Expect laughter! Expect learning! Expect lasting ideas!

The Phone Bowl

/wtad.com/whitepages/9.22.17/

Someone has already designed a device for tables across America, I just know it. They’re calling it, “Tables Across America”, which sounds a little like “Doctors Without Borders” doesn’t it? Tables include those at home, cafes, cafeterias and full fare restaurants. Tables Across America is societal helping movement sweeping the country. Or it should be. And when it happens, I’ll say, “Great idea, wished I’d thought of it.” Which, obviously, I did. Right here. But I don’t have the investors to back me. I haven’t even tried, so it’s fine, we don’t need another project right now in this White house.

It makes me sad to see people at tables with other people – often loved ones –  sharing precious time together. But not really, because one or both or all seven of them are on the phone. I understand the many reasons for this habit: families in a courthouse cafe are awaiting a verdict on their loved one’s trial; another family, in a hospital cafeteria, is waiting for a surgical update. Maybe a couple is waiting to hear from their college student as he or she arrived in Bejing. But I doubt it. It’s mostly chatter.

We’re texting about where to meet in tonight or the crabby office secretary today. We even ordered a pair of compression socks for our elderly mother on Amazon. It’s sooooooo easy, right? But so damaging to communication. It was difficult to carve out an hour for lunch with our favorite person, only to be muted by time on our phones. Why did we even bother?

Jeff got really ticked one time when I was on my phone, while out to eat. I thought I was being entertaining, as I was texting back and forth with our daughter. Since I was sharing bits of the conversation with him, I thought that didn’t count, even though it was funny stuff. I was the only one laughing. He was seething.

So, what’s the phone bowl? It’s not a big football championship at the end of the season, sponsored by AT&T. Nope, it’s more like a salad bowl, right in the middle of the table. The table has been wired through the bottom of the bowl, with multiple ports cords. These connect phones (yes, some people carry two: personal and office) to a charger. The caveat: touch your phone during your table time at the table and terrible things happen to your phone. For example: your contacts will be lost. POOF! Just. Like. That. Why is that terrible? Because everybody over forty remembers their parents home phone number. Heck, I still remember Gail Grayson’s number from Junior High: 223-3493. And Jeff’s office Edward Jones Ohio number from 1978: 599-3110. But I can’t remember any cell numbers. It’s pathetic. That’s why it would be such a pain in the ass.

It’d be like this: I locked my phone and keys in the car at the compost pile recently. There were three family phone numbers I could remember. None of these would be available to rescue me.  A couple, parked next to me, offered their phone. I had no numbers in my head after immediate family. I gave the phone back and said, “Thanks, there’s no point.” This is a small-ish town, and most of us are trusting. The pickup truck people offered me a ride home. I took it. While in their back seat, gushing gratitude, I realized that I’d accepted a ride with two perfect strangers! We played home-town geography, and they were the ex-in-laws of a co-worker. This made it okay. (?) Which seems really random.

Whether someone invents a table bowl where we risk losing our contacts or not, aren’t we at just at great of risk of losing our contacts in person, when we don’t personally interact? Like driving, we should just hang up. The table is a crucial place to start. Let’s teach our children how to talk again. Imagine if nobody had talked in the bar Cheers.  Nobody’d know your name. The bartender would be so bored. “Talk to us. With us. At us”.

 

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A Check….Seriously?

/Wtad.com/whitepages/9.14.17

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Bobbe White

It’s Thursday, September 14, 2017 and in today’s news, the Hurricane cleanup begins in Florida and continues in Houston. Kim Jong Un is still running loose with bad hair and fires in the west are clearing their own path of destruction. How do you stomach all of these disasters, when you look around your own sky and it’s blue and clear and perfect? Oh, nothing’s perfect, we know that, you silly goose. That would be like knocking on Mother Fate’s door.

I speak too soon as we Midwesterners don’t have it exactly perfect, even though our weather has been, in comparison to the south and the west. We, too, are being held captive by our computers to freeze our credit. Equifax, have you had a rough week? What I’d like to know is, who hasn’t been affected by this breach? Not many, I’d bet. If it’s not this, it’ll be another Target deal, WalMarket or God forbid, Hobby Lobby. If you shop with credit or debit, you’re in the game and sadly, this is our new normal.

