Ham and Lox and a Dollop of Doubt

A beautiful platter stared up at me from the breakfast buffet. The caterer had prepared elegant little sandwiches. Half the sandwiches on the platter were ham and cheese on tiny biscuits and the other half were lox and cream cheese on tiny bagels.

Staring at that site of peaceful coexistence, a thought struck me. We all need to promote Doubt.

Let me explain. The luscious looking ham and cheese sandwiches are something religious Jews and Muslims would not eat. Ham is not Kosher or Halal.  But this is a sandwich often consumed by Christians (and plenty of other people). Now anyone who has not grown up with lox (a traditional Jewish food) might well look warily at this preparation of raw fish, surely not as elegant as sushi. Yet despite prohibitions and prejudices, these sandwiches looked just lovely sharing one big platter.

So naturally I thought: Why can’t we humans share the same platter peacefully….the platter we know as Earth?

And then I thought of the political debates, and the talk show guests, and the amount of useless but incendiary hot air that is spewed out regularly these days, and I thought: Can’t we all just be ham and cheese and bagels and lox sitting peacefully together?

Of course I would add in some great kebabs and tagine, and baklava, kunafeh, or halva for dessert. And more platters would be welcome on the table if other religions and cultures wanted to join in. Heck, everyone needs a bite of pad thai regularly. And we’d all be healthier if we ate vegan meals sometimes. But these days, I want to insist that we all eat some poblanos, tacos, and enchiladas. Ha! Fight back against prejudice with hot sauce!

So back to the thought I had when I was staring at the ham and cheese and bagels and lox: Doubt.

It seems to me that doubt is the key. Why is everyone so darned sure that they are right? Can’t they find just a dollop of doubt somewhere in their minds? Isn’t it possible that someone of an opposing view might have at least partially a half-way decent point?

If everyone had just a dollop of doubt as they voiced their opinions, guess what? Compromise might be possible!

And on a much more terrifying level than our childish politicians’ antics, anyone who starts wars and murders innocent people because “god” is on their side, might think twice if they allowed just the slightest bit of doubt to shadow their fanaticism. 

I don’t pray often enough, I am sure. But today I pray that some tiny sliver of doubt invades the minds of those who are absolutely certain of their cause.

And suddenly I am very hungry for both ham and cheese and bagel and lox. I’ll have them both.

©2015 Margery Leveen Sher

The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing…..Change Your Life Without Changing Your Routine is now available on Amazon, Nook, and iTunesRead the reviews and purchase here.http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZTM73U

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk filled with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

Notice What You See and Be a Hero at Work

Love the Laggard

Right up front here I want to state that I am a Laggard.

I feel disdain coming at me from all sides and I want to tell the world, right here and now, that I want to be loved.

The dictionary defines a laggard as “a person who does not move as quickly as others”. Well, I’m not a marathon runner, but neither do I spend my time sauntering.  There must be another definition somewhere.

Aha! So here it is.

You may know about the theory of how new stuff spreads through a culture. It is called Diffusion of Innovations. You know about the bell curve, right? Most people or things in the middle, some off to the left, some off to the right. I could pretend that I am way off to the right end (the high end, the good end) of the bell curve when it comes to being intelligent, or charming, or graceful. (I did say pretend.) Well it seems there is a bell curve in this theory as well, and I am definitely at the far end of this “diffusion”. I am a Laggard!

The categories of adopters of new ideas and technologies are innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards.

I am a Laggard! It is true. I am very happy being the last to buy anything and will often do it only when there is no other choice. When did you get a flat screen TV? I got my first last year! And it’s not too big either. And I still have an analog TV hidden in a kitchen cabinet which I watch perfectly happily if I can get the rabbit ears to be in the right place. Case closed! This woman is a Laggard! Take her away!

But here’s the thing. Why do I have to always have the latest thing if what I have works perfectly well? I have plenty of things I want to do and have to do, so why should I spend time learning how to use a new technology when what I am doing now works? I don’t care how “cool” some new phone looks.

And by the way, if you read The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing, you will see that I have a whole section on Totally DeTestable Technology ™. Yes, I have trademarked that name. Do you know how to flush a toilet? I bet you do. So why do we need “self-flushing” toilets that don’t flush when you want them to, but often scare the bejesus out of you by flushing at inappropriate times? That’s just one example of Totally DeTestable Technology and one example of why Laggards are not always wrong.

How about valuing simplicity? To me technology is a means to an end, not an end to an end. I don’t want the latest and greatest. I just want to get the darn job done.

