Posted by: Bonnie Anderson | July 14, 2012

What a Waste!

There was a lot of confusion at the mall food court today. Nobody could figure out what to do with their trash.  People kept coming up to the waste disposal area and scratching their heads, which is difficult to do when your hands are full of trash.  I was going to take pictures of the trash procession, but I thought it in poor taste, even for me.  So I’ll just describe what I saw.

An old gentleman came up and stared.  He lifted his trash to the assumed opening and nothing happened.  The wait button was lit, so he pushed his piece of trash on the green button, but nothing happened.  He finally walked away.

A young girl came up and just stood there for a minute.  she finally put her tray in front of the opening and it magically opened.  She jumped a little when the door opened for her.

A teenage guy came up and just pushed his tray against the door, but since the wait button was on, it wouldn’t budge.  He just forced it open.

It was quite the parade of confusion.  As I began to get bored with this, I did offer my assistance to those who were stumped (9 out of 10).  I personally don’t like pictures giving me clues as to what to do, I much prefer words.  Pictures are so open for interpretation.  For instance, this picture could say, reach in here to get a cup.  Or it could say only cups can be tossed into this receptacle (assuming they could get it to open).

Finally I left and decided watching people throw trash away was a waste of my time.  Then I came across this can and realized we aren’t quite ready to rely on motion sensors for everything.  Let’s save it for the battle of getting the water to come on or the towels to dispense in the public restroom where we don’t have quite the audience to witness our frustration.

Posted by: Bonnie Anderson | July 12, 2012

You Want Me to Read What?

I have been to doctors offices a lot lately.  Between my own visits and my father-in-law’s, which I drive him to, I went to nine doctor appointments during the month of June.  I think that’s a new record for me.  On the positive side, it seems magazines are more current than they used to be.  On the negative side, I don’t think the medical staff is taking the time to check the covers of what they put out for us to read.  For instance, Time Magazine had a catchy cover.

I found this on more than one waiting room table.  It just seemed wrong, and I don’t even want to think that it’s what my doctor wants me to read before seeing him.   Rather disconcerting, don’t you think?

Posted by: Bonnie Anderson | July 10, 2012

Confessions of a Movie Snob

Once upon a time while we were on vacation we decided to go to the movies.  We usually look for an AMC theater as we like to keep all our points in one place.  (In case I haven’t told you before, Bob really likes accruing points.)

I set the GPS for an AMC.  Bob thought the route it displayed wasn’t going to be the best one, so we followed an alternate.  My job – read the directions (and I am an excellent reader).  I didn’t deviate from the displayed route (honest) and it took us winding through a residential area, up and down streets like you’d find in Anywhere, U.S.A.  Finally we ended up at our destination, according to the GPS.  It said we arrived but what it did not say was that we would have to illegally park the car and hop a six-foot fence.

So we wandered around the neighborhood which was set up in an anti-grid that eventually led us to a place that was not the AMC.

Let’s try again.  Come on GPS.  Edit route.  Search.  Wander back through the same neighborhood and end up next to the same fence.  Curse you GPS!  You have foiled us again.

At long last we maneuvered correctly and arrived in front of the AMC.  Now we were rushed – too rushed to question that the price of the movie was a bit of a bargain.  Bob bought the popcorn and I went in to get our seats.  This is the part of the post that reveals what a movie snob I am.  I opened the door of the theater and as my eyes adjusted to the dim light I beheld the worst of movie fates – no stadium seats!  To add to my dismay, I’m not even sure it was digitally displayed.  I ended up having to wear my glasses, which I never do in the movies.  Oh the humanity!

We acquiesced and settled in to watch Snow White and the Huntsman.  The first third of it was pretty dark, fairly well matching my mood at this point.  A bit further into the movie I whispered to Bob, “If some dwarfs don’t show up pretty soon, there’s no saving this for me.”

