Moments with Dogs

Most of our Op Shop volunteers make a big fuss when customers bring babies into the shop. I guess I am not very maternal. I prefer dogs.

A few customers bring dogs and tie them up outside the shop while they browse. Sometimes we’re asked for a bowl of water for them which we are happy to supply. If it is not too warm, other customers leave their dogs in their cars with the windows open. I don’t really like this but those people don’t usually stay long. Very occasionally a customer might bring their dog inside and carry it around with them.

This week I met two dogs at the shop. One was a twelve-year-old German Shepherd whose owner had come in to find a couple of old blankets for her. Twelve is a good age for a German Shepherd so when she commented on how much her dog loved soft toys I found one for her to give it. The lady let her dog out of the car to stretch her legs and say hello to me, it was near the end of the day and I was taking things back inside the shop. She seemed to love the toy and carried it around in her mouth. I don’t know if this dog understood that the toy came from me but she came up and gave me a lick. I know a lot of people are frightened of German Shepherds but the ones I have met have all been lovely dogs.

Owczarek cezar
An elderly German Shepherd similar to the one I saw. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Owczarek_cezar.jpg

My second dog moment left me feeling quite angry. Some people had come in and were browsing while their dog, which was tied up outside near the water container, was barking and crying. The people were in the shop for a long time and it sounded to me as if the dog was getting quite distressed. One of the owners went out to check on it once but when he came back inside the dog started crying again.

I guess I am sensitive to this because Cindy gets anxious when I am away from her. I went outside to have a look at the dog and discovered it was a puppy, not a tiny puppy but only a few months old. It was at that clumsy big-footed stage. I let it sniff my hand and talked to it for a bit before thinking I had better get back to work. The owners were still shopping, they did not seem to be in much of a hurry. I went out again, my feet were hurting and I needed a rest so I thought I’d sit on the bench outside and keep the pup company for a few minutes. He cried and tried to come to me but the leash was not long enough to allow that so I went and stood beside him and patted him and told him it would be OK.

I was still out there talking to the pup when the owners came back. I was really annoyed with them by now and I said that the pup was too young to understand them being gone for so long. They said “He’s got to learn.” and “It’s better to ignore him when he cries.” I thought “Yes, but not for that long.” they must have been gone at least half an hour. So I said “I bet you wouldn’t leave a baby crying for that long.” and the woman said that she probably would.

I went back inside because there was no point in saying anything else to them but I was angry about it for the rest of the day.

The Three AM Rant: Flour Sifters and Fitted Sheets

You know you are getting old when things that you took for granted as part of your daily life start being ignored or forgotten. It is a bit like going into a museum and seeing things you have and use at home being displayed as curiosities.

Flour Sifters

One of the Facebook sites that come up in my feed sometimes has photos of everyday items and asks readers to share if they know what it is? Often I wonder why they are even asking.

Take flour sifters. I use a flour sifter, my mum used one, my grandma used a sieve which is more or less the same thing but not as convenient.

At the Op Shop, I was told that “people don’t use them now.” Funny because whenever we have one for sale it goes pretty quickly. I’m puzzled though about why people don’t use them. Everyone is so into cooking these days. I mean people want to make elaborate and fancy looking meals like the ones they see on Master Chef but they don’t take the time to sift flour? That doesn’t make sense. If I bake, I sift.

My old flour sifter is still in use.

In fact, it seems that flour sifters are still being made and sold. I even found a comparison of the best ones on the market. So I don’t know who decided that they were old hat.

http://www.foodsharkmarfa.com/best-flour-sifters/

https://www.thekitchn.com/is-sifting-flour-for-baked-goods-really-necessary-213894

Fitted sheets

A lot of people who come to our Op Shop looking for bed linen tell me that they don’t want flat sheets, only the fitted ones. It seems that a lot of people don’t use a top sheet anymore just the doona. You can even buy sheet sets that are just a fitted sheet and doona cover.

Well personally I don’t care for the idea but even if I did, that’s no reason to consign flat sheets to the rubbish bin.

Fitted sheets are great, don’t get me wrong. I use them myself but with a flat sheet as a top cover. I like to be tucked in.

