Subtle Shifts

Have you ever remarked that a kitten has gotten quite big, and its owner is surprised by that? You haven’t seen the kitten in weeks, so its growth is obvious to you. The owner, on the other hand, has seen it daily, and therefore the change in size has been subtle to him or her and therefor easy to overlook.

We experience subtle shifts every day without giving them much notice. For example, when I was a kid, I used to drink Hawaiian Punch practically by the 50-gallon drum. I couldn’t get enough of the stuff. Now, I can barely tolerate even a sip of it. It’s way too sickly sweet. I couldn’t tell you, though, the exact point in time when I shifted from being a Hawaiian Punch fan to a Hawaiian Punch disdainer. It just sort of sneaked up on me.

My perception of humor has apparently shifted as well. A week ago, if you had asked me what the funniest thing I’d ever seen on television was, I’d have responded, Season 4, Episode 4 of the sitcom Perfect Strangers. Based on its air date, I must have been 24 when I first saw it. I remember laughing so hard as Larry and Balki struggled to get a piano up ten flights of stairs that I nearly lost my breath, and I had tears streaming down my face. This was TV at its best, I thought.

So I was delighted when I discovered that Hulu was now showing every episode of Perfect Strangers. I would start with that iconic episode, and then binge watch the entire series. What fun!

I fixed myself a bowl of popcorn, got into some sweat pants and a t-shirt, snuggled in with my dog Quagmire, and prepared to be entertained.

Imagine my shock when I realized just how bad the show really was. Poorly written, cheesy, in fact. Poorly acted. Predictable. What a freaking disappointment. Needless to say, I won’t be binge watching any other episodes.

But I used to love that show. I really did. What the heck was I thinking? Who was I?

Now, if you ask me what the funniest thing I’ve ever seen on television is, I’ll respond the episode of Carol Burnett in which Tim Conway discusses the Siamese elephants, joined at the trunk. I’m happy to say that that one STILL cracks me up.


Read any good books lately? Try mine!



As a child, one of the hardest things for me was the experience of outgrowing things that I loved. Favorite sweaters. Child-sized furniture. Extremely sugary foods. Certain rides at the state fair. The kid’s menu at Howard Johnson’s.

No one likes change. And if I loved something, I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t love it forever. It fit me before. Why doesn’t it fit me now?

I actually still have one sweatshirt from elementary school. It’s hard for me to believe I was ever that small. I kept it sort of as a frame of reference. But if I had kept all my clothing and toys from childhood, my life would be full of wasted space. That would be tragic indeed.

Time marches on. And it seems that outgrowing things doesn’t stop even when you are fully grown. It’s just that the things you outgrow become more complex. Friendships. Philosophies. Political systems. Jobs. Vices. Groups.

There’s a certain rise and decay that formulates the circle of life. Just ask the Greeks and the Romans. Things and people and beliefs are solid for a time, but eventually they crumble to dust and are replaced by something else.

Recently I was kicked out of a group and for a hot second, there, it felt like the end of the world to me. A friend of mine suggested I keep attending anyway. They meet in a public place, after all. But I don’t want to do that. There are still many people I love there, and I don’t want to create tension and awkwardness for them. The wonderful feeling I got from being a part of that group is gone. There’s no resuscitating that. There’s a cancer at the core of the experience for which there is no cure.

And lo and behold, I am already discovering that the absence of that group is providing me with other intriguing opportunities. I’m already filling that time with other experiences, and meeting other people. Decay makes way for growth. The shit of life fertilizes the fruit.

I feel as though the country as a whole is experiencing this. Our government and our attitudes toward it are in a state of flux. It’s rather unsettling, trying to maintain one’s balance on these shifting sands. We resist the change and we mourn, but we will also be motivated to work toward bigger and better change, and from that, new and exciting things will surely flow.

The next time you sense that you are outgrowing something, remind yourself that you are just a tiny part of a much larger plane of existence. As Max Ehrmann once said, “No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”


Like this blog? Then you’ll LOVE this book!

Poor Chifferobe, Bless Her Heart

So my boss calls me and says he needs me to work on the drawbridge from midnight to 8 a.m., which believe it or not is great news, because I sure could use the money. But since I’m the resident floater who can be called in at a moment’s notice to work any day, any shift, you name it, I’m your girl, it means that a wrench gets thrown into any plans I might have for the day.

I hang up the phone and realize I’m going to have to spend the evening trying to force myself to get some sleep, which means I need to do my long overdue grocery shopping, like…NOW.

I rush off to the grocery store with my 2 ½ mile long list, make all my selections, and am kind of grateful that I’m in too much of a hurry to make impulse buys because I haven’t had anything to eat all day. (Well, okay, so I didn’t REALLY need that pint of coffee ice cream. Cut me a little slack.)

Anyway, I head to the checkout lines, and they’re all extremely busy, so I choose the line that looks the shortest. We know how futile that is, but, hey, I remain optimistic. There are two people ahead of me, and the first one has already had her stuff all bagged. Lady number two, suspiciously, has left all her food in the cart instead of putting it on the conveyor belt, and I think, fine. I start putting my items on the belt, hoping it will jog her memory or something.

I get all my stuff out of my cart and two other people move behind me when it starts to dawn on me that choosing this line was a really, REALLY bad idea. Lady number one is freaking out. She’s only got 3 small plastic bags of food, and the cashier is telling her that it will be $172.00. Everyone, even the cashier eventually, figures out that this can’t possibly be right. The manager comes over and they fiddle around with various keys, she cancels the whole thing and starts over, and now it’s only $43.00. The cashier, who is named after some obscure inanimate object like Chifferobe, apologizes profusely, and admits that she’s new. She’s only been working there for 20 minutes.


Oh joy. All my stuff is already on the conveyor belt and there are now 4 people waiting behind me. There’s no way to discreetly change lanes now. Sigh. Suddenly the belt starts to move, and all my purchases head right for the cash register and I’m saying, “Wait! Wait!” Because lady number two never did put her stuff on the belt. So now she has to hand her stuff to the cashier one by one, over the top of my food.

When Chifferobe hits the total key, we all hold our collective breath. Thankfully the amount seems reasonable. The woman pays her in a big sweaty wad of coins. Poor Chifferobe is sort of at a loss as to what to do, so she spills them over the scanner and counts them out slowly, and finally sends lady number two on her merry way.

Now it’s my turn. As Chifferobe reaches for my discount card, she knocks some of my stuff to the ground, and it seems to have a domino effect. Soon there are cans rolling all over the aisle and boxes being crushed under foot. Thank God the eggs got through unscathed. (And the ice cream, or I’d have gotten really cranky.)

She means well, but I suspect Chifferobe is not long for the world of merchandising arts. In her defense, as I was wheeling my cart out the door, feeling quite relieved that I made it out alive, she did thank me for my patience, and she was always quite polite. As we say in the south when we’re feeling catty, “Bless her heart.”