The alternative? We return to cash or checks, but can you fathom the long lines at the grocery store? STORE RAGE! It’s bad enough that yesterday I forgot my wallet and had to painfully take time to write a check out for milk, cereal, dog food and chicken drummies – not all for the same meal, of course. I heard everyone in line rolling their eyes out loud at me. One dude said, loud enough for me to hear, “A check? Seriously?” I went fifty shades of red, because I’ve been that person in line, waiting behind a sweet, little, old lady as she digs her checkbook out, asks for a pen, writes most of the check and then asks the cashier, “How much was it again?” Then she screws up the amount, voids it and starts over. That was Yours Truly yesterday. No pen, just a check. I could feel the cart nudge me from behind, as if to say, “Geez you old bag, hurry up!” The icing on the impatient customers’ cake was when I asked for a cart to roll out my bags, since I’d overachieved with a hand basket. (I’ll probably go to hell in a hand basket if I ever do this maneuver again.) When our daughter worked at the grocery, she said they hated it when people like me shoved three weeks of food into a little red plastic basket.

After this, I’ll try to have patience with check writers in front of me. You don’t know what they’re going through in their life. They may have lost their debit card or had it stolen or breached.  Maybe they were on the Equifax list. You don’t know. (Remember when breach was only used in terms of our levees on the river system, or when a baby couldn’t be delivered that way?)  Let’s all cool our jets. If you’re in that big of a hurry, just send your grocery list in on-line, have it delivered and avoid the store all together. But don’t whine when you get pickles instead of shampoo. Your grocery list may have just been hacked! bw

Big Lesson from Big Magic

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Every once in a while, a book captures our soul and we just cannot get enough out of it. Elizabeth Gilbert, the “Eat, Pray, Love” lady, does that for me. She wrote another book, called “Big Magic”. It’s one of those books that I can read or listen to multiple times (Is a third time too many?) I have a hardback, that’s underlined from chapter one to the end. I have an audio copy on my phone. It speaks to living a creative life. Creative is a term she uses loosely. Creative doesn’t always have to mean the arts, as in painting, acting, sculpting or writing. But it is that interest bank in our heads – and hearts- that gives us jazz. Two things keep jumping into my lap each time I open this book. First and foremost is that freaking fear factor, we have that keeps us from living a creative life. It holds us hostage, keeps us small and creates waves of disappointment in us when we succumb to it. The other part that speaks to me is the part that good ideas come our way like little bubbles full of thoughts and if they’re not meant to be snagged by us, then we make a decision – either instantly or after laboring over it – to adopt it or let it go. If we let an idea or opportunity go, then the bubble pops for us, but may float over to someone else whom the universe thought was just as capable. This happens to authors and speakers and designers of other mediums all the time. “Well, crap, look at that, will you? I had that same idea and they took it and ran with it and it’s a home run. Dammit.” There’s no way that other person stole your idea, but the universe must move on if the idea is to find a nest in which to flourish. Sometimes you get to (have to?) witness the growth of that idea. It teases and torments you because you were going to write that book, blog or speech. And then you get really mad at yourself because you had fear for an instant that helped you make the decision to let the bubble float into and out of your midst.

Gilbert talks about fear as a regular passenger when we travel through life. I’m going to explain it as a guest at the table. You address fear like a person, because it’s a lot like that little voice over your one shoulder, saying, “Oooooh, I don’t know about this idea. It’s pretty daunting. I don’t think you can do it very well. You better pass on it.” Fear will always has a seat at the table, but when you let Fear order, Fear may throw her menu on the table and order for you. What we need to do, in order to keep Fear quiet and under control is to never even give her the menu. Also, Fear gets a shorter chair than everyone else. “Fear, you’re always going to have a seat at this table, I get that, but you will not have a tall chair and you can chat during the discussion, but you will NOT raise your voice and you may motion the waiter over to take our order, but you will NOT, I repeat, will NOT ever order for me again. I do not like what you choose. Your demanding that I eat this or that is not welcome. Just sit there and be quiet and keep your negative little hands in your lap. I don’t need you to order for me and many times I will ask you to simply leave the table. Go sit somewhere else, Fear. You have no voice here anymore.
So there.