When you buy a fitted sheet you have to make sure you have the right wall size. If you have one of those pillow top mattresses a 30cm sidewall won’t stretch over it. I’ve had 40cm ones that I struggled to fit on our king-sized bed. There were a couple of pairs of sheets we had that I could stretch over the bed by being patient but David could never do it and would just throw them on the floor and use some mismatched sheet. I like things to match so that always irritated me. I used to put those sheets at the bottom of the stack of linen in the cupboard if I was going away so that he would not need to use them. Not only that, fitted sheets are a pain in the neck to fold up neatly. I’ve read numerous tips on how to do it and I can do it but spending ten minutes folding a sheet does not rate highly on my enjoyment of life scale.

It’s hard to fold fitted sheets neatly.

You can actually use flat sheets as bottom sheets. You just have to tuck them in. I had to remind a younger friend of this not long ago when she didn’t have spare fitted sheets. What do you suppose people did before fitted sheets were invented? By the way, they were invented in 1959 but I don’t recall seeing one before the 1970s.

If you buy a sheet set with a flat sheet included and you are one of those doonas only people you have actually bought two changes of bed linen. Had you thought of that?

Did people actually forget you can do that or doesn’t anyone know how to make a hospital corner?

Here are some comments about the debate.

https://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/bedding-debate-top-sheet

https://www.inverse.com/article/42949-top-sheets-millennials-bedding-duvet-cover.

Time to wash the sheets.

I personally would rather wash a top sheet every week than struggle replacing a doona cover. I do wash that too of course but less often than the top sheet. The Millenial argument seems to be that washing top sheets makes extra work. They should have been around when grandma had to wash everything in the copper and have it hung on the line to dry before breakfast.

Have to go, it’s time to hang my sheets and doona cover on the line.

The doona cover on the line.

 

 

Look At Me: When Selfie’s Kill

This evening I was watching the news, an unusual event for me, and there was a story about people who have been killed taking selfies at beauty spots. It seems to be becoming a serious problem as more and more travellers seek the perfect photo for their social media feed.

Taking photos at Gardens on the Bay.

I have written about this before. I have complained about the bad manners of these people who are so self-absorbed that they don’t care if they get in the way of other people and spoil their view. I understand people wanting to get a photo to share with family and friends but it has gone way past that. Now people want extreme photos and they are taking unacceptable risks to get them. There have been more than 200 deaths involving people taking selfies between 2014-2018. I don’t see that number going down.

They climb guard rails and teeter on the edge of cliffs just for the sake of a stupid photo which may end up being the last one ever taken of them. Don’t they understand that barriers are there for a reason?

It seems that these days the photo opportunity is more important than the actual experience of being in a special place. Do these people really appreciate what they are seeing? Do they even look?

Selfies on the sampan

I recall years ago visiting Uluru (Ayers Rock) in central Australia. At sunrise and sunset, the rock appears to change colour so people would all go to photograph it. Now I imagine that the line of photographers probably all stand with their backs to the beautiful sight so they can photograph themselves “watching” the event. Most of them probably miss it but at least they have a nice photo to Instagram.

Uluru taken on holiday around the early-mid 1980s. I have cleaned the picture up a bit as there were a few dust spots but the colours are what I saw.

Another disturbing trend involving social media is the increasing number of people performing stunts for social media channels who are killed or injured when they go wrong.

Does using a smartphone make people stupid?

 

Related Items:

https://www.timesnownews.com/international/article/indian-student-dies-falls-off-cliff-ireland-selfies-cliffs-of-moher-county-clare-doolin-ireland-selfie-death-news-cliffs-of-moher-deaths-images/342478

https://www.timesnownews.com/mirror-now/society/article/selfie-death-student-slips-into-waterfall-in-odisha/339626

https://www.fastcompany.com/90287323/people-are-falling-off-buildings-in-search-of-the-perfect-instagram-shot

https://www.afr.com/lifestyle/the-social-media-stunts-that-went-fatally-wrong-20181205-h18qy7

Ebenezer Scrooge is Alive and Well

No, I’m not talking about people who are mean with money. I’m talking about the “Bah, Humbug” attitude that seems to be so common these days.

Naomi and I have both noticed this in our daily lives, more and more people complaining about Christmas.

