Saturday, September 15, 2012

Living Shy in a Sociable World

Yes, it's true. I have battled shyness all my life. Did I have you fooled? Well, I have many years of practice. I remember that a few years ago my sister mentioned my mom's crippling shyness, and I was so surprised to hear that...mainly because she was home with me, nurturing my socialization, and rarely had to step out of her comfort zone and into the bigger world. When she did, she was dressed to the nines in clothes she designed and made, hair and makeup perfect. That gene seems to have skipped a generation, so when I'm out in the world, I don't have that armor.

So what reminded me of that? Just a party. A neighborhood block party, next door, with dear sweet, welcoming people, name tags (I can NEVER remember a name...and even froze on my business name when asked tonight...duh!), my BF and even my dog...and I could not get out of there fast enough. was fun. I met the couple who have been my backyard neighbors for almost 11 years.  Yes, just now met and visited with them. Ditto a couple from across the street. I truly enjoy the one on one conversations. I do intend to keep those aqaintanships going and feel good about that. But once our little clique dissolved as those dinner time conversations do, it was all I could do to not bolt for home. And I learned this is not how everyone feels (remember, my role model was even more shy than me, so I had no idea people actually LIKE parties. Who knew?)

My new role model? Katie. Yes, the Shih Tzu was the life of the party. She was completely charming, fluffing her tail plume, doling out doggie smiles and measured licks, minding when I called for her but working the crowd as if the party was her debut. When I lost track of her and looked around, there would be a table with 7 people and Katie (she jumped up on the vacant chair so as to be included in the goings-on), grinning her most toothfull grin, wagging her pleasure at being out and about. The resident Lab was shooed away for barking, and a little terrier had a few snarling fits, but Katie made her rounds, trailing "oh, she's so cute" and "how well-behaved!" in her wake.

I won't even go into my boyfriend's socializing. He loves being around people, doesn't share my awkwardness in large gatherings, and was also "well-behaved" (and picked up after Katie when she oopsed in the middle of a bocce game). He's human. He's supposed to know how to be around people.

But I learned something from Katie. Being social can't rely on being glued to the first seat I encounter and hoping 1) nobody notices or 2) someone gentle comes to visit. Next time the situation presents itself, I will do my best to channel my inner Shih Tzu and table-hop, smile, and have fun.

Let's see. That will probably be next month in Jamaica, where I understand a lively entertainment staff will arrange frequent schmoozing opportunities. I don't drink alcohol so I can't rely on liquid courage. But maybe I'll keep one of Katie's photos with me...a big smiley one...reminding me it's all about fun

And what the heck. I'll never see those people again...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Becomming UN with the e-Universe

I receive hundreds of emails every day, and am always amazed when there's one from a real person; I'm not even ounting the sneaky ones that appear to be from a person but which are really from some company I'd probably have no interest in. So, like ridding a garden of weeds, I have been culling my inbox, brashly unsubscribing to everything I haven't intentionally planted there myself

I buy online a lot, and am aware now of the trail I leave in my wake and how it multiplies without my consent. I recently ordered flowers for a funeral from ProFlowers. I was vastly unhappy with several elements of the ordering process, and replied to their follow up "rate us" email with vigor, outlining all The reasons I would NEVER order from them again. Their response was an apologetic email offering 30% off my next order (as if I send flowers with wild abandon). When I didn't immediately respond with an order, the next day they offered 40% and also emailed me from their sibling company, ProPlants. Aargh! They have a bunch of subsidiaries. I anticipate 50% off at ProSeedlings tomorrow and Free! Free! Free! at ProManure by the end of the week.

I have just Unsubscribed to all future emails, but as I am finding, some companies claim it takes up to 8 days to take me off the list. Hmmmm. I have my doubts about that. I also have clients who subscribe to my auto newsletter for Massage Kalamazoo and every addition and deletion is immediate. 

Continuing in my quest to be unknown, uncontacted, and unsolicited, I stumbled across the most annoying process, whereby I click on unsubscribe and am directed to a special website where I am asked to enter my email address -TWICE - in order not to receive emails. Really? That feels like eating 2 meals in order to be allowed to diet. It makes me mad, Cybercompany. It makes me far less likely to ever buy from you again. Ticking me off is not a good sales strategy.

So for 2 afternoons, I have listened to Dr Phil solve his guests' issues while trying to eliminate mine. I have found the "unsubscribe" button on virtually every email, no matter how cleverly they try to hide it. I have typed and retyped the information I am asking them to forget. I have sighed when I realized I'm cutting off one branch of a company tree with no guarantee their subsidiaries won't still pop up like so many Whack-A-Moles. I am waiting breathlessly for the mysterious 8 day waiting period to pass. Dr Phil's guests have nothing on the angst I feel as I try to become UN with the e-Universe.

And, if you happen to be an over-extended subscriber to my own business emails, you have my blessing to unsubscribe. No hard feelings. I know your pain.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Funeral Cookies

Apparently there is a whole category of confections dedicated to funerals. Entire menus, recipes and even books give you way more information than I needed to find a simple but impressive cookie to duplicate about 150 times and transport to a funeral luncheon.  I volunteered for cookies because there was a danger of cake on the horizon, a bad idea in my mind in feeding over 100 people who will hopefully fill a plate and move on to mingle. Not tie someone up cutting and serving, needing more tableware, napkins, plates...yes, I'm as conservative as possible when it comes to party accoutrement...since you won't keep your fork and another plate isn't in the budget, please have a cookie and be on your way.

There's something to be said for the church ladies who usually prepare these things. Everyone falls into formation like a well-trained pack of Green Berets and perfectly browned casseroles appears as if by magic, soothing the bereft and fortifying the shirttail relatives. But, for some reason, no church ladies have appeared, one man then another said they'd handle it, and it finally landed in the capable hands of my LadyBug.

 Now, I have planned similar events many times with my Sisty Midler and I knew how to make this happen, but felt my opinion will be sought if needed. Assignments continued to be given and I sat quietly (until the mention of cake, which I squashed gently) and at the end was able to ask what's still needed? LadyBug looked wistfully at "cake" which had been crossed from the list, so I whispered "cookies. We'll bring cookies. All the cookies". She hesitated, thinking perhaps to make one more campaign for cake, but I sternly smiled...cookies it is

Success! I have solved the dessert dilemma but...yikers...I have just volunteered to provide 150+ homemade cookies in 2 days!

I have some ideas. Not turning to the Funeral Cookbooks except for inspiration. My time to shine and I can only turn to one source for help


Recipes never actually made by real people, themed by color, or farm animal, or Disney Princess. Yes, there is a lot of chaff to look through for the golden needle I need. But somewhere, amidst the recipes for make-your-own-dish washing-soap, patterns for crocheted pot scrubbers, and designs of dream kitchens...somewhere I will find that perfect melt in your mouth, non-crumbling, fabulous cookie recipe

Or I'll dip Oreos in white chocolate and call it a day