And that is how I can live a more creative life. Are you allowing fear to order at your “table”? bw.

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The Fourth Monkey

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(Pictured above: The Fourth Monkey in tree pose)

 

~wtad.com/whitepages/8.30.17~

Bobbe White

There’s been a primordial revolution happening in my head for several years and it only makes sense to share it with those of you who aren’t sitting in a conference room where I’m speaking. It’s not a big secret. Silly me just forgot to tell you about the fourth monkey a/k/a Stress No Evil. Unless you live under a rock you’ve hopefully heard of the other three proverbial monkeys: See No Evil, Hear No Evil and Speak No Evil. There are various meanings given to the three wise primates. In Buddhist tradition this means not dwelling on evil thoughts. In my mind, the Western world it can be interpreted as both a positive concept of association with good intentions (not listening to negativity, not talking trash or gossiping and not looking for trouble or looking at others critically.) Used in a negative light: feigning ignorance (I saw nothing, heard nothing or said nothing) i.e. looking the other way, otherwise known as a “Code of Silence.” Think: the Mafia, code of silence.

Some people would claim the fourth monkey isn’t Stress No Evil, but rather, Do No Evil. When depicted in a visual, Do No Evil can be seen with his arms crossed, covering his or her genitals or simply folded in the lap. But I’m going with Stress No Evil because if you DO less evil, you’ll have less stress, right?

The good news/bad news is: Stress No Evil is ageless, universal, cost-free, chemical free, sugar free, gluten free, germ free, electronic free, lactose free and  gender free. (Side Bar: It drives Jeff nuts when I speak only to the women. Sorry guys. I’m working on this.)

What’s the bad news? Stress No Evil mantra is “Have less stress.”  but to get there, you actually have to do some of the things I suggest below. Ready? Let’s go…

Silence: take 5 daily to turn off your noise. Phone, radio, mind chatter. Find the quiet.

Toxic people: avoid them. If you cannot avoid them, limit your time with them.

Rest: sleep/non-activity is underrated. We need sleep, more than we get. You know why.

Exercise: participate at your level, wherever that is. Just move. Every day. You know why.

Solo time: get comfortable with yourself and be your own good company occasionally.

Social: get with people doing mutually enjoyable activities. Solo Vs. social: blend them.

No. Saying “Yes” to everything is dumb. And don’t say yes when you mean no. Period.

Outdoors. Find the sky. It’s there day or night. Breathe air. Listen for crickets. Namaste.

Experiment. Try something new. It can open your mind and get you jazzed. Be brave.

Vulnerable. We are all perfectly imperfect. Ease up. Work on it, but mostly, accept it.

Ignite. Search and adopt that one activity that gets you in your zone. It’s individualized.

Levity. You knew this one was coming. Look for the humor, enjoy the laughter.

 

Pick one thing out of the above list this week and let me know how it goes. Will you?

 

Wtad.com/whitepages/8.24.17/Bobbe White/
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As if I was looking for another one. My 8/18.17 post was about being in an uncomfortable situation. And staying there.

Tuesday, BAM, there I am again. I’ve wanted to attend a drum circle, a/k/a drum therapy. I figured after talk and laughter therapy, how weird could drum therapy be?

Last year, I contacted circle leader, Michael, about attending. He was most welcoming. He was aware that the last time I hit anything resembling a drum was on my high chair tray with a spoon. Wait, that’s not true. I bang my head against the wall regularly.

Basically, instruments are not in my repertoire. Most things musical are foreign to me, other than I am a good audience member. Tracy agreed to join me, in spite of her headache. I prayed for a rainout. It rained, so drum circle was instantly redirected from Villa Katherine to Clat Adams’ shelter house. This group is flexible and unshakeable.