Now don’t get me wrong. I know that it is a difficult time for many people, they might not be religious (we aren’t either), they might be alone, ill or have no money. There are plenty of reasons to dread the time of year when it seems like everyone else is happy but you.

Christmas has become very commercial, I get fed up with the constant advertising too and with the ridiculous amounts of money that people are encouraged to spend on gifts. It also annoys me that the shops start their Christmas advertising almost before Halloween is over. I think that maybe this is part of the problem. It’s not special if it goes on for too long.

I think that people put a lot of pressure on themselves at Christmas because they feel they have to spend a lot on gifts and entertaining and that they have to rush about visiting or have all their relatives to lunch. Perhaps they need to sit down and talk with their families about what parts of Christmas they really enjoy and just do those or spread them throughout the holiday season.

What Naomi and I find upsetting though is that so many people feel that they have to continuously moan about it. It gets quite depressing to listen to people saying “I’m over Christmas.” or “Christmas is just for the children.” and “I’ll be glad when this is over.” or similar negative statements.  We both look forward to this time of year but every year it gets harder to get into the festive spirit with so many Christmas Grinches around.  It seems to have spread even to people who don’t actually have to do any cooking, cleaning or entertaining themselves.

The other day I read an article written by another Christmas hater. I don’t remember everything it said but it basically mocked all the things I love about Christmas right down to questioning why anyone would want to eat a mince pie. I’ve stopped reading negative articles about Christmas now and I avoid bringing the subject up with people I know who don’t enjoy it. I don’t want to force others to be jolly I would just like them to consider our feelings too and stop spreading gloom all over the place.

In  Dickens “A Christmas Carol ” Scrooge berates his nephew for celebrating Christmas and Fred makes the following reply.

“There are many things from which I might have derived good by which I have not profited, I dare say,” returned the nephew, “Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas-time, when it has come round-apart from… the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that-as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!”

– Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol.  Speech by Scrooge’s nephew, Fred.

We respect people’s right not to celebrate but we wish they would not spoil it for those of us that do.

So now that I’ve had my little rant I’d like to share a couple of YouTube clips I’ve seen this week, both made in New Zealand. God bless the Kiwis for giving me something to smile about.

 

Ragtag Daily Prompt: RDP#2 Insight

No Insight at Mattel

In her reply to this prompt Tracy at “Reflections of an Untidy Mind” quoted this unnamed CEO.

“Casual observation and simply having knowledge is not enough. Insight definition takes work; it’s a skill that requires creativity, persistence and deep thinking to craft. The most powerful insights come from rigor and serious analysis to translate large amounts of data into concise and compelling findings. Organizations who want to use insights as the platform for organic growth require a process that is both scalable and repeatable so that it can become routinized within the organization with predictable long-term results. Use written insight statements guided by five key principles to turn research data into actionable insight to inspire new ideas for product and service development.”

This starts off well but descends into unreadable claptrap halfway in my opinion. However, I do agree that businesses would do better if they had a real insight into their customer’s needs and in some cases who their customers are. I won’t turn this into a rant about WordPress because we’ve all been there already.

I am a doll collector and one of my interests is Barbie dolls. I started collecting modern Barbies about 20 years ago and it was fun because I could buy some very pretty modern dolls and clothing in places like Target and Toys’R’Us without having to spend a lot.

Fast forward to today and there is very little I want to buy any more. Mattel and other toy manufacturers say that children are more interested in electronic toys  and they now market Barbie to a much younger age group 3-7 year olds. Consequently they make much simpler dolls with non-removable plastic clothing and lots of gadgets,they are many fairies, princesses and mermaids although lately they are diversifying the playline more. There are not so many outfits you can buy for Barbie and the quality is poor.

Mattel also recognises that there are adult collectors and for that market they sell expensive, better quality dolls in elaborate costumes which are only meant to be put on display and never removed from their boxes.

What they do not have the insight to realise is that there is a large group of adult collectors like me who want good quality dolls and fashions because we customise, redress and photograph dolls. Adult collectors make dioramas and write stories. We don’t want to buy cheap rubbish but we don’t want to buy two hundred dollar dolls that we are going to take out of the box and play with.