Right on cue, enter the dwarfs!  I know!  Once again the dwarfs saved the day.  It was a little thing (actually seven little things) but it made all the difference.

Posted by: Bonnie Anderson | July 9, 2012

Trick or Treat Beach Style

While enjoying a dip in the beautiful Gulf of Mexico, Bob and I pushed our toes deep into the sand trying to uncover treasures below the water.  The Gulf is so suited for this with its calm, clear waters.  It didn’t take long before Bob uncovered several live tulip shells.  One in particular was very aggressive and extended its foot far out of its shell repeatedly trying to flick Bob’s hand.  It was pretty funny to see it so determined to have Bob let it loose. He also found a very large starfish and it was a perfect specimen.

So here is the scene – Bob and I shuffling through the Gulf waters.  Bob says, “Look I found a tulip shell, and a perfect starfish and a shell with a hermit crab in it.  What did you find?”

My reply, “I found a rock.  Now I know how Charlie Brown feels.”

No kidding.  Bob kept finding amazing things and all I found was rocks.  I’m so glad I married him.

The large shell is a tulip

Here’s a little shell lesson:  In case you don’t live in part of the country where shells are prolific, you may not realize that the shells you find on the beach are generally dead (unless recently deposited there).  Live ones are in the water with critters (snails) in them.  The foot is the part of the snail that extends from within the shell and is covered by a harder substance called the door that it can pull back into the shell to close it off from predators.  Tulips are interesting in that they are meat eaters, even cannibals.    The foot of the tulip shell contains its mouth and stomach.

Posted by: Bonnie Anderson | July 8, 2012

Looking for a Sign

I’M AWESOME

If you had to put a bumper sticker on your vehicle that described you, what would it say?  We were driving down the road the other day and I saw a truck zoom by with huge letters declaring “I’M AWESOME.”  This guy was not satisfied with a simple sticker on his bumper or widow.  No, he wanted the world to know just how awesome he is.  I wish he didn’t drive by so quickly so I could have gotten a better shot, but you get the idea.

While on vacation we stopped at a gorgeous beach on the Gulf of Mexico – Bradenton Beach.  The water was Caribbean blue/green and was so inviting.  Evidently so inviting that signs had to be installed to warn people to stay out of certain areas, I’m sure for their own safety.  I have to assume that the signs are seen.  I saw them and I’m certainly not the world’s most observant person, but then again I am a sign reader – I guess that’s part of my legalistic tendency.  I figure somebody took the trouble to warn or inform about something, so it’s the least I can do to read what they posted.  But a lot of folks just can’t resist doing what looks so good to them.

Notice the sign doesn’t say “No Swimming.” That would leave it open to a judgment call of what constitutes swimming.

And this cautious parent isn’t the only sign defier.

Such is the state of life at the beach.  The water beckons, somebody has to answer.

Next there is the sign that had to be installed because somebody did something stupid.  In this instance it was probably somebody pretty tall.

You know someone staying in this hotel had to have figured this was a brilliant place to hang their clothes until they pulled off the sprinkler head and drenched the room.

How about you?  Are you a sign reader or a sign defier?

Posted by: Bonnie Anderson | July 7, 2012

Sunrise, Sunset

Yesterday we had a wonderful day going coast to coast down here in Florida.  As I reported in my last entry, we got up early but missed the actual sun rising over the Atlantic, though there was extensive evidence that it did rise.  We weren’t too bummed about it.  It’s not like it probably wasn’t going to rise again, and we had our drive across the state to look forward to, especially watching the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico.

Around 6:30 PM we headed to the Columbia Restaurant in the trendy St. Armands Circle area of Sarasota and enjoyed a lovely dinner with our son, Joe, and his wife Aubyron.  We had a 30 minute wait for a table and then for some unknown and definitely not well thought out reason, Bob and I ordered the paella, which was also a 30 minute wait.  It was and was not worth waiting for.  The restaurant was pretty packed and as our evening progressed I noticed our waitress had slowed down her visits to our table.  We finished our meals and I was ready to proceed to our 8:29 appointment on Lido Beach for sunset.  Still no waitress.  I started getting a little antsy, so Bob sent Aubyron and I on ahead to the beach.  We arrived at approximately 8:32, just in time to see people leaving the area.  (This is the point where the paella was not worth waiting for.)

