. They told me I could volunteer from here in the U.S., but I have not heard back from them yet. I continue my hunt for information and resources.

Another resource found: Humane Society International. I sent them an email asking them about the situation in China. They sent the following email response:

[*TNR: Trap-Neuter-Return]

Dear Ruth,

Thank you for contacting us with your concern over recent media reports covering the brutal cat meat trade in Guangzhou. These shocking stories have prompted protest from all over the world, especially within China, where activists have staged public demonstrations and attempted to halt the cat meat traders by stopping their vehicles.

For more, please see here:

HSI is supporting a local organization in Beijing, where many of these cats are sourced. This organization has been performing *TNR all over the city since 2005, focusing on mass spay/neuter to reduce the population of street cats, many of whom fall victim to the meat and fur trade. Colonies are managed and protected by dedicated caretakers, and tireless volunteers train communities and individuals on TNR protocols.

HSI’s work in China has grown over the past three years. For more, please see here:

Be sure to read about our important work in China in 2008:

Thank you again for contacting us. We appreciate your concerns.

Kind regards,

Humane Society International

2100 L Street, NW | Washington, DC 20037 | USA

Tel: +1 (301) 258-3010 | Fax: +1 (301) 258-3082 |

Celebrating Animals, Confronting Cruelty Worldwide


I have NOT GIVEN UP on this project, and intend to continue to seek ways to make a difference for those cats.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Horrible Treatment of Cats in China


Chinese Demonstrate Against Cat Meat Industry
Where do Nanjing's stray cats end up?
Photos of cats packed into crates
Netizens angry about cats on menu (accepts BRIEF comments)
Cat Restaurant (warning: this is detailed and has very disturbing photos)
China Daily Newspaper article

I was doing my morning ritual of looking at the news and I came across a story about cats in China. To say it was disturbing news would be an understatement. I cried a lot.
China has been killing cats, skinning them alive and cooking them alive. This takes place mostly in the Guangdong province, where they eat 10,000 cats per day. These cats are stuffed together in cages and sold as food. The good news is there is an activist group in China protesting this appalling practice and trying to put an end to it. I admire them. They are brave to protest in a country that is intolerant of free speech and civil rights.

Civet cats used to be eaten in China, until that practice was banned due to SARS. But does it really take health reasons to ban inhumane actions to animals?

So I beg you to please contact the Humane Society International and/or the Humane Society of the United States to urge them to take whatever action they can to stop this horrible practice. I will update this article with further contacts as they become available.

Contact Humane Society International (*scroll all the way down to to the bottom of their page for contact form)

Embassy of the Peoples Republic of China in the US - Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong
(*note, contact page for the Ambassador has been "deleted". Hmm.)

US Embassy in Beijing -Ambassador Clark T. Randt, Jr

President Elect Obama

Tom Vilsack, appointed Agriculture Secretary by President-Elect Obama
(I am still looking for his contact info. He has an old myspace page.)

Humane Society article about Tom Vilsack

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

An easy way to help the auto industry

PLEASE NOTE: This is written tongue-in-cheek style, so to my family and friends, remember you said you wouldn't commit me unless you found me knitting outfits for my cat Abby. (Hide the yarn, Abby)

I have a solution to help the auto industry, eliminate our dependence on foreign oil, create more jobs, and reduce global warming: Lets get rid of all the cars and use horses. This is how and why horses will solve our economy problem.

We'll use all those poor wild horses that are going to be slaughtered. We will hire a bunch of people to tame them (more jobs created). Automakers will now be horse breeders. Car dealers will be horse dealers. They can even keep some of the same names as their cars, Dodge Colt, Ford Pinto, etc.( maybe not the Pinto). The parking lots of showrooms will be converted to horse stalls. There will be an SUV model, complete with a covered wagon. Car part places will now stock horse supplies and accessories, including saddle cup holders. Car washes will now be horse grooming stations.

Gas stations, since we won't need gas anymore, will now be horse feeding stations with water troughs and bails of hay at reasonable prices. Oil companies will be farms, producing hay and feed for horses. The CEOS of the oil companies will be forced to work hard, physical labor on these farms. The farmers will now be the CEOS of the farming industry.

The kids will love it. Merry Go Rounds will be Car Go Rounds, as each horse is replaced with a replica of old cars such as the Toyota Camry and Cadillac Escalade.
The riding age will be 10. There will be horse riding lessons in place of driving lessons. Lots of horse drawn sleigh rides.

Think of the new fashion industry opening up: people will have cowboy outfits.
We won't have to worry about paving roads anymore, since horses will be using them.

Nascar will be replaced with horse races and the racing tracks will be governed by the Humane Society.

The horses will have GPS microchips, in case they get lost or stolen.
I haven't quite figured out how to install CD players and stereos yet. The loud noise might frighten the horses. Maybe we could use earphones.

You could drink and drive all you want, without danger of getting in an accident.