I have my doubts that Mattel or for that matter any of the other toy companies will ever realise this but if any of them do they can have my money.

My African American Barbies pose for a group shot.

The 3 am Rant: The Look At Me Generation

I’ve never been a big fan of having my photo taken, even on holidays it is rare for me to be photographed unless I am with friends who want a picture. I don’t feel that the world is missing out because there are few photos of me especially now that I’m way past my best. However, it seems that I’m in the minority as the whole world seems intent on immortalising themselves on social media.

Now it seems to me that many people have become so obsessed with selfies that they travel the world photographing themselves without actually noticing the scenery. In Singapore  we went for a ride on a sampan in the shopping centre at Marina Bay Sands. Two young girls with a small child sat in front of us and honestly I think they wasted their money on the ride as they spent the entire trip taking photos of each other and the child. Not once did they look at where they were going.

Selfies on the sampan

Everywhere we went we encountered tourists being photographed or taking selfies in front of tourist attractions. Well of course at a popular attraction whether it be Gardens on the Bay in Singapore or the Sydney Opera House you are going to have to deal with crowds and it’s almost impossible to get a photo without some people in it. Even forty years ago when I first visited Sydney there were tourists who would ask us if we’d take a photo of them with their cameras. I don’t really mind that so much.  It’s a nice  holiday memory. Now people don’t just do a quick pose in front of the attraction though. They have to strike a pose, jump in the air, wave their arms around or pose like they are in that famous scene from “Titanic”.  And it’s not just one photo, they have to have dozens. Then there are the ones with the selfie sticks who march around getting into everyone elses’ picture without so much as an “I beg your pardon.”

Taking photos at Garden’s on the Bay.

I”ve noticed that people who actually enjoy photography are a bit more polite, they take their pictures and then move on so someone else can have a go but the selfie brigade notice nothing but their own faces. It does  make me mad that so many of these people are bad mannered and inconsiderate of others but it also makes me think that so many of them are missing the point of travel by focussing so much on themselves and not what’s going on around them.

 

The Three A.M Rant: The Selfish Generation

via Daily Prompt: Age

Today I read an article saying that many older people were in danger of outliving their savings because they chose an extravagant lifestyle buying luxury cars or going on cruises.

Celebrity Solstice_1024x768
Waiting to cruise

Apparently seniors should be saving that money to take care of end of life health issues and of course there should be money left over to leave to their children.

“There’s an element of spending the inheritance — kids in their 40s often might be doing it pretty tough with mortgages and school fees, when parents are living it up,”

states the article.

http://www.themercury.com.au/lifestyle/parenting/wealth-risks-amid-the-rise-of-big-spenders-aged-in-their-70s/news-story/6ae59a64cc823eee166c5885ba183922

This annoyed me quite a lot. Well, it made me hopping mad actually. I don’t have children myself but if I did of course I’d want to leave them something for themselves as well as enough to take care of funeral expenses. However, I would very much resent the idea that I was selfishly spending their inheritance every time I wanted to do something fun.

Of course it is silly to live beyond your income no matter what your age is but if retirees have a bit of money put by why shouldn’t they enjoy it? They had mortgages and school fees to pay once and probably went without holidays and other things they wanted for the sake of their families. There might be just a few years before health issues mean that they can no longer travel so whiny adult children complaining about mum and dad wasting their money on frivolities don’t sit well with me I’m afraid.

I think this annoyed me all the more because some time ago I read another piece about how older people in Australian cities should move out of their houses into smaller accomodation so that they could be demolished to make room for more townhouses and apartments. Apparently wanting to stay in the family home is also selfish. So called experts tell us we should “de clutter” our lives which really means “Get rid of all your old stuff because it’s a waste of space.” It doesn’t matter whether it means anything to you or not. “You can take a picture of it.”

Gray Tce., Rosewater.jpg

The elderly seem can’t take a trick these days. We are expected to work longer but jobs are harder to get. Pensions are barely enough and now even those who have managed to save enough for a comfortable retirement are being accused of selfishness. The only ones who don’t have to worry are elderly politicians. If they are voted out of office they will get some nice cushy job offered to them or they can retire with a nice big pension and lots of perks.

Do I sound like a grumpy old lady? Is it any wonder?