Picnic tables were moved to create a big circle, so we could sit on the benches. In the center of the room, for those who came empty handed, were all types of drums, tambourines, bongos and rattles and blocks or frogs you scrape ridges to create a “r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-t-click” sound, with a stick. It’s hard to describe, but when Don Henley and The Eagles play Hotel California, I become fixated as he shakes a rattle throughout the ballad.

Drum circle was called to order. Someone rimmed a bowl, creating a sound like your kids make at Christmas Dinner on crystal glasses, with their finger. Next, we got smudged, which is a Native American custom. “Smudging” is done by wafting sage smoke on anyone who gets in line. I looked at Tracy and we almost got hysterical. But that would’ve been immature. I’m thinking college in the 70’s, wondering how I’d drive home. It’s like getting wanded by TSA at the airport, but drum circlers are nicer. Its purpose is to cleanse or heal people or areas of bad mojo. I was all in. She wafted me with an eagle’s feather, first front, then back. She ended with a feather tap on each shoulder.

“Let’s begin,” he said. With little instruction, Michael, beat a rhythm, that he would continue. Once you heard the rhythm, you joined in to tap, beat, shake or scrape your drum piece. I might as well have been a fish flopping around on the concrete. But nobody really cared about the sound I made. How would I know when to stop? I felt apprehensive. I told myself to try and enjoy the experience or what’s the purpose of coming? Michael tied up the piece like a gift with a bow and we all knew how to stop on a dime. We exchanged instruments between pieces. I took the frog and stick that Alta had returned to the collection. It had a cool, bamboo-ish sound. After that piece, Alta complimented me, “You play a great frog!” ELATION! Here I was in awe of Tracy on my left; Alta on the right. Both acted liked they’d drummed their entire lives. But I’m rockin’ the frog. So there. I went to get my fourth drum and sat down. “Bobbe, put it back.” Huh? “We’re done!” NOOOO. “It’s over!” Doesn’t that figure? About the time I get comfortable, it’s over. I’ll just have to go back sometime, now that I know the routine. Drum Circle. Check it out. It heals what ails you. Even Tracy’s headache had gone away. Boom-cha-ka-la-ka.

Never Mind, Normal

wtad.com/whitepages/8.18.18

Bobbe White

A woman walks into a bar…

I’m writing this post in a wine bar. I’m talking about what it’s like to be a party of one, by default. My fault. Marianne and I were FINALLY going to celebrate our month of purging stuff from our homes last January. You may remember, pitch one thing on the first, two on the second and so on. It has taken us eight months to coordinate this meeting. Sometimes, it just does.

I text her, “Delayed? I’ve got a table!” She is surprised, “Oh, no! I’m at my manicure appointment.” Quickly, I search for the text of our plan. Oops. Right place, wrong day. We agree to meet Friday, as actually planned.

Do I stay? Do I leave? It’s weird being in a bar alone, where everyone knows your name. But I’ve already ordered and it would be rude to leave. I suck it up and try to relax. I decide to treat this as an experiment. Nobody is really worried about me, even though I feel like I have a sign on my forehead, “STOOD UP!” Everyone seems to be enjoying their parties of two, four or eight. There’s one woman by herself at the end of the bar. She’s applying for work.

Not me. I’m working on myself. Enjoying my own quiet, even with the din of the chatter. There’s good music in the background. It’s actually not horrible. I’m feeling calm. Confident. Relaxed. I decide to write about this alone activity. I understand the difference between alone and lonely. This is not lonely. It is a little different, however, I’ll grant you that. But, I know I’m different and I’m okay with it. It’s kind of like dating yourself. Sometimes we need to do more of that, to find out how we really are doing. I’ve been told I’m quirky, not normal. Big deal. This works for me sometimes. I’ll be back Friday. Right place, right day. Being all normal and stuff. Today, I kind of liked reaching beyond my comfort level. Never mind, Normal. You’re okay too.

wtad.com/whitepages/8.10.17/Bobbe White/

Alphabetiquette (n.) al-fuh-BET-i-ket) simple manners for couth after youth.