Oh, and I haven't forgotten how to deal with the horse manure: We will get oil company executives, bank executives, and Wall Streeters to be responsible for scooping up the poop everywhere.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

16 Signs Your Home May Be Haunted

There is a chilling, riveting show on TV called "A Haunting" (Discovery Channel, 2pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday). The one hour show depicts allegedly true personal experiences with ghosts and demons. Actors reenact the events interspersed with interview clips from the actual victims and their families. Whether you believe in the afterlife or not, the one hour program is truly entertaining. It has given me a good scare at times, and I am grateful it doesn't air at night

From watching the show, certain patterns and similarities have occurred that I thought might be useful to know either before buying a home or afterwards. Here, for your amusement, is a list to guide you:

Your home may be haunted if:

1. You keep hearing someone call your name and no one is there. (or you could just be psychotic)

2. When sleeping, your blankets are pulled off of you.

3. The crosses on the walls turn upside down.

4. The temperature drops down suddenly in a room and it is August. And you don't have the A/C on.

5. When the real estate lady shows you the home, she not only refuses to go in but won't get out of her car.

6. The price of the home is way too good to be true.

7. You develop strange scratches on your body and they're not from your spouse.

8. Your child introduces you to his new playmate and there is nobody there, but you see a swing moving or toys moving.

9. You walk into your baby's room to find all of the stuffed animals in a circle, and no one in the house did it.

10. Cabinets doors keep opening by themselves.

11. The home was recently renovated.

12. A family member starts glaring at you and talking in a low, demonic voice.

13. The home used to be a funeral parlor/ site of a murder/ on top of a burial ground.

14. When you enter the rental property you find dishes with food on them - as if the prior residents ran from the house.

15. When viewing a potential home, you find the current residents huddled in one room telling you not to go upstairs.

16. All the windows are nailed shut.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

You can always go Downtown

I like to support our local businesses during this economic crisis. The larger ones like Wal-Mart will thrive, but it is the smaller places, like our squares, centers, and downtown areas, that may need our help. And if you haven't been to Downtown Nashua, you are missing out on a great shopping experience.

Downtown offers friendly service and a way to avoid the impersonal, claustrophobic feel of shopping malls. There is no need to worry about parking: there is some on street parking and various parking garages. Check out this parking map. And you don't have to feed the meters on Saturday, Sundays and Holidays.

For a cup of coffee, a smoothie,or some yummy gourmet baked goods and delicious wraps and soups, Patisserie Bleu is the place to be. The decor is reminiscent of a French cafe. Go ahead and treat yourself. The owner Deb and her staff are friendly and there is free WiFi there. I often wish there was a candle to capture the wonderful aroma of that place.

Tucked away on a side street is Bonhoeffer's. Choose from a variety of coffees, teas, and smoothies and take advantage of the free WiFi in a relaxing setting.

Need some hardware? How about trying Aubuchon Hardware. Ed, who I call MacGyver, has helped me solve some fix-it dilemmas. You can rent a rug shampoo machine, get copies of keys made, and recycle your cfl bulbs. And these are just some of the services they provide. All of the staff are very helpful and courteous. Aubuchon also stocks some pet supplies and Christmas items.

Downtown Nashua also has events to enjoy. The next event is Ladies Night on Thursday, November 20, 2008 from 5pm to close. You can get some good discounts from many participating merchants. One of the biggest events is the Holiday Stroll taking place on Saturday, November 29, 2008 from 5pm to 10pm. It is FREE. Click on for other events.

There are many more stores and lots of restaurants not mentioned here only because I haven't tried them out yet. But I look forward to exploring those places and I strongly encourage you to do your own exploring.

UPDATE: I removed Absolutely New Hampshire from the article, because it is gone. Thanks to Newts for informing me (see comments).

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Blackout in Nashua, NH

This afternoon, July 19,2008, there was a blackout in parts of Nashua,NH. I was a passenger in the car with my friend (who shall remain nameless) driving up Main St. when she noticed the traffic signals were out. When we got to the plaza where we wanted to shop, we were turned away from the store because of no power. So my friend proceeded to drive me home. After driving down about three intersections with no working traffic signals, we saw further up Main St. the next traffic signal was working so we stopped at the red light. A guy in the next car started talking to me, something about the power being out. I figured it was just going to be a friendly conversation, you know, one of those moments that boundaries and walls drop just a little bit and you find it OK, during an adverse situation or being stuck in the same situation, to talk to a stranger. He complained that my friend who was driving did not stop at the traffic signals that were out, and that she was supposed to stop. He said, "you blew right by me". She did slow down at each traffic stop, and at one of them she did stop when she saw cars turning onto the main road. I didn't know what to say. I haven't driven in a while so I confess I forgot the rules about these situations, who yields to whom, etc. I just shrugged my shoulders and as the light turned green told him (and I honestly didn't mean it in a sarcastic way) to "have a nice day anyway". My friend seemed visibly upset, so I said, oh he was probably upset because of the heat and the stress of driving and whatnot. It didn't seem to soothe her at all. And besides, earlier in the day,before any power outage, when she slowed almost to a stop where there was no red light or stop sign, I waved on a car to allow him to turn onto our street, assuming that is why she slowed down. It wasn't, but she did let him go. I was mortified, and realized a passenger really shouldn't wave on another car. So who was I to tell her how to drive?

Anyway, getting back to the power outage/traffic signal dilemma, I decided to let my old pal Google enlighten me. I did find this: During a power outage when a traffic signal isn't working, stop at all intersections, then proceed with caution when traffic permits. Oops. Now I know. I won't mention it to my friend, unless she brings it up, because I am not the type to tell people they were wrong (and I think she HATES that), but I sure will tell her if I'm in the car with her and there is another power outage.

So the power is back on again, thankfully. And to that guy who we "blew" by, I'm really sorry. Thank you for enlightening us. And I hope you did have a nice day after all.

New Hampshire Driving Manual (pdf)

American Red Cross: what to do during a power outage