Phone Solicitors

Rose of Sharon

Of late, phone solicitation has been quite annoying. There is more than one way to deal with the unexpected and unwanted calls. I recall that we were able to phone someone and demand to be placed on a list so that we wouldn’t have to deal with these calls but for whatever reason, they continue. They happen to the landline and they even happen to the cellphone as well. With the cellphone, it is easy to block a number from recurring but they are annoying wherever they happen to reach you.

Obviously, one does not have to answer the phone, but periodically one forgets and answers. This especially happens if you are of the age I am where at an early age, we were programmed to always answer the phone as we did not have the other means of communication and we had no answering machines, no voicemail, and no caller ID.

I decided to mess with the solicitors by using my career as the weapon. Knowing full well that a normal American tends to be monolingual, I decided to play the language card. I answer the phone after having checked the caller ID and answer in French. I have cut off conversations this way more than once. One of the problems is that the solicitors might not necessarily be American, they may well be in Asia, for all we know, and they might know more than one language.

I am almost always safe, however, but I got taken down yesterday, as the guy knew I was able to speak French and actually managed to hold a conversation with me. Luckily he was looking for Christian and he was calling on behalf of a politician.

I do plan, however, to keep up my French campaign, as it is a great usage of my career, a chance to perhaps make someone realize that speaking only one language is less than useful, and it is just wholesome fun!

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Presentations are something I think about from time to time. I guess that tells us all that I truly need to ‘get a life!’

Every so often, depending upon our careers, we may be asked to do a presentation. Presentations are interesting because so often we do not want to do them. Then, on the other hand, there are people who love doing them.

One thing I find interesting is that we might be asked to do a presentation of a certain length. Some of us are totally unable to follow the time parameters. Some of us go way beyond.

The scary thing is that I think that too many of us do not think about the reaction of the actual spectator to the presentation event. We forget that most human beings have a short attention span and that the key here is organization, a quick bit of info, and moving on.

PowerPoints can be wonderful or deadly. It depends on how they are used. If they are used as a ‘jumping off’ platform, they can be amazing. If they are just read, ‘as is,’ they put the public to sleep.

Being on the personnel of the school where I worked for thirty years, I learned a lot about the importance of being prepared, getting to the point, and not boring the people I was trying to speak to, a thing we should all heed.

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Invisible suburbanites

one of many patio adornments...

one of many patio adornments…

Are people building the McMansions so that they can get lost in their homes and never be seen by other people?

One thing about the town I live in, it is now populated by mini-mansions that are built on postage stamp sized lots and were the result of a teardown. Years ago, when we put on our home addition to make a four-bedroom house, that was the ‘thing to do.’ Soon thereafter, the age of the teardown and the turreted mini-mansions came onto the scene. I really thought that it would settle down more but I continue to see signs around town where homes are being demolished to put up larger ones. Highland Park, as Michael has informed me, has serious regulations about when, where, and how teardowns can occur. In Deerfield, it just seems to be out of control.

One thing I have noticed is that you just do not see people by or near their homes. You will catch them on a jog, on a bike, or walking a dog or a baby. Other than that, you rarely catch sight of them. The days when you would see kids playing in front of homes or on a bicycle or big wheel on a sidewalk are a thing of the past. I am not sure if that is an aspect of affluence or just the way it currently is. Around here, kids are way too scheduled camp-wise and otherwise to be seen. It is bad to the point that when we thought of picking up a big wheel for Samantha that I wondered if they still made them.

For a while, I thought that porches were coming back. Porches were a major way people connected when I was a kid, I remember being on one and seeing people walking by. That just is not done in the same way anymore. The lack of air conditioning made somewhat forced people to get outside and the cooler air. Right now, in the northern suburbs, there is a habit of putting a chair on a stoop or small porch in front of the house. There is also the ‘two Adirondack chair’ fashion as well, often with a little foot bench. The odd thing is that they are only decorations because you never see people in them.

MK saw one of our neighbors a few weeks ago (at a grocery store) and despite the fact that the neighbors pretty much never say hello (something I thought I left in the suburb of Parma, Ohio where my neighborhood was about as unfriendly as any I have ever seen), they are nice people. Fern commented to Mary Kay that she and her family so enjoyed the ‘activity,’ as they called it, that they see at our home. There is always something going on.

Years ago, people would be out to perhaps, mow the lawn or attend to some landscaping, but now people in our area are not doing those tasks themselves. They pay landscapers to come in, another thing that allows them to do the permanent hibernation scene.

Years ago, MK and I pretty much had a handle on all of the people on our block. Now we are only aware of about eight or so homes directly adjacent to us and a few down the block. You just do not see people; they drive their cars into their garages, close the door, and enter their homes. I understand that that is partially due to the fact that we no longer have small children, but there is more to it than that.

We are pretty visible. Yesterday I was perhaps too visible as I walked the dog with Samantha and then came home and trimmed the front lawn and swept things up. As I am writing this about people not being seen, maybe someone is blogging about me and the fact that maybe I am way too visible and should spend more time in my home.

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Rose of Sharon and ‘Canimarche’


Canimarche or walking the dog (a real canine, not a yoyo trick) is a great way to get a scope on things and to see how Mother Nature is moving along.

Many plants are waning but others are coming out and taking over. Rose of Sharon is going crazy and many things I am not even aware of are blooming. There is a small tree with huge white plumes coming off of it, looking akin to something an ecdysiast might use in a program. The yellow black-eyed Susans are in full bloom along with local Illinois wildflowers.

I was wondering if today would be possible for a little canimarche with Stewart since we were supposedly having a huge storm last night. I don’t recall hearing anything but there has been a small show since I got up. The ground is somewhat wet but it does not look like the storm that was promised.

Soon the Glencoe girls will be here and I am wondering what fascinating things might happen today.

I am kind of hoping, however, that the concrete dust that has plagued my car for the past few days has been cleaned off. It is hard to imagine someone sanding their driveway, but leave it to me to find myself living next to someone who does that!

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Level Streets

In my head, Kenton Road is a flat street.  We, according to what I understand, live on the highest point.  A few blocks away is the highest point of Lake County.  Not very high at all above sea level, about 200 meters or 600 feet or so.

In my head, Kenton Road is a flat street. We, according to what I understand, live on the highest point. A few blocks away is the highest point of Lake County. Not very high at all above sea level, about 200 meters or 600 feet or so.


Every so often, I realize that streets are neither totally straight nor totally level. Am I the only one who is deluded into thinking that they are?

Today, as I was walking the canine wonder, AKA Stewart, I looked at the street ahead of me and noticed how it seemed to go in a wave from one level to another, in another words, I was walking and realized that I was on a slight incline.

In my mind, some of the main thoroughfares in Deerfield are totally straight. When, however, you look at a map or from up above, you realize that these supposedly straight streets are in fact curved in more than one direction.

I am wondering if this is a trick the mind plays on us to make things easier to remember or deal with. It is much easier to remember a route if one thinks it is the direct connection between two points and it is certainly easier if one thinks that it is at a certain even altitude.

I believe that there are many things that the mind does in order to more easily recall things and in order to more easily place them in some organizational framework within our brain. It is kind of as if the brain were generalizing about certain things in order to catalogue them.

In a few weeks, I shall be returning to my hometown for the first time in over ten years, the longest amount of time I have ever gone without returning. This is all due to the fact that my mom moved here in 2003 and I have not been back since moving her here. I am anxious to see how things I remember a certain way may prove to be very different from my recall.

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