Pop Quiz

pop quiz

I surround myself with gabsters. My friends like to talk… a lot. I love that about them! I get to relax, listen and wade into the conversation when and if I want to. It is wonderfully freeing to sit silently after a long day at work where I am required to talk and talk and talk. Talking is part of my job, whether phone calls, face to face conversations or emails, all day long I respond to questions and concerns. By night, I am all talked out.

Occasionally I am required to attend events with people who do not realize that I don’t want to talk. In fact, they think they are doing me a favor by asking questions about my life.

  • “How are your kids?”
  • “How is your job?”
  • “When are you going to retire?”
  • “What do you think about blah, blah, blah?”

To me, this feels like a pop quiz. I don’t feel prepared for the barrage of questions and I am certainly not enjoying them.

So… as a dutiful student of life, I practice before these social events. My husband asks me questions and I try to deflect them.

Husband: “How are your kids?”
Me: “Fine, and how is your family?”

Husband: “How is your job?”
Me: “Great, and how is your job?”

Husband: “What do you think about blah, blah, blah?”
Me: “I’d love to hear your opinion.”

This works well for me. But then, one day, someone was on to my avoidance strategy.

Someone: “How is your family?”
Me: “Great, how is yours?”
Someone: “No, I want to talk about you. Really, how is your family?”

Hmmmm. I wasn’t prepared for that. So, I ended up talking about my family. But, I didn’t want to. My family is doing great but really, is it any of this ‘someone’s’ business? I do not think so. You see, right or wrong, I believe this person views me as significantly less than perfect and I’d rather not talk with them about my family or anything personal.

Last night, I had a dream. I dreamt I responded to this person’s pop quiz with honesty and boldness. The dream started out as a rerun of reality.

Someone: “How is your family?”
Me: “Great, how is yours?”
Someone: “No, I want to talk about you. Really, how is your family?”
Me: “Well, I’d rather have a conversation than an interrogation. I’ve never done well with pop quizzes.”

And that’s when I woke up… smiling.


Living Below the Radar


This is my 27th year at my job and I have done an incredible job living below the radar. I work hard, keep my nose to the grindstone and fade into the background. I am happy.

Recently, I shared some workplace stories with our company PR representative. Evidently, this brought me and what I do for the organization to her attention. Thus, she wanted to interview me for a company newsletter which is emailed to hundreds of people in our community.

I really, really wanted to decline this ‘honor’. But, I can’t say no. So, I said, “Okay.” Begrudgingly.

I thought the interview went well. I was not happy to learn the article required my photo. So, I posed for a ‘selfie’ and emailed this to our PR Lady. She did not like my selfie and asked if she could come to my office and take my picture.

My office is my haven. In other words, it is a mess. But I cleaned my office and when she arrived, I posed for my picture and sent her on her way. Check that off my list.

That was Friday.

At 3:00 a.m. Saturday morning, I sat bolt upright in bed. I had just remembered that while I had straightened my office, I neglected to remove an incriminating picture from my pegboard. This picture would be clearly seen in my newsletter photo.

What was the picture? Well, I answer a lot of questions for people at work. All kinds of questions. No matter the question, I try to answer patiently.

As a joke, a friend sent me a quote that tickled my funny bone. Usually this quote sits in my desk drawer, to be viewed occasionally when I need a pick-me-up. But, recently, I’ve had a lot of silly questions. So, I took this quote out of my desk drawer and posted it on my pegboard.

It’s a joke. I don’t know why, but it makes me smile.

But, having this quote featured prominently in the company newsletter featuring the staff member of the month was quite honestly horrifying.

stupid_jpgSo much for living below the radar….


Time to Listen


My husband is a stamp collector. Over the years, I have learned a lot about stamps but to be honest, talking about stamps is pretty much a snoozer for me.

The terminology is exhaustive and exhausting. Hinged. Not hinged. Fine. Extra fine. Plate blocks. Hidden watermarks. Perforations. The words keep coming at me on a daily basis.

The other day, my husband was talking and I was not listening. I was reading a book and wishing I could stay in my happy place. But being a dutiful wife and not wanting to appear rude, I responded occasionally with a “That’s nice.” or “Uh huh.” or “That’s interesting.”

As his monologue continued, some of his words began to register. “Friend.” “Scantily clad.” “Sushi.”

I thought, “whoa, whoa, whoa!” pay attention! This is not his ordinary postage stamp conversation.

I put my book down and said, “Could you tell me that again?”

Husband: “Sure. Our friend went to that sushi place across from the family restaurant on the west side.”

Me: “That’s nice.”

Husband: “When their food was ready, a woman sat on their table and reclined onto her back.”

Me: “Uh huh.”

Husband: “She was scantily dressed.”

Me: “That’s interesting.”

Husband: “Then the waiter came and placed the sushi on her body. Her bare skin was their platter.”

Me: “Well, I sure hope she exfoliated.”


Let It Be

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I have sheet music which has been displayed in my home these past 25 years. The music originally sat on my piano to entice people to sit down and play. When we gave our piano away, a few years ago, the sheet music landed on top of our rolltop desk. And there it has sat, year after year.

Each time I pick up the music to file away, I look at the words and gently place it back onto the desk. The music, you may have guessed from the title of this post, is ‘Let It Be’ by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

The words to this song bring back childhood memories of my grandma. She often encouraged us to “Just let it be.”

When the water wasn’t boiling and I wanted to lift the lid for the 10th time she  would say, “Let it be.”

When my siblings were nasty and I wanted to take out my righteous revenge she would say, “Let it be.”

When I was dressed up and fidgeting with my hair and clothes she would say, “Let it be.”

For grandma, I didn’t have to let go of my anger, worries or fidgets, I just had to let them be. Grandma taught me about acceptance, patience and choosing my battles. She encouraged me to engage my brain in all situations, before reacting with reckless emotion.

How did she get away with this? Humor. She helped me find the humor in these situations as I learned to stem my impulsivity, walk away from conflict and sit still with my hands in my lap.

For 2015, I am reminding myself to Let It Be.

Happy New Year!



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