By surprisingly popular request, this is a continued list from my 1.27.17 post, where A -D were introduced. These are common sense manners we see broken every day, everywhere. I post these, not because I am Ms. Manners, but because certain actions bug people. Our culture has become more relaxed, which can be refreshing in some cases, but not all. Manners are increasingly not being taught in the home, so is it left to the rest of us? As always, email me the stuff that bugs you and our Alphabetiquette team will work it into the list. Since 1.27.17, one more “D” word was added. Here you go…

Digitaliquette (dij-i-tul-i-ket) The art of knowing when a food item is to be eaten with your fingers or a fork.

Earbudiquette(eer-bud-i-ket) (1) Checking yourself from singing with your iTunes, when wearing earbuds. Buds do not instantly morph you into Celine or Justin. (2) To remove at least one of the two earbuds, when someone obviously wants your attention. (3)The reverse of this, is having the restraint from wanting to chat up a person wearing earbuds, especially when they’re hoisting an 800lb. bench press.

Entertetiquette(en-tur-et-i-ket) (1)Holding doors open for others when entering a building or room, instead of letting it slam in front of them. (2) Exhibiting patience when merging onto a freeway.

Exitetiquette(egg-zit-et-i-ket) (1)Holding a door open for someone, instead of letting it slam behind you when leaving a building or room. (2)   To thank the host(ess) before leaving a party (3)Having the wherewithal, when leaving the freeway, or turning a corner, to turn on your car winker.

Expressiquette(egg-spres-i-ket) (1) To get an honest, actual count, up to 10 items in your shopping cart, to determine if you belong in the Express Lane. (2) To use discretion while nursing your baby in public.

Electiquette(e-lek-ti-ket) Stifling the need to talk about politics or politicians, unless you have something nice to say, which very few do.

Eyeballology(I-bol-ol-o-jee) (1)The study of focusing on the person with whom you’re conversing, rather than reading your phone, printed materials, TV, or Netflix. (2) Understanding that when you are engaged in conversation with person “A”, it’s rude to scan the room for persons “B” through “Z”. This can be particularly difficult for persons who are taller than I am, which is about everyone.

Flanelletiquette(flan-el-et-i-ket) Having the ability to avoid wearing p.j.s in public. (Also see slipperetiquette).

Follicletiquette(fol-li-kul-let-i-ket) (1) To wash and groom your hair on a regular basis.(2) To refrain from examining and extricating your split ends or chin hairs in public. (3)To wash away eloped hair in the sink, tub or shower.

Funeraliquette (fyu-ni-rol-i-ket)  This post isn’t long enough for this topic. We recommend Googling “do’s and don’ts at funerals” articles. A few basics are addressed here: (1) snacks and candy at the wake, visitation or service are usually for the family. Keep your mitts off, unless invited to partake. (2) Do not snap your chewing gum. It’s annoying. (3) If you are an “Ex”, ask the family permission to attend. The last thing needed are family feuds, resembling Congress trying to get along. (4) Silence phones, stop texting, reading or posting to Facebook – or any SMS while in attendance. (5) Absolutely no selfies, even if you run into an old acquaintance at the service. (6) No butting in line.  (7) Don’t come late; don’t leave early. (8) Dress respectfully. (see flanneletiquette). (9) Use your inside voice or softer. (10) Contain your giggles, which will turn into chortles and snortles, because you know you shouldn’t. Avoid sitting by these people who ignite this type of behavior in you. You know who they are. Is it you? Confession right here: when nervous, something happens to my brain and just about anything can tickle me. (11) Pull your vehicle over to the side in respect of a passing procession. (12) No honking or waving. This is a funeral procession, not a parade. (13) Under any condition or fleeting temptation, do not, I repeat, DO NOT practice pick-up lines on pretty girls or dudes, whom you find rather hottish. Tacky, tacky, tacky.

That’s it for now. “M.O.M” (mind our manners), because when we don’t, our mothers are perched by our ears saying, “Don’t you do that!”  Send me your own.