I don’t even own an electric can-opener. Why should I? A handheld works just fine and washes easily. Ice cubes from a refrigerator? Don’t even get me started on how one leaked on me years ago and we had to replace a floor and a ceiling. Hooray for ice cube trays. Automatic hot water from the sink to make tea quickly? I love to hear the roar of a good boil on the stove.

Am I hopeless? I guess I am. But I am happy hopeless and still want to be loved. Please don’t call me a Laggard. That is nasty. Call me, perhaps, simplistic.

No…. I did not say call me “a simpleton.” Harumph!

©2015 Margery Leveen Sher

The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing…..Change Your Life Without Changing Your Routine is now available on Amazon, Nook, and iTunesRead the reviews and purchase here. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZTM73U

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk filled with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

Notice What You See and Be a Hero at Work

 

 

 

 

Trains, Planes, and Automobiles (with apologies to John Hughes, Steve Martin and John Candy)

In my view, trains win, hands-down. I love trains! Trains are romantic. Think Orient Express. OMG - think Casablanca!!

On a train trip, the time from here to there is still lengthy, but it passes pleasantly. I like to stare out the window. First I try for the umpteenth time to figure out the optical illusion. You know - stuff closer to the train looks like it is moving in one direction and stuff further back looks like it’s moving in the opposite direction. If you can explain this visual perception to me so that I can make sense of it, I will buy you an ice cream cone.

But then, I settle into what I call my train reverie. We click-clack and chug-chug through farmland and small cities and suburbs and towns. Who lives there? What kind of work do they do? What are their families like? What are their struggles; what are their joys? How do they spend their days? It seems rude to just speed through, not stopping to see how everyone is doing.

Trains make me wonder. Is there someone in that town who I would enjoy being friends with? What could I learn from the farmer? What is the story of the person who owns that small shop?

As I stare out the train window, I always feel wistful. I am a stranger passing through, missing the richness of whatever is happening in all these places. But the wistful feeling is not altogether unpleasant….the journey on the train at least shows me that these places exist, as I head to my own destination.

And although the ride is long, the train will get me there relaxed since it is the one doing the hard work. I think of my favorite children’s book: The Little Engine That Could. You know – “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can……I knew I could!!” What a great mantra for life.

A plane is different though. A plane is not wistful. A plane is efficient. I just flew from Washington DC to Boston. I can’t get over that the time in the air is just one hour. I think of all the 8 hour car trips I have taken over the same terrain. Really, it is amazing that humans have figured out how to whip around the world so quickly. I am never relaxed on a plane though.  Relinquishing total control over my life is difficult for a control freak like me.

Automobiles. Hmmmm. Does anyone out there like the way your spouse or partner drives? You do?! You are in a miniscule minority, I am afraid. Anyway, I love my car and think of it as my second home. But long car rides on turnpikes are tiring and tiresome…..unless of course, you Notice! Still, I prefer Noticing and imagining on trains. And of course, there are so many @#$%^& idiots on the road. You have to be on high alert at all times. Now that is not a very kind thought is it? And how can I reconcile not liking planes because I have to give up control with not liking driving because I have to be in such tight control? It’s just hard to please some people I guess….

But give me a window seat on a train anytime, and let me be wistful. Is that Humphrey Bogart standing on the station platform?!

©2015 Margery Leveen Sher

The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing…..Change Your Life Without Changing Your Routine is now available on Amazon, Nook, and iTunesRead the reviews and purchase here. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZTM73U 

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk filled with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

Notice What You See and Be a Hero at Work

 

 

A Little of This; A Little of That

Today I was lucky. I got to take a couple of lovely walks on a perfect fall day. (Yes, I live in a climate with four seasons.)

I started to think the weather was quintessential in-between. In between summer and winter. But then I realized it wasn’t in-between at all.

In the sun, it was as warm as a summer day. But in the shade, it was quite chilly. So it wasn’t in-between. It was a little of this; a little of that. A little of June and a little of November.

Nothing to average out. Just some this and some that. Sort of like a day in the desert. Hot as Hades in the day. Cold as a meat locker at night. Not averaged out. So fall is more a little this and a little that than it is an average of summer and winter, isn’t it?

I began to think that the best things in life are not an average either. I really like a little of this and a little of that.

I like to go to the opera at least once a year. I also like to dance (when nobody is around) to Maroon5. A little of this and a little of that.

When I read, I prefer to read the classics. But I never end the day without reading the comics in the newspaper. A little of this; a little of that.

I love to host dinner parties. I can’t decide if my favorite dinners are the ones where I have prepared elegant courses and served on fine china, or when I have thrown a blanket on the floor and ordered pizza, and we have a pizza picnic.

I am sure you too have preferences for a little of this; a little of that. It makes life so interesting to Notice what makes you happy in such disparate ways.

