Sunday, August 21, 2016

changing the routine.....

Traditions are important to me.  Predictability even more so. 
Combine those two together and you've got a bona fide  "stick-in-the-mud" on your hands.

Since we now live in Iowa, we of course have to have a predictable tradition to go along with our adoptive home state.  

And "Nothing Compares" to the tradition of the Iowa State Fair.

For the past four years we have had our comfortable, traditional process of attending the fair.  As I am also an social introvert who usually avoids anything with crowds of more than three people, we typically head to the fair early on opening day instead of the weekends.  We go to the same buildings and exhibits, eat the same food and walk the same route through the grounds....we even use the same entrance/exit gate every year. 

This year things went a bit haywire.

I forgot to ask for a day off on Opening Day.
The family calendar was packed for the entire remaining days of the fair.  The only day left open on my schedule was Sunday, Aug. 20th.

Also known as the last day of the 2016 Iowa State Fair.

Which is also known as half-price day.  And Free Concert night. And it was the best weather we've had in the last three months.

Which mean everyone and their cousin was going to be swapping oxygen molecules with the equivalent population of a small European country.

But I couldn't not go.  It's the Sate Fair.  In a state known for being nice, it's the one time a year I can think of when Iowans get just a bit competitive with each other.  Quilting, canning, photography, baking, agriculture, animal breeding, horsemanship, 4-H and FFA everything, and the world famous Butter Cow are all not to be missed.

So we broke tradition and headed to the other side of the county to join thousands of our closest friends and neighbors for the afternoon. 
Considering the fact that  we were already breaking with tradition with our attendance day, this stick-in-the-mud went hog wild and suggested a few more changes for the day.

We went in a different entrance.  Gasp.  Then....we went to the top of the hill instead of starting at the bottom.....double gasp!

We toured the State Fair museum....and liked it.

We went to Pioneer Hall and saw all the antiques....and...found this new treasure...


Then we did a few more traditional stops on the hill since I am never one to pass up a free egg-on-a-stick and a quick glimpse at the Butter Cow.

From there we strolled down for our annual pilgrimage to the Varied Industries Building.
We did stick with tradition and freely sampled the popcorn and coffee.
After all...who would pass up free popcorn and coffee???

Keeping with the theme for the day, we tried something new in the Fabrics and Threads area....we all helped in the quilting for charity room.   These quilts are made with donated fabric and volunteer hours and are sent to different children's charities throughout Iowa. It had been on my "State Fair Bucket List" for the last four years and today was the day to get involved.

                                                                     ALL of us ;)

The group spends all ten days of the fair making comfort quilts for children. They also spend all ten days relentlessly recruiting anyone who walks in the door of their work room. Saying no to them is like saying no to your sainted grandmother. It just ought not to be done. Today we helped un-pin the quilts that had been layered and sewn to get them ready to be trimmed and bound. The total blanket goal was 425 this year. When we left  they were at 385 and still had a few hours to go. I hope they made it.  It was fun, our help was appreciated and there was no special skill or talent required.

And when your daughter asks, " many days can we come back and help next year?"  the "never-change, stuck-in-a-rut, stick-in-the-mud" quickly adds this new activity to the Traditions category of State Fair activities, with a mental note to relentlessly recruit some of her friends.

Because while the State Fair has plenty of ice cream, walking tacos and fried candy bars, it also has plenty of room for people to try something new and help a child in need.

And I didn't miss the class on that.  :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

....enjoying the latest techno-trends....

Dear Niantic,

Let me introduce myself.  I am the curmudgeon who gripes and complains about the mindless mobs of manic gamers roaming the streets of my town.  I am the one who uses words and phrases like "durned whippersnappers" and "uppity upstarts" when referring to those who play your game.
I am also the one who could become your single best weapon in terms of planning the PR campaign for your next update/release of Poke-whatever....

No.  Seriously.   Stop laughing so hard.

I know I can barely figure out how to answer the incoming calls on my cell phone.
I know I am the one who still insists on writing paper checks and using envelopes and stamps to pay her bills.
And yes, I am the one human left on the planet  who still has a land line.

Which makes me the perfect consultant for your next product launch.
You see, us techno-grumps have a unique skill set that you need. 
It's called "vision killing" and it will save you countless hours of company time and untold millions in corporate profits as I help you avoid bad publicity and lawsuits associated with the release of your products.

Had you hired me before the launch of your latest, hottest techno-trend I could have helped you with the following situations as they triggered my inner "grump-o-meter".....

Had I been allowed to see that you had (inadvertently, I'm sure) placed Poke stops at places like Arlington National Cemetery or the Holocaust Museum, my in-born, over driven sense of appropriateness would have immediately sounded the alarm and begged you to re-consider that option.

If I had but known in advance that you had alarmingly confused "open to the public" and "public space" (again, honest mistake, I am assuming), I could have helped you locate and apply the legal definitions of public vs private property, trespassing, and personal responsibility.

I would like to make you an offer you can't refuse:
Hire me.

OK.....stop laughing......again....

Hire me to be the one who Poke-holes all your ideas before they hit the www.

Hire me to remind you of all the pitfalls and problems that come when you don't Poke-check in with all the private business, organizations, property owners and individuals that were not allowed the option of having Poke-thingys on  their lands or persons.

Hire me to help you remember that while you are Poke- possibly contributing a good thing to society, it should never be at the cost of respect and common decency.

Hire me because it will be less expensive than negative PR and the lawsuits you will surely face.

Hire me because I could use the money, and you could obviously use the help of a few curmudgeons.

Hire me, because, while I am all for more family time, exercise, fresh air and foot traffic directed towards some of my favorite non-profits, I do think we can try to achieve these goals without stomping on everyone's Poke-toes in the name of progress and entertainment.

'cause I didn't miss the Poke-class on that ;)