Always being one to be sure of things, I asked a group of teenage boys if the sun had set.  They mumbled something that sounded like yes.  So it looked like we missed the two big sun events of the day.  Again, we assured ourselves that the sun must have set because people were leaving the beach.  And it was getting noticeably darker.  Pretty sound evidence.  So here’s my picture of just after the sunset.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

The sun set quickly in the west, too quickly

Posted by: Bonnie Anderson | July 6, 2012

Sunrise Over the Atlantic

If the sunrise in the east is blocked by a building, does it still rise?

Today Bob and I leave Pompano Beach on the Atlantic Ocean and head through Alligator Alley to the Gulf of Mexico.  We decided to take a tip we picked up from our friends and bloggers, Tom and Debi, of www.theromanticvineyard.com and have a sunrise/sunset day.  We are not morning people, so we decided to view the sunrise from our balcony.  It was a moving experience.

Sunrise was scheduled for 6:34, so we set our alarm for 6:20.  We didn’t need the previews, we’ve seen the sunrise before.  We moved slowly out of bed to the balcony.  It was bright out, so bright I wondered if we missed the big event.  We had not.  Once we deduced that the sun would indeed rise directly behind the tall buildings that blocked a small portion of our eastern view, we were moved into action.  We went back to bed.  I’ll let you know how the sunset goes tomorrow.  We’re more night people, so we won’t let a building stand in our way of enjoying the evening sky.

Posted by: Bonnie Anderson | July 5, 2012

Manatee of the Month?

I’m wondering what is going on in a particular elementary school in my area.  I know there are all kinds of challenges in the public education system, one of which that is constantly being addressed is class size.  But my concern is more along the lines of how big the individuals are in the class and just how much our school system is catering to special groups, or in this case herds.

While out running errands, I saw the following printed on a bumper sticker on two different vehicles:

MY CHILD WAS SELECTED MANATEE OF THE MONTH AT TRIANGLE ELEMENTARY

Manatee on its way to school or looking for the herd
(photo credit: Wikipedia)

This concerns me on a couple of different levels.  For one, manatees don’t travel in schools; they travel in herds.  Herd of manatees?  Yes.

Another concern would be why would a school choose as its mascot a slow-moving marine animal that pretty much just goes through life resting and eating and only makes its presence known when the weather is cold?  Unless, of course, it really is a school full of actual manatees, in which case I understand why I saw both of these bumper stickers on the back of pick-up trucks.  Car pooling takes on a whole new meaning.

I would suggest that the school choose another endangered Florida animal – maybe the Florida Panther.  That’s something I’d want my kids to aspire to.

Posted by: Bonnie Anderson | July 4, 2012

Happy Birthday, America!

Happy Fourth of July!  May we never forget how blessed we are as a nation.  As we celebrate today, it is fresh on my mind that Andy Griffith died yesterday.  He will be missed but not forgotten.  I spent many a half-hour watching his show and it is one of my all-time favorites.  Thinking about that this morning, if I could pick the perfect place to spend the Fourth of July, I’d pick Mayberry.  Yes, I know it’s fictional, but perfection is fictional also – it doesn’t really exist outside of God.  Andy Griffith gave us something to shoot for – a hometown with quirky people who love and support each other.

Even though I know in my mind that I’d likely go crazy living in such a small town, in my heart I want to be there.  There’s something comforting about Sheriff Taylor watching over the town and keeping Deputy Fife from harming himself and others.