You may know that the The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing is divided into three sections. The first one is Amazing Things to Notice and the second one is Annoying Things to Notice. A little of this; a little of that.

So I wish you many happy fall Noticings! Or should I say, happy June-November Noticings!

©2015 Margery Leveen Sher

The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing…..Change Your Life Without Changing Your Routine is now available on Amazon, Nook, and iTunesRead the reviews and purchase here. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZTM73U 

 

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk filled with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

Notice What You See and Be a Hero at Work

 

 

 

Thank God for Epsom Salts

I recently saw a page in the New York Times that made me realize that gender equality still has incredibly far to go.

No, this wasn’t an article about the pay gap or glass ceiling or, simply, housework. This wasn’t an article at all. It was two ads on the same page.

You can see that the top ad is for a pair of very high heels.

You can see that at the bottom of the page is an ad with the recognition that men want to look good, but not at the expense of health and comfort.

When I saw those two juxtaposed ads, I thought, “This is so obviously the problem.”

Yes. Yes, I know. A very first-world problem to be sure – no one living in poverty is worried about balancing on 3 or 4 inch heels - but still, a problem. Dare I say a nefarious conspiracy?

Who decided that women are sexier in high heels – 4”, 5”, even 6”!? In my rigorous research on the subject, I saw many references to the idea that high heels lift butts, elongate calves, take 5 lbs off your weight.

And why don’t we think the butts, calves, and weight we have will do just fine, thank you, with flats? Men are not worried about lifting their butts.  The men’s ad says “because you deserve to look good and feel good.”

Well, how about the female gender! Don’t we deserve to look good AND feel good, too?! Ladies, why do we slavishly follow style and then end up in a bucket of Epsom salts soaking sprained ankles or worse?

Let us pledge to make comfortable shoes the most prestigious things you can wear. Let us convince the world that lower butts and shorter calves are sexy! Let us (wo)man the barricades and fight! Convince movie stars to wear walking shoes under their red carpet gowns! Let us go forth and conquer the fashion industry!!

Editor’s Note: Your author is a horrendous hypocrite. Yes. This is your Chief Noticing Officer, caught on camera! Shame! Shame!

 

©2015 Margery Leveen Sher

 

 

The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing…..Change Your Life Without Changing Your Routine is now available on Amazon, Nook, and iTunesRead the reviews and purchase here. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZTM73U 

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk filled with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

Notice What You See and Be a Hero at Work

 

The Crankypuss

I am a great, big crankypuss at night.

This is because I am a morning person. I love to get up early and bound out of bed, ready to greet the day.  (Listen, 50% of you who are night owls, I feel the daggers in your eyes. You wouldn’t be hatin’ on those who are different from you now, would you be?)

But as summer draws to a close (boo, hiss, moan) and fall falls upon us, knocking us out of our flip-flops, I have been thinking.

Maybe bounding out of bed as soon as I open my eyes is not the best way to start the day. Maybe before I do anything else, I should Notice.  I am thinking I will just lie there for an extra minute or two. Take inventory. Listen to my breathing.  Gently stretch each muscle group. Notice the light in the room. Has the sun risen yet? Is sunshine streaming through the drapes? Does it seem to be cloudy? Do I hear rain? What else do I hear? The heat or AC? Birds outside? Fire engines? Do I feel chilly or warm? Do I smell anything? Coffee, maybe?

Yes, I think this would be a good idea. Slowly rev up my Noticing engines before I even move. A nice way to get into the Noticing mindset.

Then….Bound! Leap! Spring out of bed!

There is a day’s worth of Noticings to be discovered. Every day is a treasure hunt! Will I stumble onto a new Zipper? (You may remember that a Zipper is what I call a simple solution that works.)  Will I recognize a Broccoli that could be replicated somewhere else? (Remember, a Broccoli is what I call a repeating pattern.)  Will I recognize a new Human Idiosyn-Crazy ™ that will bring me a laugh?

There are huge numbers of new things to Notice every single day. This is the excitement of being alive!

So as a new season draws near, will you join me in starting each day with a minute or two of quiet awareness, even before getting out of bed?

Let me know if you are going to try this. And let me know what you Notice.

But don’t tell me anything after 9 pm. After that hour, I don’t care about zippers and broccoli. I am cranky. I am bad-tempered. I am irritable. I am grouchy. I am ornery.

I am a crankypuss.

©2015 Margery Leveen Sher

The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing…..Change Your Life Without Changing Your Routine is now available on Amazon, Nook, and iTunesRead the reviews and purchase here. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZTM73U 

 

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk filled with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

Notice What You See and Be a Hero at Work