Last Year’s Bike Parade – We don’t do the straight line thing

In our neighborhood, we have created a little slice of Americana with a bicycle parade in the daytime and fireworks down by the lake after dark.  In all humility I must tell you that as parades go, ours is a little puny, but I love it.  We have a convertible lead the procession with the Grand Marshal holding a boom box that blasts patriotic songs.  It is followed by decorated bikes ridden by cute little kids who are very excited about the whole process.  Dogs with red, white and blue bandanas are led by their owners.  Neighbors get to catch up with each other as we march around our half-mile long block watching our kids, grandkids or pets.  It is not a big event, but it does capture a bit of small town appeal as we walk around throwing candy at those who brave the heat to watch the procession.

Mia and Ella proudly ride in the parade

My grandchildren absolutely love this.  They have the time of their lives decorating their bikes.  I usually hand out new patriotic shirts for each of them to wear.  This year we are away and it will be a quiet, not quite as sweaty day for us.  When Ella (our 6 year-old granddaughter) realized the Fourth was coming, she asked her Mom what shirt she would wear.  Ouch!  I don’t think I’ll be able to leave town on the Fourth again until she is a teenager.  I guess I’ll pick up some shirts at the after-July Fourth sale for next year so I’ll be prepared for Ella and the rest of the gang.  I hope you enjoy your day and make some memories.

I’ll leave you with an Erma Bombeck quote to make you smile as you celebrate today.

“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.”

You may remember from yesterday that I had a failed attempt to take my grandsons to celebrate National Comic Book Day.  It seems the Dark Side had a victory when one of the boys became ill, but I would not give up on my effort to get them to the comic book store.

Two Happy Boys

Two weeks later, Bob and I had the boys for the weekend and at last made the journey to Acme Superstore.  When we walked in the door and their eyes beheld such things as The Silver Surfer gliding above racks and racks of comic books and Batman gazing their direction, they were, appropriately enough, like kids in a comic book store – so excited.  We let them pick out a comic book each and an action figure.  There are several aisles of action figures, but we knew Star Wars was the way to go.  Manning, who is five, picked out a droid, which he calls a robot.  Four-year-old Winston picked out a young Obi-Wan Kenobi who had two light sabers, which he calls swords.  They were two happy boys.

But alas, The Dark Side reared its ugly head again and by the time we returned home, Obi-Wan was nowhere to be seen.  We scoured the car for him and were fearful that his fate had been sealed at the last parking lot we visited.  Poor Obi-Wan.  Poor Winston.

Bedtime came and we knew that was prime time for the power of the Dark Side to come in the form of an unhappy little boy.  While Winston was in brushing his teeth, Manning told me how excited he was to put his new guy with his robot collection.  He loves robots and beamed as he held his new one in his hand.  When Winston came to bed, he was a little sad that Obi-Wan was no longer with us.  Manning without any hesitation gave his prized robot to his brother.  (Take that Evil Empire!)

As I fought back tears, Winston exclaimed, “Thank you, Manning.  Here, you can have my lantern (his choice for bedtime).”

This display of selfless brotherly love was an amazing thing to behold.  I was so privileged to get to witness it.  I felt like God had given me a little gift.  The next morning as we loaded the boys into the car to go to church, Manning found Obi-Wan on the floor.  There was great rejoicing.  Bob told me he had looked all through the car and I had, too.  We could not figure out how we missed finding him, but it reminded me how God provides for us in our sadness and how it is more blessed to give than to receive.  The night before, Manning had been happy to make his brother happy.  That Sunday morning we all were excited to find what had been lost.  I can’t help but wonder if God orchestrated the whole chain of events.  If there is no suffering, there is no opportunity for mercy and comfort.  Without the gift of mercy and comfort we don’t remember to be thankful.  This is too marvelous for words – even on this level.  I’m so thankful to God that I was there with those sweet boys to witness the entire exchange.

I have had lost things turn up in such mysterious ways that I wondered if God arranged it.  How about you?  Have you ever wondered if God sent angels to do the unexplainable in your life?

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